Stress As A Transformative Gift | The 50 Zone Magazine : Mens Information On Wellness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Women, Style And Fashion


Stress as a Transformative Gift

By Lars Gustafsson

Nineteen years ago I was sitting in a motivational seminar, listening to a fabulous speaker talking about the trials of life being the greatest gifts of our lives. I heard a lot that day, and although I even forgot the name of the speaker, these were the words burned in my memory…

“The pressure in life creates diamonds in the rough — without pressure over millions of years coal would stay black and soft. Instead, that immense pressure turns that coal into one of the toughest and most beautiful substances on our planet.”

This metaphor is applicable on so many levels … life, relationships, business and sports, and brilliantly illustrates how stress can be a transformative tool.

Although no one, including myself, enjoys the pressures of negative stress, its outcome is often positive in the big picture. We may only be able to see this many years later after time has healed all that we were experiencing in that moment.

Just as our bodies change from the rigors of exercise, we will change under pressure. To recuperate from exercise, we use the best possible supplements and nutrition. To recover and strengthen from stress, it’s equally important to have the right tools at our disposal.

Much like the vicious acids and oxidation that results from exercise when we don’t utilize the proper recovery nutrients and rest, there are numerous things we can do that will continue to tear us down during or after a stressful period.

We can lay blame, feel guilty, argue, rant, rave, stew and ruminate … lose sleep … and so much more. Are we actually learning from the stress and becoming stronger through these thoughts and actions? Most likely not … unless at some point, hopefully sooner than later, we flip the switch and look at what we are learning, what we are grateful for in life, and see these conditions as a way to evolve and become stronger.

I have had coaches in every aspect of life — from personal trainers to life coaches — tell me that the way to propel oneself to the next level of life … physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually … is to have an innate plan of action to apply stress in an intelligent way, and a recovery plan to make large gains from the stress.

This is where any stress becomes transformative.

We definitely understand the physically transformative nature of stress, both when it comes from physical exercise and emotional pressures.

When you exercise, you create a condition of improvement that propels you through the first layers of limitations that you had when you began… with or without good nutrition. I have personally coached world-class athletes that had deplorable nutrition routines when they first came to see me — yet somehow their bodies recovered to propel them to the highest ranks in the world. Through this I came to see that mind over matter goes deeper than any of us can imagine or understand.

What if you have been on a treadmill of life for decades … not realizing that even the smallest levels of stress have been eating away at your body? What has slowly broken down over these years can be equated to the breakdown that can happen in a single triathlon season without the right recovery nutrients. Tendons, organs, cellular cleansing systems, the central nervous system, immune and rebuilding systems all suffer.

Emotional stress has the same nature – it eats away at all the normal operative systems of your body. It lays open your body to disease and dysfunctions that are often blamed on genetics or age. Sure these play a part but only because all the supportive and contributive aspects have not really been considered and applied.

So how can you flip the switch and turn any stressful situation into a beneficial and transformative experience?

Below are the top five keys that include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support. The physical aspects will be the bed underneath all of it. You will obviously feel stronger, have positive hormones surging through your mind and body, and have a bolstered immune system that will help to see that big picture view of the situation you are in. It’s extremely challenging to feel positive if your body is acidic, bloated, worn down and weakened.

1. Eat lighter meals and replace one or more of them with liquid nutrition — a robust, nutrient dense shake will bypass your worn down digestive system and provide the much needed nutrition to your cells. A single shake under these conditions can be worth more in nutritional support than many days’ worth of food. Become familiar with super foods and other supportive nutrition that bolsters your digestive system, organs, cells, central nervous system, mind and body.

2. Become an expert at supporting your immune system: some key supplements are Vitamin D (one of Dr. Mercola’s favorites), C, E, CoQ10, Greens, Chaga Mushroom (a David Wolfe favorite), Probiotics and more.

Once the stress has subsided, look into how you can gently begin cleansing your organs, cells, digestive tract and lymph system. Care needs to be taken with this crucial subject, and I recommend guidance with a professional, as cleansing too deeply when your body is weakened by stress can be more of a detriment than a benefit. It’s somewhat like going into an extensive physical exercise program without proper build up or strengthening of all your systems.

3. Exercise to release stress. Just as in your meal plan and supplementation, this is as unique to you as your life. Take care to not overdo exercise during stress — which would show up in slow recovery times, poor sleep, and overall increased tension in your mind and body. Exercise is critical during stress — but too much or too intense exercise without the proper nutrition can wear down all of your systems. I have seen triathlon and iron man athletes age years from a single season of malnutrition.

4. Seek out every avenue to promote a healthy mind, here are a few that I recommend right from the start: brain training, bio-feedback, meditation, yoga, NLP training, life coaching … and healthy attitudes such as the gratitude, having fun with friends & family, ample sleep and rest.

Over the years, I have seen extremely stressed clients quickly come out of their stress when they started on even the simplest nutrition programs.

If you are reading this and feeling overwhelmed at the things you would have to add on to your already packed lifestyle, realize that the simplest of shifts is all you will need to get started. Pick one thing that you know you could fit in every day — even an extra glass of water with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt between meals, or an extra piece of fruit in the morning and afternoon instead of a cup of coffee, or getting to bed an hour early every night.

The “simple of shifts that will last a lifetime” are those that will quickly make you feel better about bringing something positive into the stressful mix.

5. Next … pick up on the idea of gratitude and look at all the many positive things that you have around you and in your life. Moving your emotions from those in observation of stress to those of gratitude can literally change your biology instantly. It pays to be grateful.

I’m going to close this article by helping you set the intention that you will begin a new journey of mastering stress by becoming an expert at taking care of your body, mind and emotions.

And remember … it’s all about simple shifts.

I look forward to bringing you the next keys to living a life filled with fun, power and joy in my next article.

In health and inspiration,

Lars Gustafsson

Founder: BodyMind Institute



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