Stress makes you sick, makes you sicker and keeps you sick. Why are you addicted to it?
Modern medical research is confirming it over and over again. There is a constant interplay of emotion and feeling between the mind and the body. This exchange is both helpful and damaging. Like most conversations, it is the content and the intensity of the exchange that dictates the effect.
Consciously making yourself smile will cause activity in the same areas of the brain that feel the emotions that make you smile. You smile because you are happy, pleased, content, amused, etc. Smiling can make you feel happy, pleased, content, amused, etc.
The not so good conversations between the mind and the body are about things that cause stress. An angry boss, a furious customer, running late for a meeting, forgetting stuff you are supposed to do, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time all look like a saber toothed tiger to your limbic system and set in motion the same flight, fight, or faint reactions.
Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure increases, you begin to sweat, and your adrenal gland floods your system with adrenalin. Blood rushes to your arms and legs and the blood flow to your brain decreases. Your automatic system is on full alert and your reasoning system is working on short rations. Repeating this process a dozen times a day wears down your immune system. A lowered immune system lets you get sick more easily. A lowered immune system and a weakened body cause you to get sicker either from the original disease, or with additional diseases. Finally, stress reduces your ability to recover.
It is impossible to avoid all of the stress that attacks you every day. Avoiding what you can avoid will significantly lower in your overall stress. This is the biggest single stress reducer I have adopted in the last couple of years. I don’t do “one last thing.” If I need to leave to meet you in 10 minutes, I skip trying to write one more paragraph for my blog. I pass on making a call that should last only five minutes. I ignore the urge to swing by the 7-11 on the way. I leave now.
What I get for that is a relaxed ride even if there is a major traffic jam. There are more bonuses. The blog that I finish when I have enough time is better written. I have time to be there and give my full attention to that phone call when it grows to 15 minutes. You get a calm, relaxed person to meet with and we both skip the excuses about my being late.
Try this. Just this one change and see how you feel!