Just what in the world does make your world small mean?
It means to get rid of all of the clutter that interferes with your day to day, moment to moment routine in life. Shut out all that you can not control and only worry about that which you can, or that which requires your immediate attention. Learn to distinguish that which does require your full attention against that which is just a damn nuisance in your life.
According to Mayo Clinic;
Stress symptoms may be affecting your health even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. Stress may actually be the culprit.
Common Effects of Stress:
Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that is left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Also from Mayo Clinic;
Aim to find ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways you may use to manage stress – such as watching television, surfing the internet, or playing video games – may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.
Stress can hurt us in so many ways, but we can do things to mitigate it. A healthy diet is a great beginning. I always recommend a high protein low carb diet with zero sugar and processed foods which contain a ton of unhealthy ingredients. If you have an addiction to sugar, those horrible cravings will add stress to your life because they never leave you for long. And then another obvious sugar induced stressor is what you see in the mirror every day as you look into your reflection and observe a sad overweight soul gazing back at you. Besides the obvious effects sugar can have on your body there is also evidence that it has an impact on mental health as well such as depression, addiction, anxiety, learning and memory problems. According to Dr. David Sack M.D. drugs and to a lesser extent sugar and processed junk foods flood the brain with feel-good chemical dopamine, over time changing the function of the brain. In a study by Yale University, the simple sight of a milk shake activated the same reward centers of the brain as cocaine among people with addictive eating habits. A 2007 study actually showed that rats prefer sugar water to cocaine. Rats given fatty and sugary products demonstrated classic symptoms of addiction including tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when the products were taken away. If you think that is a load of hooey about the sugar, think about how you or people you may know react when it is even suggested to remove sugar from the diet. Most sugar addicts freak out over this suggestion.
In my military career and to a different but similar degree in my current profession, you have to keep stress at bay. Allowing stress to over take you can have fatal results if you too easily lose your shit. You have to find outlets for stress and also explore ways to mitigate it. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you have to learn to compartmentalize everything and shut out any outside distractions in order to survive. This is whether you are military and engaging enemy combatants or in my current case, finding yourself tired and on an icy road in your semi going into a jack knife situation. It is moments like these where you have to remain calm and think through how you are going to respond without panicking. In a jack knife your first instinct is to panic and step on the brake pedal when you feel that trailer coming around your tractor. It is then that you must calmly refrain from touching the foot brake and actually step gently on the gas pedal instead while reaching for the trailer brake on the dash board to in order to slow the trailer without slowing the tractor more in order to straighten your rig back out. All of this takes place in a blink of the eye, with in the time frame between a beating heart. Letting stress get the better of you can be fatal.
Circling back, we can control our levels of stress by eating whole healthy foods and cutting out sugar. I have also found that turning off 24/7 wall to wall news coverage is a great stress relief. If you sit and watch it all day, they tell you first thing in the morning all the bad which has taken place in the world and then spend the next several hours analyzing the same bad news, just to repeat this process again at noon, again at 5pm, again at 10pm and on and on. Turn the shit off, it is meant to freak out in order to keep you tuning back in for more stress.
Getting your butt up and exercising is another great way to relieve yourself of stress. For instance a good long run will clear your mind of clutter if you allow it to. I have found that when my day was shit, a good run will actually place my day into a better perspective and it is rarely as bad as it first seemed to be. An even greater release of stress for me comes from lifting weights. The iron will always get my spirit into check and re-centered.
Arrange your home to where it is not cluttered with stuff. Organize and clean it so you always know where everything is located. I will have to admit, this one is a work in process in my home.
Plan your day and then stick to your plans. Do not let others interfere with your plans unless it is a true emergency. Learn to tell people No when they need to be told NO. Takers will always take when they think a giver will continue giving.
Plan your meals and keep them simple. You can cook hearty meals that are satisfying and healthy that also do not require a lot of ingredients or time spent in the kitchen. A good example would be my dinner this evening. It was really tasty and required only a small amount of ingredients, little time and for little cost. I cut a 9 ounce catfish fillet into bite size pieces and seared them in a little olive oil and Cajun seasonings. I then added a can of pinto beans that I had drained and rinsed, then added a bit of salsa and ketchup for a tomato base and sprinkled on more of the Cajun seasoning mix along with a few liberal dashes of habanero hot sauce. This made for an inexpensive, quick and healthy dinner for me after being on the road in my semi from midnight last night until 6pm this evening. Coming in tired from the road and I had a meal plan in my head that took minutes to prepare with zero stress added to my day.
Make your world small. Cut out all outside interference. Do not tolerate foolishness from others. Keep toxic family and friends at a distance if need be. Cut everything down to manageable levels in order to not be overwhelmed. Always remember the Serenity Prayer and learn to live your life by its principle even if you do not believe in God above.
Oh Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept that which I can not change. Give me the Courage to change that which I can. And please bless me with the Wisdom to know the difference.