Living Outside the Box!

Are you happy with the way your life is playing out? Have you found your purpose in this life and are you engaging in working your purpose everyday? Are you questioning whether you have found yourself living a life which could be different and perhaps more rewarding? Are you in a box with your job, your finances, your relationships, and possibly with your life’s purpose?

To be honest, most of us would have to agree that life sometimes, or maybe more often than sometimes, feels like it is going sideways. Just to complicate this discussion, consider this statement, some people define “Crazy” as repeating the same thing (Behavior) over and over again and expecting different results. (Occasionally, you may use a repeated behavior and get a different response because the environment or people involved will allow for a slightly different reaction.) Remember, if you do not like the response you get to a certain behavior then you need to take responsibility and try something different to get a more satisfying response. YOU have a choice! And, it starts by knowing that YOU are responsible and then, to break patterns where you are blaming other people or institutions for the less than desirable reaction. Yes, try an entirely new approach.

Why are you resisting change and a new approach? We do not try new behaviors because we are AFRAID. Yes, we have FEAR of new approaches because we lack confidence and do not know how these will turn out. We prefer to have reliable failure, which is comfortable and which we are familiar with, rather than move toward a more positive, yet unknown, outcome. We even have surrounded ourselves with family and friends who like us the way we are and would have difficulty supporting us if we were more successful and confident. They like the “Old” and familiar person you have been trapped within. Maybe, it is time to find new friends who love and support you on your path to becoming ever more successful and joyful.

At the end of your life, are you going to feel good about what you have accomplished and the people you have assisted? Will you weigh your legacy by how much money or how many “toys,” you have? Can you ask yourself, and honestly answer, that you have lived a full life filled with the service which has helped move consciousness forward?

It is time to take the small steps to find a better more adventurous and rewarding life. It may even be time to take the big steps toward your new life of personal responsibility and positive change. Personally, I have learned more from my failed attempts at changing my life and from confronting the challenges of trying new behaviors that lead me down an unhappy path. Take a risk. Get positive support. Break out of the confined box that has been a comfortable but unhappy experience. You will never know until you try, how good it feels to make that stretch in your life. Enjoy the adventure! No one else can do this for you, so do not wait.

The Masters of the Journey community may help to provide some support if your quest includes spiritual development (in a non-religious way.)

Meditation: The First Step to Higher Consciousness

Meditation practice regularly helps you to be more calm and present. When you release your thoughts in meditation, your body relaxes and energy is freed for you to use in other activities or to rest and heal yourself. Letting go of thoughts, fear, anxieties, and distractions allow an emotional environment where fewer mistakes are made and you save time. When you are calmed by meditation, you are less likely to be “Triggered” and you can be more available for positive decision making and better choices.

This is nothing new. Yes, it does take time and practice to learn to meditate but it saves you time and energy in the long run. I have found that people require less sleep and can focus better during their work day. Meditation also allows connection with the divine source of wisdom and unconditional love. You may not know this and even may want to argue about this, but if you quiet yourself and become more fully “present” you will find these benefits.

Or, you can continue to be caught in your emotional drama and allow fear & anger to run your life. This is perfect also. Being open and positive will help you to find more joy and contentment in the challenges of life.

Blessings to you on your path. Just remember to breathe slowly and feel the warm breath that you exhale assist you in letting go of unwanted tension and troubling emotions.

More information at:
Stress Education Center and
Masters of the Journey

Books on Meditations include:
Curt Remington’s Simple Meditation at http://curtremington.com
and
Paula Forget’s, “Guided to a Higher Realm at http://paulaforget.com/inspired/

Dying to Know

Have you ever considered what it was like to be dead? We will all end our living by dying and then the mystery of what comes next becomes an activity that we will participate in. Some people consider that at death, we stop completely and there is nothing to look forward to. Some people believe that we travel to the “Pearly Gates,” get a few moments to reflect on our lives, and then head off to the “After Life” in Heaven or…. Some believe in “Re-incarnation” where we agree to return to Earth (or somewhere) in a new body for another “learning” in being human. Whatever your belief, the thought about what happens at the time of death has probably come up for you.

