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Stress: Cut It Out


by Addreiene Young, Good Optimal Living Daily (GOLD), Wellness Mentor

The body has the responsibility of functioning properly based on what we subject it to.  It is up to each person to give it what is needed to accomplish the task of being G.O.L.D.  Unfortunately, we are unaware of the main culprit which grossly endangers our ability to live well.  It is stress! 

Stress is hardship, pressure, adversity or strain; it is the pull or force applied to the body as a whole.  When it comes to stress there is a reaction to our physical, mental, social, or emotional wellbeing.  We are faced with stress every day which affects us physically and mostly psychologically.  Stress alters the way we perform, think and feel.  Every part of our body reacts to stress.  We must learn to handle stress.

We pay little to no attention to the stress we subject our body to.  Many, if not all, of our wellness issues are related to stress.  Stress-related diseases and disorders contribute to the success of the body and mind breaking down.  It is the root of many illnesses most suffer from today.  The strain on the heart produces heart disease, which may result in congestive heart failure.  There’s pressure on the back, knees, and joints to carry more weight than the body was intended to carry, resulting in blown disks, torn cartilage or ligaments.  Other stressors come from the over-indulgence in processed foods, fats, sugars, and meats.  These foods put a strain on the liver, kidney, pancreas, gut, and other organs that work overtime trying to keep up.  The results vary from diabetes to irritable bowel syndrome and more, all due to stress in the body.

We should never expect the body to produce what the body does not have the ability to do so.  Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”?  This is true because turnips don’t bleed.  We must realize the same applies for us: we cannot squeeze wellness from an unfit body.  When we seek to do, so we place a great strain on the body.  There’s a solution many lean on: medication.  Medication plays a role in getting the body to respond falsely by blocking pain.  It will also force the body to produce what it cannot naturally produce.  Another danger medication poses is blocking the body’s ability to work stress-free. 

Much of the stress we place on the body is unnecessary.  Our bodies were created to function for the benefit of us living well.  Because of poor maintenance, we’ve created a problem.  Many people treat their car better than they treat their bodies.  How so?  Cars are made to run on recommended fuel.  I know from personal experience that when you put diesel gas in a car which runs on unleaded, you will create stress on the motor of that car.  After this debacle, you must either remove the gas or let it run its course as you carefully monitor the car until the diesel runs out.  Putting diesel in an unleaded car is a high strain situation, one must pay attention to make sure this mistake is not made again.  We must do the same for our mind and body as well.  It is vital that we take notice of what we are putting in us that creates stress.  Our wellness living depends on it.

I mentioned the mind a few times.  Let’s talk about it.  The greatest stress put on the mind is lack of rest.  The mind is always working.  If it stops and you lose consciences, you die.  The mind has a big job and when it is stressed, it can’t do its job effectively.  Because of this, other stress-related issues occur.  It is quite difficult to remember when your brain must work overtime to try and fix the created stresses on the body.  The stresses we suffer from cannot be measured.  When we have stress on the mind and body daily, we lose the ability to function in the way in which we should. 

Stress on the mind results to many of the mental disorders, such as depression, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and Alzheimer, just name a few.  The sad truth is the same medicines you take because of stress on the body creates stress on the mind. 

I remember my grandmother sharing with me that she developed Parkinson’s disease from her diabetes treatment.  They treat a stress-related disease and later had to treat another stress-related disease because they caused it.  Later she realized the trust she placed in her team of doctors led to her, as she described it, feeling sad.  We call it depressed.  Again, she needed treatment.   Her experience taught me that doctors don’t truly understand, nor do they know how to treat stress without causing more stress.

The mind and body suffer from chronic stress when we do not treat them right.  When this happens, stress is accelerated.  Accelerated stress can lower the immune system, the aging process, and induce insomnia.  I will boldly say that all of our stress-related issues can be treated without medicine.  It takes paying attention to find out what are the stressors and responding accordingly.

Now let’s identify what I have noted as the greatest stressor to many of us today.  It is self.  Yes, that’s right.  Self is the greatest stressor because we are the ones who make the choices for us.  The choices we make is the reasons why we have stressors.  Remember stress is a hardship, pressure, adversity, or strain.  When you have stress, it is because you have accepted.  In my experiments, I found that many do not pay attention to their mind or body in a way that produces stress-free results.  When I ask my clients about their stresses, I am not able to say, “How about your stressors?”  I have to disguise the word stress and use questions that will tell me what they have been stressing about.  When I have asked if they have any stress in their lives, the response is catered to their family, jobs, or finances.  Most do not look at to what’s going on in their body and relate it to stress. 

The lack of attention we pay to our body increases stress by a high percentage.  If I had to give you a number, I can say with confidence that 80% of our stress is internal which produces the external stress we see.  The old saying “What’s in you, will come out” is so true.  But don’t fret!  There are some mental exercises you can do to help reduce stress on the mind and the body.  I have heard of many exercises that can assist in reducing stress, like journaling, yoga, meditating, listening to music, taking walks, reading a book, playing a game.  All these are good, but the one I find to be the most effective is to think of nothing.  While this is the most effective, this is also the most difficult one to teach.  Even for myself, it was difficult.  I found that I was drifting from not thinking to thinking about what not to think about.  Nowadays, not thinking is easy and the perfect way for me to declutter my brain. 

When you remove stress from your mind, your body will follow.  There was a song which said, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.”  I find this to be so true.  Stress lingers because it has a place to linger.  Don’t give stress a place to live and it will be far from you.  If you don’t think you are the root cause of your stress, here’s an exercise you can try.  Write down all your stressful issues. It doesn’t matter how minute or massive.  Then think of why it is a stressor.  Next answer how did you get in this situation.  The response will be because of you.  Each situation in your life is there because of you.  It is you who accepted the job.  It is you who bought that car.  It is you who married your spouse.  It is you who wanted a mortgage.  It is you who took on more clients.  It is you who made the decision to see a doctor.    It is you who chose to eat that food.  It is you who chose whatever is the stressor and it is you who must do what it takes to eliminate the stress from your life.  Don’t forget your wellness life depends on it.