Life Can Seem Stressful – Learn How To Manage It
Learn a few effective ways to help manage the many stresses in your life.
We love 2BRealMagazine contributors and Mr White is no ordinary man. Recognised in the UK as a fitness trainer and husband to Mrs White, check out his latest blog post on mental health and how to balance life stress mounts to intensity levels which we had to share with you all.
Motivation and (by extension) willpower are at the mercy of stress. Life is about stress management. It might seem like a weird way to think of life, but the body is stressed on a daily basis. Whether it’s good stress (eustress) or bad stress (distress) it’s something the body needs to recover from.
Eustress is good stress because if your recovery game is on point (sleep, nutrition, avoiding stressful people and situations, etc) then you grow from it.
Think in terms of weight training, the body adapts to a stimulus that it’s presented with if recovered from properly.
Distress, on the other hand, is chronic, if you don’t give your body the chance to recover (poor sleep, poor nutrition, entertaining fools, etc), then these things can get worse. Recovery is just as important, if not more important than, how often you train or do something strenuous. Here’s the thing about stress though, it’s not just physical exertion that stresses the body.
Mental and emotional reactions can stress the body too. If your friends’ idea of a “joke” is to jump out and scare you half to death, then your body will be stressed and will need to recover. If you’re getting butterflies because that good-looking man/woman, that you like, is looking directly at you, then your body will become stressed hence why I say that life is stress. So what does this have to do with motivation and willpower?
Just like stress, motivation and willpower can be built over time. Your tolerance for stress increases.
Your ability to stay the course (motivation and willpower wise) also increases and lasts longer. When I started Parkour nearly 10 years ago, an hour session of jumps in my back garden would put me out of commission for a week at least. Now, I can make running jumps 3 times my height with relative ease my physical adaptation and stress tolerance increased over time. Mentally, on most jumps now I can judge something in a few moments before trying it. When I began I had to “umm” and “ahh” most jumps before trying. Mental resilience, motivation and willpower increased over time as I exposed myself to bigger and bigger jumps.
If I just make something, then I’m motivated to try until I get it. If I don’t get it within a few tries then my willpower allows me to keep trying. All examples of stress, motivation and willpower are built over time through repeated and sustained exposure. This is important. When you get home from a busy day at work: you’re annoyed at your boss, the kids are screaming, your spouse hasn’t done any of the housework and more.
What do you do?
You reach for the:
- Take out menu
Now, you KNOW that you need to eat healthily but right now you’re just so tired and can’t be bothered. Stress from work, motivation to eat healthily, and the willpower to carry out said healthy eating, is now at an all-time low. “Be healthy” is the last thing you want to do. This is why it’s important to make your ability to stay the course as fool-proof as possible. It’s also why health and fitness is NOT just about health and fitness. It’s EVERYTHING. You can’t separate the physical and mental, they’re intertwined, and one affects the other. Stress is inevitable. Stress is a part of life.
So how does one cope with stress?
1. Take 5 deep breaths.
- If your supervisor is getting at you
- If you’re arguing with friends
- If you’re arguing with various fools from different walks of life
- If your heart is pounding before a big lift
- If you’re annoyed at something or someone
- Even if you aren’t stressed
Take 5, deep, breaths.
Breathing is linked to your heart.
Control your heart, control your stress. Do this right now, wherever you are!
- Interlock your fingers behind your head
- Puff your chest out and sit (or stand) tall
- Take 5, deep, BELLY, breaths (your chest shouldn’t rise).
- 5 seconds in through the nose.
- 10 seconds out through pursed lips.
Now check in with yourself and feel how much calmer you’ve become. Control your heart, control your stress.
Meditation means to focus your mind in one direction for a period of time. There are many ways to do this and as believers, the most important way for us is to focus our minds on Jesus is by meditating on the Word of God. When dealing with distress, meditating on the Word helps us de-stress by focusing our minds on the promises of God instead of our problems and in return, He gives us His peace.
You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.-Isaiah 26:3
Pray and thank God for all He’s doing in your life, focus on your blessings. Sometimes we don’t understand what the Lord is doing in our lives, it seems like it doesn’t make sense but reading the Word, prayer and the right attitude can help to see our situation the way God sees it, with a fresh perspective. The situation may be challenging but it’s liberating to know that we don’t have to be anxious when we go to God.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.-Philippians 4:6-7
So, make sure that if you need to “clear your mind” make sure the Word of God is what fills in that space. Saying that though: You can’t stop stress, I can’t stress that enough. People try to because they think that it doesn’t apply to them. You can only manage stress.
How do you currently control your stress?
I’d like to hear from you about your methods, maybe I can help you make them more effective.
Until next time.