The Essentials To Stress Management: To Help You Achieve Harmony in Mind, Body, And Spirit

Comprehensive Stress Management

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

No doubt we live in stressful times, everything seems to be progressing at exponential rates. Everything except our inner being and the ability to cope with all of our demands. The stress we deal with is both physiological and psychological. Stress is the result of what happens to us when our daily challenges are greater then our ability to deal with them. Everyone is in pursuit of happiness and stress is a major road block on that journey.

First we will discuss stress and its impact on our lives, and then we will hopefully propose several actions we can take to overcome it. To have a healthy happy lifestyle I think a holistic approach is needed, but as the majority of our problems are psychological and rooted in the mind they ultimately cannot be resolved without transcending the mind.

This is an arduous individual journey in gaining sufficient understanding to eventually go beyond thought (mind). Going beyond thought takes you to a place of immense inner space, you create sufficient distance to see clearly. To see something in its entirety ends conflict, no more effort in trying to change, a whole new dimension of action. Almost all of our problems exist because there is no clarity through which to understand them.

Having a healthy body and mind gives the possibility of being able to go deep within ones self, to be able to embark on an incredible journey of self discovery and personal truths. But before we are able to explore higher dimensions of growth we need to have a healthy body and mind that is free of stress. Without a healthy body you will not be able to meditate and practice yoga. Without a healthy mind you will lack the proper understanding to perceive higher dimensions of fulfillment that the body alone can’t provide. Life is an immensely fulfilling experience if you are able to experience all the dimensions it provides, in both the material and spiritual realms. To only live in one is to deny the richness that existence provides.

How each of us experiences and handles stress depends on our level of understanding to perceive what is happening to us.

Some of the major stressors include:

  • Dealing with major life changes: getting married, graduating school, moving to a new location, suffering an illness, loosing your job, death, etc.
  • Environmental stressors: political issues, pollution, crime, our living conditions, etc.
  • Work related stressors: deadlines, promotions, downsizing, dealing with the boss, etc.
  • Relationship stressors: family, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, kids, etc.
  • Social stressors: friends and your need for a social life.
  • Spiritual stressors: Searching for meaning and purpose in your life.
  • Fear: fear of failure, fear of your health and safety, fear of loneliness, fear of success, etc.

As you can see being alive is no easy thing, but if you continually work on gaining understanding of yourself and the world, life can a beautiful journey of growth and fulfillment. If you are ever to be in a position to dive deep into the mystery of our existence, stress is going to have to be something you observe within yourself, start to understand it, then eventually with your understanding go beyond it.

Stress is a very serious issue that if constantly stimulated leads to the production of hormones that are detrimental to the cardiovascular system, immune system, increases the likelihood of stroke, cancer, infections, and other chronic diseases.

4 Signs of Being Overwhelmed By Your Stress:

  • Your stress is being compounded: you are constantly reacting to the infinite demands of your outside environment that you begin to suppress everything into your unconscious mind. You can feel the inner tension of telling your self “I deal with it later”. Your inner space becomes an ever growing to do list.
  • You start feeling that you are simply overwhelmed and incapable of coping.
  • Life has lost its joy; you feel a sense of numbness and that life is dull.
  • You are never at peace or able to experience the beauty of silence; anxiousness is now your normal state of being.

Some of The Hormones That Affect Our Well Being:

  • Cortisol: It is usually referred to as the “stress hormone” as it is involved in response to stress and anxiety. Under normal circumstances cortisol can be useful in returning one to homeostasis after stress. But too much will increase blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduces immune responses. Increased production can lead to destroying the health of muscle and bone; it can delay healing and normal cell regeneration. Impaired digestion and lower mental functioning have also been linked to this hormone.
  • Oxytocin: This has been referred to as the hormone of love as it fosters positive feelings of calmness, connection, and increased sexual receptivity. The body’s natural level will be lowered by being constantly stressed out. Activities like yoga, meditation, exercise, deeply caring for something, and an intimate relationship promote the production of this hormone.
  • Estrogen: While estrogens are present in both men and women, they are usually present at significantly higher levels in women of reproductive age. Estrogen also helps in the development of female’s physical characteristics and regulating the menstrual cycle. In males are thought to be necessary for a healthy libido.
  • Testosterone: It is the principal male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid helping build muscle mass and bone density. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the over all well-being and health.

One can see the importance of having a normal healthy hormonal balance as it has a direct impact on our sense of well being. Repeated stimulation of the stress hormones has been shown to lower the levels of serotonin in the body, and serotonin is thought to be one of the primary chemicals responsible for our good moods.

