Stress: the health epidemic of the 21st century

Article Published in Executive Secretary Magazine: 25 May 2017

Tomorrow belongs to those that hear it coming – David Bowie 

In 2012, a pan-European poll on occupational safety and health asked the question: “Do you think that the number of people suffering from job stress (in your country) will increase, decrease or stay the same over the next 5 years?” The result was that 77% (8 out of 10 respondents) said it would increase and 47% answered that it would increase a lot.

We are now in 2017, 5 years on and the number of people suffering from job-related stress did indeed increase. It is estimated that the cost to European businesses and social security systems adds up to €600 billion a year. With this figure in mind, it should come as no surprise that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed stress the health epidemic of the 21st century.

In my article “Stress: A conflict between biology and culture” (published in the January edition of Executive Secretary Magazine), I offered an evolutionary perspective on why stress has become such a nuisance to our health and wellbeing.

In brief, I explained that since we’ve been able to manipulate fire we’ve started to change our environment, to make life easier. The agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions followed on from each other with increasing speed, radically changing within an extremely short time every aspect of how we live and work.

Yes, modernisation and the rise in technological and economic progress has made life easier and has increased life expectancy. However, the unexpected drawback of this progress, especially over the last 10-15 years, is its detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing. Technological and economic progress has encouraged the rise of unhealthy lifestyles and increased stress levels, which in turn have contributed to the spread of chronic degenerative diseases and mental disorders: coronary heart disease, cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, depression, dementia, burnout…

Another unexpected drawback is the impact on the size of our brains. Contrary to what you might have heard, our brain has shrunk over the past 20,000 years. John Hawks, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, explains:

“Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimetres to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eye-blink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.” If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo Erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago and had a brain volume of only 1,100 cc.” (Discover Magazine)

On top of the gradual effects of modernisation on our brain size, chronic stress and anxiety will, if not attended to, shrink your brain further and far more rapidly than you might imagine, with huge ramifications: increased anxiety and memory loss, to name but a few. (Ensell, et al. 2012).

But what about tomorrow? To quote David Bowie: “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it” So what will tomorrow bring? Will the number of people suffering from work stress increase, decrease or stay the same? Statistics for this aren’t available yet but what do you think? I think it will increase and I’m very concerned about this. I’m concerned because I’m starting to see the effects of this fourth industrial revolution, as it is called, in some of my patients already.

The way we live and work has changed exponentially over the last 10 years, but this is nothing compared to what is to come, when ever more tasks, and even whole jobs are outsourced to robots and intelligent appliances. What was once science fiction will become science fact and less and less will be impossible.

Did you know that according to an Oxford study, around 50% of all jobs could be replaced by robots in the next 20 years?  According to that study, there is an 86% likelihood that administrative professionals, including assistants, will be replaced by robots or AI. That said, even if not replaced, the work of assistants surely will change significantly over the next 5-10 years, as more and more tasks are automated. Indeed, everything that is routine in a job will be automated, according to futurist Gerd Leonhard.

From an economic and evolutionary perspective, this increased automation is very logical, but it also offers a solution to one of the biggest work-related health problems: stress. Work-related stress is experienced when the demand on an employee is greater than their resources. At first sight, then, the reasoning that automating more will reduce those demands seems sound.

However, will it actually reduce stress levels? I don’t think so. Rather, I envisage the appearance of a new form of stress: spiritual stress, referred to in medical terms as existential anxiety. It’s already here if the new questions and health problems my patients come to my practice with are any indicator (body-mind disconnection, feelings of hopelessness and numbness).

While until recently our modern lifestyle affected people essentially on a physical and mental level, the fourth industrial revolution, with the rise of artificially intelligent devices, will cause problems of a more existential nature as the very foundations of life and its meaning are called into question. Personal fulfilment and meaning are essential human drives, and for the moment the main contributor of meaning for many people lies in their job. When work falls away or becomes menial, what then?