There have been many books written by people who have experienced a Near Death Experience (NDE), or who have worked with people who have moved through the ultimate transition, or who have researched the subject by reading (or conducting) interviews with people who have had NDE’s. In the 1970’s, Raymond Moody was one of the first people to come out with a book on research conducted with interviewing people who had NDE’s. I like Ken Ring who authored a series of books on this topic after even more interviews than Moody. Survivors like Eben Alexander wrote a wonderful book, Proof of Heaven, which is a well written account (by this Neurosurgeon scientist) of his own NDE where he was “clinically dead” for 7 days. There are many books, stories, movies, and other accounts through the history of man, even back to the ancient Greeks. But what can be learned from this research???

Many, maybe most, of the survivors of NDE’s come back to life with similar stories but, more notably, these people return with a different perspective on LIVING. Many report that the “after-life” or “heaven” is not a scary place. In fact, many resisted returning to their bodies and their lives because it felt so peaceful and accepting. Survivors report the feeling of unconditional love and support, full acceptance, freedom from the limitations of the body and space and time. Many report access to divine consciousness and wisdom not known in their human form. Most importantly, many return with the fear and anxiety commonly found in living, reduced because they do not fear dying. They report a different appreciation of “living in the light” and in a state of “Grace” over the way they may have chosen to live before. These stories are compelling. Whether you believe these reports or not, you can benefit from attempting to gain the “Feeling of this Grace” as you experience these stories.

Whether you get these stories first hand by speaking with someone who has had a NDE or read the accounts in the many books on this topic, it is important to try to remember your own Divine Spiritual experience and possibly bring the knowing of the State of Grace back with you to offer you perspective as you live out your remaining days.

My parents were role models with two very different approaches. My mother lived without fear of death and dying. She had adventures in life because she was not afraid to live… most fully. My father got fearful the older he got. He disliked change or traveling or eating new foods because he feared the adventures in life. I chose to be more like my mother and love the adventures, and accept the challenges that these might bring. You have a choice in how you want to live your life. You will have to come to grips with the experience of your last transition and, for many people, some consideration regarding dying adds interesting dimensions to how you live…

Our community of consciousness seekers, Masters of the Journey, offers connection to a community where topics like these are shared and resources offered to you. You may want to consider coming in person or engaging in one of our video conferences on a topic you may know about, and can offer your wisdom, or one where you can come and experience the wisdom and experiences from other people like you. This is NOT a religion but it is a way to connect to a supportive community.

Count Your Blessings!

Have you ever heard that expression, “Count Your Blessings?” Why would someone say this to you? What is the purpose for looking for the “Positives” in the life you are here to live? For many people, it is easier to look for the problems and the negative interactions and perhaps even play a “Victim” to these challenges. But does looking for and living within the “negative” give you the joy that can be found in this world?

What do YOU give thanks for in the world? Even the most brutal lessons can be honored as important opportunities to learn from, even if the learning is what NOT to do. Personally, I have learned more from my mistakes and my painful relationships than I have learned from when my life was most easy and successful. The 8 years I lived with my wife’s terminal cancer I would not wish upon anyone and yet these were some of the most important years for learning in my life. The lessons of empathy and compassion were so valuable. The fear and the sharing within our many crisis’ was such a powerful tool for learning about the human dilemma. The closeness that we grew into, with the love at a level tested by trauma, was an amazing and important experience for me. AND, from all of this learning, I find that I have wisdom and gifts to share.

So, look for the difficult experiences as well as the joys when you look for the many blessings that YOU have been granted. Do not keep these a secret. Share them! Challenge others to appreciate being more fully “Present.” Bask in the drama that is your lessons of this life. Do not hesitate to reach out for other people. Allow them to support you AND reach out to share your love and support with them. Find compassion and caring. Find the perfection of the divine spirit within every soul you encounter, even the ones who trigger your fear, anger/frustration, and your defenses. Each encounter is there for a reason. Each encounter is there for your learning.

