Ever notice how some people are stressed during transitions while others can just roll with the punches? It all comes down to emotional resilience. While some of it may be biological, there are ten traits that you can start cultivating today to start living life with less resistance and more ease:
Here are ten things that emotionally resilient people do when faced with a difficult situation:
1. Wait for what’s right instead of acting on what you want right now.
Yup, just like the classic Stanford marshmallow experiment, this is about impulse control — the ability to stop and consider whether you want to act on a desire. For example, when a family member makes you angry, your immediate response might be to lash out. However, impulse control allows you to pause and assess whether that’s really the best course of action in the long run. Delaying gratification and controlling our urges allows us to choose actions that align with our best intentions.
2. Sit with discomfort.
Similar to the above tip, those who are emotionally resilient are able to tolerate discomfort. Remember that thing you said out of anger? Or out of hunger? How would that response have been different if you had tolerated your discomfort for an hour? While tip one was about choosing the best action, this is about sitting with an emotion without taking any action.
3. Get some perspective.
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “Hindsight is 20/20” then you recognize the possibility that it may be true for your current situation. Often, when we’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. Sometimes things happen for you, not TO you. What seems painful now might actually be the gift you couldn’t give yourself.
4. Practice acceptance.
Acceptance is not the same as complacence. It’s not about giving up and letting the stress take over — it’s about experiencing your emotions and trusting that you’ll bounce back.
5. Remember the power of time.
The emotionally resilient remember that time heals all wounds. People who have a tendency to feel depressed often fear spiraling back into it, but feeling an emotion is not the same as getting caught in it. Think back to the last time you felt like this. You may have thought it was the end of the world, but you recovered. The same is true now.
6. Let go of having all the answers right now.
Often, when we try hard to find answers to challenging questions, we unknowingly put our blinders on. We are so consumed with having answers on our schedule that we forget that we only receive when we are ready. The emotionally resilient remember that it’s okay to not have it all figured out.
7. Engage in self-care.
Emotionally resilient people know that self-care is a non-negotiable. It’s a daily practice and commitment to self that strengthens their inner resolve. Ranging from exercise, to meditation, to a cup of tea, the resilient have go-to stress busters that don’t involve hitting the bottle.
8. Laugh it off.
Sometimes things just suck, and you simply need to laugh it off. Humor goes a long way.
9. Choose to be happy above being right.
Emotionally resilient people know that being right is not what will make them happy. Sure, it’s nice to be right, but it’s better to be happy. Ask yourself if picking a fight is really worth it. Are you fighting to resolve the situation, or fighting to win it? In any moment you can choose what’s more important to you: the relationship or your pride.
10. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, the resilient focus on what’s right.
Remember, where attention goes, energy flows. So why not cultivate more of what you want instead of what you don’t. There’s always something to be thankful for.
Ultimately, emotional resilience is all about attitude. By practicing these ten responses to stress, you’ll be able to spend more time living with ease and grace, spending more time in the light with fleeting moments of darkness!
Here’s the cold, hard truth about your doctor: he or she is not going to be your “personal health fairy,” nor will he or she will guide you to your optimal body.
It’s not their fault. Doctors don’t have the time or expertise to get you into tip-top shape; their job is to fix you when you fall. You don’t rely on the auto mechanic to tell you how to optimize your car, do you? So why would you wait for a doctor to tell you how to optimize you?
Plus, on average, you’ll likely take two hours off of work for a doctor’s appointment. Multiply those hours by the average wage and total number of annual checkups in a year, these appointments could theoretically cost the US economy almost $2 billion in lost productivity alone.
So, inspired by James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself, I say choose yourself as CEO of your own body.
To all my super-intelligent physician colleagues who will send me hate mail after reading what I’ve written above, let me explain. Below are 10 good reasons why we should all choose ourselves to be CEO of our own body.
1. Your diet, not medicine, is the key to your health.
Here’s the unfortunate truth: people in healthcare don’t know sh*t when it comes to food and nutrition. This is why nutrition websites and alternative medicine practices thrive. Drug companies want us to think that we need their products to be healthy, but the reality is that if we change our diets enough, we probably won’t need their drugs anymore.
So why doesn’t everyone know this? The problem is that the information on diet is really variable … Paleo, vegan gluten-free, etc. It’s actually very simple: pick whichever diet makes you feel your best after a month and go with it. There is no one perfect diet, but there may be a perfect diet for YOU, so try them all. As long it involves real, whole foods, and DOESN’T involve miracle pills or miracle equipment, you’re good.
