Saturday, November 11, 2006

Stress Kills

My Aunt Irene is 101 years old. She is and has always been a curious, happy-go-lucky kind of gal. She was not one to exercise and go on diets, although she ate fairly healthily her whole life and smoked cigarettes 'til she was 95. She quit the cigs because they got too expensive. She had two older sisters, Helen (my grandmother) and May. Both died in their eighties and both created more stress and less humor in their lives than Irene. She raised five kids on her own after her husband died young, so her life wasn't a picnic either. Is Irene an anomaly or does her good-natured spirit have something to do with her longevity?

Research is showing that poor sleep and a stressed-out life is shortening our lives faster than a poor diet and no exercise. The combination is like playing Russian roulette. We need to lighten up, find balance, and not be so attached to the outcome all the time. Exercise and a good diet aren't enough. The combination of mind stress and physical stress (from exercise) can produce free radicals that damage cells and cause everything from premature aging to cancer. Beating yourself into submission to keep up with the Joneses is killing you. A sense of humor and scheduled downtime (other than sleep) will keep stress at bay. Whenever you feel stressed out, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Where's my sense of humor? If you can make a goofy face or say something silly, then you can instantly shift your mood.

2. What's the solution? When you're stressed out, you're focused on the problem. When you ask yourself to solve the problem, you start to ask the right questions to improve the situation.

3. Am I in the moment? Sadness, anxiety, depression, and stress are often caused by thoughts and events of the past and future. All you have is right now, so stop, take a breath, and check to see if the present moment is as bad as you think it is.
If you can dump the stress, find yin to balance the yang, and search for solutions, then you will live long and prosper.


psyknife said...

Good advice, as always... the funny thing is, I've been trying to let things go more often now, and I finally started dropping some pounds again. I've let sleep get back into my life more, I try not to stress out so much about money situations, and I try to live life to the fullest. Life's too short to be in a constant state of "not good enough."

PS - nice little cameo in The Gymnast. I saw it here on Friday... and got to meet the fabulous Dreya and Ned... they are great peeps! Love them!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony. Your last 3 posts on here have been very good to read. You are full of wisdom and it’s great that you are sharing that. I hope to be as wise some day. As I look back on my life and how I got to where I am, I definitely see that I am guilty of a lot of the things you are saying in your posts. I see that I just let things happen in my life and it all came easy so I went with it. By the time I realized how unhappy I was about where I was with my choices I felt stuck. It’s only been recently that I have, for the first time, made conscientious decisions about my life (other than when I decided to follow Jesus). This is not a good thing considering I’m in my 40s! It took me awhile to reach the decision to make the changes I’ve made. I am feeling a bit clueless about where to go with my life, but I’m determined to keep taking steps, moving forward. Anyways, I wanted to let you know that what you have shared is helpful and definitely stuff I need to here and keep reminding myself.

psalm9567 said...

Hey Tony,

Kudos to your Auntie!! 101 and still kickin' it!

Reminds me of an older woman I saw the other day while I was driving my children on an errand. This woman was probably in her late 70's and you know what she was doing? She was raking leaves in her front yard. She was going at it with gusto and I admit, she was an INSPIRATION to me. To be that active and ABLE to do physical activity later in life is part of the goal.

The other thing I noticed about her was that she was ENJOYING it! It was a crisp Autumn day, perfect for raking and she was getting the job done!

There's definitely a lesson in that for all of us! (Variety and Lovin' It come to my mind...)

Have a good one, Tony!


john said...

i work with seniors every day-some are 85 going on 50 and some are 65 going on 90! attitude is everything!

Kat said...

Great post, Tony. I've been through a lot of stress over the course of the past year, and I am amazed by how it has negatively impacted every aspect of my life - from the appearance of my skin and hair, to my weight, mental and emotional health, sleep, etc. I am finally getting out of that "bad time" and realizing that you just can't take life too seriously (too many people here in DC do). Life is short, and if you don't enjoy every day, they'll be a time when you look back with regret. So, here I am, back with BeachBody, and thankful for all of your sage advice. Can't wait to see you again at a Camp in '07.

