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Does Stress Affect Diet & Lifestyle Choices?

“Maintenance of life is critically dependent on keeping our internal milieu constant in the face of a changing environment.”  —Claude Bernard (1865-1961)

 

The link between stress and health is clearly inverse. The more stress the worse health most endure. One tough issue revolves around social/emotional stress and how that triggers apathy or negative behavior.

Imagine marital stress, financial strain, illness of a spouse or child as just a few examples. Experience tells me, fighting and scratching through life for love or basic survival needs tends to push dietary and exercise habits lower on the totem pole of priorities.

Many may read this and say, well if these same folks would eat right and exercise they would feel better, have better emotional balance, energy etc…. All true in a chicken and egg sense.

My point? The struggle is real. I see the value in prioritizing diet and exercise high on the list. I definitely believe by deciding to eat better and exercise more often, most of my patients feel better and enjoy a greater sense of well-being.  Many even experience improvement in how they perceive and respond to stress.

That said, too many people still fall victim to complacency and habit. Vision clouded by daily stress, responding to the immediate emotional threats, we easily forget about the cumulative danger of inactivity and crappy diet.

This post is short but something I sense many of my patients and readers struggle with.  In fact, this stress/health dilemma burns in my mind as an underpinning problem for many conditions ranging from insomnia to Diabetes.

Any personal feedback or experiences with this dilemma are greatly appreciated.

Top Ten Things to Do for Stress

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/

 

 

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Morning Routines: Starting the Day For Health & Success

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.  

–Tony Robbins

 

I love this quote from Tony Robbins!   Like Captain Obvious this thought screams a fundamental truth, especially regarding morning routines.

In the last few years I have focused a lot of my personal energy and development on mindset for success.  Whether you desire greater financial success, better health, or more fulfilling relationships, mindset and habits matter most.

Planning for success means preparing all aspects of your being to complete your mission for that day.  How you start your day can set the tone and the direction of your life.

Morning Routines

One of the tools I use involves setting a consistent morning routine.  A morning routine is a set of steps and behaviors executed in a specific order designed to achieve a positive start in my day.  I have experimented with numerous different patterns.  Some routines helped, others did not.  Through trial and error I continue to hone my morning routines to improve my energy, mood, and productivity.

If you think you don’t have a routine, you are wrong.

Whatever  you do, day to day, is your current routine.

The real question begs, does my current routine move me closer to success however I define that?

First Step

The first step to discovering your morning routine simply requires observing your current pattern.

See the following as a hypothetical example….

Wake (Early/Late), bathroom, coffee maker started, check phone messages, Facebook, shower, get dressed, off to work, pick up donuts, start work day….. 

Good, bad or indifferent this pattern starts a day.  Maybe it starts a good day?

Perhaps not.

I believe morning routines say something about our personal priorities.

Studying my own morning routines lead me to believe the path I take each morning shapes how my day goes. Clearly, I believe the more “Good days” I string together, the more general success and “Good Life” I experience.

State–Story–Strategy

The concept of State-Story-Strategy I credit to Tony Robbins.  Tony clearly understands the concept of focusing on what matters first, and purposefully directing energy to what matters most.  State-Story-Strategy specifically relates to morning routines and his daily personal preparation.

State

For Tony Robbins, State means spending the first moments of the day changing the physiology of the body.  He believes a physical awakening begins everything.  In fact, he reports starting his days with a plunge into ice cold water.

Yep!  Daily!  First thing!

I have tried this with a cold shower with surprising results.  Honestly, I don’t like cold water but I will admit it works. No more crawling to the coffee pot, lurching around, waiting for the caffeine to creep into your veins.

Instead…POW!

Awake!

Do you need an ice bath every morning?  No, but it doesn’t hurt….much.

Other ways to awaken the body and change your State include breathing exercises, stretching, yoga postures, and exercise.

Personally, I have used deep breathing plus Sunrise Salutation Yoga posing for 3-5 minutes every morning. Breathing deeply upon raising my arms up, then slowly bending my body downwards, this motion limbers my body, increases blood flow, and serves the purpose of changing my physical State.

There are many examples of changing State.  If you want more energy, changing State early in the day is a must.

Story

The Story portion of the Tony Robbin’s routine refers to a desire to create positive content and direction for his mind.  Fear, resentment, stress, frustration, anger, and anxiety start with a story.  Often, when left idle, our mind fills the void with whatever unfocused thought or emotion comes along.

