Our Stressful Lifestyles: A Few Tools for Change Part 2

stressful lifestyles

How do you relax? Walking is one good way. Being outdoors in the fresh air, appreciating the beauty of nature can help us get in touch with our bodies. If it’s a brisk walk 20 minutes 3 times a week it can also give us an immediate and fantastic improvement in our heart health and elevate our mood. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes the benefits are enormous. If that’s not possible, then at least get outdoors and take 3 deep breaths. Listen to your body and you will get it right.  

Another good way is to stop whatever you are doing. Just stop and listen. Pay attention to your breathing. I like to stop and put my hand on my chest like I’m pledging allegiance – I am – to me.  I can feel my heartbeat and I can feel my breathing and it reminds me how wonderful it is I don’t have to worry about breathing or my heart beating. It’s all done for me. If we just stop like that and listen to our body, and if we give it what it needs, it will keep us healthy.

Another is to just laugh. Fake it. Your diaphragm doesn’t know the difference. Once you start it all parts of the body respond to it. Fake it. Look in the mirror, say your name, and say tee hee tee hee. Or if you are with someone, look at them and go ha ha ha ha. Go ahead and try it and notice how it feels. Usually you feel pretty good, even if you faked it and you get many health benefits. Norman Cousins claimed laughter saved his life. He watched Marx Brothers movies from his hospital bed, and laughter controlled his pain by increasing his endorphins. Endorphins heal the body by boosting T cells in our body’s immune system.  

Positive emotions of all kinds – love, trust, gratitude, appreciating a beautiful sunset can help you release endorphins and can help you stay healthy, fight illnesses like the common cold – and heal our illnesses. If we do something simple like listen to beautiful music or enjoy the beauty of our surroundings or thrill to a sunset or send up a prayer of gratitude, we can release endorphin and we will be curing a cancer before it is forming in us.

Getting off addicting drugs raises our endorphins. On the other hand taking mood altering chemicals, or having negative emotions such as anger we might feel if we are taking care of everyone else while our own deep-seated needs are not being recognized can make us release stress hormones and our arteries and our heart and our immune systems are going to suffer.

So much for righteous anger. It is not the type A personality or the ambition that causes our heart attacks. It’s the hostility that’s the toxic factor. It is health promoting to have a trusting heart. Grief or loneliness, hopelessness or helplessness can kill us.

Crying on the other hand is OK. Babies stay happy and they cry a lot. It helps them survive. It’s a normal basic response to fear, anxiety, loss and frustration. It has healing value. Psychologically it is an important way to reduce tension and to relieve stress. Stress causes chemical imbalances in the body and tears help remove these toxic substances.

Our attitude is important too. If for example we fall down and scrape our knee, we can swear and get upset and release adrenalin and harm our health or we can be grateful that we were not hurt bad, and release endorphins and boost our well being and our health. It’s up to us. If I believe what I am doing is good for me, and it’s going to have a positive effect it probably will. What we think has a lot to do with what we realize.


Information shared here is not intended as medical advice, and cannot substitute for professional medical advice and information. Information provided is general in nature and may be helpful to some people but not others, depending on their personal medical needs. Always consult with your personal physician before changing or undertaking a new exercise program or following advice designed for general audiences only. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay getting care because of something you have read here.

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