Did you realize that there are only ten weeks until the New Year?
I would love all of us to spend each of the next ten weeks looking at different aspects of our lives. Areas that we may not spend a lot of time looking at ourselves, without someone else focusing the light upon it for us. We are all so busy that to sit down and focus on some of these areas may not even occur to us. I believe that these will be areas that will enhance and even enrich our lives.
If you know of someone who needs some direction for their lives or would just enjoy a little enlightenment, please ask them to join us on this journey. They can sign up at either website A New Day A New Vision or All I Want is Everything Book. This blog is also available on You Tube just type in my name in the search box and look for the Ten Steps to a Happier Healthier You – Step One.
Let’s enter the New Year together happier, healthier and more aware of and focused on what is really important for each of us. So let’s begin with week number 10 in the countdown and look at stress and its harmful consequences.
I think most of us would agree that stress has permeated all of our lives. It has become especially visible most recently. The calm of past prosperity has us lulled into a false feeling of security, that nothing could derail the train of abundance barreling down the track. Then the financial world was rocked when the bottom fell out of the mortgage industry causing a domino effect that touched all of us in some way.
Even if you yourself had not been directly affected, and more so, if you know someone who had been adversely affected by this downturn, the result has left us all feeling less secure and wondering about our own future. There is a heaviness present knowing that others have been and will continue be forced out of their homes and jobs.
But the truth is that stress has been inching its way into our lives for many years. I was lucky enough to have a point of reference with Grandma Ella . She was not my high heel Grandmother and is not even my real grandmother, but I was lucky enough spend an occasional Sunday with her.
She lived in the country and her front porch had a swing, just like the movies. I can still remember the slow rhythmic movement of the swing and the fresh country air. There was no phone ringing and no stores near to run to. I can clearly recall that feeling. There was nothing as wonderful as having nothing to do.
When was the last time that you had nothing to do? No phone, text, email, tv show to watch or work to get done. Do you remember the last time that you had an afternoon of peace and quiet time for you and your family to destress and just enjoy each other’s company?
Here are some sad facts about where we are headed.
The average American works six to seven hours of overtime a week. In a year that equals almost an extra 8 weeks.
19% of us work thru our lunch. That is 260 hours per year that we should be relaxing and allow our food to digest properly.
415 million earned vacation days remained unused each year.
One half of all Americans are on a prescription medicine.
21% are on three or medications per day.
87 to 95% of our physical illnesses are a result of your emotional and mental health.
Only 7% of Americans engage in some way to improve the state of their lives.
That means 93% of us do nothing to improve the quality of our lives.
The mind body connection is undeniable. Stress causes an increase in heart rate and a restriction in blood vessels and even changes your brain wave pattern. It makes blood pressure rise and adrenal glands work overtime. All of these are cumulative and cause harm to your health over time, if not addressed.
This is not a fun subject but one I feel that we all need to address for our well being. Living in alignment with your priorities, with awareness of the effects of your own actions and reactions will give you a bit of insight into what causes your stress. You will need to make some choices for your own well being. We all must look to reduce the effects stress we allow to permeate into our lives every day.
It would be wonderful if everyone could stop and change course, but we all seem to be on the same treadmill. We have all been chasing what we believed would bring us and our loved ones happiness, but have ignored the price, our health and have forgotten to climb off the treadmill and review our choices every once in a while. It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.
So as a start to preparing for the New Year, for just one week let’s try to be aware of our thoughts and physical reactions, when stressful events occur. Becoming aware of how you feel when stressful events occur gives you the opportunity to choose the depth of physicality you allow. Sometimes just awareness will be enough to reverse the rise in the level and other times you will physically need to breathe deeply and relax.
One thought is to offer yourself a reminder. Place a note card on your desk or somewhere within sight, with a sentence or two that you can look at when you feel frustrated or stressed. Write something that is meaningful to you. It can be as simple as “what level am I at now” or as complex as to contain specifics if you are aware of certain triggers for your stress.
Once you are aware you can then decide on the appropriate reaction. Not everything requires the same physical reaction. So by thinking of it in terms of a scale with a rising level you can consciously choose the level. You at least are aware that this is a choice you are making and the price you are paying.
So please join me and take the opportunity this upcoming week to work on being more aware and less stressed. Take time for yourself every day for just this one week. During your quiet time each day feel what stress free, peaceful silence feels like. Turn off the phone and sit in a comfortable chair and just breathe. Listen to your breath in and out. Forget the housework or chores. It will still be there after you are done relaxing.
Do not allow exterior conditions to affect you. Forget the world. Think only about yourself, how lucky you are to be here, to have been given this gift of life. Remember this feeling; commit it to your memory each day for the week, just like I have done returning to my Grandma’s porch swing. Remember the way your body and spirit feels when relaxed and try to recall it when you feel stressed.
Remember always that you are gift. A precious gift with worth beyond measure. You deserve happiness and health and to live a life worthy of such a valuable treasure. Please take the time each day. It will serve you well both now and in your future with better health. I am hoping that your new awareness will be something you may want to add to each day, for the rest of your life.
Have a wonderful relaxing week and I will see you next week as we continue our journey towards the New Year together.
Love to all – Kim