Blessings to you! Love and appreciate each moment and share your love and wisdom whenever you can.

If you are looking for support and resources to focus upon your spiritual growth and development, consider the Masters of the Journey community. YOU are a Blessing! You have a Purpose! The Universe would have a huge hole in it if you did not exist… With Love – Namaste!

I Have No Fear

“I have no fear because everything is as the Force (Divine) wills it.” Thanks Rodger for this quote from the new Star Wars film, “Rogue One,” which will be released in December, 2016. I love it when fantasy fiction triggers deep insight… Or, at least thoughts…

The “Course in Miracles” and many other Metaphysical, New Age oracles seem to repeat that there is only “Fear” and “Love” and only “Love” wins. Some say that Fear is just a form of Love. Love is the force that drives the Divine Spirit and is at the core of all creation and consciousness. Our “human forms” with our mind’s ego do not move beyond this incarnation and so the survival of body, mind, and ego create fear as a way of creating separation and as a “survival response.” Deeper Acceptance of the Divine and its core force of Love can allow for the release of the “Meatsuit,” the mind, and certainly, the ego, as we transition into the next learning incarnation.

There is the belief that the soul/spirit never dies but moves on. If it never dies then we do not need to fear death or change. (Which is easier said than done….) We can accept the loss of the “illusion” of this life and its reality. (Again, easier said than done…) We can even find ourselves in the soul and spirit of every person we encounter and so to hate (or fear) them is to hate ourselves! (Judgement is so difficult to release…)

Fear is a great motivator. Fear energizes us to push through uncomfortable experiences. Fear can also paralyze us and keep us from moving through life. A lot has been said regarding “Over-coming Fear!” Perhaps accepting our “humanism” with weaknesses, flaws, and anxiety is an important lesson. Can we truly accept our lessons and know that whatever happens it is “Perfect” and just the way the Divine “wills it?” I am told that when Gandhi’s assassin approached him and pulled the trigger for the lethal shot, Gandhi blessed him and accepted his demise. Was this acceptance or Divine wisdom or stupid defenselessness? For me, hearing this story brings a deeper level of appreciation when it comes to being devoted to Love, non-violence, and trusting the Divine. I am not sure how I would react if I found myself in a similar situation. So, I must still be on my path to acceptance and lesson learning…

Blessings to you and Know your Fear in ways where it does NOT control you. (Again, easier said than done…)

Live in Love and Joy. Find Acceptance in your soul.

Consider the support community of Masters of the Journey so you can share your wisdom as the Master you are.

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help you to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Panic and Anxiety Control Program

Symptoms of panic and anxiety can be confused with life threatening physical disorders! Please consult your physician to determine the source of your symptoms.

Behavioral techniques for controlling panic and anxiety. Help get back in control of your life.
This is an update of specific things you can do to control the symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks. These devastating occurrences can negatively affect your day to day quality of life. But this is not news for anyone suffering from this terrible disorder. Millions of people live in fear of these “attacks.” Major transitions, trauma, and stress can lead to feelings of little or no control over one’s life! This can affect people in major ways.

A scary symptom which can develop is called Panic (or Panic Attack.”) A panic episode can come on suddenly or can awaken you from your sleep with a nasty feeling of apprehension. Some people believe that they are having a heart attack because often there is chest pain, a shortness of breath, neck or arm pain, major stomach upset, an adrenaline rush, lightheadedness, dizziness, and other unpleasant feelings of fear and apprehension. These feelings can be triggered by specific events such as: driving (getting stuck in traffic), shopping, waiting in lines at stores, banks, post offices, etc, feeling trapped in church/movies/classes, traveling distances from home (especially flying, etc.), making a presentation in front of a group of people (drawing attention toward yourself), doing new or unfamiliar activities, meeting new people, basically, doing anything new or seemingly stressful where you may fear “LOSING CONTROL.” Loss of control is the main feature that makes this so frightening for the people who suffer from panic and anxiety. We may not know a panic sufferer by looking at him or her because they can maintain such good control that unless we were to look very carefully we might not notice the nervousness below the surface.

