Can You Be “Addicted” To Stress? | The 50 Zone Magazine : Mens Information On Wellness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Women, Style And Fashion


Can You Be “Addicted” to Stress?

— Part 3 of the Stress Series —

By Lars Gustafsson

Ten years ago I found myself sitting in “Millionaire Mind” – a seminar weekend presented by T. Harve Ecker. Sitting there, I found myself thinking,

“I came here to learn how to become a millionaire (funny right?!) and all I keep hearing is how my blueprint is holding me back… that my THOUGHTS influence my FEELINGS, that my FEELINGS instigate the power of my ACTIONS…ACTIONS that create my RESULTS… I thought wasn’t this supposed to be about making money?!”

Each time I look back on this epic moment in my life, I have to laugh – in that statement, I was spelling out for myself, the secret to success that is discussed in every major personal growth book ever written. As the weekend progressed, it dawned on me that my blueprint was most likely what was holding me back in various areas of my life. I was also stunned into the life-changing realization that the state of my body influenced the state of my mind… and visa versa!

I began to see that I had been pre-programmed to behave in a certain way — my relationships, spending and saving habits, business practices and attitudes, and spiritual conditioning. ALL of this was guiding my life along a deep-set track that was dooming me to repeat past results! To top it off, my nutrition, exercise, sleep and lifestyle habits, along with my environment and friendships were also influencing and strengthening my blueprint. My whole life was bubbling out of a habitual way of being, and my body and results were reaping the outcome!

If one defines addiction as the repeated thought or action out of a bio-chemical or subconscious habit, then, I was deeply addicted to stress and repeated failure!

It’s hard to imagine how someone could be addicted to either of these – especially failure. And yet, I discovered that the repeated failures in my life had given me purpose to succeed and work even harder the next time. How warped was that?!

I KNEW that weekend that I needed a solution to my stress addiction. I KNEW that I had to change at a fundamental level; by taking control of what I thought and felt, I could guide my life in whatever direction I wanted. If I could figure out a few simple things that would influence a positive-feeling state in my body, this would have far reaching consequences in supporting a full and happy life.

Something else remarkable happened that weekend. I had a seed thought of what was at the CORE of all the health, fitness, weight loss and social issues in our society…

“Stress perpetuates stress.” Or in other words, “you become what you think — and act on.”

You literally have to divert your attention AWAY from the things or actions that are causing you stress. This is inordinately difficult in the beginning. It’s tough to look away from the dragon breathing fire in your face… and attempt to focus on something else! But I soon discovered it’s a LOT easier when you have your body on your side.

When I plunged into the research on stress and its many side effects, I was overwhelmed by the number of actions you would have to take in order to completely eliminate stress from your life. I came to a dramatic conclusion about how I was going to approach this personally and in my profession as a coach. It wasn’t about how many things you did to reduce stress but rather about becoming the master of a couple simple thoughts and actions, each of which would have a cumulative effect that would in turn perpetuate more of these conditions, thoughts, emotions and actions. So in other words, it became about … “simple shifts that would last a lifetime.”

I decided to approach my own life in a new way. I focused on the simplest of things that I could do every day. I found that there were a number of habits that were causing me stress, and found it was my thought patterns that were creating the most stress.

I began recording my most predominant thoughts. I noted limiting thoughts in a notebook and made a small line whenever that thought reoccurred.

“I don’t have enough time.” 100’s of times a day

“I’m stressed.” 100’s and 100’s of times a day

“I’m worried about…” Dozens and dozens of times a day

“I can’t …” 100’s of times a day

This was only the beginning! I found this revelation remarkable since everyone, including myself, had thought I was a positive guy! Who knew!? I quickly shifted these limiting thoughts into…

“I always find time to do everything I need to … I have an abundance of time.”

“I feel peaceful, and I think and act in peaceful ways.”

“I am grateful for…” and listed all the things that occurred to me in that moment.

“I know that all things are working out perfectly for every person in my life.”

