THE BLOG
07/28/2014 03:00 pm ET | Updated Sep 27, 2014

Got Stress? Here's Why

Ever wonder why you're feeling so stressed? There are several reasons why we may be feeling overwhelmed. The American Institute of Stress suggests that our stress factors are divided up in the following way:

46 percent -- Workload
28 percent -- People issues
20 percent -- Juggling work/personal lives
6 percent -- Lack of job security

Almost half of all stress we experience is connected with our workload. This should come as no surprise since at least half of our waking time is spent with work related activities. If you're getting seven hours of sleep, you're awake for about 17 hours, of which about 10 are spent with work matters.

People issues can drain us beyond belief. Especially if you have issues with people at work and at home. Of course, if we have issues with people, then they probably have issues with us too. It's just that it's harder for us to recognize the issues people have with us because we usually fail to see our own shortcomings.

Creating a work-life balance is a huge struggle for almost everyone. Work can be so demanding that we often end up neglecting our family and friends, which also have demands on our time and mental energy.

According to Psychology Today, the average person has between 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. The question to ask is, how much can the mind take before it crashes?

I like comparing the mind to the hard drive of a computer. Like a hard drive, the mind stores incalculable amounts of data. The gateways to the mind are the senses -- eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Through our senses, we take in hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of impressions each day. The amazing thing is that we will not remember 99 percent of all these impressions just like we will not remember 99 percent of all our thoughts. We can't even remember all the thoughts we've had in the last hour. Sometimes, we forget people's names five minutes after hearing them. We embarrass ourselves by zoning out during the middle of a conversation and hoping we don't get caught.

Our mind is the control center for our entire emotional and physical well-being. When we become stressed or anxious, our entire body feels the effects. The sad truth is that even though our mind so strongly influences us, we do very little to strengthen it and nourish its needs. To keep our body healthy, we need to eat properly and exercise. The mind needs the same attention and care. As the saying goes "out of sight out of mind." Because we can't see the mind, we forget to take care of it.

It's important to remember that what goes into the mind affects the body and whatever goes into the body, affects the mind. The following three food and drink items add additional stress to the body.

1. Caffeine

According to Duke Medicine, "Caffeine's Effects are Long-Lasting and Compound Stress."

2. Red meat

According to Harvard Health Publications, "Red Meat, in addition to raising the risk for colorectal cancer and other health problems, can actually shorten your life."

3. Alcohol

CNN Health -- "Alcohol most harmful drug, followed by crack and heroin."

These items may seem to provide stress relief, but in actuality, they increase stress on the body and negatively influence the mind.

If we want to develop greater will power to overcome these harmful habit and reduce our stress, it's important for us to consider taking up the practice of meditation. According to Forbes magazine, " ...meditation refreshes us... makes us wiser and gentler... and makes us more productive."

According to the Psychology Today, "...meditation reduces anxiety, stress, and depression."

Even if it's only five minutes a day. Look at it as a small investment into the part of your existence that controls almost everything else about you. It doesn't have to be long and complicated. Just take out a few minutes every day to clear your head and breath deeply and keep your mind only on your breath. When the mind wanders and starts to plan your day, just bring it back to the breath.

Here's a link to a short meditation that I lead towards the end of my TEDx speech.

Good luck and thank you for taking the time for this worthwhile investment.