2. Hospitals are dangerous places.
Don’t go to a hospital unless you absolutely have to. Seriously! Did you know that medical errors in hospitals account for three times more deaths than car accidents? — 100,000 deaths a year compared to 34,000. Or consider this horrifying stat: 1 out of every 370 people admitted to a hospital dies due to medical errors. And if you happen to a patient in the ICU, you have a 1 in 3 chance of getting an infection you didn’t have when you came in. You can read about this and other fun hospital facts in this shocking piece.
3. Yearly physicals are a waste of time and money.
You don’t need yearly physicals. Nor do you need to see the doctor for colds, or a stomach flu, or a fever that lasts less than one week. Besides cancer screenings, there’s really nothing you’ll get out of your yearly physical that you can’t do yourself. Save yourself some money and time and take care of your body yourself. If you’re exercising with sprints, eating a healthy diet low in sugar, and generally feeling good, then checking in with the doctor every few years is quite adequate.
4. Doctors still don’t know enough about the gut. And that can be dangerous.
The intestinal tract is like the outer space of medicine. It’s like a big black hole and the medical profession knows very little about what’s in there. There’s an immune system in there, and a nervous system … god only knows what else we’ll discover.
You may have heard that leaky gut can lead to autoimmune disease, and that leaky gut may play a role in diabetes. I am convinced that you can influence much of your health and well-being by fixing your gut flora.
How to fix your gut flora? For starters, avoid antibiotics. They kill your good bacteria. You should think of antibiotics as a killer: they kill the bad bacteria but they really annihilate the good bacteria, too. To help your gut, consume fermented foods, naturally occurring probiotics, and stay away from antibiotics, any foods that trigger your sensitivities and chemicals added to your foods. What can a doctor do to heal your gut? Essentially, nothing.
5. If you really want to reverse disease, you should take a chill pill.
Most of the problems we deal with today (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) stem from inflammation. How do you calm inflammation? Start by reducing stress hormones such as cortisol. How do you calm those cortisol and the other stress hormones? Learn how to relax. Though harder than it sounds, you can do this yourself, without expensive blood tests or visits to the doctor. Yoga and meditation are great, but if they’re not for you, here are 7 other simple steps you can take to lower your stress levels.
6. Many problems get solved when you get off the sugar train.
We are all prisoners to sugar — as you know, it’s as addictive as drugs. If there’s any food that you find yourself wanting to eat when you’re already full, that’s not a good food to have in your life. And for most people, those crave-worthy foods involve sugar, which is also the main culprit in inflammation. (See #5, above.) So start the slow wean today. First, take a week to get off sodas and sweetened drinks. Next week, eliminate processed foods with sugar. Lastly, stop using sugar substitutes. There you have it! I just saved you a whole lot of money on a sugar detox.
7. Remember: Only you can make yourself move.
No one can do this for you. You must move. A lot. Any daily movement is great. Walking 10,000 steps is great. But if want to bring it up a notch to optimize? Add little 30 second sprints to any exercise outing. Here’s a rule of thumb about how fast sprints should feel: make sure you break into a sweat and the thought of doing it more than 30 seconds makes you want to die.
8. No doctor can teach you how to thrive.
Anyone who’s heard of Arianna Huffington knows about her new book, Thrive. She talks about how sleeping, meditating, and just generally taking care of yourself is the key to thriving (not just living). As she says in her book: success in life is more than money or power, it should be about well-being, wisdom and wonder.
9. No one will tell you that an essential piece of health is finding a passion.
Pursuing a passion and finding purpose in your life will help your body in ways you never imagined. Did you know that people with a strong sense of purpose live longer? I explain more details about how and why you need to find a passion project here.
10. The doctor is VERY expensive.
No matter what happens with the Affordable Care Act, we need to realize that you spend, on average, about $8,000 a year on healthcare. The solution? Use your doctor as a consultant. For example, you don’t go to a lawyer unless you’re in trouble or you just can’t figure it out yourself. Your doctor is there for guidance when your train gets off track. Instead of reflexively going to the doctor, invest that money into yourself and your health.
So there it is. I hope you are convinced to take on the title of CEO of You. Or maybe, now you just hate doctors. Sigh. I’m OK with the fact that I will lose money for revealing this. You deserve to know the truth.
