By John Hinman, Managing Director with Nexus 5 Group
Stress is a topic that affects us all and we all deal with this in different ways. How has stress affected you? Have you become self-absorbed, miserable to be around, easily offended, angry, tired, etc.? This describes me a few years ago.
How do you deal with stress?
Do you isolate yourself from others? Do you use alcohol to numb the stress? Comfort eating? Spend countless hours scrolling through social media or binge watching your favorite show? Do you simply try to ignore it? How about putting in countless hours at work, in an attempt, to control all situations and scenarios of your life?
If you've done any research on this topic, you know the long-term effects of stress on the body are bad. Consistently elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones increase the odds of heart disease, stroke and hypertension.
For me, I've attempted to deal with stress utilizing several tactics from the above list to my own demise. When I turned fifty a couple years ago, I started looking at life a bit differently. Instead of always looking forward, I started evaluating and looking back at the same time. I started evaluating my life, my habits, and where I was headed. This was a sobering exercise.
I was anxious, full of stress, not sleeping well, and had created several unhealthy habits along the way. I decided to make a change and my life, in every aspect, is completely different today. It's amazing how modifying a few simple habits has completely changed my mental and physical outlook. Physically taking care of my body, taking thoughts captive, and surrounding myself with a great community has made all the difference in the world for me.
F3 - Fitness, Fellowship, Faith
Two years ago I was invited to work out with some friends that were part of an organization called F3 (which stands for – Fitness, Fellowship, Faith - the last of which we define as not one specific religion or faith system, but simply a belief in something outside oneself).
When I started working out with this group of men, I was thinking working out a few times a week would be good for me. I had no idea the impact this decision would make on my life. F3 not only got me up and moving in the mornings, but also surrounded me with a group of men that had the desire to become better husbands, fathers and leaders. And to impact their communities in positive ways.
Now I work out with the F3 guys 4-5 times per week. I have a community of 40-50 men that have my back and are encouraging me in every aspect of my life. If you're living an isolated life, I encourage you to check out F3 at f3nation.com (national) or f3kc.com (the Kansas City chapter.) It will change your life.
Taking Thoughts Captive
The second thing I did was to begin taking my thought life captive. When I did this, I realized how negative my thoughts had become and how this impacted my general outlook on life. I started listing everything that I am thankful for and started actively focusing on the blessings that I have, practicing gratitude.
Starting every day with gratitude slowly started changing my relationships, my outlook on life, the way I lead others, and the way I view situations as they arise. This daily exercise has given me a resilient mindset and has positively affected every aspect of my life.
Today, by taking care of my body, surrounding myself with great people and practicing gratitude, I'm a new person with a completely different outlook on life. If you're in the pit, simply letting life happen, I encourage you to take a few small steps to change your life. You won't regret it.