Heart problems, chest pain, and respiratory difficulties (hyperventilation and dizziness are common symptoms of panic/anxiety attacks) should be carefully examined by your physician! If no heart related problem exists, but you are still in great fear of these occurrences of panic then the following behavioral program, with practice, will greatly aid you in preventing or at least minimizing the episodes of panic. Also, remember that exciting/positive actions or events can raise your heart rate. This excitement is not bad or life threatening, but you fear of the physical symptoms of excitement can really hamper your enjoyment of life!

The keys to controlling panic and anxiety are:

• Breathe slowly/diaphragmatically
• Remain in the present… in your body, in a positive way
• Positive self-talk… not negative ruminations
• Avoid caffeine and stimulants
• Regular aerobic exercise
• Regular deep relaxation with Biofeedback Temperature monitoring
• Use relaxation tapes/CD’s regularly!
• Learn to warm your hands and feet
• Get support in confronting and then desensitizing yourself to fears/phobias
• Taper your anti-anxiety medication after you have mastered the relaxation-biofeedback

1. Learn to breathe diaphragmatically
Place a hand over your upper abdomen
Push it OUT as you inhale
Let in move IN as you exhale
Let your chest, shoulder, neck, and back relax as you breathe.
Only on a very deep breath should these parts move in the breath.
This may be the most important Panic Control Technique you can learn!

2. Use any of the Stress Management Audio’s, especially, #205 Stress Management for Controlling Panic and Anxiety, 1-3 times per day for 8-12 weeks. Check the “Products” page at the Stress Education Center’s website.
After achieving a level of controlled deep relaxation, repeat suggestions of “control,” especially control of slow, regular breathing and slow regular heart rate. Suggestions of “letting go” to help achieve hand and foot warming, along with any visualizations that can encourage this increase of peripheral blood flow, would be very useful, as well.

Try to find: StressDots or some sort of temperature training biofeedback device on your hands to learn how to warm your hands with relaxation. When you can consistently get above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (93-95 degrees is ideal) then you can begin to master warming your feet to 90 degrees.
When you can “let go” by relaxing and warming your hands and feet, you will be able to control if not prevent your panic episodes. Then you must develop the confidence in your control so the fear of panic will not control your life.

3. Regular exercise will help you to work off the effects of life’s stresses
3-5 times per week of regular exercise that can elevate your heart rate for 15-45 minutes would be best. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program if you have been inactive for a long while. Even though elevating your heart rate can be a little scary, the release of tensions and the strengthening of your cardiovascular system will have great benefits.

4. Eat regular meals.
Low fat and complex carbohydrates are better than fast foods with lots of sugar. AVOID CAFFEINE and other stimulants. Caffeine is found in coffee, black teas, cola drinks, chocolate, some over-the-counter pain medications, and other foods/drugs. Read labels. Eating as closely as you can to natural foods (lots of: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) will benefit any one.

5. Practice positive self-talk.
Do not let your fears escalate into you losing control of your body and your mind. By breathing slowly and staying in your body, in present time, you avoid falling into the negative pattern of fear and panic.

6. Get support from your friends, doctor, and a therapist if necessary.
Check your area for panic/anxiety support or treatment groups! Regular use of anti-anxiety medications may be better than just taking your prescription only after the panic has begun. Reduce your medication in a supervised way after you have mastered the relaxation/biofeedback control techniques.

Remember you can get back in control of your body and your life! You must make this a priority so you can avoid being a victim to this set of scary symptoms.

Panic/anxiety is not always your enemy. This reaction is designed to protect you and may teach you something about the stresses and transitions you are going through. Denial of these challenges only creates a more stubborn set of symptoms that can be more debilitating.

