“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
.”
Melodie Beattie

Gratitude vs stress

Hello, people, it’s your girl Judith here.

Last week I introduced you to Jenifer, that I may refer to as Jen, who never suspected that the level of stress in her life could cause physical in on her body. But these last months, stress had become a normal component of her reality.

A few years back, Jenifer was a joyful,  passionate, and hard working woman. But down the road, she took on herself a lot of stress and didn’t make sure to find some activities that would help her channel out the bad stuff and therefore keep some balance in her life.

As a consequence, her blood pressure has taken a considerable toll on the health status of Jen. She is now on medication for the following:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Anti-depressants
  • Increased weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Pills to ease the starting ulcer
  • …and some more.

 

Too much of this unhandled stress caused the overall health of Jen to be rated as poor. As wesaw in last’s weekarticle, Jenifer has decided in order not to finish like her father who died of Hypertension, to take a full year, No stress.

For the next twelve months, Jen would prioritize her activities whether at home, at work, with the family or even with friends, the most important criteria to be used to select the activities to do would be those activities that caused her stress, would simply be removed from her to-do-list.

Jenifer wants to stay alive, happy, and free of stress and its consequences on her health.

For this for the first month, Jenifer has chosen to start with gratitude, because she has noticed that whenever she makes time to list the good things happening in her life and simply being grateful for it. , she felt happy, and the night she did this before sleeping, she was able to easily fall asleep without the need for sleeping pills she usually takes to be ready to fall asleep.

I want to take some time here to go in much more details of what Jane is doing.

30 minutes gratitude daily


So each day, Jenifer has set apart 30 minutes for her 30 days gratitude challenge.

During this time, these are the activities Jen would be doing in the 30 minutes:

  • List three to five things she is grateful for
  • Then she will write each of these down making sure she is specific enough about why she is thankful for each item, chain least five to seven things that have happened to the previous day or during that very day.
  • In positive psychology, it is crucial to be specific /detailed about the activity, the process or the behavior for which we are grateful for
  • This is because knowing exactly what we are thankful for; it is much easier for us to repeat the good action

 

In positive psychology, this is one of the points that are important to take into consideration to be clear about why because being clear about why allows us to repeat the behavior.

This is also why in general in positive psychology, it is encouraged to be specific when appreciating kids or when appreciating employees because when they know clearly the behavior that causes them to receive appreciations, they can more easily reproduce that behavior.

 

So in her challenge, Jennifer takes time to list the things – events – activities –  for which she is grateful for then she clearly states why she is grateful for that specific event or thing that happened to her.

 

Another outstanding thing Jenifer does in her gratitude time is that for each item on her list, she will rethink about that positive activity.

Taking time to re-live that positive experience will also bring with him positive emotions.

The positives emotions will continue to create joy and peace in the heart of Jen, and as a consequence, will reduce the level of stress in the life of Jenifer.

 

So far in the 30 days challenge, Jen has been able to go seven days without the need for pills to sleep. Her blood pressure has not changed much, still very high.; but to see that gratitude could help her go a full 30 days without pills. Even if just for this advantage, the 30 days gratitude is all worth it.

Any advice helping Jenifer to continue in her journey and ultimately reclaim back her health?

Intesrested in taking a plunge into gratitude like Jenifer?

Check this practice from the Greater Good science center: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/three-good-things

I absolutely love it because:

  • It is easy to do
  • It takes only about 10 minutes to complete
  • But it can transform your day, your relationships at home at work
  • …Can even heal

 

If you doubt what this practice is that can achieve all of these, check the link below:https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/three-good-things

 

Please feel free to comment, to give your pieces of advice or simply encourage Jenifer in her 30-day gratitude challenge or even the overall journey of one-year-no-stress, please do, and your inputs will be highly appreciated.

 

Take care, and be good. 

With much love, 

Judith Glory

 

 

One Year No Stress…


By Judith Glory

« It started just like a simple cold… 

Normal during Canadian winter time.

I did not bother much knowing that after about 7 days, it would be over.

However, it was curious to notice that only in the last 12 months, I suffered cold issues more than all the other years added together, since I started experiencing this side effect of the beautiful snow period.

 

A few weeks later, I had to consult my doctor for a sleeping disorder issue.

The diagnostic revealed there was more than just too much caffeine.

–         High blood pressure

–         Throat troubles,

–         A starting ulcer

–         Some skin reactions that I attributed to the very dry winter

–         Digestive troubles

–         Increased weight gain

 

With all these elements suspected by my doctor, I wondered, if it was just about prescribing the maximum amount of medicine or if I really suffered all of these.

Further testing and diagnosis data proved the doctor right. 

How could it be that just three years back, I took NO drug, but now I had a full box of various medicine to be taken every day many times a day? 

To follow up the root cause of the weight gain aside from the usual eat less, exercise more, Thyroid and cortisol testing was carried out and this is where it was discovered that her Cortisol level were those of chronically stressed people….” 

 

 

This is the story of Jenifer, a passionate and productive professional who loves to achieve and perform; this race of perfectionists who want to be the best parents as well as the employee of the month and the go-to person everywhere she goes.

The kind of go-getters who will not stop at anything until the planned goal is met. 

Because of her lifestyle and all the pressure, she had to take on, Jenifer was under a huge amount for stress now for many years. 

Some people think that stress is a normal component in today’s life? What is your take on this? 

How come this “normal stress “could be causing real debilitating physical pains and syndromes to Jenifer. 

Jenifer continued to exercise as she used to., five-time or more jogging of forty-five minutes each week. she even increased the frequency, as sometimes she ran in the mornings and fast walked in the evenings. but at the next follow up with the doctor, her blood pressure was getting to alarming values. 

Jenifer then remembered that her father died a few years ago, was suffering from hypertension and was complaining of regular and very painful migraines.

This remark caused Jenifer to stop and think: What if she had only six months to live (she had almost the same things her father was complaining from few months prior to his death.), how would she love to spend her last days?

Did you know that stress, especially long-term stress can seriously affect your health?

The image below gives some information on the numerous ways how stress can literally bring you to the grave. 

Now, I do not want you to get stressed just reading this. No!

 

My aim here is to get you thinking about your situation: Are you stressed? If Yes, what are you intentionally doing to change this? 

As far as Jenifer is concerned, she decided to go on a ONE YEAR NO STRESS journey. 

For the first month, she chooses to start with a 30 days gratitude challenge. Jenifer had noticed that whenever she would journal and write down good things that happened to her, she was able to fall asleep without using sleeping pills she had been prescribed.

Jenifer thought that if I can reduce the number of time I take sleeping pills, and have 6 hours sleeps, this will be a sure way to recover and reduce stress in her life. 

For her gratitude challenge, everyday Jenifer would make time to:

  • List 3 – 7 things she is grateful for
  • For each item of her list, she will be specific on WHY she is grateful for that item.
  • She will think, remember and enjoy once more the positive emotions attached to the elements of her list.
  • Since Jenifer is a person of faith, she would also Thank God for each of her list items.

 

What do you think about this plan to reduce her stress level?

Any more recommendations to help Jenifer out of this chronic stress level?

What would you do, if you were in the shoes of Jenifer?

 

I wish and hope that you are not in chronic stress situation as Jenifer.  

To be sure you are safe, check your stress level using the two links below where you will have an idea on where you stand, with respect to your stress levels. You will also get and some tips and hints you can start to use now to avoid damaging your health. 

–         https://www.stress.org/self-assessment

–         https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/stress_and_anxiety  

 

Take care, and be good. 

 

\With much love, 

Judith Glory