Torres column: Learning how to deal with stress is good for your health
I am always hungry for knowledge. I can’t get enough. It’s been more than 6 years since I totally changed my life. I remember back then having so many great questions and doing research about those questions. I found out that stress causes depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and all types of mental disorders. But what is stress really? Stress is nothing more than worries.
Now I am taking a course and reading a book that talks about worries. Interestingly enough, many doctors now agree that stress is the biggest factor — not the only one, though — for heart diseases, hypertension, arthritis, lung cancer, rheumatism, constipation and other stomach problems, colds, thyroid problems and diabetes.
I found out that more Americans commit suicide each year because of stress than die from the five most common communicable diseases.
Many people look for a quick fix such as a pill to overcome these diseases. Of course, we all want to get better as soon as possible, and if a pill will do (sometimes not considering the consequences or side effects) we take it. We all follow our beliefs. When I was depressed I knew I could overcome my thoughts and my painful depression by practicing good habits and controlling my thoughts day by day, and I did. Let me tell you, it worked. Many other people believe that a pill is a solution.
The truth is that stress affects the nervous system. That in turn affects the whole body, putting our defenses to work fighting something that doesn’t really exist: our worries.
In the past I worried about things like money, health, my relationship, work, my car, you name it. Now I have more to worry about, but I am better in control of my stress than ever.
The more I grow with my family and my business the more I have to worry about. Just like you, I have many problems and inconveniences that I have to take care of every day, week and month. But I learned that worrying won’t help me fix my life.
I learned this from the Bible: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return from his soul?”
I have many goals to achieve, and I work for them. I am not living my life in an average way. I am doing my best every day, week, month and year. I bet you do the same. Therefore, I want to share my secret about how I deal with stress.
Are you ready? Take notes. First, live in the moment. We all want to finish everything in one day and be everywhere at the same time. This is what I learned: When I am exercising, I am exercising; when I am assessing one of our members, my whole energy is with her or him; when I am writing, I am thinking only about writing; when I am eating, I am enjoying my food. I think you get the point. I used to make the mistake of thinking about exercising when I was eating and working when I was exercising.
Second, the past is the past, it does not exist anymore. We all make mistakes, and it is OK to learn from past experiences, but don’t try to fix something that is done. Forgive yourself and forgive others. You can avoid present and future mistakes by learning, but your past is over.
The same is true with the future: It does not exist. It is OK to plan and guess the best for your future, but it is not predetermined. If you worry about the economy, diseases, tragedies and unwanted events, find out what you can do to avoid what is under your control, and the rest should be the way it should be.
I hear that many people suffer more thinking about something that may happen than what they suffer in the moment of the event. This leads me to live in the present. You have been given one day at a time. Live that day. What I do is always do my best first — never last — because I am not sure if I will have another opportunity, and once the time is gone it’s gone.
Last, accept reality. Don’t ignore it. The faster you accept reality, the faster you will become accustomed to your new way of living or be able fix it as soon as possible without grieving about it and making it painful.
Can you imagine how stressful it would be if he did not accept reality? He would be miserable, don’t you think? He can do something about it with his current reality, but he can’t go back and change things.
What I can tell you is that people who are genuinely happier don’t suffer any mental disorders and are less likely to have any other biological disease. The key is that they know how to deal with stress.
I want you to be part of the happy group.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears on the second Monday of the month.
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