Stress Management Methods

Approaches and Tools to Achieving Harmony in Mind, Body, Spirit:

  • Focused breathing: I practice several techniques referred to as Pranyama. It is often translated as control of the life force. Pranyama is a Sanskrit word meaning “restraint of the prana or breath”. The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Prana (life force) and “ayama”, to suspend or restrain. There are several techniques which should be practiced with great care, and the advanced pranayama techniques should be practiced under the guidance of a teacher.
  • Meditation: The beauty of proper meditation is that it helps you create immense distance in your inner space. It gives you perspective, your level of consciousness changes. It helps you create distance between your thoughts and the witness who watches your thoughts. The problem for most is that they remain to close to their thoughts, being close means being identified. This is why psychoanalysis never actually solves the causes of your problems, it may help you function more efficiently in society, but you remain on the same level. Your problem is in your thinking and you try to solve it with thinking, still remains within the field of thought.

    Meditation gives you vertical growth, it gives you a bird’s eye perspective to see your problems, awareness to freely observe, free of conditioning.
    You become an impartial observer, being impartial you will see the causes, you gain understanding. There is no need to solve the problem, you just need more understanding. It simply exists because you lack sufficient understanding, not enough awareness. That’s why we are always able to give someone else great advice, we are far from the problem, we are impartial, we have clarity to see. The person with the problem is too close to it, to identified, he will say “easy for you to say, this isn’t your problem”. Meditation helps you create the distance for you to see clearly.
  • Progressive Muscle relaxation: Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the tensing and then relaxing each muscle group of the body, one group at a time. Tense up a group of muscles, tense hard but don’t strain, and hold for about 5-10 seconds. Release the tension from the muscles all at once. Stay relaxed for 10 – 20 seconds. Have fun with it, experiment and find a routine that works for you.
  • Yoga: Yoga is Sanskrit word which essential means “union with god”. While in the west it is mainly practiced for its physical benefits, it should be practiced in conjunction with meditation. Ancient Yogis practiced yoga to cultivate a body that would be able to meditate for extremely long periods of time. Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, strength, posture, breathing, calmness, concentration, and mood.
  • Tai Chi
  • Massage Therapy: I love getting Thai massages, I leave with the feeling like I just got a “tune up”. Massages can increase circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs. Helps reduce spasms, cramping, and recovery time. Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system.
  • Visualization: You can use creative visualization to create a relaxing internal ambiance: Relaxing and Solving Problems Through The Power Of Your Imagination
  • Play time: Be a kid again, remember how good it felt?
  • Aroma Therapy: Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful as it has a direct connection to the part of the brain that regulates mood- the limbic system. Essential oil baths are a great way to unwind at the end of a hectic day.
  • Daily Affirmations: Positive affirmations can be a very powerful tool used to change how each individual thinks and feels about themselves. Read  “Top 7 myths about Affirmations” by my friend Nancy.

Soul Food: Foods and diets conducive to a healthy way of living.

  • Mediterranean foods: The Mediterranean diet comes from countries like Italy and Greece. It’s high in foods that provide health benefits like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil. Go to your local book store and unleash the “Greek” in you by experimenting with a few recipes. The food truly is tasty and good for you.
  • Red Wine: Red wine may help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. Red wine is a particularly rich source of antioxidants flavonoid phenolics. Drink responsibly, this is not a license to drink a bottle of wine everyday ?
  • Fish: Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits. People who regularly eat fish have a lower incidence of depression (depression is linked to low levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the brain).
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood coagulation.
  • Super foods: Top 10 Super Food, dark chocolate, coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric, green tea, ginger.
  • Mood Foods: Tuna, turkey, eggs, wheat germ.
  • Foods that increase serotonin: cereal, bread, pasta, oatmeal, walnuts, salmon, lentils.

Resting and Exercise: To have a healthy mind and body means you need to have an adequate amount of rest and exercise.

Resting: Make sure to everyday take some time to stop what ever you are doing and just rest. Enjoy some silence.

Sleep: Is the unconscious form of restoring the mind and body. Make sure to get sufficient deep sleep. When we have dreams it means that we are still carrying all our mental activity into our sleep. During our day we did not attend to all our thoughts so they continue in our sleep. Having too much mental activity will not allow you to fall into the deep rejuvenating deep sleep that your body and mind needs. Make sure you wind down and calm your mind and attend to and settle any thoughts you had in the day.

Insomnia Fighting Tips:

  • Don’t bring work home.
  • Make sleep a priority.
  • Relax to binaural beats.
  • Have a proper sleep ambiance.
  • Sleep rituals: by making a ritual you program your mind and body to prepare for sleep.
  • Sleep aids: White noise machines, ear plugs, melatonin, valerian root, hops, kava, lemon balm, chamomile, saint johns wort.

Workouts: Walk, climb, garden, jump, jog, spin, dance, stretch. Make it a priority to get some type of physical exercise everyday. Be a kid again, remember how good it felt?

Cultivating a healthy mind: Like I mentioned earlier eventually the state of mind we are actually seeking is a state of “no mind”. A mind that is incredibly quiet, incredibly aware. But before we are able to reach this state will need to cultivate right ways of thinking, healthy ways of thinking, to be able to use our mind to go beyond it.

The Power of Connection: We are social beings, as Aristotle once said “with out friends no one would choose to live”.

