In part 5, I discussed a couple a ways that will help you “live in the now”. Remember, in the present there rarely are any negative experiences such as fears (unless you’re suddenly confronted with a real danger), doubts; or negative emotions, thoughts, or memories. Chronic stress results from re-living negative events from you past or fearing possible negative events looming in your future. I can tell you that of all the many, many, many things I have worried about in my life, 99% never happened – what a waste of effort, time, energy; and as I point out below, what a toll it took on my mind and body.
In that light, Mark Twain (1835-1910) put it, “I have lived a long life and had many troubles, many of which never happened”.
Thus, you can see how living in the present can eliminate, or at least alleviate, your experiencing a ton of stress. This reduction of stress in your life is very important as stress has been shown over and over again to have some serious negative mental and physical effects, some of which I mention below.
1. A compromised immune system. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to a variety of physical illnesses , ranging from not overly severe ones (such as colds, flu, mild viral infections) to very severe and sometimes fatal disorders (such as ulcers, exacerbation of arthritis, cardiovascular problems, and cancer), to name but a few.
2. Destruction of neural interconnections and neurons themselves, and inhibiting the growth of new neurons in a part of your brain known as the hippocampus. This area, for example, is one of the first parts of the brain affected in Alzheimer’s. It is crucial for a good functioning memory.
Chronic stress can make worse, if not cause, a number of mental disorders such a depression & anxiety.
There are more negative effects due to chronic stress, but I hope that the above will give you sufficient inspiration to reduce the amount of this type of stress in your life.
As I mentioned in Part 5, living in the now will be a tremendous aid in chronic stress reduction.
There are several other things you can do to reduce your negativity, and thus alleviate stress in your life.
1. Acknowledge your negative feelings such as fears – do not hide from them and try to avoid them. Instead, work through them, pay attention to them. You’ll find that they are but shadows, often left over from past bad experiences that can no longer affect you.
2. Keep your sense of humor at all times.
3. Do not give in to feeling ashamed or guilty. If you do something you think was wrong, do what you can to correct it and move on – remember, the only mistake is doing something wrong over and over because you never learned from that experience. Learn from that situation and can no longer be called a mistake, but is transformed into a learning experience.
I will continue these thoughts in Part 7