Not only is there the question of meaning and fulfilment, but that more comfortable lifestyle will have an adverse effect on our health, wellbeing… and brain size! There is thus a very real risk that automation will only increase our current problems.

Automation cannot be stopped; robots and artificial intelligence are here to stay and that is the way it is. However, we must to start thinking and finding ways to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit in this more automated world.

In the article ‘Will robots replace assistants?’ (published in the January edition of Executive Secretary Magazine) Craig Allen proposed that it is important for assistants to invest in training and acquire new skills to assure their future in a changing world.  In the article “Will life be worth living in a world without work? Technological unemployment and the meaning of Life”, Dr. John Danaher argues that adopting an integrative approach to our relationship with technology is a possible option. This is the option where technology is directly integrated into biological systems and we become cyborgs.

This view is in complete opposition to the thoughts of futurist Gerd Leonhard, who explains in his book “Technology vs. Humanity” that we need to focus on what cannot be automated, going beyond technology and data. For him, the new way to work is to embrace technology but not to become it.

So, how do you prepare for what is emerging? Stay informed about the changes in your workplace, start the dialogue with your colleagues and prepare. Prepare yourself by finding out what the non-routine parts are or what cannot be digitalised in your job. Those parts will become the most valuable in the future. Also start doing things you find meaningful, that give you energy and fulfilment outside your work. Start with these today and you’ll be ahead of the game, becoming more resilient in changing times.

References:

Tom Meyers is an osteopath D.O., stress coach and visionary in the field of health and wellbeing. He runs a private health practice in Brussels and gives regular inspiring presentations in Belgium and abroad on the topic of ‘Understanding & Managing Stress’. Tom also runs workshops on the ‘Reaset Approach’ a novel manual body-mind and educational health approach he developed. In 2017 he will publish his first book ‘Futurize Yourself’ in which he interlaces soul-purpose, personal development, health and healing into a compelling guide to thrive. If you want to know more about Tom, or invite him to your own event, take a look at his website: www.tommeyers.be

The Pursuit of Happiness

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.02.25

Tom Meyers offers seven tips on the road to true contentment
Article published in Together Magazine 54 December 2014

The promotion of wellbeing is essential to the pursuit of happiness. Self-Realisation or honing and living your potential and the sense of fulfilment it brings you is one way to promote that wellbeing.

However, self-realisation, being in alignment with your life’s purpose, is a long-term process, a life-long mission, to be enjoyed every step of the way as there is no true end to self-realisation – it is more like a direction than a destination.

Just like a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, it’s not about arriving, it’s about the experiences, the teachings on the way, the stories, the landscapes, the smells, the tastes of the local delicacies, the culture and, of course, the victory over oneself, having walked the distance and fulfilled a dream.

When you arrive you do look back on your achievement, contemplating on how you did it and then look towards the future, ready for the next challenge on your path. Self-Realisation is being in perpetual discovery of oneself, of pealing off the layers, in order to come closer to the real you.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are also about short-term objectives. To have a vision and become who you were born to be is essential, but living is about here and now. Do not get caught up in the vision itself and forget to live in this moment. And that moment is very much in peril in today’s hectic, online, harder, better, faster and stressful environment, where time becomes as elusive as our health, wellbeing and happiness.

You can change the tide and become a master of your own happiness and live a life where you manage your stress. Stress is after all an essential survival response and part of being human. If you’re living a super-human life, stress does become a nuisance.

Research suggests that up to 40% of happiness depends on our habits and activities.

How to promote health, wellbeing and happiness in seven simple steps:

Step 1: Take time-out

If not you, who will do it for you? Taking breaks is essential and short breaks now and then help you to make up time afterwards. This might be counter-intuitive but it’s true. For example when you struggle writing, when you hit that wall, go for a walk, breathe in some fresh air. You’ll feel more focus afterwards.

Step 2: ‘Return to Ease’

Numerous scientific studies have proven that breathing exercises, where you become mindful of your breath and induce a sense of calm and joy, a meditation or a mindfulness exercise, help to reduce anxiety, treat depression, reverse the effects of stress and help you to be more focused. The more you practice the quicker you’ll get back into the zone after a stressful moment.

