OK! It looks like everybody is FIRED UP to fight off any stress that comes your way. But before the “Wonder Women” of the Homefront United Network can defeat stress, you need to know who your enemy is. Here are the facts:
1. Stress is everywhere.
2. There are 3 kinds of stress. (emotional, physical, and chemical)
3. Stress is cumulative.
In other words, it’s all over the place, comes in many different forms, and adds up. For most of you, the biggest stress is deployment related (pre-deployment, deployment, post-deployment, re-integration, etc.) You can’t change that. But you CAN learn to identify other things that are contributing to your stress load and minimize exposure to them. In fact, if you replace negative things with positive things? You’ll stay healthy or even get healthier through the process. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! Let’s start with the emotional stuff.
Some of the biggest contributors to emotional stress are negative thoughts and things. Inevitably, negative things will happen to you and your loved ones. Obviously, you have to deal with that. But negative things are happening all the time, all over the world, to all sorts of people you don’t know. You DON’T have to deal with that. For the most part, newspaper articles and TV news reports are unnecessary, sensationalized, negative downers. “So and so did this, this (insert catastrophe) happened there, the Swine Flu is coming, blah, blah, blah.” If news happens that you need to know, you’ll find out about it one way or another. Turn off the TV, and use the newspaper for the coupons only. You can use this extra free time to work on your air guitar skills. So crank up the tunes and GET ROCKIN’.
You see, your body physiologically cannot tell the difference between emotional stress and negativity. Emotional stress and negativity both create identical unhealthy changes in your body. Changes in digestion, changes in sleep, changes in mood via decreased serotonin production, etc. (FYI, low serotonin levels = CRANKINESS and/or DEPRESSION. High serotonin levels = PURE BLISS)
HEALTHY TIP #1: If you are accidentally exposed to a negative downer, head to the Homefront United Network’s website IMMEDIATELY for an positive upper. Reading their articles is a safe and effective way to increase serotonin levels.
Speaking of downers…
HEALTHY TIP #2: Some of your “friends” are not your friends.
You know who I’m talking about. You’re having a pretty good day, and then you run into that person who always gives you a detailed description of everything bad that has happened to themselves, their family, their neighbors, and their mailman. Even though you can’t see the dark cloud of negativity swirling around them, you can FEEL it. The next thing you know, you’re down in the dumps. Misery loves company. Their negativity drained every bit of positivity you had. If your “friends” make you feel this way? Get new friends. Find friends who raise your emotional state to a higher level whenever you’re around them. They’re out there, and they love company too!
Next time we’ll be discussing physical and chemical stress. In the meantime, fill up the comments section with good things that have recently happened to you and/or inspirational encouragement for other readers.