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What If We Got Rid of Stress?

Published on Wednesday June 12th, 2019

Work, newscasts, the daily struggle for survival, conflicts, failures... We are all engulfed in a daily dose of stress, affecting our serenity. Stress impacts our mood, oftentimes our health and sometimes both! (even if we’re not fully aware of it). So, how do we manage these anxieties that often creep into our lives, despite claims to the contrary?

The Power of Thought

Did you ever hear about Nick Sitzman's story? He was an employee in a USA railway. One day, he made a final check in a huge refrigerated truck, when suddenly ... disaster struck! The door closed behind him and he found himself alone, stranded and aware that once the door closed-in on him, the temperature would drop to below zero. And indeed, on the following day, his lifeless body was found. The autopsy revealed that he did not die of cold as the truck’s refrigeration system was off! So the temperature never dropped below 15 degrees. How is it possible? This man panicked and convinced himself that he was going to freeze to death. His body followed suit. His thoughts caused such extreme stress that they unleashed a dramatic outcome.

Although we are obviously not confronted to this kind of situation on a daily basis (fortunately!), we can feel its immense impact on our state of mind! Rabbi Nachman also stresses the powerful impact of human thought in his teachings, either positive or negative (reported in Sichot Haran).

Several scientific studies confirm this phenomenon. In Europe [1] studies on mental stress were carried out. The results: people who think they are in good health tend to live longer than those who complain and give free rein to their negative thoughts! And according to an American study [2], those who have a positive view on their state of health tend to have a stronger immune system than others. Isn’t that incredible?

In short, a person’s state of mind impacts his body. Rav Wolbe, one of the great masters of our generation, said that not to consider the power of thought is dangerous. But rest assured... A thought can be harmful (if we let stress overcome our mood), while a positive thought may, turn things to our advantage!

You may argue that being positive is easier said than done! And naturally, we tend to focus on the negative side of a situation rather than on the good. But rest assured, with a little practice we can all get there!

Three Tips to Limit Our Anxieties and Think Positively!

  1. Limit anxiety-provoking information

We are bombarded by information: social networks, newspapers, radio, computers 24/7. These are breeding nests for daily anxiety: terrorism, injustice, theft, destruction ... A potent poison for the spirit. So, we limit information to what is critical and avoid what is free toxic info.  We indulge in one half an hour of information per day and close off matters that are cause for concern. Let’s move away from negative, overly pessimistic people who constantly complain and cultivate friendships with people who smile and always look at the bright side of life.

  1. Take care of yourself

It's no longer a secret, body and mind are connected. It is therefore essential to make the effort and take the time to develop a healthy and balanced lifestyle to increase our well-being:

Relax your body and mind with various wellbeing methods: yoga, reflexology, sports, listening to music, laughing and even drinking tea; all good recipes for joy!

Invest in your social life: meet with friends, play a board game with your family, spend quality time with your spouse, etc.

  1. Set achievable goals

If you decide to lose 30 kg in one month, you will most certainly fail! It is an exaggerated example I use to picture what some women do every day. They set unachievable goals, way beyond their physical, financial and time-constricted realities. So make sure that you target achievable goals, otherwise, you will set yourself up for failure and gain added opportunities for cultivating negative thoughts.

Now, with all the tools to look at life in a positive way at your disposal, say goodbye to the toxic thoughts which don’t serve you! We may face disappointments with a victorious spirit, we may choose to stop grumbling and focus on the positive nature of any situation. And thus, develop a joyful spirit to the delight of all who surround us, especially our children! In so doing, they too will cultivate a philosophy of life to cherish as a valuable treasure. B'hatzlacha!

[1] Scientific studies conducted in Switzerland and the United Kingdom (Daily Mail, 2016)

[2] Carnegie Mellon University study (360 adults)

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box

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