Step 3: Inner forgiveness

Can you forgive yourself? There is something very liberating in inner forgiveness, which changes your attitude towards a past experience. To be the observer of yourself, your thoughts, your feelings and to forgive yourself by accepting what was and to let go of the anger, fear, rage and other emotions that you feel when recalling an unpleasant memory, to detach from past experiences and to let bygones be bygones. In the process of self- observation and changing your attitude, you self-correct, heal wounds and ultimately alter the direction of your future.

Change your dream and your world changes.

Step 4: Gratefulness

What have you been grateful for recently? Practicing grateful living as inspired by the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast is a universal practice that fosters personal transformation, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, intergenerational respect, non-violent conflict resolution and ecological sustainability. Instead of seeing the worst in everything, start seeing the opportunities. Stop complaining, pointing the finger at others and take an observer‘s perspective. What has this situation taught you? Then be grateful for the lesson learned.

Step 5: Compassion and altruism

When is the last time you helped someone? Research suggests that meaningful social

interaction helps you to reduce stress and enjoy better mental and physical health.

Step 6: Hugs

Our society is deprived of touch, especially single people and the elderly, and it has a detrimental effect on their health. Hugs have healing power, even hugging yourself. Hugs trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin which is known to be important for trust and a sense of wellbeing by reducing fear. A hug a day keeps…

Step 7: Creativity

When was the last time you created something? Knitting, painting, cooking, ironing, doing the dishes or hands on, physical work are all activities with an end result, which help you gain resilience and prevent and treat depression.

In other words the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is in your hands.

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

TomTom Health Navigator

http://www.togethermag.eu/sites/default/pdf/TOGETHER54.pdf

Tenets of Health

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 15 December 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to the last regular episode of Health Matters for this year.

In the last 14 episodes I‘ve taken you an a journey to find answers to the question: What is health?

We all seek health but are we ready to take up our responsibility to give it at least a chance to express itself? Are we willing to look into our own bosom and act today rather than wait till someone else does it for us as I can tell you with certainty that day will never come…

health-is-wealth

As soon as we are born we know one thing for sure the body will die. However from that moment of birth until your last day, your body – by nature – is genetically programmed towards health which in other words means that it strives for unity or wholeness through creating a physiological dynamic equilibrium.

That dynamic equilibrium however is being challenged more than ever before through our changing environment that leads us astray from nature towards an artificial unsustainable IT dominated culture that is in conflict with our biological system that hasn’t changed since prehistory.

However health and our current technological environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Both systems have laws that govern them and what we need to find is the right milieu where both support each other and not work against each other as is the case now.

As the IT world doesn’t stop expanding and renewing itself it isn’t there that we need to start our quest for change or reflection on health matters. Health on the other hand is being halted even though we have more means to our disposition to stay and be healthy we do get sicker by the day not only individually bot also as a society.

So why not add to your list of new years resolutions the intention to reflect upon the essence of health and to implement health behaviour?

To get you started here are a few tenants you might like focus on:

  • Health is in my hands it is my responsibility.
  • I’ll be mindful of what I think and say as thoughts alter my biology.
  • What I eat I become.
  • I will remember that what I send out comes back, what I saw, I reap, what I give I get, what I see in others exists in me.
  • I am human, not super human.
  • I will find out and never again ignore what my heart beats for.
  • Unless you start caring about myself no one will.
  • Don’t live another ones dream live your own there is room for all.
  • Have less be more.
  • Know that you are awesome

Well, that’s it from me this year I hope I’ve been able to inspire you with the information shared here in Health Matters on Radio X. The English commercial radio station that has a heart for you.

Rest me to say may love and light accompany you during the holiday season and be good to you always.

TomTom Health Navigator

Happy-Holidays

When you like more information about my presentations or consultations or when you just want to get in touch, then visit the website www.tommeyers.be

Discover your potential

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 48 on Radio X from 10 November 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. In Health Matters I share with you my professional experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

School for Dreamers Napoli

In last weeks episode, I shared with you that your heart and your gut have an intelligence of their own and that this intelligence can act independently from the control of your brain.

