What's Eating You?

The other day I found myself feeling really stressed and emotionally worn out. When you’re dealing with people daily and hearing their health battles, it can begin to wear on you. I had just heard two stories of two husbands battling cancer, and the next thing I knew, all I could do was just sit silent. I began empathizing with those wives. I’ve been untitled_1.pngdown that road with my mother and know first-hand the stress, fear and indescribable feelings that accompany it. My husband could tell I wasn’t feeling quite right. I had taken on the stress of all of the people from the day. Working out that night at the gym felt harder. I had less energy. I was craving sugar. And finally my husband told me, “Krystal, negative thoughts are just like a disease.” And he's exactly right. I was focusing my thoughts on all the wrong things. And those thoughts started sucking the energy and strength out of me physically.

My husband reminded me of a Bible verse that says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:8) I know I’ve talked about this in newsletters before. Your thoughts are so crucial to good health! If you work with people, you understand that everyone has a story that they want to share. But at the end of the day, you can’t take home all of their baggage! Sickly thoughts begin to express themselves through a sickly body. And I can’t help anyone if I’m overloaded with stress!

Positive thinking leads to amazing health benefits. There have been all kinds of ku-medium.gifresearch showing some of the benefits include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Stress can manifest physically or mentally in any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Upset Stomach
  • Muscle Tension
  • Change in Appetite
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Change in Sex Drive
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Irritability or Anger
  • Feeling Nervous
  • Lack of Energy
  • Feeling as though you could cry

It’s pretty easy to even stress about being stressed! But some stress is actually ok. It's motivating. The chronic, long term stress is what throws off our cortisol levels and disrupts almost every process in the body. Staying in a “fight or flight” state long term is what leads to all kinds of diseases.

If you find that you’re having trouble with negative thoughts and starting to feel any of those symptoms, here’s a few helpful ways to get them back under control.

  1. Take a short nap. Reboot! (But if you’re napping constantly, that could be a sign of depression. Take a brisk walk instead.)
  2. Watch something funny. Laughter releases hormones that are very healing to the body.
  3. Give someone a compliment or get involved with something good in someone else’s life.
  4. Listen to up-beat music.
  5. Pray. Turn it over to God and let it go. (I love the quote, "When life gets to be more than you can stand, kneel.")
  6. Dig deep to find positive things in your life right now. If you dig deep enough, you will always find things that are positive. If you can't find anything, read this to help you put things into perspective...things could always be worse:

A Conversation with God

Me (in a tizzy) : God, can I ask you something?

GOD: Sure.

Me: Promise you won’t get mad?

GOD: I promise.

Me (frustrated): Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

GOD: What do you mean?

Me: Well I woke up late.

GOD: Yes

Me: My car took forever to start.

GOD: Okay.

Me (growling): At lunch, they made my sandwich wrong, and I had to wait.

GOD: Hmmmm.

Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call

GOD: All right

Me (loudly): And to top it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my foot massager and relax, but it wouldn’t work. Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?

GOD: Well let me see….. the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me (humbled): Oh.

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that might have hit you if you were on the road.

Me (ashamed): …………

GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed): Oh.

GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give a false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered

Me (softly): I see God.

GOD: Oh and that foot massager, it had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I’m sorry God.

GOD: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust me . . . in all things, the good and the bad.

Me: I WILL trust you God.

GOD: And don’t doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan.

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.

GOD: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after my children.

Your thoughts lower your immune system making you more susceptible to illness. If worrying and stress made situations better it may be worth the health risks. But they don’t! So don’t waste your time! I don’t know if you actually ever perfect the art of living stress-free. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s good to check yourself every so often, and do a stress flush.  So as much as I truly care for my patients and will continue to give them everything I have, at the end of the day, I have to be able to walk away with a smile. Albert Cliffe was right when he said, “You don’t get ulcers from what you’re eating, but from what’s eating you.”