Just by reading these words I’m sure you notice the difference in how they make you feel. You can imagine how I felt by focusing all my efforts on shifting these and other thoughts for a few weeks — I began to see an incredible change happening in my life. I became more efficient in my habits, work efforts, and daily living. I found amazing spaces in which I could read, take a walk, and have more time for balance and myself. When others asked me how I was doing, I quickly found myself responding with the attitude of gratitude. I noticed that my worry habit was gone and replaced by a deep sense of knowing that everything occurs in the flow of life; that the stresses or ‘negatives’ being experienced by people around me were all part of their transformative gift.

Even more dramatically, I noticed a shift in my body. Remember that your subconscious calculates everything in your 73 trillion cells – from your 100,000 reactions in each cell per second to the subtle (and not so subtle) hormones that are the result of your 60,000 (or so) thoughts you have per day. My shift in awareness was having a profound effect on my cells!

And so — like me, if you practice this one simple shift, you will notice that:

• You will fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper and longer. Your body will recuperate faster from exercise, be less achy and sore, and feel stronger.

• Exercise will improve at all levels – endurance, stamina, strength and power.

• Your relationships will shift – from initially seeing how everyone around you may have the same habits you had, to something more subtle, almost unspoken. People will feel better around you, want to talk to you. They will feel as though they have changed but really, they haven’t – it’s just the new ‘vibe’ you’re giving off.

• Your body composition will shift — water retention will decrease, fat will drop away, and your lean muscle will return.

“Come on Lars, really? All of this from shifting my thoughts?” you ask.

Well, perhaps not all of these things. It is likely that you will see some type of a shift, and if anything you will notice that you look at things differently. You will realize that you take a few more positive actions for yourself each day – which may only be drinking more water and taking a few more deep breaths… but these small actions will add up.

And here’s the curious aspect to a shift in awareness- as your actions change, what you think about and seek out will change as well. You’ll notice that you are making more frequent trips to the supplement or health store, seeking out healthier nutrition options, and overall shifting every other area of life.

Again…“Gratitude perpetuates gratitude and goodness in your life.” Or in other words “You become what you think about.”

THE HUGE KEY that must be thought about and action taken on is in supporting your gut, organs, cells, immune system and mind throughout this transition. From my own experience in my life I cannot relay this to you strongly enough! If you try to go out there and simply ‘think positively’ or ‘change your focus’ — which I will admire and support tremendously — it may not be enough. Taking care of your body is equally important to support this change for a permanent shift in your life.

These EIGHT simple shifts for physical support will elevate your FEELINGS of positivity EFFORTLESSLY:

1. Your gut-brain connection. Take two Probiotic capsules first thing in the morning with a glass of water, pinch of sea salt and tiny bit of juice (1/3 cup). You will immediately begin to see an improvement in your emotions, energy and vitality. Over 90% of your ‘feel good’ hormone Serotonin is made in your gut… “healthy gut – happy mind”. This shift may also increase your bowel movements (BM’s) to a healthy 2-3 times per day. If your BM’s do not reach this level, add 200mg of Magnesium Bisglycinate/Citrate or Malate in the morning. You can add this amount again at lunch and dinner if the first dose doesn’t achieve this goal. BM’s (Bowel Movements) are your gauge into how healthy or stressed you are; when you are at one or less per day, you’re becoming loaded with toxins and physical stress which will only exacerbate any type of mental or emotional stress you are in.

2. Blood sugar levels: Small snacks like dried berries and nuts (1/8 cup of each) or a piece of fruit (apple, orange, berries) between your meals will sustain your blood sugar levels and help drive your Serotonin production. Adding these snacks during the morning and afternoon can dramatically shift your ability to digest and utilize your meals, keep your mind awake and alert, calm your central nervous system, and elevate your moods effortlessly.

