One of my favorite books on this subject is, “Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers, a Guide to Stress, Stress related Illness, and Coping.” Some of the primary chemicals that we secrete in response to our negative, stress based thinking, (such as anger, worry and complaint), are adrenaline, nor adrenaline and cortisol. We need these chemicals for survival, and yet, as Dr. Sapolsky mentions, if we respond as though it's an emergency each time we open our teenager’s bedroom door, it will definitely take a toll on our health.
Writer Robert Fulgum tells the story of working as a hotel desk clerk during his college years. He worked with an elderly gentleman who was a holocaust survivor. One time when Fulgum was flipping out about something, his co-worker said, “Fulgum, you need to learn the difference between a crisis and an inconvenience”. Of course, some things are a crisis and need to be seriously addressed. But many times we dramatize and make a huge deal out of things that really don’t matter very much.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “If the situation is one you can do nothing about, why worry? And if the situation is one you can do something about, why worry?” (Do something useful!) We can all benefit from this wisdom.
We secrete beneficial chemicals including serotonin and endorphins during positive thinking such as loving-kindness, gratitude and compassion.
It only makes sense that we should check in with, for example, how much time we spend complaining, and make a conscious, beneficial change by spending more time in gratitude. We truly have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude is an instant attitude adjustor. The next time you catch yourself in habitual negativity, start counting your blessings, and really rejoice in all that you have to be thankful for.
In your daily prayers or meditation, spend some time in gratitude. You might find that you walk around smiling more, and your friends might notice that you’re more pleasant to be around.
Take care and be well.
Pati Kearns teaches Yoga at Dance Etc. Call 279-9523 for class information.
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