Are You Stressed?
So, are you stressed? Are you able to relax and experience stress relief? Do you have time to play? Do you sleep well? These are some essential questions, because if you’re overly stressed, not able to relax, not taking the time to play, and not managing stress well, you’re also most probably not sleeping well.
And if you’re stressed and not sleeping well, you know what that means? You’re living life in the fast lane, the lane in which you’re burning your candle at both ends and the candle is just about flamed out. You know what you call this: that’s right, that’s living the High Density Lifestyle, a lifestyle that is not conducive to healthy living and health and wellness.
So where do I start when talking about stress?
Teenagers and Stress
How about this? I’ll tell you that if you’re stressed out when you’re younger, you’re setting yourself up for a High Density Lifestyle adult life. Habits that we learn when we’re younger follow us into adulthood.
And getting stressed out when you’re younger is a nasty habit that if you don’t change, will affect you adversely when you’re an adult, because you’ll have a harder time managing stress and experiencing stress relief.
Teenage Stress and Heart Disease
A recent study found that teenage stress can lead to physical problems in adulthood and put adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that a greater frequency of stress in teens was associated with higher levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, or CRP. CRP has been identified as an indicator for the later development of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
When you’re a teen, there are a lot of stressors that come at you, and most teens are ill-equipped to deal with them. And just think, if you’re ill-equipped to deal with them when you’re younger, then the adverse reactions your body has to stress will follow you all the way to when you’re grown-up.
Peter Panning It
Now you can take the Peter Pan approach to growing up, and basically refuse to grow up, but, and I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news, until science develops a cure for growing up, it ain’t gonna happen.
What researchers found was that daily interpersonal stress experienced during the high school years was associated with elevated levels of inflammation, as measured by higher levels of CRP, even among normal, healthy teens.
“Our findings are consistent with the emerging body of evidence that points to the link between stress and increased inflammation, which places individuals at risk for the later development of cardiovascular disease and could have a significant impact upon long-term physical health during adulthood,” was the summary of the research.
So the bottom line is, getting immersed in living a High Density Lifestyle can start in your younger years and follow you along when you become an adult.
This is no way to live, so the best bet, if you’re not a teen anymore, is to develop the self-awareness of what stress is doing to you, so that you can be better at stress management and get yourself onto a Low Density Lifestyle.
And that’s when you really start living. The good news is that healthy living will be a beneficial byproduct of this.
For the next few days I will talk about stress and relaxation. Stress is both a symptom and by-product of living a High Density Lifestyle, while being relaxed and calm is something easy to do when you’re living a Low Density Lifestyle.
Relaxation is one of the ingredients in the acronym FREE, which if you remember, stands for Flow/Relaxation/Effortless Effort. Living FREE means living a Low Density Lifestyle.
Life in the Fast Lane
When you are living life in the fast lane, you are putting your body under a lot of stress. There is only so long the body is capable of operating at a maxed out level—you can only burn your candle at both ends for so long, and then the inner flame starts to be extinguished.
Stress is all-pervasive in our modern fast-paced culture. I will return to this category time and time again, and I will also return to the category of relaxation many times over. Why, you may ask? Because it can’t be talked about enough. Stress puts you smack in the middle of living a High Density Lifestyle, and the longer you live that way, the worse things become.
So let’s look a little more in-depth at what stress is.
A Brief History of Stress
The term stress was coined by scientist Hans Selye in the 1930s based on his careful observation of physiological responses in laboratory animals. Selye later broadened his findings to include the human response mechanism to a perceived threat, or “stressor.”
Selye found that when he exposed various lab animals to unpleasant or harmful stimuli, there were three general stages of reaction. He called these the General Adaptation Syndrome, or GAS. The three stages were Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion.
By the end of the third stage of GAS, Selye found the animals depleted of their body’s most important resources: their adrenal glands were fatigued, their autonomic nervous system was misfiring and their immune systems were burnt out.
Furthermore, it was found that this type of reaction played havoc on the feedback loop that constitutes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the system that controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and expenditure.