3. Hydration: Drinking purified water or spring water with a pinch of sea salt in every liter between meals will instantly turn on a plethora of metabolic function and enzyme systems, all while balancing hormones and elevating your whole sense of well-being. For women, attempt to drink two litres of water (herbal tea definitely counts) and men, up to three litres throughout the day. Begin drinking fluids 60-90 minutes after a meal (30 minutes after fruit) and up to five minutes prior to a meal. If you drink fluids with food, it will prevent the food from digesting properly, leading to fermentation, rotting, putrefaction and a rise in toxicity throughout your body and mind in the following hours and days. Often this simple shift alone can dramatically reduce stress, simply by preventing pounds of toxic matter from entering the body, blood, organs and mind.

4. Deep Breathing – the simplest of all habits. Science has shown us that by simply taking five deep breaths during times of stress, you can dramatically reduce your stress hormones and their damage to your body and mind. Try taking five deep breaths before you begin every meal of the day. Eventually, being more focused on your breath throughout the day will become a subconscious habit.

5. Supplement support: a high quality B-Complex, anti-oxidant, multivitamin and essential fat (1tsp of Krill oil) taken at breakfast can supply all the key elements for enzyme, hormone and metabolic function. Further guidance and customization with a health professional can create a profile that will provide for every layer of your renewal at this time.

6. Natural botanical Support: 1 capsule of Rhodiola with breakfast and lunch can support the anti-stress or peaceful conditions of your mind and body.

“Rhodiola rosea and its positive adaptogenic effects are well documented as being an effective way to assist in dealing with life’s stressful situations. An adaptogen is a botanical that exerts a normalizing effect upon bodily processes, creating an ideal biological environment for the reduction of stress. Everybody deals with the stressors in their life in their own way, but many people in today’s high-pressure, fast-paced workplaces have been looking for simple answers and helpful solutions to this dilemma. Rhodiola rosea has been found to stimulate the neurotransmitters responsible for creating feelings of well-being as well as offering significant relief for low energy conditions like asthenia. The reason that Rhodiola is effective at combating moodiness is due to the fact that it increases levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, all of which create “good feelings” in the brain.” (direct quote taken from

7. Exercise support: a healthy combination of juice (1/2 cup for women and ¾-1 cup for men) mixed with a pinch of sea salt and 2-3 cups of filtered water will amply support your hydration, electrolyte and energy needs during exercise. Immediately following exercise (within five minutes) have a recovery shake with sprouted organic brown rice protein (20g for women and 30g for men) mixed with orange juice (1 cup for women and 1.5 cups for men), a pinch of sea salt and 2-3 cups of filtered water. This will instantly improve your recovery speed.

8. Brain support: the most incredible system for resetting your brain patterns to that of balance and inner peace is Brain Wave Training. My personal experience from this has been nothing short of stunning. It has helped me to achieve a constant state of mental peace and as a result of this, physical peace. To look up a Brain Wave professional in your area or to discover more about this process, check out – and my interview with the founder, Lee Gerdes at –

Each of these steps is as significant as the next – any that you begin with will become your “simple shift that will last a lifetime.”

Over these last ten years I have used the first seven shifts mentioned above as the baseline for helping clients with every type of goal- from weight loss to improved physical and mental performance. It is remarkable to me that I haven’t found a single scientific study, for supplements or otherwise, that first implements these core elements BEFORE testing the efficacy of any other layer of change. For instance – before testing an anti-oxidant – why not first ensure the person being studied has a healthy gut, is not suffering from intoxication as a result of too few bowel movements, and that they are hydrated and being properly supported with a full nutritional profile? The conclusion I have come to is that scientific studies that show a positive change in the absence of these elements MUST provide a much greater result with them in place. Or perhaps, that supplement or element would not be needed because most of the issues would already be solved.

This is for all of us to discover for ourselves, while scientific studies can be used to provide valuable insights into helping us live healthier and more abundant lives. I hope that in sharing this insight with you, that you will turn to some simple shifts before jumping on a band wagon of expensive supplements and be able to make an informed decision from a healthier place about whether or not you need them.

I will close this article by encouraging you to continue being the observer of your life while incorporating one or more of the simple shifts mentioned above. These tools can only produce lasting results for you, as you choose to take action. 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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