“Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.” — Anne Wilson Schaef
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An impending sense of doom had fallen over me.
With sudden confusion setting in and with heart racing, it felt like death was at my door.
Then there came a literal knock on the door. I got off the couch and with great effort made my way to see who it was.
It was the summer of 2016 and I had just finished unpacking my office and workshop after relocating to a new building. The person at the door was there to install internet service. I composed myself the best I could and let him in.
As he came in I couldn’t compose myself any longer and tried to communicate the distress I was in, but just as I started to speak up I found myself on the floor staring up at paramedics who were putting me onto a stretcher.
What was happening? I felt completely disoriented.
Turns out twenty minutes had gone by without my even realizing it. I had collapsed onto the floor and was out cold, and by the time I came to the paramedics had arrived.
At the hospital, doctors and nurses performed extensive tests yet found nothing wrong with me. They said I was the picture of perfect health.
But how could that be? I had just collapsed...how could there be nothing wrong?
It turns out the body can experience stress even when the mind is otherwise calm and unaware of it.
This was such a foreign concept to me. How can the body be under stress without feeling stressed?
I had spent nearly a decade training my mind to cope with difficulties—the stress, anxiety, and grief surrounding deeply meaningful disappointments and losses. While the mind can become well trained to manage these stressors, it turns out that mental and emotional health is only part of the equation.
Since that day I’ve made a regular habit of giving my body outlets to relieve any stress that may have built up without my knowledge. For me, this includes going for a run four days a week, going on hiking trips on weekends, or even just going for a brisk walk around the neighborhood during an afternoon break. The key is to do something physically exerting to relieve any stress that the body may be experiencing even if the mind is not consciously aware of it.
Each of us only has one life to live, and we each have been given a task to do that only we can fulfill. If there’s any hope of fulfilling this task we must maintain our well-being across all health domains.
How are you taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health so that you’re able to maintain peak performance in the other areas of your life?
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Jonas Cain is an instructional designer, facilitator of fascination, and purveyor of positivity—helping to initiate and manage positive change for individual, team, and community growth.