Morning routines provide purposeful behavior providing the mind a powerful vision of how your day will go. Fixing the daily mindset only requires starting the day reflecting on gratefulness.

Personally, I like to sit quietly for a few minutes (5-10) and start with myself.  Silently (or out loud), I begin exploring any grateful thought that comes to mind.  Working outward from myself, I touch on health, family, and home. Outwards again, I move on to friends, co-workers, business and opportunities.  Near the end, I also include gratefulness for challenges as they represent opportunities for growth and change.

All my grateful thoughts end by thanking God.

(If you find difficulty being grateful or this seems like work….please do it more.)

Personally I notice practicing gratefulness eases fear, anxiety and worry.  Anger, frustration and resentment find less traction in my mind.

So imagine the next new day started by changing physical State and directing your mental/emotional Story. Now the only thing left is to address the Strategy with which you will tackle the day.

Strategy

Strategy refers to the concept of beginning with the end in mind.  This step requires a bit of foresight because many of us have never sat down and truly thought about what we desire.

I agree with Tony Robbins, if you have no idea what or why you get up and start your day, pretty good chance you will get what you planned for….

In recent months, I have thought a lot about what it means to live a “Good Life.”  The answer often changes individually and varies from person to person.  Love, money, health, home, fame, cars, peace, travel, recognition, security…the list goes on and varies with the season of life.  In order to begin your morning routine with thoughts on strategy one must first understand personal goals and desires.

Goal setting helps you understand your purpose.

Purpose helps drive actions.

Actions become your life.

Click here if you need a primer on Goal Setting

Once you have goals and purpose, applying Strategy simply means choosing 2-3 daily action steps that move you incrementally closer to those goals.  So, the final step of the State-Story-Strategy morning routine ties your action plan with emotion.  Don’t just write down those action items! Instead, spend a moment visualizing yourself completing them. Imagine the emotion of tackling those important daily steps.  Enjoy the accomplishment, the satisfaction, the momentum!  Let that emotion fuel your behaviors.

Practical Examples

I have worked through numerous morning routines and met varying successes and failures.

The State-Story-Strategy practice has stuck for me.

I want to end with a practical example.  Think how each action might tie to a positive behavior or desired outcome.

Wake, bathroom, move to kitchen, Sunrise Salutations (3-5 minutes), 25 push ups, 50 jumping jacks, Shower 30-60 seconds cold water, end with 3 minutes hot water, towel off, meditate on gratitude (2-3 minutes), prayer or gratitude to God (2-3 minutes), start hot water for “Bulletproof Coffee,” review personal/health/professional goals, decide on action steps, visualize completion….execute. (Whole process less than 25 minutes)

A quick note, cell-phones and social media are NOT part of this morning routine….see this rationale for more explanation.

Hope you will share your successes and routines….

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Make Time for What Matters

“The more pleasures a man captures, the more masters he will have to serve”

    —Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Stoic Philosopher (4BC – 65CE)

Think about the quote above.

How many things in your life truly matter?

What do you spend your time and energy striving towards?

Do you have a plan?  Do you have a purpose or direction?

In the past week, I traveled to visit a dying mentor and Great-Uncle.  I was struck by a few thoughts as I spent time helping him cope with a few of his final days.

At the end of your life, what will you wish you had more of?

I suspect the answer for many includes more simplicity.

Seneca reminds us that the more distractions we chase in life, the less we have time for things that really matter. How many waste a lifetime chasing dollars, toys and possessions rather than time with friends, family, and experiences?

In other words, what happens when life is less focused on “Stuff” and more focused on productivity, health, and connection with others??

(More walks in the park, meals prepared at home shared with family, and time spent improving the lives of those in our community)

These questions and thoughts no doubt spring from my recent study of the Stoicism and the author Seneca.

Lastly, perhaps a question for NRGTRIBE readers, how much health and happiness have you lost chasing the great consumption fallacy?

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Thoughts on Dizziness

Check out this episode of the Bob Jones Show, 1440 Keys to Health, where I discuss various causes of dizziness.

Feel free to ask questions or make comments here.

Thanks for listening.

LISTEN HERE

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5-Point Friday 1/13/2017

I hope your week finds you strong and moving towards better health, productivity, and fitness!

1)Thought of Day:

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.
― Seneca

[click to continue…]

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