Not everyone reacts to stressors in such a detrimental fashion, and there are times when stress can have positive attributes (Selye called stress that enhanced function eustress). But most people don’t cope well to stressors because they are on system overload, bombarded by stimuli and overwhelmed by life’s demands. Living in this manner is truly a major impediment to a Low Density Lifestyle.
I want to introduce you to your mind, and let you know that it is the greatest and most powerful computer ever invented. No computer will ever come close to the mind’s abilities.
One of the things a Low Density Lifestyle can do for you is cultivate your Creative Intelligence and Inner Genius. You will use more of your mind’s potential and be capable of tapping into the innate genius within.
But unfortunately, most people don’t utilize their mind’s tremendous computing power. Why? Because they are caught up in a High Density Lifestyle.
It is only when you are living in a Low Density Lifestyle that you can access the magnificent potential of the mind and the amazing computer that it is. Why is this? Because when you are FREE – in the flow, being relaxed and living in stillness, and acting with effortless effort – your mind can function more efficiently.
Research has shown that stress—which is the core component of a High Density Lifestyle—affects the mind in a negative way. And research has shown the opposite—that you think more clearly, more focused and use more of your mind’s potential, when you are more relaxed—in other words, when you are living a Low Density Lifestyle.
So let me introduce you to your mind, and tell you some facts about it that point to why it is the greatest computer ever built.
A Guided Tour of Your Mind
The human brain is estimated to have one trillion brain cells.
We are capable of storing 280 quintillion—280,000,000,000,000,000,000—bits of memory in our brain.
The speed of our brain is estimated to range from 100 to 100,000 teraflops (a teraflop is one trillion flops, and a flop is the standard measure of computing speed). The world’s fastest computer operates at a speed of 100 billion flops.
We process 125 bits of data per second through our conscious mind. The unconscious mind processes billions of data per second. And our memory approaches a 100% retention rate. We remember potentially everything, although most of those memories lie in the unconscious.
The Sad News
And now, the sad news. Researchers into human potential tell us that we use at most five percent of our mind’s capabilities, although it is known that the great majority of people use no more than one percent.
The Truth About Your Mind
In the next few days, I am going to tell you more about your mind and what its potential is.
The truth is that the potential of the mind is vast. But if you read the above facts about your mind, you knew that already.
The truth is that you and everyone else has genius potential.
But you will tap into the genius potential of the mind and its great computing powers only if you live a Low Density Lifestyle.
Ok, in yesterday’s post I told you what the 12 steps are to living a Low Density Lifestyle and becoming FREE. Now that you have mastered all those–and there will be a final exam on it–I want to tell you what a Low Density Lifestyle can do for you. And believe me, it can do some really awesome, life-changing stuff.
Here’s what it can do:
Health and Longevity: It can help you be healthier and live a long and robust life.
Happiness and Joy: You can be happier, more joyous and more passionate about everything.
Better Relationships, Better Sex: A Low Density Lifestyle can help you to have better and healthier relationships with family members, friends, loved ones and your significant other. It can also enhance you sex life. Ah, three cheers for Flow!
Focus and Clarity of Thought: You will become more focused and have more clarity of thought, as opposed to being scattered, forgetful and fuzzy-brained.
Creativity and Genius: You will use more of your mind’s potential and be capable of tapping into your innate genius within. You can then become a visionary!
Productivity: It can help you to be more productive at work, home or anywhere else you choose to apply yourself.,
Success: You will definitely become much more successful when you embrace a Low Density Lifestyle.
Intuition: Your intuition will become razor-sharp, and you will trust the feelings you sense.
The Law of Attraction: Being in the Flow will help to unlock the obstructions in your energy system that block the law of attraction from coming into your life.
Inner Peace: As you find your stillpoint and your center of balance, your entire being will calm down and inner peace will come your way.
Enlightenment: This is the ultimate extension of a Low Density Lifestyle, and it is not outside the realm of possibilities.
So, there you have it. Yesterday I talked about the 12 steps to living a Low Density Lifestyle and becoming FREE, and today I discussed what a Low Density Lifestyle can do for you. I would suggest reading these again and again.
And remember, if you want more in-depth understanding and knowledge of the wisdom behind the Low Density Lifestyle, sign up for the free 5-day email course. You can sign up in the box in the upper right hand column, or in that crazy little box that pops up on your screen from time to time. You will be really glad that you did, because it is jam packed with easy to digest material.
