Anxiety & Health

It is common knowledge that anxiety and stress can have detrimental effects on your health.  Countless articles have been published on the subject, and WebMD has a page dedicated to the subject.  (See  As described in the WebMD page, “[s]tress is linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and even suicide.”

I have experienced some of the side effects of stress first hand.  When anxious, it is more difficult to sleep, one tends to make unhealthy choices when it comes to food, and as such the body becomes more susceptible to infection and disease.  While under abnormal stress, I am much more likely to develop colds or worse.

This week, however, I wanted to take a moment to focus not on my struggle with controlling and handling stress in the most healthful and productive way possible, but to highlight how excellent stress management can cause miraculous results when a person is faced with serious health problems.

My dear friend, let me refer to him as John, was diagnosed with an unusual disorder a few years ago, severe aplastic anemia.  (See  As a result, he was referred to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for treatment.  After rounds of chemotherapy and countless transfusions, John was able to return to a normal life.  This sense of normality lasted only a few years, however, and earlier this year it was determined that John required a bone marrow transplant.

When I heard the news I burst into tears because I thought that he has fought hard and long enough.  But when I reached out to John to see how he was doing, I could not have heard a more positive attitude on the other end of the line.  John’s father donated bone marrow to him, and the results have been quite positive.  John is producing his own blood cells now and continues to smile.

A positive attitude is but one factor in John’s continuous recovery, of course.  Happy and relaxed people undoubtedly become sick.  However, a positive attitude and a fight to overcome whatever unfair obstacle your body places in your path to health can only benefit those suffering from chronic disease, as well as anyone fighting the common cold.

I see a clear resemblance in the attitude of my friend John, as well as that of my sister, Lyfebulb’s founder, Karin Hehenberger.  I have often wondered how Karin does it; how she continues to smile, to compete, to grow.  But I suppose that when you do not actually have a choice because the alternative could be deadly, the choice is clear.  Both Karin and John inspire me to not let work stress, arguments with friends and family, or superficial issues like dress size, bring me down.  I thank them both for the everyday motivation to smile, laugh, and move forward.  

A Call to Discipline


Becoming disciplined is quite frankly the best way to control your health. But before we delve further into exactly what becoming disciplined means, we need to make an important distinction: the Super-humans versus the Disciplined.

Super-humans are incredible. Super-humans once ate bacon cheeseburgers at McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner before turning it around and going vegan. Maybe they bought a two-month frozen meal package or meal replacement shakes and actually stuck to the plan the entire time. They bought that new gym membership and went from never stepping into a gym to working out 7 days a week. They have every meal, workout, and medication calculated so perfectly that they always look and feel great no matter the scenario. Seriously, hats off to the Super-humans.

This message is not for those lucky few, and I do mean few, who can turn it all around in one swoop. This message is for the rest of the people who want to regain control of their lives in ways that are gradual, but lasting. Embracing the disciplined lifestyle is about making enough small changes so that they you can reach your goal of becoming an new self.

As it pertains to weight loss, new studies have shown a large number of successful dieters will eventually regain the weight they’ve lost and then some.  Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle mass, control your diabetes, or any combination of the three, life changes are going to have to be made.

Somewhere buried amongst the old adages that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that it takes 30 straight days of an activity for it to form into a habit exists the unforgiving truth: small, permanent life changes are necessary in order for you to reach your goals. Disciplined people are prepared to make these changes for good.

The key to these small changes is to be realistic with yourself about your current lifestyle, and to find viable components of that lifestyle that you can make tweaks to long-term.Here are a few examples of ways you can make that fantasy version of your healthy self into a reality.

When it comes to exercise, commit to taking the stairs, commit to making a day like Monday (rain or shine) a workout day.

After committing to one mandatory day of exercise, it will be easier to fit in 2 or three other days in the week when it’s convenient. When thinking about diets–njoy a cheat meal: if you worked hard to stay on course with healthy, clean food, then enjoy a cheat meal. You must keep the cheat meal to a MEAL. Not a whole day, or a whole week of binging

Use this commitment to not just cut out the foods you love, but as an opportunity to try new foods. Eating chicken, brown rice, and veggies can be monotonous, challenge yourself to cook up tasty, new, and exciting healthy meals.

For diabetics, set a schedule so that your basal rates are adjusted not only 1 or 2 hours prior to a workout but also a few hours following your workout.The best way for your blood sugars to be consistent is if your pre-game/pre-workout meals are consistent.For a full week once every two months, keep extremely diligent notes of your blood sugars and activities. Release your inner perfectionist. This will allow you to make easier generalizations in the future.

Outside of these quick tips, keep looking for ways to become more disciplined and reach your goals. Coming to Lyfebulb and becoming part of our online community is the first step. Together we can continue the fight!