When was the last time you had a conversation with your colleagues about how feeling joyful makes your body sing?? Another of my silly questions, right?! This is generally not what we talk about as businesspeople. Yet, I find it’s my urgent desire to speak with you about how we can find the calm in the center of the storm, the joyful in the midst of the chaos to get and stay healthy.
Of course, we are all experiencing difficulties large and small these days. Life is filled with moments of stress; however, it is my contention that we can and MUST uncover moments of joy each day for our own peace of mind and for the well-being of our families and our businesses.
In my last article, I talked about getting ready for joy by finding your calm center. Joy is not welcome in the anxious mind, so I gave you my Instant Calm Formula to use the second you feel the stress rising up to your throat, choking off any possibility of joy.
If you didn’t have a chance to read it, here’s the link.
Achieving a state of joy is like climbing a ladder—each rung takes you closer and closer to your goal. Each rung builds on the previous one, lifting you up to reach the pinnacle. The base of the ladder is your body. You must prepare it to hold you as you ascend. So today I’ll continue the next step in our journey to joy and discuss the health of your body.
Please remember that joy is possible and is your inheritance; that you have a right to be joyful, regardless of what’s going on in the external world. It’s a choice you can make (and I say this over and over again) as difficult as it seems sometimes to believe when things are falling all around you.
However, your mind is very powerful. Everything you experience begins with a thought because everything begins with what’s going on in your thinking process. If you’re having scary thoughts, you will feel stressed, yet when you turn that around and find your calm, joy will be right behind you.
You probably don’t think about the relationship between joy and your body. Stress is the number one deterrent to joy, so if you are feeling stress, you can hardly be feeling joyful. Those two things are antithetical; they don’t go together. And research has shown how easily stress affects your body.
It’s no joke. Stress kills silently. You most likely don’t connect
- when you tense up because you feel guilty,
- when your heart is pounding from fear,
- when you are ready to explode with anger,
- when your stomach is turning in disgust,
with your thoughts. Yet, all these are the physiological consequence of what you are thinking!
Stress produces chemicals, such as adrenaline and cortisol, in your body, which generate the pounding temples, sweating and nausea you suffer as a result. Occasional stress is normal and after the incident passes, the body returns to its regular functioning. But when stress is chronic, those chemicals become destructive to bodily processes.
So here’s what can happen to your body as a result of this release of cortisol and other chemicals from uncontrolled stress. This is the mind body connection. And the sooner you take charge of the situation, acknowledge that you are in an anxious state and work with it, the more quickly you return to calm. Only then is it possible to feel that joy that you deserve.
So, yes, stress is a killer.
- Stress compromises your immune system which in turn affects your blood circulation. Without good blood circulation your body cannot fight off pathogens. In this age of Covid 19, this becomes more important than ever! Many years ago when I wasn’t always making the best choices for my health, my doctor sent me for a test to check the blood flow to my legs. If you don’t have good blood flow, (and this happens to many diabetics), you can end up with gangrene and lose a limb.
- Stress can damage your heart. With blood flow restriction, it’s not getting the proper nutrients causing high blood pressure. Now you’ve got hypertension, the silent killer, because you don’t feel anything until you have a heart attack or stroke. It damages your blood vessels and leads to infarction and heart failure. Is there a single person who doesn’t know someone who has gone through heart surgery or illness?
- Stress produces pain in the body because of blood flow restriction, among other things. Studies have shown that joy reduces pain symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ hormones. The brain body connection again.
- Stress can lead to depression, headaches, memory loss and forgetfulness. Do you spend half the day wandering around looking for your keys or your phone?
- Stress upsets the microbiome and causes digestive issues such as regurgitation and rumination. It can prevent proper nourishment which will eventually have severe effects.
- Stress interferes with normal sleep patterns, leaving you irritable. Long term sleep issues can lead to serious health problems.
- Stress can cause unwanted weight gain. Recently I came across an article in my local paper about weight gain and Covid. have not personally gained weight during COVID. I rarely get on a scale, but then I said “Well, I’ll check it out. Everybody’s talking about weight gain.” So I got on the scale and surprisingly I had actually lost a couple of pounds, probably because I’ve been meditating more.
I know I’m being a Debbie Downer today, but I think you’ve got to hear this and really understand it so that you can do something about it. You can, you must, you absolutely must, heed the warning signs and do everything you can to alleviate your stress. You are necessary to the world. What you do, your expertise, is needed. I’m sure you wouldn’t be reading this if that weren’t true.
Stress is a lack of joy. It’s one or the other. There is no neutral place. You’re either calm or you’re not. You’re either in a state of joy or you’re worried about something.
Today I’ve outlined a few of the health issues you may encounter if you don’t address your stress. They are not going away. You can push them under the rug, but then you’re going to trip over them. So, be smart. Love yourself, do what you need to do to take back control of your joy. It is within you waiting to be expressed but if you’re filled with anger, worry and despair, it can’t be there for you.
There are so many ways to lift your spirits and release your stress. You can find over 50 videos on my youtube channel that will aid and inspire you. (put link)
Even the most innocuous things can give us instant joy:
- Many people have adopted pets to bring home for mutual comforting.
- Being in nature is a mind shift. Take a walk. I know it’s cold. Bundle up. Get out there and get your vitamin D in the sun. Feel the fresh air. I love the way the trees look in the wintertime when there are no leaves on them! They have such incredible intricate patterns in their branches. So stare up at the trees and enjoy the beauty. What do you see in those intricate patterns?
- Watch comedies on TV.
- Play games. Do a jigsaw puzzle (one of my favorite pastimes!)
There are so many small things you can do during the day, all through the day. it’s not something you do once a day, you do it all through the day. Whenever you feel a telltale sign of stress, your shoulders head toward your ears, your eyebrows go up, you start feeling nervous, your stomach lurches, whatever the sign is for you, recognize it and affirm you have a choice and you choose joy instead of anxiety.
Peace and Love Always,
Everything Begins With A Thought
In my new book, Calm, Creative, Joyful: Lessons in Transforming Your Life, you will acquire abilities you didn’t know you had, to transform the thoughts that hurt so that your life becomes a play of endless opportunities for success and happiness.
Available on Amazon.
Connect With Me