Amy Shah, M.D. is a displaced New York native who pursued her medical training at Columbia University Medical Center in NY, Beth Israel Deaconness/Harvard Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Cornell University.
Her goal is to help you combine Eastern, Western, and Internet medicine to achieve a life, and body you love. Join her on her brand new website http://www.amyshahmd.com
I wanted to share this article. I agree with some of what she says. We do visit doctors too much. And we give the care of our bodies over to people we don’t even know.
Become the CEO of your body. Take charge. Knowledge is power and you are your body’s best decision maker.
Report from David Perlmutter, MD, from the Anals of Internal Medicine study on disease and fats:
Is living until you’re a healthy 150 years old on the verge of becoming the new norm? Will 200 be the new 70? We live at a time when the concept of living a very long time and even immortality is not just some science fiction concept but actually in the scientific literature. In our lifetime, some scientists expect breakthrough developments in reversing the aging process indefinitely!
Nonprofit organizations like the SENS Research Foundation are leading the field of regenerative medicine. And instead of these advancements in science being kept for the rich and powerful, the SENS Foundation’s mission is to provide it to everyone.
When it comes to genetics and how long we live, many still believe they’re predestined to have whatever disease their parents or grandparents had. The science of today takes into account the field of epigenetics, the environmental factors that turn off and turn on your genetic expression. The foods you eat, the foods you don’t eat, the supplements you take, toxins you may be exposed to, your stress levels, exercise and sleep, all of these epigenetic factors are constantly and dynamically instructing your genes what to do .
Research like the Danish Twin Study have shown that over 90% of how long we live is determined by the choices we make, not our genetics. Sure, people can have a genetic predisposition for a disease, or a specific gene for a disease, but that gene may not be expressed if it is not triggered by these epigenetic, lifestyle, controllable factors. This is a revolutionary message of health empowerment and responsibility. The Okinawa study showed there is no reason why the majority of us can’t live at least 100 disease-free, healthy years.
In reality, there is a lot we can do to actually reverse accelerated aging today. Knowing your bio markers for accelerated aging and disease is the first step of your journey of healthy vitality.
These are some of the labs that I run on patients all around the world to give them insight into their health:
1. Telomere length
Telomeres are the ends of your chromosomes that are responsible for healthy cell function. As time passes, telomeres become shorter, which leads to aging and chronic disease. A lot of regenerative medicine research is focused on the regeneration of telomere length. By clinically looking at your telomere lengths you can gain insight into how rapidly or slowly your body is aging.
2. C-reactive protein
This inflammatory protein is essential for cleaning up bad bacteria but in excess can lead to accelerated aging, chronic disease and damaging of telomeres.
Optimal Range: < 0.5 mg/L
3. Small dense LDL particles
LDL is typically called “bad cholesterol” but this is a simplistic and inaccurate view of cholesterol. LDL particles, protein carriers which carry cholesterol around in your body can be both large buoyant or small dense. Small dense LDL particles can cause damage, and it’s these particles — not the cholesterol itself — that indicate a risk for heart attack and stroke.
Optimal Range: < 200 nmol/L
This protein in excess (and with a B vitamin deficiency) has been linked to cognitive decline.
Optimal Range < 7 Umol/L
5. Hgb A1C
This 2-3 month average A1C level in blood sugar has been linked with higher rates of all-cause mortality in patients with diabetes.
Optimal Range: < 5.3%
6. Vitamin D
This nutrient is responsible for hundreds of different genetic pathways in the body. Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to chronic disease, and optimal levels are linked to an actual preservation of our telomeres, the part of your chromosomes that maintain our youth! Vitamin D should be paired with other fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and K2.
Optimal Range: 50-60 ng/mL
7. Fasting insulin
When your body breaks down carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent, proteins into glucose, your pancreas secretes insulin to bring down your blood sugar. High levels of insulin in the body has been linked to accelerated aging and telomere shortening.
Optimal Range: < 3 ulU/mL
In my next article I’ll give you the best tips to make all of these labs in the optimal ranges and add years to your life!
Dr. William Cole
These same tests are suggested in Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD, as well as from a number of other sources, physicians and nutrition educators.
We’re getting these tests done too.
The two most important tasks for anyone to help short-term memory are to
- increase aerobic exercise to at least 20 minutes daily.
- And second, make sure you’re getting at least 800-1000mg DHA in your diet each day (adults).