|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Sold by:||HarperCollins Publishing|
|File size:||306 KB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
STRESS management 101
By don colbert
Nelson BooksCopyright © 2007 don colbert, m.d.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneChoose Your Attitudes
Victor Frankl was a psychiatrist and Jew who was imprisoned by the Nazis in the death camps of World War II Germany. In his book Man's Search for Meaning, he tells how he came to the realization that his own choices, not his circumstances, defined his identity. No matter how horrifying the environment in which he lived, and no matter how much humiliation and degradation others heaped upon him, he was still in control of how he chose to respond. The same is true for each of us.
No event can change you on the inside unless you allow it to do so. No person can cause you to respond in a particular way on the inside unless you choose to react that way. The freedom to forge your own opinions, ideas, attitudes, and choices rests solely and uniquely with you.
THE POWER OF YOUR ATTITUDE
In his book Strengthening Your Grip, Charles Swindoll writes that the most significant decision we can make on a daily basis is our choice of attitude. He asserts that attitude is more important than one's past, education, bankroll, successes or failures, circumstances, or position.
To some extent, all damaging, stress-producing emotions derive from our attitudes and reactions. And attitudes are something we can control. You can choose how you will think and feel about any circumstance, event, or relationship in your life. You can choose to a great extent how you deal with grief, resentment, bitterness, shame, jealousy, guilt, fear, worry, depression, anger, hostility, and all other emotional situations that readily trigger physical responses.
The first step you need to take toward less stress and better health is to reflect upon your own attitudes. Own up to the attitudes you have. Ask yourself, "Is this the way I want to think and believe?"
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR HEART
Research has shown that the heart sends messages to the brain that appear to be capable of affecting an individual's behavior. The ultimate "real you" is a composite of what your heart tells your brain, your brain tells your heart, and your will decides to believe, say, and do. Therefore, two of the most powerful antidotes for damaging emotions are these:
Communicating with your own heart Learning to live in the love that flows from the heart
King David talked to his own heart: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (Ps. 42:5).
You may feel silly "talking to your heart," but do it anyway! Just venting the words will do two things: it will clarify to you what you truly are feeling, and you will give release to some of your pent-up emotions.
Notice that David did not only admit to himself that he was downcast in his soul. He went on to tell himself, "Hope in God!" He went on to say of his chosen course of action, "I shall yet praise Him." Furthermore, David said he would praise God for the "help of His countenance." He praised God not for a specific act that God had taken or would take, but for the sheer help of knowing that God was present with him.
These steps David took in his "soul conversation" are very important. You can follow his lead:
1. Voice aloud what you are feeling. 2. Voice aloud your decision to hope in God. 3. Voice aloud your decision to praise God for who He is in your life. Acknowledge His near presence and His continual availability to you.
David went on to voice these same concepts to God in prayer: "O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You" (Ps. 42:6).
Turn from speaking to yourself to speaking to God. Admit to God your feelings. Cast your concerns on Him and voice your decision to trust Him.
Effective communication with your heart requires that you become quiet and do your best to turn off the constant mental tapes that are playing in your head, to turn away from the remembrance of painful hurts and frustrations. Many people find it helpful to focus on events or people in their lives that have brought joy, love, happiness, and peace. Also, develop an attitude of gratitude and appreciation by focusing on all the good things in your life rather than on the traumas or negative things that have happened.
Ask your heart:
"What is it that you are really feeling?" "Why are you feeling this way?" "What good thing are you really hoping for?"
The heart speaks in the quietest of voices. You may feel a little internal "nudge" or a sense of warning. Give your heart the benefit of communicating its wisdom to your brain.
Spend a few minutes every day listening to your heart. And then:
Speak words of encouragement to your heart. Voice words of appreciation for life's blessings. Recall events in your life when you experienced tremendous joy, peace, or love. Speak words of acknowledgment about personal accomplishments, reflections of noble character, or acts of kindness or ministry to others. If nobody else openly acknowledges the goodness of the Lord manifested in and through your life, acknowledge this to yourself. Read aloud the Word of God to your heart. I recommend that you place an emphasis on the words of Jesus in the New Testament (especially 1, 2, and 3 John) and the book of Proverbs. Voice your heartfelt prayers and concerns to God, beginning with a time of giving God thanks for all He has done, is doing, and has promised to do. Speak your praise to God for who He is. Give God your frustrations, fears, and anger. Turn over your anxious thoughts to Him. The Bible tells us, "Let [God] have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you" (1 Peter 5:7 TLB). Ask God to fill your heart with His love and presence. Openly invite the Holy Spirit to impart to you the fruit of His presence in you, which includes "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).
When you experience God in your heart, you will also experience His love. The Bible says the two are inseparable: "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).
THE HEART COMMUNICATES TO THE BODY
As you learn to communicate with your own heart and release positive feelings of love to your own soul, your heart in turn communicates this message of well-being to your body through the release of helpful hormones and neurotransmitters. The most powerful channel of heart communication to the body, however, is through the heart's electromagnetic field, which is significantly greater in strength than the electromagnetic field the brain produces.
In addition, heart rates send varying messages to the brain and body. When a person is fearful, for example, the heart speeds up, sending a signal to the entire body. When a person is content and happy, heart rate slows, telling the entire nervous system that the person is feeling good.
A seventeenth-century clock maker discovered a fascinating principle called "entrainment," which we can apply to the heart. In a grouping of clocks, the largest clock with the strongest rhythm will pull the other pendulums into sync with itself. Likewise, the heart, which is the strongest biological oscillator in the body, has the ability to pull every other bodily system into its own rhythm. When the heart is at peace or filled with love, it communicates harmony to the entire body. Conversely, when negative emotions have triggered the heart to beat in an irregular way-harder or faster-the heart communicates the very opposite of peace to the other organs of the body.
Spiritually speaking, when you experience God's peace, the heart communicates peace to every fiber of your being. Each and every organ experiences that rest. When you experience God's love and the love of other people, the heart communicates that love to your mind and your entire body. When love fills your heart, your entire body takes something of an emotional plunge into healing.
The greatest Physician and Healer who ever lived, Jesus Christ, explained this phenomenon in His own terms: "It is not what goes into a man that defiles a man, but what comes out of his heart" (Matt. 15:17-18, author's paraphrase).
AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
In Philippians 4:4, Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" Paul wrote this while in prison. Though judgment was imminent and conditions were harsh, he had an attitude of gratitude. Where the mind goes, the health of your body will follow. If your mind is full of anxiety, fear, anger, depression, and guilt, it chronically stimulates the stress response, which opens the door for disease to enter the body. I believe that many diseases, such as autoimmune disease and cancer, are directly related to deadly emotions. It's like deadly emotions are flipping a self-destruct switch in your body.
Start practicing appreciation and thanksgiving on a daily basis. Compliment your spouse, children, coworkers, and friends regularly. Begin to compliment or give words of appreciation to strangers such as waiters, store clerks, toll-booth operators, and people you come in contact with daily. Instead of pointing out their faults, begin to see their strengths. It will do your heart-and your body-good!
Excerpted from STRESS management 101 by don colbert Copyright © 2007 by don colbert, m.d.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ONE: Choose Your Attitudes....................1
TWO: Change Your Way of Thinking....................11
THREE: Choose to Forgive....................21
FOUR: Lighten Up!....................36
FIVE: Learn to Relax....................48
SIX: Express Love....................62
SEVEN: Eat Right and Exercise....................71
About the Author....................87
Most Helpful Customer Reviews