Constant stress wears down the telomeres (caps) on the chromosomes that protect our cells from illness and aging. To add insult to injury, it turns out that our cells are actually “listening to our thoughts”; our bodies hear everything that we say. That means that what we say to ourselves is impacting our body’s ability to fend off illness and early aging.
These days, I find that I have to be far more diligent regarding my automatic reactions to what is going on around me. I have to monitor my own thoughts so as not to fall into negative, hopeless loops of self-talk.
I think it’s futile to think that we can avoid stressors in our life. I do believe though that we have a choice as to how we want to view and respond to the stimuli in our lives.
If I notice myself feeling tired, anxious, worried, listless, irritable – all telltale signs of stress mounting inside me, I can see those behaviors as my brain’s way of informing me that something needs my attention – or, I can mindlessly resort to the instant gratification of unhealthy behaviors, such as over-eating, binge-watching, indulging in too much alcohol and/or coffee, over-sleeping, and/or morphing into a reclusive slug.
Stress is defined as our response to physical, mental, or emotional factors that result in bodily or mental tension. Stressors can be external, ie. from the environment and/or social situations, or internal (illness, medical procedures and/or our internal dialogue).
I think that remembering that stress is my response to…. is the key for me. It’s not the factors itself; it’s my way of dealing with life in the 21st century.
So, as much as I can – or remember to – I’m making sure to get adequate sleep, to practice Tai chi regularly, spend quality time with friends, begin my days with a walk on the beach, avoid negative media as much as I can, meditate, and receive regular reflexology sessions to remind me of how good I feel when operating from a deep sense of relaxation and wholeness.
How are you responding to the unpredictable and de-stabilizing world we live in at this point in our history? What are you saying to your cells?