You can tap into that intelligence to improve your health but also to bring more meaning into your life. Meaning is associated with the feeling of fulfilment and increased sense of wellbeing.

Let us stop here for a moment as I would like to remind you of the quest we’re on since September? The quest to find answers to the question: What is health?

For those of you that just started to listen to Health Matters, I highly recommend that you go to the podcast or blog and listen to the previous episodes.

That said and with renewed focus lets continue were we left of.

Intuition and gut feeling, we all have it and at times act accordingly but more often than not we don’t. We do not trust it enough and regret it afterwards. Learning to trust your intuition and gut feeling is like fine-tuning your musical skills by practicing over and over again. How? For example you can do this by repeating the Reaset Breathing exercise or daily practices like mindfulness, meditation or yoga.

While you’re practicing your intuition and gut feeling you can also go on a still deeper personal journey. A journey that takes you to discover your potential or how I like to refer to it the journey to find out your soul-purpose.

You might not believe there is something like a potential pre-destination and that is ok, I had difficulties accepting that too. But today I can look back at 14 years of developing my innate potential and living my soul-purpose or in other words living who I was born to be.

We all come into this world with certain personality traits some of which are dominant others that will develop over time depending on  environmental stimuli. The same is true for your aptitudes, your talents, your unique skills.

You were born with a unique combination of skills that defines who you are just as much as being a man or a woman defines you.

So how do you find your unique skills? I’m sure some you know already but others you don’t and others still you are expressing but don’t see them as anything special but people around you do.

So what I would like you to do this week is answer the following three questions

1. What do you admire in others?

2. What do others admire in you?

3. What have you done that truly made you happy?

Make your answers short and precise.

In the next episode of Health Matters I’ll share with you how to interpret your answers.

Together Magazine Nov 2014

In the meantime have a great day, and I’ll catch up with you again next week. For more information about my presentations or consultations , to visit the blog or to pick up your November copy of Together Magazine please visit my website www.tommeyers.be

 RadioX

AIM = I AM

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 45 on Radio X from 20 October 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. In Health Matters I share with you my professional experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

In last weeks episode, I talked about the benefits of becoming mindful of your bodies limits, of what it can handle. Don’t get me wrong your body is amazing but trop is the veel en the veel is trop as they say here in Belgium. Therefore get to know your limits and act accordingly.

Last week I also asked you to ponder upon the meaning of the metaphor ‘Only a king can dream a Kingdom’. It’s a quote from the personal development book the School for Gods written by professor Stefano d’Anna. Actually the quote goes ‘Only a King can dream Versailles…’ but that is just between you  and me 😉

School for Gods Book Cover

When it comes to health and wellbeing knowing who you are and who you were born to be are just as important as knowing the limits and resources of your body.

Let me illustrate.

Imagine your dream is to become a King but you are NOT born in a royal family then the likelihood you’ll ever be a king is very slim and Versailles or a kingdom far off. You don’t hear me say that becoming a king or having a kingdom is impossible but however and I hope you agree, highly unlikely. But lets say just for the sake of it that you managed somehow against all odds and probably with enormous sacrifices to become a King, then the question remains will you be living a meaningful and happy life or always live in fear for loosing it? Fear, means stress and chronic stress leads to illness and so on…

In other words you can aim for anything you wish for… but it doesn’t mean it will bring you happiness or health… on the contrary some aims can make you sick.

And after all AIM is the acronym for I AM and therefore knowing who you are, what your heart truly desire becomes part of the health equation! Your heart, not your mind.

And these kind of questions, reflections on one self have everything to do with personal development… or the conscious pursuit of self-realisation by expanding your self-awareness and by nourishing and honing your innate potential.

In other words personal development is reaching out to living your heart’s desire, to become who you were born to be and is essential for finding happiness and fulfilment and contribute to health and wellbeing.