Now that a good foundation about the Low Density Lifestyle has been laid, next up on the horizon is delving into all these categories. So buckle your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, because you are about to go on the ride of your life. You will never know what the posting will be about and what category will be discussed, until you read it. But I promise you it will be topical, relevant, informative and interesting. You will definitely not be bored.
Tune in tomorrow…
I’ve talked about the Low Density Lifestyle, High Density Lifestyle, and the concept of FREE (Flow/Relax/Effortless Effort).
Today I want to outline the 12 steps to becoming FREE. These are the things that if you put into practice, will help you to live a happy, healthy, vibrant, successful and enlightened life.
In tomorrow’s post I will tell you what a Low Density Lifestyle can do for you, and how it can make your life a whole lot better.
After this post and tomorrow’s, the postings will shift in format. What will happen next is that instead of the posts explaining what a Low Density Lifestyle is all about–which is pretty much what we’ve been doing so far–we’re going to bounce around from category to category.
What I mean by a category is one of the 12 steps listed below, along with what is covered in tomorrow’s posting about what a Low Density Lifestyle can do for you. Once we go in that new direction, we will be covering a lot of ground and a lot of interesting topics, so fasten your seat belt
If you feel like you still need to get a handle on the fundamentals of a Low Density Lifestyle, sign up for the free 5-day email course on this website. You can sign up for it by entering your name and email address in the box that occasionally pops up in front of your eyes, or you can put your info in the sign up form that appears in the top right column. I can guarantee you that you will learn a lot from the email course.
Anyway, here are the 12 steps to becoming FREE:
Diet and Nutrition: Eating a whole foods oriented diet.
Health and Wellness: Being proactive with your health and becoming empowered and educated as to how the body and mind work and what it takes to be healthy.
Movement and Exercise: Take up a regular practice of movement and exercise, especially the types that emphasize flow.
Flexibility of Body and Mind: Being able to be flexible with your body and your mind, so that you don’t hold onto dogmas and become rigid and unyielding with the way you think or move.
Mindfulness: Being aware of your actions and reactions in your daily life.
Integrity: Being ethical, being willing to do the right thing, being true to yourself and being authentic.
Attitude and Emotions: The way we see the world is the way the world operates based on our perception, so it’s important to be aware of your attitude towards yourself and others.
Abundance: Are you willing to share of yourself, because you believe there is plenty to go around, or are you immersed in a scarcity mindset, where you believe it’s every person for themselves, and you have to get yours before someone else takes it?
Laughter: Laughter and humor is so good for our health and well-being. ‘Nuff said on that.
The Dreamer: Are you using your dreaming abilities–your creative intelligence and imagination? Are or you thinking the same old same old, and going along with the tribe?
Do What You Love: When you do what you love, and love what you do, life has profound meaning.
Connecting to the Spiritual Dimension: There is a sacred aspect to life, and the more connected you are to it, the better off you are.
Not too long ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the author of Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, You Are There, gave a talk at Google on the subject of mindfulness and effortless effort.
The phrase effortless effort comes from the Chinese term wu wei, which is directly translated as non-doing.
Mindfulness and effortless effort are important tools for living a Low Density Lifestyle.
The concept of non-doing is a very difficult one for us Westerners to get, because we are used to doing, doing and even more doing. “How can we not do when there’s so much to do,” Westerners who contemplate wu-wei often ask – or at least this Westerner (me) did when I first learned of the term and tried to wrap my brain around it.
Anyway, I thought it would be best if I let Dr. Kabat-Zinn do the talking, and so I have posted his video from his talk at Google.
Watch it, and enjoy!
I asked my friends Roger and Pete to put together a little ditty to help you understand FREE (remember Flow/Relax/Effortless Effort). I hope you enjoy their efforts.
Sometimes it’s easy to just let images and music tell the story. So this is a good way to get FREE.
Click on play and see what you think. I think Roger and Pete got potential. Maybe they should consider forming a band!
The secret to living a Low Density Lifestyle is becoming FREE. In an earlier post, I explained what the acronym FREE means. It stands for Flow, Relax, Effortless Effort.
