Motivation Mondays: The Stress Factor

Last week, the world lost a Hollywood icon: James Gandolfini. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy with her son and sister. He was only 51 years old.

Gandolfini was most infamously known as Tony Soprano, the lead mobster from New Jersey, on the hit HBO series The Sopranos. He had other movie roles, most recently the C.I.A. director in Zero Dark Thirty as well as a role on Broadway. He was known as a gentle giant who loved his family, friends and being Italian. As an avid Sopranos fan, I was saddened by his death but it also served as a wake-up call.

gandolfiniGandolfini was a younger man, who wasn’t sick and had plenty of living left to do. Yet, in an instance, he was taken away from his family and friends. Anyone who knew Tony Soprano knew he was a big guy.  As an Italian, he loved his pasta and wine too. His presumed weight problem coupled with the stress of being a Hollywood star unfortunately were a lethal combination. I’ve seen this pairing too often in my own life. My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 47. This past December, my 42 year-old cousin died the same way. All were taken too soon.

Weight is a constant battle for me as well as most of my family members. Actually, weight in general is probably something most of the world struggles with. No one should obsess but everyone should be conscious of their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. Working out regularly and eating healthy helps you maintain a healthy weight. But what about the stress factor?

Stress is almost just as bad as eating poorly and being a couch potato. But, in my opinion, it is not as easy to manage as counting calories or hitting the gym. Stress puts undo pressure on all parts of your body: your muscles tense up, your heart rate increases and digestive problems develop. The longer you let stress affect you, the more prevalent these issues become.

So, here’s the deal: we all need to commit to managing our stress better. A couple of ways to handlestress stress better include:

  • Pinpoint exactly what stresses you out and choose a couple of ways to deal with the problem. Even write them out to glance at when the problem occurs.
  • Close your eyes and take some deeps breathes.
  • Leave your desk and go for a walk.
  • Set boundaries and stick to them.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • LAUGH more 🙂

The death of James Gandolfini should be a reminder to all of us that stress negatively impacts our health regardless of how old we are. Making the changes will be hard but will be totally worth it. Check out the clip below of the gentle giant, Gandolfini on Sesame Street.

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