Take care.
Rockstar (aka Kathleen)

nick said...


I recently visited one of my 80-something-year-old Italian grandmothers, who survivied starvation, poverty, 5 kids, vicious Allied bombings in WWII, Nazi storm troopers, and some of the worst living conditions one could imagine. Well, anyway, we got to talking about being happy in life and what it all meant and what and why and how and all that stuff! About halfway through the talk, she got up and pulled out a card with a prayer on it. It goes like this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Well, I guess that sums it up in a nutshell...
You're only as young as your mind is flexible.
Thanks bro,

Anonymous said...

My x's grandmom Elsie lived to be in her late 90's. She was very sweet, always smiling, and laughed easily. She took pleasure in all the little things life handed her. I remember her fondly as I lived right across the street from her through high school. She would get up everyday, put on a nice dress, fix her hair, have breakfast, lunch & dinner at a set table and nothing slowed that woman down. Ok she had to slow down a just a bit when she tripped and broke her hip -- just long enough to heal. Then she was up and at it again. Even after she had caterac surgery, she still managed to play ball with my kids, by looking straight ahead and rolling the ball to them on the floor. She was determined to get them to laugh! The family always tried to get her to slow down - they said Elsie you are too old to be so active - she poo poo'd them. They meant well, so just to make them feel a little better she would slow down - during their visits. It never occurred to anyone why the house was always clean, garden always neat, there were always fresh baked cookies handy, and fresh canned vegis and juices at the wonderful dinners she would make from scratch. She still did it all and stayed very active. She was tall, healthy and thin. At the end of a visit the last thing she would leave for you was her smile. So alright Aunt Irene!!! You go girl!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
I was trying to post something for you and wasn't sure where the best place would be. I just finished reading this and thought it sort of fit. This "poem" was written by an avid Beachbodier. He couldn't sleep so got up and wrote this cute, silly but also very true poem. Thought you would really enjoy it. =)

Originally posted by Matman2163:

Ode to P90

I woke up this morning, all tired and sore
From bringing it hard, to just do one more
From push ups to pull ups
And Ab Rippers too
To whip you in shape
And get rid off that goo

P90 was first and that program was great
In the first 30 days, I began to change shape
I lost weight in my midsection, my butt, and my thighs
And saw my self transform, right before my own eyes

The plan was quite simple
I’m here to attest
Workout hard, eat right, and get 8 hours rest
The diet I followed was easy you see,
Just stay on Michi’s ladder
What more could there be?

I finished my first 90 days with success
And thought to myself, give the master series a test
The workouts were longer, with many more reps
But I did them with gusto, yes, even with pep

I brought it my hardest, never took it too easy
And laughed at TH, although some of his jokes were quite cheesy
But looking back now, yeah, it’s been quite a while,
Although the jokes repeated, they still made me smile
They helped me to bring it and what can I say
I gave it my all, each and every long day

I finished the master and what could be next?
But a new kind of hurt in the form of the X
More push-ups, now pull-ups, and Yoga to boot
The workouts are longer, but the jokes are a hoot

I found my self twisting in all kind of ways
And finished with Ohm’s,
Flushed those worries away

So now I’m closer to reaching the end
But if I can do this,
Then so can you, friend

To get through these programs,
Just listen, take heed
to 3 little words,
Decide, Commit, and Succeed.

Hope you enjoyed this. =)

ellen said...

All you have is right now, so stop, take a breath, and check to see if the present moment is as bad as you think it is.

thank you tony, those words alone, made my stress slide sideways to another dimension :)
haven't been to your blog in ages, after meeting your xrs in mexico a mere 9 days ago.. i was reminded of just how great the program, and you are..
thanks again, will be implementing p90x in feb with a few of your old timers( they gave me more than i can write down here)

um, check out gil and allic s thread, ultimate vacation.. hehehe brat boyz travelling again ;)