Learning how to manage stress is crucial to live an amazing life. My mantra is “Don’t let your brain run your life.”  I have learned through my cancer journey that the brain is the most amazing organ we possess.  It is the greatest computer ever created, but it is only a computer.  Amazingly, the brain records our lives and, like a broken record plays it back to us.  Stress is often a result of this playback, the brain telling us things we may or may not want to hear, and that may not be true.

There are several key reasons for stress in our lives:  Worry, lack of purpose or direction, unfinished business, fear of failure, fear of rejection, denial of reality and unresolved anger.  All of these aspects cause significant stress in our daily existence.  Our stressful lives can also hinder weight loss.  A stressed body is unable to handle common processes like fat burning and metabolization when cells are out of balance, which affects the homeostasis of our entire system.

3 Ways to Manage Stress:

# 1 Prayer and Meditation

Five minutes daily for prayer and meditation help manage stress and can counteract the effects of stress on body and mind.  Using your smartphone as a stopwatch, time five minutes to sit still.  I coach people who tell me when they reach two minutes or three minutes without distraction.  It’s a challenge at first, but you can train yourself over time.  The ability to complete this exercise is a great indicator of how stressed and busy you are, and how hard you need to work on relieving stress in your life.

My recommendation is to set the entire trajectory of your day by sitting still for five minutes each morning.  It is possible to think about how you want the day to go.  Whether it is meditation, prayer or deep breathing exercises, these practices will reduce stress levels and teach us to manage the day more efficiently.

# 2 Brain Training

The brain also needs exercise and we can train it like we train other muscles.   Neuroscientists increasingly believe our thought patterns become our emotional patterns, which in turn become our behavioral patterns.

If you think something repeatedly, intentionally being positive about the life you are trying to achieve, it will connect the emotions and translate into behavior.  Some of the most successful people in the world are not successful due to credentials or education. They are successful due to the power of their minds.

As a left-brained personality, I used to think this concept was poppycock.  When I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, however, I started thinking positively to rid myself of the intense fear I experienced; and it worked.  I skipped into the operating room chanting, “Come on! Let’s do this! I‘ve got stuff to do.”  I came through surgery with flying colors. My surgeon was thrilled. Within three hours I was walking around my yard, and he yelled at me, “This is a marathon, Renee, you have to rest.” I did need to sleep, but my brain was programmed to think otherwise.

# 3 Positive Affirmation

The words we use are important.  Believe me, I learned this the hard way.  Positive words and positive affirmation can alleviate stress.  Avoid saying anything negative about your life or yourself, even when brain playbacks stir up negative feelings.   Say positive things to yourself, whatever your issues are, even if it’s “I like myself, I like myself, I like myself.”  I was shocked when my research revealed how many top performers and leadership gurus repeat mantras to themselves each morning. Say the words and allow the brain to record it.

The Health Journey

Know what you need to turn your life around? The key is learning to manage your stress and today I have shared three ways. Prayer and meditation, retraining the brain and using positive words are positive ways to manage stress.

The seven segments we have discussed on this journey to health will guide you towards optimum health. I believe we need cardio exercise and strength conditioning, too, but these seven other things will leave you feeling good and looking good. Promise me you will try: water, air, eating well, supplements, movement, sleep and stress relief. Find ways to manage stress, and you will have an amazing life.