“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” -Charles Swindoll
The best way to define Wellness Mindset is probably to start by explaining what it is not. We can probably agree on the fact that our modern fast-paced lifestyles tend to breed an unnatural level of stress. However, it is not stress itself that is our primary enemy when it comes to a healthy mindset. The real issue lies in the chronicity of our stressors. They simply do not end. A world-renowned researcher in the field of chronic stress was a Canadian scientist named Hans Selye, and others such as Bruce McEwen, who wrote The End of Stress as We Know It, have described quite well the reality that our ability to adapt to stress was always and continues to be a short-term proposition. Simply put, we are adapted to short and not long-term stress.
What is Wellness Mindset?
When was the last time you saw one? The lion in the rearview mirror, that is. Even if one presented itself tomorrow morning on the drive to work, it is likely you would be able to escape in your automobile. These were the stressors of our ancestors - minus the automobile of course. Our bodies are beautifully adapted to deal with acute stress, and have all heard of the fight or flight response. An awesome cascade of hormonal and nervous system changes occurs during these situations, which dramatically improves our chance of survival. However, the acute stressors we are genetically designed for are few and far between for most of us living in the U.S.A. and other modern societies. Instead many of us have created a world of chronic stress keeping our fight or flight response activated for extended periods of time.
The lion in the rearview mirror.
These two hormones flood the body with each stressor we encounter. What Hans Selye’s work, and others after him, was able to prove is how our bodies tend to react to each unique stressor in similar ways. Cortisol and catecholamines are released which serve to increase heart rate, increase blood pressure, release sugar into the blood, and a host of others physiological changes better equipping us to face the danger. The unfortunate reality of chronic stress is a continued release of these hormones, and a number of unfortunate metabolic and physiological consequences that adversely impact health.
Cortisol and catecholamines.
Wellness Mindset links
Wellness Mindset is all about taking active steps to foster growth in healthy attitude, emotional state, and appropriate stress levels. How that happens for each individual can be different, but the starting point is always a realization that only you can control your response to what are typically stressful situations. The cause of chronic stress is not your surroundings, your boss, or any other element of your environment. It is your mindset. A Wellness Mindset doesn’t allow for chronic stress, and the unhealthiest of mindsets looks for it at every opportunity. Shifting one’s mindset doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch, but with conscious effort it can become a reality for all of us regardless of circumstance.
A solution focused on the cause.