Do you remember to be grateful?
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/03/2021 (568 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The human mind is wired toward negativity. That has been a very adaptive feature of our operating system during most of our evolution – after all, if you live somewhere where there might be sabre-tooth tigers or bears who want to eat you, it’s a good thing to be alert for warning signs of danger. The same might be true if you’re living in a war zone.
Most of us are privileged to live in places where we are not constantly in danger, but our nervous systems have not caught up. A gazelle being chased by a lioness is highly stressed for a short time, but if it gets away, it is soon peacefully grazing again.
Humans, on the other hand, have a nasty habit of replaying scary or upsetting things in our minds, bringing us into that zone again and again. As a result, what we think of as the everyday stress of modern life can keep us in a constant fight-or-flight mode, with our stress hormones always elevated. This is really bad for our health, both physical and mental.
What to do?
Since our minds are creating our stress, our minds can also settle it down. Going for a daily walk, setting boundaries with other people, and making sure to get enough sleep are great ways to help reduce stress. Ayurvedic herbs can also help.
One of my favourite ways of reducing our mental stress is gratitude – by counting our blessings, we are actually sending messages to our bodies that it is OK to dial back the stress hormones. Deep breathing at the same time as we think of all the things we are grateful for can really double down on that process.
Creating a daily gratitude habit can actually improve our markers of chronic stress – there are clinical trials that have shown that daily gratitude journalling can reduce blood pressure and improve immunity. Who wouldn’t want that in these times?
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
West Kildonan community correspondent
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.