During my stint in Afghanistan, I remember telling myself how lucky we were to experience the common “stresses” of our society back home in Canada. I swore to myself, when I was in the thick of things in the war in the desert, that when I returned back home I wouldn’t allow myself to get flustered from such frivolous things such as being stuck in traffic, waiting in line ups or complaining about the little things such as the weather.
While this perspective is still with me at a certain level, I will be the first to admit that it often escapes me in periods of “stress”. Although I still remind myself about when I was in Afghanistan from time and that those in such war torn countries would love to take on our “supposed stresses” of the day, it needs to be at the forefront of my psyche more often.
So why does all of this matter to you and your health you ask?
Well, considering almost every client I deal with as a trainer need tools for managing stress, it’s just as pertinent as learning to squat properly in order to execute proper exercise programming.
What this all comes down to is having an attitude of gratitude. I recall my stress management professor, Mark Cummings, telling us that one of the most important points to remember about the entire course was the power of having a position of gratitude. Since our stress levels relate mostly to our perception of our reality, this perspective can have a profound effect considering that much of our stress responses in the body result from the upwards of 60 thousand plus thoughts we experience per day (and for many of us, most are negative). As Mark explained, this positive self-talk is useful because when we experience feelings such as gratitude, love and forgiveness, it is impossible to experience other negative thoughts such as anger at the same time since they cannot co-exist.
Now that I have explained this concept of gratitude theoretically, how can we apply it practically on a daily bases?
The answer is awesome! …literally.
I highly recommend you watch this Ted Talk by Neil Pasricha on the 3 A’s of Awesome. Neil started a blog and now has a best selling book about the little things in life that are often overlooked that are truly awesome. I found Neil’s concept of awesome helped rejuvenate my “post war perspective” of gratitude. The key is to make it a point to look for at least one “awesome” thing everyday. If you need help with this, like me, subscribe to his blog and he will send you one awesome reminder each day 🙂
My “awesome” for today was not waking up to my alarm clock because its Sunday…..Awesome!