Crazy Busy Culture
America is a Nation that is crazy busy and we deal with stress on a day to day basis. We run off of soda, coffee, and fast food. We live a life that is about having more, more material things, a bigger house, nicer car, clothes, and more things. These are the biggest cause of stress in many of our lives and is causing major havoc on our adrenal systems, causing excessive fatigue and contributing to the decline of our overall health and emotional well-being.
Food, Nutrition and Stress
In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2001, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than they do on higher education.
Recent scientific studies have shown that high-calorie foods rich in fats, refined sugar and salt could reconfigure the hormones in the body in such a way that they make you crave for such foods and always leave you asking for more. Fast food is addictive; you get hooked on to it and continue consuming it in an uncontrolled way in spite of knowing that it is unhealthy. It provides an escapism, so a person doesn't need to deal with stress. The more you consume, the more difficult it is for you to opt for healthy foods. If you have seen the movie Super Size Me, you can see that fast foods can be one of the biggest causes of stress and excessive fatigue.
Why do we live this way? Can we choose to live differently? There is no simple answer to this question.
History of the American Breakfast
In society today many of us are just trying to get by, survive and deal with stress as best we can. To survive in a Nation that is extremely masculine (driven by goals of productivity, output and efficiency). We have all been conditioned to to follow this model. To get a good job, work hard, buy our dream home, car, go out to eat, and consume products that will make our lives more efficient and easy. Lets face it we are creatures of habit. Many times our habits are created by what is available.
Let me give you an example. Breakfast. Lets look at the brief history of the typical American breakfast.
In the pioneer days, the 1700s breakfast was typically, thick slices of bacon, stewed antelope steak, corn meal or bread and coffee (if available).
In the 1800s as America became more wealthy, breakfast was some type of hot bread, with hearty meats that were served (bacon, sausages, ham, beef or fish depending on the region). Time moved much slower as the main role of the woman was the manage the household. Many times you would find the women baking sticky buns, breads and in the morning making hearty breakfasts like chicken, biscuits and gravy.
At the close of the 1800s, a combination of events were taking place. That have taken us away from the hearty American breakfast. The industrial revolution had many families moving to the cities and the United States Department of agriculture was promoting "scientific cooking" as the cleanest and the best. The biggest causes of the sped up American breakfast are; women were just starting to work outside the home. They didn't have time to prepare breakfast, and fast food is tasty, fast and cheap.
Hurry Up Trend
Suddenly there was a hurry-up trend in American Breakfasts, with more Americans on the move. In the 1960s, cereal, fast food, boxed pastries became the norm when it came to the American breakfast. As more women entered the workforce, the idea of convenience and speed were the top priorities when it came to breakfast. But little did we know that we were beginning to sacrifice the nutrition and good health of ourselves and our families. Which could lead to excessive fatigue.
We have now moved into the decade where to meet monthly expenses, families need to rely on 2 incomes. What that has meant for American families, is more time working, running errands, and less family and down time. Slowly over time, Americans have sacrificed their emotional, physical and health margins. A study released in 2005, by Families and Work Institute, Overwork in America: When the Way we Work Becomes Too Much, reports that one in three American employees are chronically overworked and experience excessive fatigue.
We live in a time where there is no time to stop, relax, and think. When we do have a moment of quiet time we automatically fill it with a task. This trend in the American lifestyle has created a culture of tired, frazzled, stressed out, depressed and anxious people. People don't have time to heal anymore, they barely have time to eat, let alone eat a healthy meal. Many of us don't know how to deal with stress. There is a instability in our day that prevents peace from coming into our lives. It is destroying our quality of life.
What can one do to combat this crazy busy culture that we live in and learn to deal with stress?
Committing to your Health and Well-Being
Make a commitment to put your health and life first.
Re-evaluate what you are spending your time on, review your calendar for the last month and look at where you spend your time.
Start looking at what you spend your time on, what is draining your energy? Ask yourself what can you either remove or delegate from your life. Start clearing space in your schedule for down time. time to think. One of the biggest causes of stress is that many Americans feel they don't have control over their lives. Planning more down time in your life and eliminating energy drains will prevent you from getting excessive fatigue.
Go ahead and take some time for that healthy breakfast and give yourself some breathing room to think!
Sharon Hwang M.A., is the owner of The Wellness Center, located inside Whole Foods in Colorado, http://www.wellnessdenver.com She is a pioneer in the health and wellness industry and has been working in the industry for over 10 years. She has a Masters in Counseling, and has a passion for helping people live better, happier lives. She is working on her newest website http://www.adrenal-failure.com a website devoted to helping people manage their stress levels. She is a professional public speaker, entrepreneur, and wellness coach. She currently lives in Denver.
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