Do I still have your attention?

In the coming weeks I will share with you my personal story how three questions put to me 14 years ago saved my life and contributed to who I am today and which can help you too, on your journey of self-realisation and improved health and wellbeing.

That’s all for this episode of Health Matters have a great day and I’ll catch up with you again next week here on Radio X or why not subscribe to the Health Matters podcast or Facebook page so you don’t miss any future feature or bonus episodes and articles. You can also find this episode as an article in next months Together Magazine to get to it go to my website www.tommeyers.be

RadioX

A pain in the neck

Together Magazine 52

Article by Tom Meyers published in Together Magazine 52, October 2014

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, musculoskeletal pain in the neck, shoulder and back is the most common work- related health problem.

Its increasing prevalence in modern society is concerning, and when left unresolved it contributes to distress at home, loss of productivity and increased absence at work.

Working as an osteopath and Stress-Coach for Body and Mind, most of my patients make an appointment for relief from musculoskeletal pain. When asked about the cause of their discomfort, I mostly hear patients say it is related to working in an office all day: my chair at work isn’t the best, I’m not sitting straight, my computer screen isn’t at the right height, I’ve been working with the computer mouse a lot – in other words, patients most often put the blame for their discomfort on ergonomic or postural issues.

And, yes, prolonged static postures or repetitive movements can lead to muscular chronic tension and eventually pain.

This biomechanical link has been researched extensively, and, although it seems logical, it will

probably surprise you to know that scientific studies show that ergonomics aren’t the main problem. There is in fact only limited evidence for a causal relationship between computer work, computer mouse and keyboard time and neck, shoulder and musculoskeletal pain.

In other words the desk, the mouse, the posture are contributors. However, they aren’t the main cause of your pain.

So what is?

It turns out the biggest contributors to musculoskeletal pain are psychosocial factors, mainly job stress as we try to cope with a heavy workload, deadlines, information overload and reorganization.

On a behavioral level these psychosocial factors prompt you to work longer hours, increase your pace at work and make you take fewer breaks, to give but a few examples.

On a physiological level these factors contribute to triggering the stress response which increases heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol and adrenaline levels and heightens muscular tension.

Chronic stress in turn leads to mood swings, anxiety and depression, and these change your posture and so contribute to musculoskeletal problems.

This combination of biological and psychosocial factors means that we must observe musculoskeletal pain from a ‘biopsychosocial’ perspective.

So the next time you have musculoskeletal pain:

  • Take a moment to reflect what has been happening in your life or at work lately.
  • What are the changes that have taken place and got you all tied-up?
  • How much stress have you experienced lately and what have you done to relax?
  • Are you still carrying the weight on your shoulders of issues from long ago?
  • Have you taken too much on your plate lately?

Take time to understand the true cause of your pain, unwind and be mindful of your beliefs and how others affect you. If pain persists then consider professional help.

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on http://www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

The World is a reflection of You

Article published in Together Magazine 51, September 2014 p. 29-30

Cover Photo Together magazine 51 Sep 2014

Article written by Tom Meyers

“If only I had…”. “If only I was…” Stop right there and reflect on the following phrase ‘The world is a chewing gum: it takes the shape of your teeth’ coined by Professor Stefano D’Anna author of the personal development book ‘The School for Gods’.

The essence of this quote is that you are the creator of your environment, that your environment is the sole creation of your being, your thoughts, mind and body.

When you are constantly living outside of yourself, when you’re never satisfied with what you have, you’ll never find true happiness or peace within.

You are the only one that can change when you are not happy with what you have with whom or what you’re surrounded with, by creating the change within. To emphasise this with a famous quote that is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: ‘be the change that you want to see in the world’.

Although it is contested that Gandhi really said this the deeper meaning of the message I know from personal and professional experience it to be true.

To illustrate this imagine you are a person weighing 70 kilo’s that feels depressed, how do you feel and how does the world look like? Now you are that same person 70 kilo’s but happy, how do you feel and how does the world look like now?