Because it is a very important concept, I want to discuss FREE a little further at length.
The Flow state is known to athletes as being “in the zone.” To an athlete, this is where everything just seems to go their way. And athletes will be the first to tell you that when they are in the flow state, they perform at higher levels.
Shawn Phillips, the well-known athlete, bodybuilder and author of Strength for Life, had this to say about the subject:
From the beginning, what I was connecting with in the gym was a universal energy source. I would just feel it flowing. Even when I was twenty years old, I called the gym my church. When I was there, it wasn’t about being social; it was about doing my practice. I was in it. I was in the zone.
Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, said, “Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains.” In essence, this is what Flow is about. You become a circuit of energy, flowing infinitely, much like an unimpeded electrical circuit in which the electricity freely courses throughout.
Relax is something that doesn’t always come easy for many people. Sure, everybody knows how to veg out. But do you know how to profoundly relax, to tap into the stillness within and the center of your being?
To find that calmness and stillness within, you can do any number of things or techniques. These can be meditation, prayer, walking in nature, speaking silently, listening to quiet engaging music, yoga, along with many other mind-body techniques.
A recent scientific study even found that relaxation techniques can beneficially affect your genes.
Relaxation is about finding your peace within the turmoil and hubbub of everyday life. Some of you may do workshops or go to retreats or go on vacations to help find that inner quiet. And that is a good thing. But the trick is to embed that knowledge into your body and mind and integrate that understanding into your daily routine, so that everywhere you go, wherever you are, you are immersed in your stillness.
When you are acting with Effortless Effort, you can labor for hours on end, at times functioning on little sleep, and yet feel full of energy and life. You are firing on all cylinders, and the universe seems like a giant playground. You love what you do and you do what you love.
Interestingly enough, there are times when stress has a positive connotation. There is a term, eustress, which is the positive aspect of stress. In this case, a person is very busy, doing many things, but they are thriving in the midst of it, and loving how productive they are. A person in this situation is in full Effortless Effort mode. To an observer, it would seem as if this person is pushing themselves far too much and burning themselves out. But to the person immersed in Effortless Effort, they are thriving because they are firing on all cylinders and feeling alive, vibrant and awake.
And so, this is what being FREE is all about. Remember the formula? It’s LDL = FREE. Keep that in mind–it will help you to live a Low Density Lifestyle.
To live a Low Density Lifestyle, all you have to do is become FREE. In this case, FREE is an acronym that stands for:
Let’s break that down some – I’ll explain what I mean:
Flow: Flow is the state of feeling fully in synch and in harmony with the universal flow that permeates throughout. You feel like you are in the zone at these times. The author and creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as:
” ‘Total control’ of one’s own mind is in fact too strong an expression to describe accurately what happens when one is in flow. The point is not that one can always do what one wants, but rather that the possibility of making things happen as one wishes is present in a way that seldom occurs in ‘real’ life.’ ”
Relax: Relax means finding the calmness and stillness within. When this happens, you can find your center and your balance. You can also find peace, because you are able to shut out all the static and noise that circulates all over the place.
There is a Spanish saying, “Cuán hermoso es de no hacer nada, y entonces descansar después.” This wise traditional proverb translates as, “How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.”
And yet, so many of us are like a chicken without a head, running around here, there and everywhere, with a frantic energy. One of the big problems of modern day society is that so many people are burning their candle out at both ends. The Chinese philosophers would say that people are burning out their yin, their nourishing aspect.
Effortless Effort: Effortless Effort is something the ancient Chinese philosophers called wu wei. The state of effortless effort describes a condition in which you are busy with effort, yet it seems effortless, as if the world seems to be working for you. You feel calm yet alert, focused yet receptive, drawing force from the storm while standing in its eye, acutely using all your senses. Like a marathoner who feels pulled forward, you accomplish the most with a minimum of energy. In this state hard work does not feel like work at all.
And so, when you practice these essential characteristics—flow, relax and effortless effort—you promote a Low Density Lifestyle for yourself. An easy way to make these a part of your life is to commit to memory the simple formula: LDL = FREE. That prescription stands for Low Density Lifestyle = Flow/Relax/Effortless Effort.