Your mind can be very powerful. It controls much more than you realize. I realized this a few years ago after several years of dealing with sporadic lower back pain. The pain seemingly appeared for no reason. In other words, I would get lower back pain without doing anything like pull a muscle. The pain just seemed to come from of nowhere.

One day I came across a report from John Stossel. He is the news reporter from ABC’s 20/20 and now on Fox News. In the report he described the same back pain I had. He came to realize that the pain came from mental stress. Every time he had significant stress, his back pain would return.

I was very skeptical. I started paying attention to my back pain and came to realize every time I had lower back pain, I could point to a significant stress in my life. So, I started paying attention to stress. Now when something particularly stressful is happening, I deal with that stress immediately. I have gone more than 3 years now without any significant back pain.

Now, I know there are people out there who have real medical conditions that cause back pain not related to stress. A few years ago, I had a herniated disc that ruptured in my neck and I had to have the disc removed. That was not stress related. I also have several relatives with significant degenerative back issues. I am not talking about medical back pain.

My point is that your mind can have a significant effect on your physical health. We all know the other health issues that can be created from stress. If you have health issues, consider that it could be related to stress in your life. So, relieve the stress.

To eliminate stress:

  1. Identify the stress. Determine what is causing your stress. Take the time to figure out what is wrong. Unless you can identify the source of your stress, you will never be able to do anything about it. Write it down if you have to so that you can remind yourself of the source of your stress.
    I started getting that old familiar sign from my back earlier this week. I identified that the stress was because I was behind in my blogging plan.
  2. Do something about your stress. The stress may be from outside forces, or may be self-inflicted. Either way, determine what you can do about the stress and fix it. Fix it now.
    I took action to catch up my blogging plan by converting my voice notes to actual drafts. Within an hour my back pain was gone.
  3. If you can’t do anything about your stress, accept it. Sometimes whatever is causing your stress is out of your control like gasoline prices. If it is, acknowledge it is out of your control. There is no reason to stress about something that you cant do anything about.

Lance Armstrong says, The real reward for pain is this: self-knowledge. My lower back pain has taught me a lot about myself. I have been able to better manage stress because of this biological barometer.

What are you stressed about? What effective ways have you found to deal with your stress?