Same person with a different state of body and mind, experiences the world very differently. I invite you to take some time and reflect on this and come up with a few examples from your own life when you felt happy or sad and how you looked at the world in the different dynamics.

The world is because you are, taking control of who you are and  appreciating what you have are key to living the life you want to live. Become present, mindful and reclaim your responsibility for your health and wellbeing, thoughts and actions and the world around you will shape itself like a mirror image. So it is as within, so without. Your outside world is really the exact reflection of your inner world.

The time is now to stop and return to ease by not wanting more or being different then you are. It’s time for integrity to return, to look again within and bring out the dream you want to see in the world by nurturing that dream within and in the present.

For the days when it all seems impossible, when a veil of clouds are hindering the light. Take time-out, focus on your breathing for a few minutes and add a mantra – which is a phrase you repeat consciously out loud or internally – from the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. This mantra is very simple and helps to dissipate created gloominess or powerlessness through reconciliation and forgiveness to yourself.

Exercise

Start focusing on your breath and slow it down to a cycle of 6 breaths a minute, then add the mantra ‘I’m sorry, Please forgive me, thank you, I love you’. Feel the words spoken to yourself and repeat until you feel tensions dissolve and ease return.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny.’ Albert Ellis, psychologist

Tom

For more health and wellness tips, tune in to the feature Health Matters on www.radiox.eu or visit www.tommeyers.be

Health Matters continues…

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 1 September 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to Health Matters. In the upcoming weekly new episodes of Health Matters I will share with you my personal experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and practical tips about the wondrous existential matters of health and well-being.

Yes, ”Health”, we all seek it, spent lots of money, time and effort running after it and still it seems we are further away from it then ever before. Why?

We go to such lengths that we are prepared to change or replace unhealthy and even healthy body parts without question in our quest for health. We take more pills and supplements then ever before and still ‘health and wellbeing’ eludes us as more people suffer from anxiety, depression, burn-out and cancer. Why?

Especially in our Western society where we have more means to be and stay healthy, gain more knowledge by the day, have more technology to our disposal and were trillions are spent on research annually we tend to get sicker by the day. Why?

We have more resources and time – although you might not think so – to take care of our health. So I ask the questions why and how come that we are making ourselves so sick, depressed, burned-out to the point that some end up taking their own lives?

images

Is HEALTH slipping through our fingers?

Health!? What message or lesson is there to be learned that we don’t seem to get, that we are too blind to see, are we too afraid to ask?

Have you ever asked yourself the question, what is health? Truly took time to reflect upon it’s meaning and come up with the key elements needed to give health a change to be?

If not, why not?

In Health Matters I will take you on a journey over the coming weeks and maybe months to shed a light unto the topics of health and wellbeing. A light that my work as an osteopath, stress coach and researcher in body-mind medicine has brought me and that I like to share with you. On this journey, let me be your Health Navigator your Tom Tom for health and wellbeing.

So please join me from mid september onwards every week on Health Matters here on Radio X.

You can also follow Health Matters via Facebook, my blog on WordPress and as a podcast on Mixcloud. Links for all and more you can find on my website www.tommeyers.be

Health Matters Today

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 12 May 2014

Want to listen to this feature then visit: Health Matters on Radio X or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS feed.

Take Time Out and Reaset Yourself

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

Today I like to talk postponing health promoting behaviour.

I often see it in people who have to much on their mind – with deadlines at work, family obligations, kids to take care of – and are hoping and waiting till it gets a bit calmer to then take time to take care of their health.

However that calmer day never seems to come, the day that there is less to do, that all troubles are solved and that we have more time… and so the inevitable happens.

We’re living in a society where the current challenge isn’t over yet or the next is already there and thus time for health, well never presents itself.

Think about it when you recognise this behaviour in yourself. Think about it for just a second. What will the outcome be eventually?

Yes you’ll probably fall ill or create a ground for chronic disease or cancer that manifest themselves years later.

Taking care of your health can’t be postponed as everything else depends on it and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t see good health as one of there top wants in life. However few will act accordingly and really take care of their health.

