I was with a friend last night when his cell phone rang. He apologized, picked it up, then excused himself from the table. He came back a few minutes later, his mood somber-and shared the following story:
That was the wife of a friend. He got laid off about two years ago and has not been able to get another job like he had. And they had it all. He took on whatever jobs he could to make some money but it wasn’t enough. They fell behind in their bills. Their home went into foreclosure. Yesterday his wife said to me: “I don’t feel good about John [not his real name]. He’s not right. I’m supposed to go out with some friends tonight but I think I’d better stay with him instead.’ That night, John died in his sleep.
My friend said the wife wanted an autopsy, of course. Yet whatever they find, everyone around John will believe” Cause of death–stress.
Each of us is dealing with a measure of stress. At home. On the job. Everywhere.
As many of you know, I am trying to manage my family nearly two years after my wife suffered a debilitating stroke, and that I was job eliminated in February, and that I am launching a new venture–Fit! Live! Win!
You no doubt have your own stress(es)–though I hope none has life-changing as my trifecta.
If you’ve been a long-time reader you also know I rise at 5:15 a.m. each weekday and head to the gym. Yes, I do it out of a bit of vanity–just like everyone else. I also do it because I vow not to bow to life’s pressures and stress.
Sure, anything to happen to me (or anyone) at any moment and for any reason, but I am certainly doing my part to ensure that those things I cannot control (like most things in life) do not effect what I can control, ata least to some degree, and that’s my health.
It’s long been chronicled that exercise helps the body handle stress.
What does that mean? Well, many things. It means less pressure on your heart, and nervous system. Better cardiovascular strength means your heart is stronger, as is your overall cardiovascular system.
One study cited: “Exercise … reduced emotional distress and improved markers of cardiovascular risk more than usual medical care alone.”
Exercise also boosts your brain, helping you think clearly, which also aids in managing stress–and simply being happier and more content.
There’s little you can do about the things that cause stress.
But you can do a lot about how it affects you.