Don’t worry, be happy
It is all in the attitude. Stress can play havoc in your body. You need to know when not to sweat the small stuff.
BY: Dr Samuel Cheah
Why do some people live longer than 70 or in some extraordinary cases, 110? Besides eating a healthy meal and some regular exercise, I believe adopting the right attitude in their lifestyle is crucial. When something doesn’t go well according to one’s plan, a person can deal with it in two ways – worry all day long or reflect on the greener side of life.
But a person with a wrong attitude will worry, vent out his anger or even slide into self-pity, blaming others for his misgivings. These will tap on a lot of precious time and energy repeatedly going over and over the issues that can sometimes lead to uncontrollable high blood pressure or even respiratory or cardiac failure. We are all familiar with the word “stress” and its definition. But stress is only part of the equation that describes the physical impact of a wrong attitude.
Inflammation in the body
But do we know that over-stress can and impact inflammation in our physical bodies? Everyone has heard of the word “inflammation”. If you accidentally cut or burn yourself, the wound will get infected and become red and swollen. That’s inflammation, and our amazing body plays a key role in wound repair because it helps to draw blood and nutrients to the wound and act as a protective agent.
In this same way, inflammation can also happen inside the body. We neither see it nor talk about it because we don’t have a transparent body. It is a side effect of too much stress and the wrong lifestyle choices – especially eating more than necessary and overloading our minds with issues that lead to no possible solutions. It even helps speed up ageing, so much so that it is a proven phenomenon that stress can age the entire body – rapidly. Therefore having a wrong attitude can release stress and inflammation inside us and actually make a person appear older than his actual age.
Having the right attitude
People living with a right attitude (or rather a calm mind) get less inflammation. When things don’t go well, they can still sleep peacefully and will not allow the problem to press the panic button inside them. “But”, you may say, “you don’t know what I’m going through.” I don’t have to understand the details. But I do know that by NOT giving in to worry is the first right attitude. Take a few slow deep breaths and exhale. Repeat as many times till you can visualise yourself in an oasis. Rest your mind on things that are pleasant and recall the fond memories with your loved ones or just relax in a cozy environment or listen to relaxing music.
Never SAY despairing words like “sure to die” or “why must this happen to me … if only, perhaps, all because of (fill in the blank)?” which will actually activate more and more stress than you can handle. I always emphasise to people that we must learn the habit of using the appropriate (right) words that we can hear ourselves speak and which will impact others especially our loved ones. Success never comes overnight. But if we apply patience and sow the right attitude all the time, we can actually see the harvest of our spoken words. This also applies to many of us as seniors when we live in a society of hustle and bustle, and the choices we make can affect our individual longevity.
Dr Samuel Cheah, 59, is currently working as a senior psychologist dealing with special needs students and family care. He takes it day-by-day and “enjoys life without boundaries”.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: Cereals by klarissa, stock.xchng; Looking Ahead: My beloved friend America looking lovely as always by coloniera2)