The reason for our ignorance is probably that we don’t feel it that we’ve upset our health until it is too late. Our mind usually knows and tells us in the form of an internal twitter message ‘hey ho you know if you continue like this you’re going to get ill’ but there is no physical sensation backing it up and that tells us that something is not ok and thus we continue and override the twitter message.

My view however is that we probably do get a physical sign with that twitter message but we are so astrayed from our physical sensations that we aren’t aware of it.

The bottom line is that we’re forgetting that we are biological beings with a body that has very different needs and limits than our mind.

The very down to earth observation I usually bring up is I can’t see my thoughts but I can see my body that means they are two very different frequencies with their own spectrum of possibilities. Or in other words in my mind I can run several marathons one after the other and win them all in an instant but my body can’t it can’t even complete 1 marathon.

Being more mindful of the body can it be learned? Yes… Mindfulness and yoga are typical practices that are training you to do just that. However these aren’t always the best to start with as they take time and aren’t they also a form of postponing behaviour? Haven’t got time to do my exercises now but this evening I’ll rush off to my yoga lesson.

Breathing exercises on the other hand are always to your disposition and are the most effective way to calm body and mind.

Go to my website and download the FREE eBook ‘Reaset: The return to ease’ which has all the info you need to make breathing for health a ongoing dynamic process in your life.

Take time before time passes you by.

I’m Tom Meyers Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and wellbeing.

For more information about my work and presentations on understanding and managing stress, visit the website tommeyers.be

 

Pressure vs Stress

Pressure

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X from 5 May 2014

I’m Tom Meyers Stress coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

Pressure and stress are words that are often used interchangeably, but what is the difference?

Pressure is the feeling of urgency caused by the necessity of doing or achieving something.

The word pressure is especially used in connection with limited time-frame… like you can be under pressure to achieve a deadline. Pressure can also be a force that others or you put on yourself and that motivates you, makes you achieve your goals, pass exams or helps you to perform better.

We’re hard wired for pressure as it encourages us to continually grow and push our boundaries. Sometimes we also refer to it as positive stress.

However pressure doesn’t always lead to a positive outcome. Some forms of pressure can have the opposite effect then the one desired it can make you unmotivated and weak when you need to be strong, fail your exams or decrease your performance. For example you can feel the negative side of pressure when you unexpectedly, have to give a presentation but you really don’t like speaking in front of an audience. Another example could be you’re asked to perform a certain task but you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do it or just not enough time to do it in.

This type of oppressive pressure,… but also too much unwavering pressure, without the needed recovery time leads to stress.

Stress

Insufficient pressure on the other hand isn’t without consequences either. Lack of pressure or challenges at work can lead to boreout and this isn’t because the person is lazy.

Boreout

Boreout is when there is not enough stimulus in other words not enough pressure and can lead to lack of drive, inability to enjoy life, fatigue and underperformance.

Stress on the other hand, when used to describe a subjective feeling is experienced when the demands put on you outweigh you’re ability to cope with them and is regulated on a biological level by the stress response.

Stress is often described as the ‘fight and flight’ mode, an adaptation response inherited from our prehistoric ancestors that had to protect themselves from physical threats and is associated with among other things the increase of the sympathetic nervous systems and the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

In other words when it comes to pressure versus stress, pressure is a stressor that can act as a motivator. However, when pressure gets out of hand or isn’t kept under control it leads to stress that in turn becomes harmful for your health.

The ability and scope to cope with pressure are different for everyone and depend on: gender, age, genetics, previous experience, skills, knowledge and the specific situation,…

Ease

Tips to ease pressure:

  • Take more time to relax
  • Follow stress management courses
  • Implement stress management – relaxation exercise
  • Stay positive and keep things in perspective

For more tips pick up your copy of this months Together Magazine or go to their website tomgethermag.eu

I’m Tom Meyers Osteopath and Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to your health and wellbeing.

For more information about my work and presentations on understanding and managing stress, visit the website tommeyers.be

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