Do you really understand the significance of stress? Piggy backing off of last week’s post about the book Change Your Brain Change Your Body by Daniel Amen, research continues to show that the underlying factor to an unhealthy or unhappy life is stress.
One day, my boss and I were discussing this phenomenon. I was talking to him about the book Change Your Brain Change Your Body which I recently started at the time. He then mentioned to me the book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. This book is a dense scientific book about the significance of stress. My boss didn’t recommend reading it, because even he had to re-read almost every paragraph in order to understand what it was talking about scientifically.
After talking back and forth for about an hour about both of these books, we understood the books had the same underlying principle: you cannot be healthy with the presence of stress.
Even if you have the cleanest diet, you physically process food differently if you are under stress. For example, if you eat a cookie and are thinking to yourself, “I really shouldn’t be eating this” and are regretting and feeling guilty about eating that cookie, the stress hormones released will facilitate the digestive process and process the food eaten with stress as fat. On the other hand, if you have a clean diet and eat something, enjoying it, your body will process it differently, in a less damaging way. This is why “stress eating” is so bad for you. Anything you eat when stressed is processed in a more harmful way than if you aren’t stressed. Let me be clear that eating an unhealthy diet in peace versus a much healthier one stressed is not what I am suggesting.
My point is, is that people stress over things that DON’T MATTER. Stressing over organic vs. non-organic produce is useless. There is scientific research supporting both sides as to which is “better” for you. Eating nonorganic produce, unstressed is much healthier for you than getting organic and stressing over the price or not eating produce at all!
The media unfortunately plays a major role in health and wellness. I’ve seen headlines about “Pizza is actually healthy for you!” Of course, it’s an intriguing idea and we are all rooting for the day that we can freely eat pizza without consequence, but we all know deep down that this is just not true. In general, everyone needs to increase their vegetables and protein and cut down their carbohydrate and sugar intake. So, don’t search the web for the latest media post about groundbreaking nutritional research.
In addition, us humans have learned to activate our sympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of our “fight or flight” response with the increase of social media, movies and television. Essentially, our body genuinely thinks things are life or death due to this activation such as playing video games, watching a movie, etc., whereas back in days without this form of media, the sympathetic nervous system would genuinely only be activated if there was a true life or death situation.
Spend your time and energy in understanding where stress is present in your life and learning how to control it.