I read the saying “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson and I’ve been thinking about that ever since I read it. With busy lives; work, kids, health issues personally or in the family we can easily lose sight of where we want to go in our lives. The more stress we incur the less we take care of ourselves.
Think about it, you’ve probably seen it happen in your own life where you have several weeks where you eat healthy and exercise regularly and begin feeling great and then something happens to increase your stress level. Suddenly you stop caring about what you are putting in your mouth and exercise seems to be the last thing you want to do. Some days getting out of bed takes enormous effort. What is even more likely is that you didn’t even know it was happening until you gained weight or started feeling tired with no motivation. This can be a vicious cycle in life unless we are willing to acknowledge what is happening and stop it.
Stress can creep up on us so it doesn’t make it easy to stop the cycle. If you are not cognoscente that you are stressed, how is it even possible to stop it? Keeping a journal can be a helpful tool. Write down what is going on in your life and how it is making you feel. When feelings are written down, it is easier to find the triggers that are causing stress. When you learn what the triggers are causing stress a person can more easily come up with ways to change the patterns. Writing a journal only needs to take ten to twenty minutes of your time before you go to bed.
Those of you who know me know that I am not a doctor. My comments are from personal experience and education. There are cases where medical reasons cause anxiety and depression. For these cases a doctors care is always recommended. For those of us who have stress related issues, I have a couple sayings that have gotten me through the roughest days. PMA is one of them. What does PMA stand for you ask? Positive Mental Attitude. I honestly believe that with every hardship and disappointment in life, there is something amazing coming. So many times I’ve been disappointed by things going on around me or by an action of someone else. It helps to be reminded that we cannot control what other people do, we can only control our own actions. Think positive and good things will come your way. Carrying anger and resentment only prolongs your pain not the other persons, assuming they have a conscience. Let it go – move on – stay happy!
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. I know, you have days where you can’t get off the couch, but I guarantee if you go and get sweaty for an hour you will feel better. It’s been proven that people who exercise have lower rates of depression and an increase in positive mood. Those endorphins will kick in and you will be proud of yourself for accomplishing the entire class and increase your self-esteem as an added bonus. How could that be a bad thing? The key is consistency, moving more than three times a week is needed to increase your fitness level dramatically while it also increases your positive mood. I’m a strong advocate to cross training and incorporating Zumba® and Toning into a fitness regime. Dance makes me happy and toning makes me strong. A combination that has made that confident person within me take shape!