- Mental Health
Freedom From Stress
Symptoms of Structural Stress
The health of our physical body is important to our survival, so the path to freedom begins at the most basic level. We are all familiar with signs and symptoms of structural stress. The symptoms vary from tense neck muscles, shoulder muscles, indigestion, cramps and a host of other symptoms. We have many ways in which we try to deal with symptoms where we get just temporary relief. Our goal should be not just to relieve symptoms but to alter/eliminate the habits which led to them initially.
Developing Control Over Habits
The two major areas in which you can develop control over the habits of your body are through diet and exercise. They can both lead to significant reductions of stress. We have allowed junk food to dominate our diet. When we become aware of our habits, we will realise that bad dietary habits can create constant stress.
Much of what we eat is not useful to us. Refined sugar contains absolutely no nutrients and it makes up twenty-five percent of our diet. Fats which contain no nutrients make up forty-five percent; this is seventy percent of our food.
Sugars and Fats
Refined sugar is directly associated with serious physical dysfunctions such as obesity (a major disease in modern society). In addition, the precipitous rise and decline in blood sugar that results from the intake of refined sugar can lead to a strain on the liver, as well as imbalances in insulin production. This can lead to hypoglycemia and diabetes. Fresh, simple and nutritious are the food qualities most suitable for our health. We can get enough naturally-occuring sugar in fresh fruit, vegetables and grains.
Fats are empty calories and have no nutritional value. We need a certain amount of fat in our diet, but most times we go to the extreme and incorporate much more than is necessary in our daily diet. A high fat diet is associated with heart disease. A great deal of what we eat fails to provide any nutrition - leads to disease - leads to serious autonomic imbalances - which is STRESS.
Fruits and Vegetables
Here are some fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. These foods are filling and satisfying.
Highest Fiber Fruits
Berries -- Blueberies, Blackberries, Raspberries, etc.
Highest Fiber Vegetables
Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans
Reducing Chronic Stress
One way of reducing chronic stress is to begin learning about nutrition and begin paying attention to how the food we eat affects us both physically and mentally. Remember, that we are what we eat. It is also advisable to eat when you are calm and quiet. The emotional disturbances of anger, sadness or fear create an "impossible" internal enviironment for the digestive process. You can experience serious digestive difficulties when eating under these conditions.
The Role of Exercise in Stress
It pays big time when we exercise consistently. The payoffs are increased health, happiness and productivity. We have fewer frustrations, less medical bills and we experience a better quality of life. Physical fitness invigorates the brain. There is a close relationship between exercise (jogging, walking) and depression. Exercise helps to alter non-helpful mental states and emotional habits. You need to involve both your body and mind in order to receive great benefits. If you exercise when you are not really up to it, the exercise becomes a drag and you yield fewer benefits. Your mind must be on the activity being performed. When the mind/body/action are not coordinated, the result is STRESS.
Stress is retained in the body through muscle tension, and this problem is exacerbated when the tendons become short and rigid, allowing for little flexibility and leading to sprains, torn ligaments and muscles and dislocated joints. We recognize stored tension when we have to loosen up back muscles before taking part in sporting activities. In order to relieve tension, we have to stretch and loosen tight muscles and that require slow, sustained movement together with holding the stretched posture.
When you pump your muscles with quick movements, you do not stretch them out; what you actually do is build more tension within them. It may energize your muscles but not release the tension. Simple stretching exercises are excellent for stress reduction.
We attain a certain measure of freedom from stress by paying attention to our daily lives - diet, exercises, thoughts - which is basically loving ourselves - a point that I continually make in most of my hubs.