This article first appeared on www.mariashriver.com in 08/2016
By Sophia Godkin PhD and Matt Riemann
Stress, stress, stress. We know what we look and feel like with it. Maybe we can even fathom what we’d be like without it. Though a stress-free life seems elusive, science shows us that it really isn’t.
Thankfully, today more than ever we know quite a lot about what causes stress and how we can overcome it. So we’ve compiled a list of the 3 most important principles to implement, based on the latest advancements in health, medicine, and psychology, to live as stress-less a life as you possibly can.
1. How and what you think is as unique as your DNA.
The most common sources of mental stress are the thoughts we think and the relationships we have. Luckily, those two things are easy to circumvent when we can understand how we think and how we relate to other people. Neuropsychology makes clear that our brains are all fundamentally different from one another- that the regions of my brain that I tend to use most and how I use them are very different from the kinds and ways you use yours.
Why is this important? Well it means that how we see things, how we say things, what makes us happy, what our natural talents are – are completely different from one person to the next. So we can feel okay in not forcing our opinion on others and expecting them to believe and behave as we believe and behave, and we can learn to communicate with them in a language that resonates with how their brain naturally grasps and interprets information.
2. What your body needs is as specific to you as the pattern of your fingerprint.
The most common source of physical stress is living a lifestyle that doesn’t fit who we are naturally. In fact, our lifestyle influences approximately 90%+ of our health at any point in time and each of us have entirely unique requirements for staying healthy and stress-free.
The most vital thing then is to do the things that suit your body to keep it stress-free.
Some questions to consider: Are you living in a climate that is burdensome for your body? Are you fueling yourself with foods that are stressful for your digestive system? Are you doing the right kind of exercise and at the right time for your body? Find out what is right for your body and do it. You’ll immediately see a reduction in the stress your body is feeling.
Much of the mental stress we experience is a product of the physical stress we often don’t even realize we are under. If your body was designed for warm climates yet your daily work space is under an air conditioning vent, the cold may give you chronic pain, headaches, an unpleasant mood, and may affect how you feel about the people you work with. Swap desks with someone, bring a scarf to the office, eat more of the foods that are right for you, and all of a sudden not only is your stress lower but everyone at work seems a lot more pleasant and fun to be around.
Likewise, much of the physical stress we experience is a result of the thoughts we think. When we think negative thoughts, we are less likely to eat and move well, and less likely to spend time with people we love. Change how you think and all of a sudden your energy increases, your stress is nearly gone, you want to exercise and you can’t wait to spend more time with your close friends and family.
Staying stress-free requires understanding that that for each of us, there are different ways to address stress, be it mental or physical. Stop guessing. Check out Shae and find out what’s right for you – what foods, exercises, relationships, environments, ways of thinking and relating to others most nourish the unique person that you are.