Over a year ago, I was experiencing severe vertigo and what I can only describe as my body feeling like lead. As I reflect on my health over the last year or so, it was the beginning signs of resistance to my first chemotherapy drug. In fact, my resistance to treatment started six months earlier but my body would eventually sound louder alarm bells with the toxic reaction to the second chemotherapy drug – severe body rash, seven blood clots, daily migraines. Blah, blah, blah… So far, so good on slowly acclimating to a third chemotherapy drug.
My hope in sharing this deeply personal information is that you take stress that you may be experiencing seriously. Chronic stress is a killer in mind, body, and spirit.
When chronic stress grows wildly in your life and over the long-term, this puts you at an increased risk of many health problems and diseases. Per the Mayo Clinic, why we react to life stressors the way we do are based on two factors: genetics and life experiences. Each one of us reacts differently to stressors because of our genes that control stress responses. Strong stress reactions can be also traced back to neglected and abused childhoods, violent crime victims, military and first responder experiences, and other traumatic events.
Letting go of the uncontrollable
Since retiring from full-time employment a few weeks ago, I feel lighter. I realize not everyone can retire from their job as a stress management strategy. Yet there are things that I have begun to notice by taking steps to manage stress in my life. The harmony in mind, body, and spirit is slowing coming into balance. I feel my sense of humor and creativity coming back to life.
Creativity and Stress
“Stress is a well-known creativity killer,“ says psychologist Robert Epstein Ph.D.
“Stress is the enemy of creativity. Our best work often comes from a state of nonchalance when our minds are calm.” — Will Meier, “The Next Web”
Creativity is not just for us creative, visionary types. Creativity is applied to practical problem solving in business and social issues. Studies have shown that creativity requires the right brain and the left brain to cooperate. The level of cortisol in our body is affected by stressful events causing a cascade of physiological, psychological, and neurological changes. The process of creativity relies on a harmonious balance of cortisol in our body.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am searching for my people. Not just creative and thinker types but associating with happy people in my community. The COVID pandemic plus having a lowered immunity due to my treatment resistance has made being in the presence of humans more difficult. Hopefully, this will change as I continue to employ stress reducing strategies.
Associating and collaborating with others including safely detaching myself from my illness mentally will increase my cognitive focus and sense of creativity. The important message here for everyone per my mental health therapist is not to become associated with people, events, or activities that set off our individual stress triggers. Creating and managing safe boundaries is key!
For the love of scotch! I feel better! Now, back to rifling through that dream box.
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What are your stress triggers? It may not always be possible to remove all of them in your life but removing the removable and drawing the boundaries to create harmony in mind, body, and spirit is possible.
5 Hoot Rating Book Review from The Blogging Owl
A cognitive behavioral therapist recommended Dr. Gabor Mate’ to me. He is a physician, public-speaker, and award-winning author of “When the Body Says NO, Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection.” This book deserves more than a 5-Hoot Rating. I wish I could gift each one of you a copy of Dr. Mate’s book which is backed by research and enormous amount of studies which are annotated and listed at the end of the book. It confirms what I have known about our individual “place of hurt” and the cross-generational stress we carry. If I had this book in my early 20’s, I would be a healthier and happier person in mind, body, and spirit today. Whether you are healthy or suffer from a chronic/terminal illness, I heartily recommend this book. It may just save your life. It is available on Amazon or special-order from your local independent bookstore.
Here is a list of websites that may help you learn more about managing stress and anxiety.
Stress Management Strategies: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037
Stress Tips: https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/tips
Heart Healthy 3 Tips to Manage Stress: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/3-tips-to-manage-stress
Restorative Sleep – Relieving Stress: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/how-to-relieve-stress-for-bedtime
Power of Music to Reduce Stress: https://psychcentral.com/stress/the-power-of-music-to-reduce-stress
Nature Reduces Stress and Anxiety: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/news/20200225/spending-time-nature-reduces-stress-and-anxiety
12 Tips to Reduce Your Child’s Stress and Anxiety: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dont-worry-mom/201302/12-tips-reduce-your-childs-stress-and-anxiety
Mental Health 101: Anxiety https://mentalhealth101.org/anxiety/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2v-gBhC1ARIsAOQdKY0H9e7FPaX2ELJEw48Z4HT9IEXakAXEb3_qZI5d2fKsQ9YuujFok5saAtQqEALw_wcB
Stress – The Enemy of Creativity https://fherehab.com/learning/stress-enemy-of-creativity