Deadlines! Overcommitted! Overwhelmed!
State of mind<-> State of body <-> State of spirit
Practitioners of meditation and yoga have a fundamental
understanding of the connection between mind, body and spirit.
Eastern health practitioners use this principal to heal physical and
mental health problems. More recently Western neuroscientists
have made a body-mind-spirit connection explicit in the treatment
of stress and trauma related mental and physical illness.
Too many deadlines? Too much drama in your life?
The World Health Organisation has stated that stress is an
epidemic of the 21st Century. It is absolutely critical to reduce the
high levels of stress that you experience – your physical, mental
and spiritual health depends on it! The U. S. Centre for Disease
Control recently reported that more than 50% of deaths in the
under 65 age group are stress related.
Chronic high levels the stress hormone cortisol is believed to hard
wire your brain, reducing access to the thinking part of your brain
(prefrontal cortex). This works to keep your brain and body stuck
in the ‘flight-fight-freeze’ or fear response. Your brain and body are
in constant states of heightened emotions and hyper-arousal. In
the fear response you are unable to access the learning and
creativity parts of the brain.
Stress is normal. Managed stress is positive and keeps you alert to
danger and ready to respond to changes in your world. Stress
becomes negative when you are continually triggered by stressful
challenges without any downtime – relief or relaxation.
Prolonged periods of hyper-stressed states (greater than 3 hours)
or chronic stress leads to feelings of worry and overwhelm and
predisposes you to anxiety and post-traumatic stress. When the
body’s cortisol/stress hormone level is exhausted the body and
brain ‘fall flat’ into a state of hopelessness and helplessness and
feelings of depression. Negative health outcomes are also linked to
chronic stress – sleep problems, heart disease, cancer, addictive
behaviours and relapse.
The neuroscientist Rick Hansen describes the hyper-stressed part
of his Stress Model as the Red Zone. In his Stress Model Rick also
explains the Green Zone (normal levels of stress hormone) as the
state of being where you feel connected, present and have the
ability to love and be loved.
Better concentration and creativity, more stable moods, improved
communication and relationships, better physical health and an
increased sense of control of time and activity are a few of the
benefits of stress reduction.
“The Greatest Thing You Will Ever Learn is to Love and Be Loved
in Return” ~ David Bowie
How you can get into the Green Zone
1. Decrease your stress triggers
2. Reduce and relieve your stress
3. Change your lifestyle
4. Change your Perspective
Become More Optimistic and Manage Your Stress
Researchers from Concordia University found that optimists stress
hormone levels remain more stable in the face of stressful
moments compared to pessimists.
A glass can be seen as half full or half empty and both are accurate.
However, taking a more optimistic view of the situation is better
for your mental and physical health. Even if you are a born
pessimist you can still tap into the benefits of optimism.
“Optimism is a skill that anyone can practice and improve,” says
psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You:
Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness.
Recent research indicates that optimists and pessimists approach
problems differently, and their ability to cope successfully with
adversity differs as a result. Winston Churchill’s famous quote “a
pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees
the opportunity in every difficulty” suggests we could all benefit
from these traits. Optimism not only helps you move into a
solution finding mindset in the face of adversity but has health
benefits as well. Studies have shown that an optimistic perception
can improve the immune system, prevent chronic disease, and help
people cope with unfortunate news.
What is Optimism?
Martin Seligman, father of positive psychology, defines optimism
as reacting to problems with a sense of confidence and high
personal ability. Optimistic people believe that negative events are
temporary, limited in scope (instead of pervading every aspect of a
person’s life), and manageable. Seligman began his career studying
depression, stress, and anxiety. From his work in these areas, he
discovered that the optimistic approach acted as a protective factor
against the development of depression when faced with difficult
It also appears that optimists experience less stress than pessimists
or realists. Because they believe in themselves and their abilities,
they expect good things to happen. They see negative events as
minor setbacks to be easily overcome, and view positive events as
evidence of further good things to come. Believing in themselves,
they also take more risks and create more positive events in their
Boosting Your Optimism – Even if You’re a Cynic
A tendency towards pessimism seems to be part of some people’s
genetic makeup. However, your environment and your life
experience also shape your perceptions. Whether you are the type
of person who tends to see the sun or the clouds on a partly cloudy
day, you can boost your optimism.
One of the best ways you can train your brain for optimism and
improve your emotional and physical well-being is to be optimistic.
Practicing optimism for ten to twelve seconds will rewire your
brain from the negative frame bias to a positive frame bias – the
glass half empty to the glass half full attitude to life.
‘Drop by Drop the water pot is filled’ – Buddhist proverb
Little by little you can fill yourselves with optimism and a can-do
attitude. Positive self-talk and inspiring notes to yourself affirm
your self-belief and ability to manage life’s challenges and
adversities. You can change your attitude and perspective. With an
optimistic attitude you will become more proactive in reducing and
relieving your stress.
Boosting your optimism can change your actual reality.
PS My 50 Stress Buster Tips and Magical Messages to Boost Your Optimism Ebooks are a brilliant package to get you started
to manage your stress and live a more optimistic life. Available NOW in the 2016 Self Care Bundle!!