This old time classic has an ongoing performance that is just as good as any Broadway show but can be seen daily from the front row and center seat in the comforts of your own bubble. The stories unfold before your very eyes as you sashay across the stage playing out your familiar roles to a “T.” Day after day you have been flawless in the delivery of your lines filled with great love, passion, anger, joy, and even the deepest disdain for those who entered stage left and dared to linger awhile before exiting stage right. Your actions have been swift, poised, and at times completely out of control as you were provoked by the spouse who after 5 years still fails miserably in their communication skills, that teenage child who has no interest in following rules, the supervisor with completely unrealistic expectations, and who can forget that occasional driver that cuts you off in traffic during a 40 mile congested commute to work each morning. As the plot thickens, you sit at the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next and oftentimes being surprised by the many unpredictable twists and turns of life.
Just how good would any good drama be without a villain provoking the actions of those with even the best intentions and the kindest of hearts? A villain is the necessary evil that creates a memorable drama that can send viewers on an emotional roller coaster while fully immersing you into the story. Stress in your life plays a very similar role, its cycle of physiological changes are indeed necessary for your survival during times of “fight or flight” but what happens when the stress is severe, prolonged, or frequent in its occurrences. Although the external event triggers may make for an interesting story-line, behind the scenes, as you are internalizing those same events as stressful, stress is over time causing great havoc on your cells, organs, and organ systems of your body. Intense, prolonged, or frequent occurrences of stressful events can exhaust the hormonal response to stress, therefore inhibiting its recovery. This can significantly impact not only the heart, blood vessels, adrenals, and immune system but your digestive and nervous system as well.
Balance is key to life realistically and theatrically. The villain winning in the end only means that there will be a sequel for the star to rise and be cheered for all the way to victory. Unfortunately, in real life you only get one shot, therefore allowing stress to win is not an option. It is almost guaranteed that stress will have a co-starring role in your life, mastering the art of managing it appropriately will not only enhance your health but your quality of life as well. A life lived well deserves a standing ovation.
Three keys to your standing ovation are:
1). Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude: Life is all about perception, you can’t prevent stressful encounters from occurring but you do have the power to alter how you perceive them. Embrace every opportunity as one to learn from and grow stronger, this will minimize and/or eliminate the need for a stress response.
2). Keep it Moving Daily: Stay mobile throughout the day by taking the stairs, exercising, and playing around with the kids to promote improved blood circulation, strength, and stress hormone regulation.
3). STOP –“Quiet Time:” Don’t just do something, sit there and be still, meditate, journal, or stand admiring the beauty of a sunset or sunrise quietly by a still body of water to slow your pace, slow your thoughts, and induce peaceful relaxation from within. Peace and stress cannot occupy the same space at the same time. There you stand, the star of the show, positive, strong, and mentally centered in the spotlight as you humbly take your bow.