Minding The Gap

20 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

The previous article, Bridging the Gap (Parts 1, 2) was all about making a real and sustainable connection between your dreams and your reality. This article is all about dealing with the stress of doing so.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, but mental stress can be much harder on the body than physical stress, especially if it’s sustained.

It’s true, and for a large part of the time we do it to ourselves, unconsciously.

There’s already a lot of evidence out there proving the mind-body link is real and very important, it’s just that in our hurry to Get Somewhere, to Make Things Happen and Get Things Done, we tend to forget that link.

What happens then is we split our selves in two, Mind and Body, paying much more attention to the Mind (and what happens inside it) and treating the Body as just another object to take care of and control.

Don’t just take my word for it, look at the statistics and news.

Check around at your workplace and your own health and see for yourself how stress manifests itself, physically as well as mentally. Insomnia, weakened immune systems, back pain, the list goes on and on.

Think back on stressful events in your life:

  • The anxiety that left you with parched-throat and clammy hands before you made a big presentation, and freezes you mute to your seat when you’re at a meeting.
  • The crawly-cold heaviness in the pit of your stomach as you look at a stack of bills and student loans on one side of your desk, and the pitifully small balance displayed in your online bank statement.
  • The tooth-grinding your dentist warned you about because you unconsciously clench your jaw so hard from having to juggle everything you’re handling just to stay afloat.

But wait, there’s still more:

  • What about the back-ache that plagues you and acts up when you feel like you have more than you can bear?
  • Think about the sharp burning in your belly when you’re extremely stressed and yet couldn’t express how you can’t stomach your work.

See? Listen to your body, learn to read the signs before you get unpleasantly surprised.

Now, aside from getting into a sustainable physical exercise regimen and adjusting your food preferences to a healthier state (“diet” really is a four-letter word), here are a few no-nonsense, insightful blog entries by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits (a perennial favorite, you should bookmark him) that can help you keep going.

You may also want to visit Leo’s new site 6 Changes. His tag-line? “Choose 6 habits for 2010. I’ll help you form them.”

Cool, hey?

Another favorite is Krista Scott-Dixon’s site Stumptuous . Primarily a weight-training and fitness site meant for women, her site (and blog) has tons of awesome exercise plans designed to fit into busy lifestyles, as well as simple, no-bull myth-busting explanations about weight-training and what it can do for you. You should also check out her inspirational section, and see how some of her readers changed their lives with exercise.

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