“Look at people for an example, but then make sure to do things your way. Surround yourself with positive people.” – Queen Latifah
In our everyday life we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of the people we deal with on a daily basis are a joy to be with, and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others may have the opposite effect: draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted through constant emotional bullying and manipulation.
We must refuse to allow ourselves to be treated poorly.
Our well-being is definitely easily influenced by those around us, and if we can keep this in mind, we will have greater insights into the quality of our social interactions and their energetic effect on us.
Equally, every move we ourselves make has an effect that touches all the people around us. On an even more subtle level, when we share space with another person, we often pick up on their energy, feeling how they feel and attuning to them, whether we mean to or not. This is what we mean when we say a mood or a feeling is contagious.
In fact, medical science has proven that the people you surround yourself with affect your DNA expression. When 10 happy and friendly people are placed in a room, and their stress hormones checked, they were very healthy. Add one person acting sad or fearful, the other peoples stress hormones increase. This is call “social transcriptomic”, in other words, your DNA expresses differently dependent on your social environment!
Once we think more deeply about the people we interact with, it becomes easier for us to work toward filling our lives with people who help us to cultivate healthy and positive relationships. Obviously it is not always possible – for example at work – to choose the people we spend time, but in our personal lives, we can take control over the right people with whom to surround ourselves.
All we have to do is take a few moments to reflect on how another person makes us feel. Assessing the people we spend the most time with, allows us to see if they add something constructive to, or subtract from, our lives. If a friend saps our strength, for example, we can simply decide to tell them how we feel or else spend less time with them. We will find that the moment we are honest with ourselves about our own feelings, the more candid we can be with others about how they make us feel. While this may involve some drastic changes to our social life, it can bring about a personal transformation that will truly empower us, since the decision to live our truth will infuse our lives with greater happiness.
When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and create more room to welcome nurturing and renewed energy. Doing this not only enriches our lives, but also envelops us in a supportive and healing space that fosters greater growth, understanding, and love of ourselves – as well as those we care about.
In our office we see in almost EVERY patient the negative effects of stress. While stress itself is a positive force, pushing us to evolve and grow, when in excess or in too great of quantity, or (as is often the case) not effectively managed, stress can have a very detrimental effect on our health.
Listed below are 10 of the top health problems either cause or exacerbated by stress.
1. Heart disease. Researchers have long suspected that the stressed-out, type A personality has a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. We don’t know why, exactly. Stress can directly increase heart rate and blood flow, and causes the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into the blood stream.
It’s also possible that stress is related to other problems — an increased likelihood of smoking or obesity — that indirectly increase the heart risks. Doctors do know that sudden emotional stress can be a trigger for serious cardiac problems, including heart attacks. People who have chronic heart problems need to avoid acute stress — and learn how to successfully manage life’s unavoidable stresses — as much as they can.
2. Asthma. Many studies have shown that stress can worsen asthma. Some evidence suggests that a parent’s chronic stress might even increase the risk of developing asthma in their children. One study looked at how parental stress affected the asthma rates of young children who were also exposed to air pollution or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. The kids with stressed out parents had a substantially higher risk of developing asthma.
3. Obesity. Excess fat in the belly seems to pose greater health risks than fat on the legs or hips — and unfortunately, that’s just where people with high stress seem to store it. “Stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol,” says Winner, “and that seems to increase the amount of fat that’s deposited in the abdomen.”
4. Diabetes. Stress can worsen diabetes in two ways. First, it increases the likelihood of bad behaviors, such as unhealthy eating and excessive drinking. Second, stress seems to raise the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.
5. Headaches. Stress is considered one of the most common triggers for headaches — not just tension headaches, but migraines as well.
6. Depression and anxiety. It’s probably no surprise that chronic stress is connected with higher rates of depression and anxiety. One survey of recent studies found that people who had stress related to their jobs — like demanding work with few rewards — had an 80% higher risk of developing depression within a few years than people with lower stress.
7. Gastrointestinal problems. Here’s one thing that stress doesn’t do — it doesn’t cause ulcers. However, it can make them worse. Stress is also a common factor in many other GI conditions, such as chronic heartburn (or gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Winner says.
8. Alzheimer’s disease. One animal study found that stress might worsen Alzheimer’s disease, causing its brain lesions to form more quickly. Some researchers speculate that reducing stress has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease.
9. Accelerated aging. There’s actually evidence that stress can affect how you age. One study compared the DNA of mothers who were under high stress — they were caring for a chronically ill child — with women who were not. Researchers found that a particular region of the chromosomes showed the effects of accelerated aging. Stress seemed to accelerate aging about 9 to 17 additional years.
10. Premature death. A study looked at the health effects of stress by studying elderly caregivers looking after their spouses — people who are naturally under a great deal of stress. It found that caregivers had a 63% higher rate of death than people their age who were not caregivers.
Choose your friends with care – they create the environment in which you will either thrive or wilt. Give everyone the opportunity to be a friend, but share your dreams and goals only with those who value them as much as you do.
“What really matters is that you do what you think is right, what you believe in, and you surround yourself with the people you care about in this world. That’s what counts in this life.” – Brian Dennehy
If you are interested in becoming a patient, receiving a full examination and a comprehensive evaluation of your stress, hormones, advanced cardiometabolic testing, and discovering how you can optimize your health and wellness, give us a call at 312.981.4020 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced physicians.