Combat Stress with Gratitude
Stress is at epidemic levels. It may, in fact, be a major contributor to the diabetes and obesity epidemics we now face. What is the connection? When our stress responses are over stimulated, chronic pumping of adrenaline leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even excessive storage of belly fat in an evolutionarily designed attempt to save energy for the fight ahead. Stress comes from fear of some sort of danger - either perceived or real. When we face danger, our adrenal glands begin to pump out catecholamines, like adrenaline, which cause our bodies to do one of three things designed to save our lives: Fight, Flight or Freeze. This can be life saving in certain situations, like being chase by a bear, or waking to a fire alarm in the middle of the night. However, in today’s world, there is constant assault on our neuroendocrine system by noise, news, worry, politics, economics, environmental catastrophe and health, so our adrenaline is constantly pumping.
How can we get a handle on all this stress and, most importantly, its effects? Try practicing gratitude. When you are in a state of “lack”, feeling like there is not enough - not enough money, not enough success, not enough love - counteract that sense of lack with appreciation for what you have - a sense of abundance. Try this: one of my heroes, the late, great Wayne Dyer used to suggest saying, “Thank you” the moment you wake up and your feet hit the floor. Deepak Chopra suggests going to the front door in the morning, and giving thanks for the first three things you see - a mocking bird, flowers, even the amazon delivery man, for example. Mindfulness - meditation, journaling, quiet peaceful walks in nature, or listening to inspiring music, are great tools for practicing gratefulness. I do it by writing. So thanks for reading and giving me a reason for practicing gratefulness. I hope you have a beautiful day!
Dr. John Monaco