Life can be chaotic and cause us stress. When we discuss the word “stress” we are usually talking about the mental/emotional form of stress which is just one of the dimensions of stressors our mind and body are subject to. In this dimension we often speak of stress management: it seems to be the holy grail of living a balanced lifestyle.
What’s often misunderstood in the area of stress management is that, like well-being, it’s an inside out game not an outside in one. What that means is that while the changes we can make to our surroundings are useful, the changes we make to ourselves are much more valuable.
By learning ways of improving our resilience, our ability to absorb and adapt to stress in positive ways, we can begin to dance through the chaos of life. We can suck the marrow out of life instead of having it suck the marrow out of you.
Our levels of resilience in daily life can be seen as a pool of energy from which we can draw and add water. The more water in our pool, the more we are able to elegantly and positively adapt to and even pre-empt the things daily life throws at us. In this state we have high levels of adaptive potential. With lower levels of water however, we have low levels of adaptive potential and we tend to react in defensive ways that are usually negative.
All three dimensions of stress – mental/emotional, chemical and physical – use up your adaptive potential while nutrients in these three dimension will improve your state.
In the chemical realm, real foods with high nutrient density will fill your pool and feed your adaptive potential while low quality foods and poor nutrient density will do the opposite.
Physically, too much or too little movement, including exercise, will also drain your pool while high quality movement everyday will add to your adaptive potential. Injuries will also reduce your resilience. When people are involved in car accidents, even seemingly minor ones it is very common for them to come down with a cold or flu and have less energy for days to weeks afterwards.
A subluxated spine and nervous system pushes us into defensive modes of being and significantly reduces our adaptive potential. Getting yourself checked and corrected is a potent way to improve your experience of life as well as addressing body issues.
So what can we refine in our mental and emotional dimensions to improve our resilience and improve our ability to dance through the chaos of life?
- Gratitude is a powerful state of being that is simple to access in everyday life. A state of gratitude can be practiced in just 5 minutes per day and give you results that will surprise you. Many busy entrepreneurs that I have coached have found that this one exercise has produced extraordinary results.
- Mindfulness is the skill of being focused on an aspect of the present moment, getting us out of busy, low energy states and into calm, focused high energy ones. The most accessible method I’ve found to become more mindful is focusing on your breath. You can practice mindfulness whenever you focus on just one thing like chopping a carrot, brushing your teeth or running.
Try this now
The breath pattern that I suggest people begin with is breathing in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds with your eyes closed. As you breath (through your nose if at all possible) focus on your heart, in the left-centre of your chest. Imagine the air moving in and out through your heart. Just 90 seconds of this exercise can leave you with lasting effects throughout your day.
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