Stress... and your health

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In America we work harder to consume more. Our jobs need us. Our children need us. Increasingly our aging parents need us. We are over–booked, over–worked, and over–whelmed. Our gas tanks are filled. Our bank accounts are filled. Our closets are filled. But we’re running empty. We are stressed out.

Stress is the epidemic of the 21st century. Under the grip of stress our adrenaline spikes, stress hormones surge, blood pressure rises, breathing speeds up, blood sugar increases and digestive functions slow down. Stress raises our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and most other chronic diseases. Stress takes a toll on the way we look: our complexions turn lackluster, we begin to loose our hair, and our skin and body age faster than normal.

Surveys indicate that we don’t get enough sleep. We eat more meals on the run than at home. We take too many pills. We don’t spend enough time with our children and the people we love.

So what is the solution to our epidemic of stress? Spirituality. We have scientific research that teaches us the positive connection between our health and spirituality. Science tells us many spiritual practices reduce blood pressure, reduce heart disease, and enhance the immune system to help heal cancer and other chronic diseases.

The moments to pursue spiritual strength, to find the peace and contentment that are missing in our lives, pass by us every hour, we’re just not aware of them. All it takes is our awareness to see the routine activities in our everyday lives as opportunities to practice spirituality. Spirituality is found inside us. We have it as a natural gift. We don’t suddenly become spiritual people, we are innately spiritual! Spirituality is as real as our emotions and our intelligence.

And what happens when we develop our spirituality? We find ourselves living more in the rhythm and flow of our lives. We take things more in stride. We recognize what’s really important in our lives.

Here is a little secret: spiritual well–being leads to physical and mental well–being. As we develop our spirituality we find we have more energy for the physical and emotional demands of our lives. We become more complete, more balanced, more mindful in every aspect of our lives. Will we still be busy? Yes. But our ability to cope with our schedules and the demands made upon our lives will increase immensely.

So start taking responsibility for your own spirituality. It belongs to you, after all. It is available in every activity of your daily routine. Begin now by practicing awareness of your breath. Our breath is our immediate connection between our body and spirit. With our breath we can experience immediate calm, focus and awareness.

Stop letting precious unused moments slip away, recognize them for their spiritual potential and watch your stress transform.

Dr. Kathleen Hall, an expert in health and spirituality, is an author, a columnist, and the founder, president and CEO of Alter Your Life.com. Her website is http://www.drkathleenhall.com.

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