Mankind is living in its best era yet, experiencing better health, peace and higher standard of living than all generations before. So why do so many people suffer from stress and chronic fatigue? Has the “comfortable” life made us less resilient? Other generations experienced war, famine, disease and all sorts of challenges that we do not have to deal with.
My take on this is that stress is not really the problem but that a host of factors come into play, especially the lack of recuperation in today’s fast track world. Here are some tips to make you more resilient in riding the storm during those tough times. We cannot avoid stress. It is part of life, but we can learn to deal with stressful situations differently.
- Body movement: When you are under stress your body is flooded with a stress hormone called cortisol. The more cortisol in your system, the more your adrenal glands on the kidneys become fatigued. Try body arts that relax you both mentally and physically and bring your entire body metabolism into balance. Yoga, taiji, qi gong, pilates and meditation are ancient proven methods that work. But even a gentle walk in nature and jogging at a gentle pace will help bring down your stress level.
- Eating good foods: Too much sugar and salts in processed foods is wreaking havoc in your body. White sugars rob the body of phosphates which are vitally important in almost every intra-cellular reaction. Too much salt interferes with the natural absorption of water in the body, causing constipation, accumulation of toxins and higher blood pressure. You can’t go wrong with a good mixture of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit. The supplement spirulina is loaded with beta carotene, iron, magnesium and other trace materials which your body really needs during times of stress.
- Healing rituals: When everything around us appears to be in disarray or collapse a ritual can restore balance and sense of belonging and connection. It could be a religious prayer, the lighting of a candle, a meditation or any other regularly performed daily action at a certain time or place of the day. Rituals have been part of human life and social interaction since the dawn of mankind but we seem to have forgotten the significance of them in the rat-race of modern times.
- Friends and family: A typical symptom of burnout caused by stress is the withdrawal from social interaction. We are social animals and need to talk and interact with our fellow human beings, who give us important feedback, empathy, sense of meaning and comfort. Sharing and volunteering your help for a non-profit organisation, church, neighborhood initiative or any other group that serves a higher purpose often brings you “back to earth”.
If you can learn to ride the storm, change can positively enrich your life in many ways. The challenge lies in dealing with those defining moments of transition from a position of strength and power. During tough times we more than ever need time for recuperation, a time out and activities or hobbies that take the mind away from obsessive worry.
Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters
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