More than 50% of the worldwide population lives under chronic stress (1), considering the multiple factors that trigger stress, whether it is the safety of the country, the unemployment rates, the lifestyle that you can enjoy, the inequity of gender, there are multiple choices were any of us could chose to feel stressed and it is clear that countries that can offer a better lifestyle overall have lower stress rates (of course these statistics vary from political term to another one).
Why do we see that Nordic countries such Sweden, Norway, have the lowest rates of stress (1)?
Together with some European countries where we now know they are focusing on mental health of people, empathy, awareness and they are working more in the inner qualities of the human beings.
I think the answer if you just take a deep dive into the strategy of these countries to maintain the population safe, comfortable and covered from basic needs, answers many of the questions to start addressing the new epidemic of stress that we're witnessing.
As a human species we are designed to have some stress triggers which are designed to protect us, to give us clarity and safety in everyday situations and in life, our primitive nature is also designed to sense those triggers and avoid possible dangers. However, when we are no longer in a prehistorical savage stage, but unfortunately we are in a season of excessive amount of distractions, digital triggers, lost of identity and I would dare to say in one of the most disconnected times from ourselves, engaged in a constant search of satisfaction, pleasure, comfort and material wealth.
In addition to that, the ironic image of all of this picture is that many of those "obsessions" to achieve, to get, to have, to obtain things are just triggered by comparison to someone else or simply to obtain certain status that when you have it, when you do get it, you sadly realize that it doesn't come with the price that was promised but it comes with more stress to maintain what you've achieved and to protect the now "created image" that you have!
The more you turn yourself to witness all the amazing things that you possess, the more you just design a lifestyle that can give you more peace but maintain your basic needs, the faster you will notice that it all comes to being stable, to having what you almost basically need, but having above all the time, strength and health to embrace all the other amazing list of qualities that we possess as human beings.
Uncountable times we have heard, read or witnessed stories of people that succeed, that got what they wanted in life, that have a perfect image towards the outside world but in the inside they are sadly living in a "self created" hollow, harsh and painful prison where they can't escape, where they feel as the loneliest people of the world and also the saddest of all.
They feel misunderstood, depleted and defeated a powerful combination that is constantly following them no matter where they are or how much external success and recognition they have.
So, what can we do to ease the pain, what can we do to bring more balance and joy to our lives?
"A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering"
— Dalai Lama;
Let's Begin to give some applicable tips that everyone of us can do to allow our lives to be under a normal healthy quote of stress:
1. Stop paying attention to outer experiences.
Sounds more difficult than it is, because we have made ourselves slaves of external satisfaction, but the more we start releasing the control under what happens outside, ironically the more things start to assemble in the correct order.
When you're more concerned on your health, on your basic needs to feel energized, physically balanced, when you pay more attention to what you feel and the emotions that are driving your mind, when you allow yourself to download the train of stressful thoughts and you put your mental map in paper, when you give yourself space to reflect and relax, when you align your lifestyle with the real economical possibilities that you have ..that's when you are going to feel more at peace.
In case you were wondering, that is not when stress is going to disappear, stress will always be a companion, but the function of that stress will be to guide you not to drain your physical energy, not to defeat your emotional health, not to put more pressure on your financial wellness.
2. Let's start with what can you eat and your activity lifestyle!
The way you feed or nurture your body, is key in the way you are driving your body towards health or disease, it's not a matter of finding the "one diet" that will cover it all, or worst is not the desperation to find "one supplement" that performs the miracle!
Is more about understanding that your body doesn't need as much things as you think, but needs to have a correct and balanced amount of the famous three macronutrients carbohydrates, fat, and proteins ..yes you need them all ..in what amount there will be a lot of discussion for that and there's still a lot of new evidence to even dare to say percentages that once were stablished but now we're witnessing evidence that contradicts them. So, what should be your best approach?
Know your body and test how you feel under a healthy scheme of nutrients, what now everyone can say and establish is that simple sugars are the worst for your health and you should reduce them to a very low level (I would say less than 10% of your overall diet), fats to be consumed should be the polyunsaturated fats (olive oils, avocado, omegas) reduce as well your overall percentage of saturated fat, more the one that comes from processed food which many times contains even another type of fats to be avoided which are the trans fats and finally the amount of protein should be maintained more or less on a score of 20-25% to keep your kidneys and hepatic enzymes under healthy levels.
Minerals and vitamins are also an important group of the micro-nutrients which everyone should be aware of and of course as this is just a general overview of a nurturing balanced way to eat you can always refer to serious sources of the required levels of vitamins and minerals here --> (webmd.com).
So far and maybe for a good while, there won't be an specific diet or way to eat because fortunately we're all different and we all function similarly at some extent in our metabolism, however, the way we absorb nutrients, the amount of energy that we need is different and of course is also related to your lifestyle!
What is now proven, where there's more evidence, and not under the surface, is that we need a lot less food than we used to think, and this can be tracked to prehistoric ages.
Therefore the best thing you can do for your internal metabolism, to keep the quality of your enzymes and the "expiration date" of your organs, is to maintain them also with some peace and not to adopt the "toxic compulsive eating" schedules of 5-6 times per day, because that old paradigm of eating has been proven to wear off your metabolic capacity, to overstimulate your hormones and to also give you more than enough reserves that will of course usually be accumulated as toxic fat or will have a deleterious effect in your metabolic freeways (2).
