If you’re thinking you don’t have time to spend on this, to read and consider how you could make important changes, then you are exactly the kind of person who could benefit most from this blog. And this irony really is the heart of the whole problem.
Stress is one of those words that’s become so familiar it may have lost some of its meaning. “I’m stressed out.” “I have a stressful life.” “This makes me stressed.” Two themes are often repeated:
1) It’s not so much life’s events, but our perception of them that creates the stress response. We think we cannot cope, and we feel overwhelmed. Not such a problem if it’s temporary, but everyday chronic stress takes its toll on our body, keeping the fight-or-flight stress response (intended for emergencies only) permanently activated.
2) Stress causes havoc in our bodies, not least of which is the tendency to overeat and resist fat loss. Whether mind-body or body-mind in origin, the mechanism is well established: chronic, systemic inflammation.
I could now provide a list of ways for you to reduce stress in your life and in your body: taking walks in nature, meditating, singing, yoga, eating real (not processed) food, etc., etc. But… do you have the time?
There’s our work/life balance to consider, but more to the point is the self/other balance. Not necessarily about work vs family life, this imbalance is about living a life where you put others first, where you find it impossible to say no, where you can’t or won’t delegate or create boundaries, where you rarely – if ever – just stop and do ‘nothing’.
You may have learned this way from a parent (or two) who taught you that this is the way to be. You may have a deep, perhaps unrecognised, belief that putting your needs over others is just plain wrong and selfish. Or maybe there’s a fear that if you really did stop, you’d be forced to face something unacceptable about yourself or your life?
Mixed into all of this is the question of self-worth; the belief that your worth depends on the contribution you make to others. Without that, you’d find it tough to recognise your value as a human being.
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