If you have a conscientious doctor, you’ve probably been asked important health questions such as:
- Are you eating a mostly vegetable based diet?
- Are you avoiding sugar and limiting glucose-spiking carbohydrates like white pasta and bread?
- Are you choosing organic?
- Are you avoiding habits that can harm your health, such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and drinking too much caffeine?
- Are you exercising regularly?
- Do you get enough sleep?
If your doctor is particularly hip, you may have also been asked about your stress levels and what you’re doing to keep your stress under control. But is your doctor helping you understand what stress really is? You may think it’s all about how long your “to do” list is, but you may not realize what stress is to your body.
What Is Stress?
As I wrote about in Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, as far as your nervous system is concerned, stress is anything that triggers the amygdala in your primordial limbic system to activate the “fight-or-flight” stress response. And whenever this happens, your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms- the ones that help prevent heart disease, fight cancer, ward off infection, and assist in anti-aging- get flipped off. As far as your body’s health is concerned, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that trigger the stress response may damage your health more than a poor diet, avoiding exercise, bad habits, and sleep deprivation.
But the good news is that the opposite is also true! Because your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings are at least partially under your control, you have the power to switch off your body’s stress responses and return the nervous system to the health-inducing relaxation response that activates the body’s natural self repair.
So which questions should your doctor be asking? Which ones should you be asking yourself? Check out the following questions which assess your “whole health” and which all have been scientifically proven to affect your health and longevity.