For the sake and ease of relating what you eat with the amount of exercise or physical activity that you perform in your life, the level of activity that you perform in your life is also key in the stress that your body gathers, it's been proven since a long time ago that exercise is one of the free medicines for your overall health and also is one of the outlets that can self-design to liberate plenty of stress, in addition to boost your metabolism and brain cognitive abilities (3).
3. What about your Emotions?
How aware are you of how you feel and why you feel like that?
I assume that the majority of us brushes their teeth, well cleaning your mind or brushing it from those repetitive thoughts is as equal as your teeth, the more time you take to release the emotions or the ruminating thoughts, the bigger and more toxic they will get!
Acquiring a simple practice of downloading all those things that worry you, will help you to gain more clarity under which of those thoughts first are real, second which ones come from a past programming of acquired behavior, third which of them are easily resolved with a plan and your actions and fourth which ones fall in the category of imagination or simply issues that are not your responsibility to fix or solve (4).
Many times in our lives we let ourselves get carried away with many past tendencies of our parents or caregivers and we don't realize that is only us the ones that adopt them, they never imposed them on us (in most cases) and they actually can't, which ironically that is also a principle where you can find a lot of emotional freedom. No one has the ability to change or influence the way you decide to think, is always your choice what you believe in or who you follow to guide your behaviors! (5).
4. Do you have a spiritual practice?
As esoteric as it sounds, having a spiritual practice not always means choosing or following a religion, it means choosing a routine, creating a space, designing a schedule to be in contact with your inner self, with your internal clarity, with your feelings, with your heart and your breathe, you can choose to follow a certain religion and pray, you can choose to follow a meditation practice and start from the ground just by isolating yourself form noise, from distractions, closing your eyes to avoid any trigger, listening to soft nature or classical music, listening to a guided meditation or become more disciplined into following a practice that adapts to you!
The important part of this pillar is to create first the space for you to relax and slow down the speed of your thoughts and the hectic train of life that you're submitted to most of your time.
Once you schedule the time and design a space, the other habits are just going to be easier to be created.
A very important note here, you have to make yourself a priority, you should have at least two spaces of 10 minutes during your day to accommodate this practice. If you don't see to find the time or space, is only because you're still in sabotage and also in not believing that you deserve the space.
This pillar of your inner health is the most critical to design a more disciplined mind that will allow you to be more conscious, aware and empower to notice all of the external triggers that you've been submitting yourself to and also all the negative and toxic baggage that needs to get rid off to become lighter and wiser in your life!
It will allow you as well, to increase your own internal ability to create synchronicity between your heart and your brain, which is the ultimate tool that comes from within that produces a powerful resonance magnetic and energetic field that literally heals all your inner chaotic states and helps you access a deeper power to create endless possibilities by connecting you to your divine source (6).
5. How mindful and aware are of your financial lifestyle?
This is many times the forgotten pillar of health, that most people are stressed about, your budget, your finances.
Often times people just live recklessly spending money to gain status, to gain acceptance, or to falsely believe they are more comfortable without paying attention to many expenses that are just overdoing and many things and appliances that they don't really need.
And, let's be clear here, is not that you can't have them or don't deserve them is just that you at some moments can't afford them, and there are periods in life where you can live pretty comfortable and peaceful without those luxuries.
Recognizing those moments in your life will allow you to have a more clear path towards saving and investing your money more wisely and that, ironically, will help you have financial freedom the you require it.
If you become a slave of living to fill appearances, to simply seize the moments of material abundance without any sense of responsibility, you definitely fall under the scenario that many people that were at some point "rich" and suddenly they lose everything, just because they lived to show off and to please others, but not with a conscious behavior that material wealth or money is just another resource in your life that can irresponsibly waste or use to fill an emotional void! (7).
In summary, every pillar listed here to ease your life, to help you become more empowered, more responsible of the fact that you are not a "simple" mix of take this pill and solve it all, will allow you to see your life from the perspective of the 5 Fundamentals Pillars of Health established which at least in my own experience and my clients have helped them walk a more peaceful, disciplined but free, mindful and conscious way of life!
Therefore I humbly invite you to follow these steps, to read deeper into each of the referenced articles that will help you more profoundly with these pillars and if you want and resonate with this way of conducing your life ..test them, try them and engage with us in a different kind of community will the only one responsible for your own path ...is you!
Of course, you'll have guidance, principles and moreover every kind of health article, post, tool or course is based on research, on science and more importantly on self-application!
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1. Kia. WORLD’S MOST STRESSED COUNTRIES – RANKED. March 19th, 2016. https://www.atlasandboots.com/most-stressed-countries/
2. Ortega D. “Is Intermittent Fasting for You or Not?”. https://www.davidortegab.com/post/is-intermittent-fasting-for-you-or-not.August 27th, 2019.
3. Ortega D. “Why Motion is Good for Your Inner Health?”. https://www.davidortegab.com/post/why-motion-is-good-for-your-inner-health. September 03rd, 2019.
4. Ortega D. “What Are You Anxious About?”. https://www.davidortegab.com/post/what-are-you-anxious-about. August 06th, 2019.
5. Ortega D. “How Do You Let Go...Your Past?”. https://www.davidortegab.com/post/how-do-you-let-go-your-past. July 09th, 2019.
6. Ortega D. "How Can You Synchronize your Heart and Brain?". https://www.davidortegab.com/post/how-can-you-synchronize-your-heart-and-brain. August 16th, 2019
7. Ortega D. "How to Create a Wealthy Mindset?". https://www.davidortegab.com/post/how-to-create-a-wealthy-mindset. September 24th, 2019.