A Life of Purpose a Life of Spirit: What good will it do you to have a healthy mind and body if you don’t put it to use for something worthwhile and fulfilling.

Well there you have it, that should keep you busy for a while, but don’t let this stress you out :). Strive to become a more conscious awake being, practice what feels good to you, you will see that it is truly possible to manage and even go beyond your stress.

Equipped with a healthy body and mind, you will have the energy and the right outlook to pursue and explore the richness of our world. You will have the energy and capability to become the change you want to see in the world, this is the only way to change it. If you can change your consciousness, you can influence the consciousness of the rest of the world.

Your individual consciousness and the consciousness of the whole is one in the same, so if you don’t like what you see change yourself. God speed my friend lets make this world one of contribution and cooperation.

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25 Responses to The Essentials To Stress Management: To Help You Achieve Harmony in Mind, Body, And Spirit

  1. Ivan,

    Absolutely fantastic information! I am a believer that we have an obligation to ourselves and to the universe to fully develop are unique talents, gifts, and abilities and share them with the world. I love the line “..Equipped with a healthy body and mind, you will have the energy and the right outlook to pursue and explore the richness of our world… We will never be able to fully develop our greatness without a healthy body, healthy mind, energy and the right outlook.

    Thanks for sharing your talents, gifts, and abilities with the world!!

    Peter

  2. If you’re interested in a new approach to reducing stress, you might want to check out Deepak Chopra’s new stress reducing program; it’s a first of its kind iPhone application implementing a comprehensive program to remove stress from daily life.

  3. This would have to be one of the best stress management articles I have read! I love the way you write and able to convey information so clearly.

    Thank you for sharing, motivating and inspiring, I will be coming back to read more!

  4. Stress management is one of the 4 most important components to an overall healthy lifestyle. Many people don’t know the devastating effects that chronic stress can have on the body. For more information, see my book, “How To Eat Fried Chicken and Be Thin Too” on Amazon or at strategicbookpublishing.com

  5. Stress is a natural but the forces come from the outside world which affects individual. Stress can be emotional and physical. There are different types of stress acute stress; chronic stress these stress can bring pressure on everyday of our life. Because of stress person feels in tension in his life, irritability, inability to concentrate, depression etc. Stress exercises, meditation, listening music, yoga, body massage, also get enough sleep, eat healthy these are the stress management techniques to reduce the stress.

  6. Hi Ivan,

    This is a really great and well written post. I consider myself to be a strong women who handles stress well. I have to, because I have a very demanding job which I hate lol. Just last Wednesday, I sat down at my desk and this massive wave came over me, I coudnt function, my arms and legs were numb, i started having chest pain, and I wanted to be sick.

    I have never ever felt like this before and my mind certainly wasnt stressed…but after a long period of time on the merry-go-round of life my body just wanted to get off. I didnt see it coming and I think I have only just realised that it is stress.

    I am not sure why I am telling the world this, I guess its just good to get it off my chest. Your post has truely been very useful to me and I am definately going to reconnect with meditation and yoga. I know that it wont be long until I get to do my home-based business full-time but but until then..I will just have to find the strength to get me through my crappy bueaurocratic government job. BooHoo

    Thank you, I will be sure to visit your blog again.

    Yours in Success
    Beth Hewitt
    .-= Beth Hewitt´s last blog ..Bringing something to the table! =-.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing with us your personal experience :)…I wish you the best with everything…I hope I was able to help in some way…reconnecting with meditation and yoga is surely a great start…let me know if I can help in some way :)…how about also collaborating on some personal development stuff..since I see you are also a PD writer…be well 🙂 @Beth Hewitt:

  8. as always enjoy reading you, Ivan!
    thanks for reiterating a great info!
    much needed!
    Best wishes to you & more!

  9. wow.. this is soo inspiring ivan
    thanks again for sharing your positive thoughts to the world
    you have no idea how much your ideas could change people’s lives out there
    keep shining! mate

  10. As a working mom of 2, I suffer from stress regularly but I found the strength within myself to overcome. A combination of excercise, a healthy diet and enough me-time is what keeps me going. Lately, I’ve been really open towards yoga and meditation. I hope to get more into that soon.
    Alison @ Femita´s last blog post ..7 Ways To Handle Stress Without Stress

  11. Your article made me realize that health is so much more important than success. After reading your post I changed my life style and I stopped paying 100% attention to my grandfather clock trade. Grateful for ever!
    Howard Miller´s last blog post ..Grandfather Clocks

  12. This really was a comprehensive article, mezz. I like how you suggest techniques that nurture all aspects of the self – body, mind and spirit. Lots of useful info. Sound sleep and good nutrition are my personal foundation for effective stress management. I practice many other stress relieving methods but they don’t work as well without my daily 7 hours and veggies. Thanks for posting this.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..Natural Stress Relief Methods For Getting The Job Done

  13. “forget your troubles and dance
    forget you sorrows and dance
    forget your sickness and dance
    forget your weakness and dance” bob marley

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