What either causes or aggravates almost every single disease?
I’ll give you a hint, it’s not a poor diet, lack of exercise, or having “bad” genetics.
When I discovered the true impact of this one thing, I was blown away because I realized that most health and fitness experts rarely mention how to address it despite the fact that it is the biggest factor on a person’s health and fitness and almost everyone suffers from its effects. To make matters worse, failure to take care of this one thing will also lead to reduced willpower, a depressed immune system, and a general lack of happiness even if one does reach their fitness goals.
So I’ve made it my mission to spread awareness about this.
That one thing is excess stress (or prolonged negative emotions). While a little bit of stress is beneficial (think exercise), too much stress creates a series of conditions in the body that lead to disease, aging, and even gaining stubborn belly fat due to excess cortisol. It saps the body of energy, and it leads to feelings of being overwhelmed.
The thing is, every new action a person takes on will create a bit of a stress response. Under healthy conditions, this iseasily managed and beneficial. But when a person is stressed out with work, family, and other commitments, something as simple as changing one’s lunch or starting an exercise routine can be all it takes for the body to say “no more!”
If you’ve ever had times in your life where you welcomed challenges and felt like you can take on the world, this is the natural willpower and strength that resides in you when it’s
not being sapped dealing with too many daily stressors. If you don’t feel like you have that kind of willpower right now, don’t worry. It’s not necessarily because you’re inherently weak willed. It’s more likely because you’re either physically, emotionally, or psychologically stressed out.
Many of the tips in this guide will help make the process of staying healthy and fit less stressful, but what about the current stress that’s in your life?
There are four big things that have dramatically reduced stress in my life. The next three tips on sleep, meditation, and mindfulness are critical for stress management, but this tip I’m about to share with you is quite possibly the easiest and yet most overlooked way of reducing stress.
Before I learned this, I oftentimes used to find myself feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I needed to do. It was like my brain was overflowing with racing thoughts trying to hold onto everything until I reached points where I would simply sit back, watch TV, and do nothing because as soon as I thought about the things I had to do, I would be so overwhelmed it was paralyzing.
That is until I threw out my to-do list, and made a priority list.
The method of prioritization I use is simple.
- Write down everything you want and need to do. Simply getting it on paper reduces the mental clutter because it allows you to not have to worry about forgetting anything.
- Write down what is most important for the short term I.E. Your short term goals. This obviously should include your physical fitness and health goals.
- Write down weekly and daily action steps that must be done to reach those goals. For myself, this is typically only 2-4 things per day on a dry-erase board I keep on my desk in constant sight. Everything I have to do during the day is secondary to those things. For example: “Exercise for 30 minutes” “Cook a vegetable stew”
I suggest taking care of these things, when at all possible, before anything else that is secondary.
For some, this could mean exercising first thing in the morning before other distractions could get in the way. And when a priority doesn’t get done on a day, it is rescheduled if at all possible or additional effort is made later in the week to compensate. This isn’t always possible, but a good thing to strive for.
The big thing with stress reduction is when going about my day and my mind would start to race with thoughts of things that were priorities, but not priorities right now, I would make a note (on phone, through simpleology.com or evernote.com, or paper) to take care of it later.
Remember that while you can’t handle everything, you can handle anything one thing at a time.