Stress and Your Foundation of Health

January 18th, 2012

How is your state of well-being when it comes to dealing with stressful situations in your life?  When life takes you sideways are you ready to deal or do you fall down the rabbit hole and try to crawl your way back and hope with fingers crossed you make it back in one piece!

There’s no escaping stress, it’s a natural part of life these days.  Whether it’s self-inflicted or completely out of our control, it shows up and when it does why is it that some of us seem to cope better than others.  It’s important as well to remember that the body doesn’t recognize or differentiate one stress from the other so whether life is stressful because of work, personal circumstances or you’re exercising too much it’s all the same to the body.  Stress affects both our emotional and physical health.

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but stop and consider how I’ve managed to resolve myself through my most difficult times and not get lost in the rabbit hole, so to speak!  I know first and foremost that reaching out and being able to talk about whatever is going on in my life and expressing my feelings has always played a huge part of coping and moving forward. I am grateful to every person in my life that has been there to support me along the way.  Whether its family, friends or a professional being able to talk it through, put it out there can help.  It might be uncomfortable at first but it’s worth the risk.

I’ve always had a strong belief that regardless of how difficult something seems, that at the end of the darkness there is light. Call it finding the balance between the good and the bad. Knowing that even in the most difficult times of our life there is always a gift at the end.  Sometimes finding the gift takes a little patience, or, a lot of patience, but in the end the gift or understanding is always there.

Beyond having a strong faith and belief that things always get better I believe that the biggest differentiator in my ability to cope and come out the other end a stronger more whole person has come from focusing on my physical health – feeding my body and moving my body.  How you fuel your body plays a key role in how we manage and sustain our state of well-being.  Feeding the body with whole, natural, mineral and nutrient dense rich foods provides the nutrition the body needs to function at its best and helps us cope with the stresses that come our way.  The body is not looking for calories to sustain us, it’s looking for the nutrients, minerals, healthy fats, etc. it needs to provide optimal health but more often than not when stress shows up we completely lose sight of how we eat and reach for the foods that offer us the least nutrition or decide not to eat much of anything.  Like any well-oiled machine we’d never consider using anything less then the best to maintain the best performance.  Think about how long and how well your car would operate if you decided to fuel it with anything other than the recommended gasoline.  Our bodies deserve the same consideration; trust me the stronger and healthier we are in our bodies the better we are at coping.  A healthy mind and body will take us far.

Moving the body is just as important.  Being physically active provides a release of endorphins within the body and can help us let go.  Whether you walk, run, do yoga, hit the gym, etc. moving your body, breaking a sweat will help you cope.  As I mentioned earlier physical activity is also a stress on the body so if life is feeling extremely stressful you need to balance and pay close attention to what level of physical activity you engage in.  We never want to intentionally add more stress to an already stressful situation but if we think of our bodies as the incredible machines that they are then how we fuel, maintain and manage them will impact how well our bodies respond and cooperate with us.

So if you haven’t considered how your foundation of health can play a role in how you deal with the stressful times in your life then perhaps before you find yourself standing on the edge of the rabbit hole you might start making some changes and see what happens.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll avoid the joys of stress all together but you’ll certainly be better equipped to cope.

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