Other Good books that can help you:David Barlow, Ph.D. and Jerome Cerny, Psychological Treatment of Panic, Guilford Press, New York. 1988.

Susan Lark, MD, Anxiety & Stress: A Self-Help Program, Westchester Publishing Company, Los Altos, CA. 1993.

For more information regarding the Stress Education Center Panic/Anxiety Control Program visit the website at www.dstress.com or call 360-593-3833.

Anger and Rage filled People are Always Right, in Their View!

With the Presidential Elections happening later this year in the United States, the silly political theater is in full effect. Intelligence, cooperation, negotiation, reasoning, and civility go “out the window.” The people who yell loudest, even though a minority in the electorate, seem to get the most crazy, media time due to the fact the media loves the “crazies.” (Good screen-time…) So, I offer a few thoughts on how to view the process…

There are a lot of angry and rage driven people in this country (and the world) and they are always right, at least in their belief system. Most of these people have developed their habitual “knee-jerk” reaction to any opposing thought, by allowing their anger and rage to rise to the surface, and without any appropriate filtering, find expression. Historically, polite society has encouraged a safety net of emotional filtration of the expression of anger. We have developed laws that are supposed to keep strong emotions from taking over and the expression of emotional rage from being demonstrated. We have even developed laws which say that angry people in relationships can not, legally, beat each other or their children (as in domestic violence or child abuse.) Our system allows for “free expression” of our political views but has discouraged “punching someone out” for disagreeing. We do have problems with anger filled bullies who attempt to control situations with their anger by shouting down any opposing conversation or action. On their terms, free expression is sanctioned but only toward someone who holds their same belief. In this way, a minority can control the political process by saying “NO” and bullying any opposition.

Very often these angry, rage filled people are driven by their value system that sees things in “black and white” terms. “Either you are for me or against me” mentality. There is no “gray zone” where there is room to work together with compromise. This is why the congressional process in the United States has ground to a halt and become ineffective. No room to compromise means a minority opinion can control the political process. The person who “yells louder” wins the discussion and angry people, who have no appreciation for the act of compromise, seem to control progress by grinding negotiation to a halt.

“Black and white” values and expressing anger/rage are linked together. This value system historically has given rise to dictatorships and totalitarian regimes like the one currently controlling Iran and, in the past, Nazi Germany. The minorities take control of their political process, and their governments, without regard for compromise and the basic human rights of opposing beliefs. There are dangerous people who might strap an explosive vest to their body and walk into a crowded market to detonate their bomb. Terrorists are very “black and white” in their thinking. They often have a belief that if you do not agree with their values you deserve to die, even if other innocent people die also. Religious extremists and political extremists are not dissimilar in their “black and white,” “right or wrong” attitudes and values. They can be quick to anger with opposition and when they “act out,” headlines are made. For rational people who understand the value of compromise, this is very scary. As our world continues toward political and religious polarization, violence and angry outbursts will escalate.

There is an appropriate place for anger. There are appropriate ways to express dissatisfaction, even rage, but extremism, from any political or religious mindset, needs to be expressed through the filters of rational and appropriate communication. The world is getting too crowded and too small for minority bullies to be running the show.

Mutual respect, tolerance of differing views, and the acceptance that other people’s beliefs can be shared, but not forced on non-believers, seems necessary in our shrinking and over-crowded world.

Be wary of preachers and politicians who are too extreme in their “black and white” sermons, with little or no regard for another opinion. These bullies can control followers and drive them to act unfairly in the mob that they create. Their most ardent supporters are often people who are under-educated or who are impulsive because they are not able to think clearly about available options that can create positive solutions to pressing issues. Stand up and use your brain so that you are not “controlled” and duped into behaviors that rational people of the world would find to be stupid or inappropriate. It is our responsibility to seek all the information on both sides of an issue before we make our final decision, as the framers of the constitution of the United States intended. (Do not rely on any one source of information and news coverage. It may require an effort that even looks outside our country’s media sources.) This requires time and effort, not the “follow the tail in front of you” approach as circus elephants are trained to do. If you can not find your way, safely, out of the narrow minded thinking, then at least do not react in a “knee-jerk” fit of rage to an opposing point of view. Perhaps, as a reasonable alternative, engage in tolerance. “Civics” as a study, and part of our education process, has largely been lost to educational budget cuts in the United States, and with it, the education regarding how the political process is supposed to work and how the voters are supposed to prepare themselves to make good voting decisions. To often we are lead to the polls by the demagogues who yell the loudest and control our media’s attention.

