Here's the first thing you need to know about stress: it's not just a mental or emotional dynamic in our lives.
Controversial, but true. While the mental or emotional aspect of stress is certainly a substantial factor, many people are unaware of or ignore the fact that there are also mechanical and nutritional aspects to stress.
Stress manifests itself in different ways, but it's always caused by a combination of several aspects of our lives. Most people think of stress as emotional, but our physical health can also play a big part in adding to stress and keeping our lives out of balance. It's important to acknowledge and address all aspects of stress in order to live a healthy, balanced life.
7 elements of life to manage mindfully
The good news is that many of the elements that contribute to stress can be managed or manipulated in our favour. By mindfully managing these areas of our lives, we can give ourselves the opportunity to eliminate many of life's stresses and regain balance.
The body has to have rest. It needs six to eight hours of uninterrupted rest every day. If it doesn't get that uninterrupted rest, you may experience physical problems.
No matter what your current situation is, your thoughts about that situation matter. Are you unwell? Do you think you can get better? Do you think you can feel better?
You need to guard your thoughts as strongly as you'd guard your loved ones, your home or your money.
If you don't believe you can improve your situation, this can physically affect your health. How you think about your health, your situation and your world is very important, and you need to guard your thoughts as strongly as you'd guard your loved ones, your home or your money.
"Autosuggestion" is a very prevalent dynamic in our lives that we need to aware of. These days, thoughts from the outside world are constantly attacking our mental attitudes, trying to draw us into a negative view of life. In this way, television commercials, well-meaning friends who belabour about illness and disease, and even your own doctor can inadvertently add negativity to your thinking.
Be mindful of how others are talking to you, and what autosuggestions they may be putting forth. Guard against the negative ideas that don't add anything of value to your world. It can be very productive to counteract those negative thoughts with positive, self-affirming ideas instead. Attitude is so important.
Your nutrition must be balanced. You need to eat proteins, vegetables and fruits, and it's critical that you include fat in that diet. Your body also has to be able to digest, absorb and utilize those nutrients and remove waste. Without a balanced diet, it may not be able to do this effectively.
We have to exercise the human body"”and not just by walking. Embrace the thought that you can be a graceful, active person. You should aim to strike a balance between both cardio and strength training.
It's important to believe in something bigger than yourself. Regardless of what brand of spirituality or religion resonates with you, it's important to believe that there's something besides matter within you"”something vital in your body that wants you to survive, and if you just give it what it needs, amazing things can happen.
You have to breathe. The body needs air, and not just any air. It needs clean air, because not only does it bring air in for life, it expectorates and pushes out waste through the lungs. People don't often think about the "elimination" function of breathing, but breathing is one of the ways the body cleans itself. Breathing exercises can help bring balance and health to your body, and help it flush and clean the lymphatic system and stay oxygenated.
We all need to drink water"”the substance of all life. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the human body is made up of fluid, and much of that is water, so it's important to bring water in.
Getting started with mindful management
So how do you stay mindful? How do you get started with changing your approach to the seven activities above?
Ask yourself, "Based on these various aspects of life, where does my greatest weakness lie?" Once you pick one category of the seven that's the weakest, that's where you must focus your energy and your assets.
Ask yourself, "Can I find the source of that stress and remove it? Can it be fixed, or is it just something that I'm just going to have to manage?"
If you continue to question yourself in relation to all seven aspects, and start to tackle them one by one, you'll begin to lead a balanced, stress-free life.
This article was first published here.