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Lifestyle: Self-improvement and Kicking Bad Habits
Changing unhealthy lifestyles can be quite a challenge. Whether you are attempting
to quit smoking, drinking, or overeating, kicking bad habits is an emotional process. Get help in the form of a
professional, a group, or just a buddy facing the same challenge. It will be worth the pain to turn your life around!
8 steps towards overcoming addictions and bad habits:
- Admit that there's a problem: Be aware that you don't have full control over yourself in some way.
- Seek feedback: Find a friend or a professional who will honestly give you input.
- Prayer, meditation: Realize that there is a power greater than you who you can rely on for help.
- Inventory character defects which you seek to conquer. Tell a friend your goals.
- Seek a solution: Find the best way for you to beat the addictive, compulsive, or behavioral problem you've admitted
- Get support: Find a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous
- Something new: Start a fitness program, join a gym, or participate in a local sports league to add something
positive to your schedule.
- Help others: Part of a Twelve-step program involves making amends with anyone you have hurt and attempting
to work with someone else to conquer their problem.
Dealing With Stress
Did you know that 90% of doctor visits are for stress related symptoms?
Stress bombards us every day from all directions. Maybe it’s sitting in the midst of highway gridlock when
you are already late for an important appointment. Or how about the bill you forgot to pay? It could be a
phone call from the school complaining about your child’s behavior.
These are just the annoying little stress triggers that we handle every day. What about the larger issues?
Retirement, moving, divorce or, heaven forbid, the death of a loved one or friend can come out of the
blue and here comes the stress, launching you into treading murky waters one more time.
The impression is that the feelings of stress come from outside sources when, in reality, it happens inside
When we feel as though we are under pressure, our bodies react the same way that we have trained them
to do with a rise in blood pressure, tightening of muscles and accelerated breathing.
These physical symptoms are generally referred to as “fight or flight” responses. This is a term left over
from historical times when the choices were to flee or stand and fight.
Unfortunately, today we don’t have those options. Each situation must be dealt with and that’s where the
stress comes in. Some stress is unavoidable and is actually good for you as we will discuss further on.
But too much stress leads to troubles that can range from upset stomach to anxiety attacks and even as
serious as heart attacks.
There’s a whole arsenal of stress busting tools available. Hopefully, the more
you understand your stress, the better prepared you will be at controlling your body’s response to stress
and restoring a calmer state of mind.
What is Stress?
Chemically, stress is a condition that your body enters as the result of a message received from your brain
telling it to prepare to run or fight. The body reacts by preparing for that eventuality. The brain tells the
adrenal glands to send a rush of two hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) to the muscles in
preparation for them to respond to a fear or a threat.
It is the job of the brain to protect the body. It accomplishes this by telling the noradrenaline to redirect
blood flow from lower priority areas of your body (like skin or your abdomen) to the muscles to give you a
At the same time, the brain is also telling the adrenaline to speed up your breathing to take in more
oxygen to feed the work being done on the muscles with the noradrenaline.
Unfortunately, when you can’t make a decision about how to react (fight or flight), these two hormones
are caught in limbo rushing around madly waiting for you to decide what you want them to do. Since you
aren’t doing that, the only choice they have is to cause vomiting, make you tremble, panic or maybe even
Reaction to perceived threats
It’s actually a very efficient process and has worked wonderfully for thousands of years. When we were
running across the plains barefoot with a spear in our hand bearing down on supper, we needed this
process to protect us. Indeed, the entire system is just the result of the brain doing what it is
supposed to do … keep the body functioning and protect it.
The battles today are demanding employers, uncontrollable
traffic, annoying neighbors, partners, children and oh yes, taxes!
This is why you have stress. It is merely a
response to a perceived threat and the brain will set it in motion on a subconscious level even at the
slightest sensation of danger. In fact it will DEMAND this action.
Since we now live in an “enlightened” society, we are conditioned not to throw a spear at the boss,
strangle our spouse or set the neighbor’s house afire.
What is needed is the ability to change our programmed responses. We need to discern the difference
between real threats and our own internalized perceptions of danger. Sounds pretty simple, huh?
Sure it does. Until you’re sitting in that freeway gridlock, half an hour late for the most important
career busting appointment of your life, knowing full well that your blankety blank boss will turn the
account over to that jerk in the office and you’ll never get the raise you were counting on when your
son starts college in the fall. … whew!
Too much adrenaline!
Here come the chemical twins, adrenaline and noradrenaline ready to do battle with no battle to go to.
They’re rushing through your body and have got to attack something. Your muscles aren’t responding
by running or fighting so they’ll just pick any old organ to attack instead. A good one is the heart.
Sometimes a dose of the chemical twins is a good thing. After all, even though we are now “civilized”
there are still very real threats in the world. Just take a look at the evening news or read about the
latest “mugging” in the newspaper.
So, here is the paradox. You need the chemical twins to protect you from real danger but you don’t
need them to cause illness, unhappiness and stress. The challenge is knowing when to have them
and when you don’t need them.
Logically you know that you don’t need them under most normal situations like: at work, at a party
or when the kids are screaming in your ear.
So what can you do? Some people turn to drugs or alcohol and others take out their frustration on
the people they care about the most. You can learn how to control the twins.
Let’s do that now
No excuses! No matter where you are:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,
Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah,
Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Get healthy in...
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami,
Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Dallas, New Orleans, Mobile, Nashville,
Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Montreal, Toronto
...and all towns in between!