Please be responsible and do not be lazy when you choose your government, or, you are doomed to pay the price…

Letting Go a Meditation

(From a meditation on a beautiful Fall day… and, for future meditations to find peace…)
Consider this meditation by reading each line slowly and pausing to experience these words/thoughts.

Experience the feelings of being angry.
Experience the feelings of fear.
Experience the feelings of being sad.
Experience the feelings of being anxious.
Experience the feelings of the lack of control.

Learn the lesson of anger and accept it.
Learn the lesson of fear and accept it.
Learn the lesson of sadness and accept it.
Learn the lesson of anxiety and accept it.
Accept the lack of control. Accept that death is the outcome of living. It is not the enemy, it is an important transition.

Let go of anger.
Let go of fear.
Let go of sadness.
Let go of anxiety.
Let go of frustration.

Now say:
I am letting go of my anger.
I am letting go of my fear.
I am letting go of my anxiety.
I am letting go of my sadness.
I am letting go of my frustration with my lack of control and I am learning to accept the process of death for my loved ones and for myself. If possible, find grace in the final transition.

I am Joy!
I am Love!
I am Blessed!
I am Peace!

In my heart, I feel the glimmer of peace from acceptance…

Fanning the Flames of “Media Created” Anxiety

A Break From Unnecessary Drama

Do you ever feel caught up in the “Media” frenzy when disasters strike? Do stories regarding dramatic weather, or planes landing in the Hudson River, or banking scandals, or babies born by “in vitro fertilization,” or even celebrities faux pas ever seem blown out of proportion by “Hype?” We news consumers are often bombarded by the media as they attempt to gain, and then hold, our attention…

Tips for gaining control of your life…
The news media is more than a source for information and current events. It has become a “roller coaster ride” of drama and self-aggrandizement. We consumers of these presentations are swept up and our visceral anxiety responses are fanned into a frenzy. But why are swept up in this media blitz of emotion?

Since the dawning of the “Information Age” in the 1970’s, we have been steadily drawn into an escalating 24/7 need for worldwide news and the media has provided us with anxiety producing excitement from every corner of the world. Technology allows this instant communication and seems to encourage our “need to know” mentality. We “need to know” because we have a very primitive survival mechanism that stimulates our external focus on any threats, even perceived threats that may exist thousands of miles away, so our unconscious minds can protect us by preparing to fight or to flee from “danger.” When the Flight/Fight Response is triggered, our reactive, survival mechanisms take priority. We can react with “knee jerk” habitual patterns that are unique to our learned responses, but are born from the survival reaction. One major reaction that occurs for many people under threat is a reduced ability to creatively problem solve and communicate effectively. We react and often do not really think things through. When this occurs, mistakes can be made. Accidents can happen. People or projects can get hurt. Relationships can be harmed. Our world can suffer by becoming a victim to poor rational thought in cases of fear or media driven anxiety. It is an extra “heaping, helping” of annoying distractions that take us away from self-care, focus on priorities, and creative pursuits that promote productivity and well-being.

Just before 9/11/2001 our news media changed. Do you remember? About 3 months prior to the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, the television news media upgraded their reporting to include, not just a “talking head” (reporter) giving us the “news” but also text messages flying by on the bottom of the screen, and often a graphic on the left of the “talking head.” Now we have to deal with 3 sources of information simultaneously. This multi-tasking creates added frenetic anxiety in coping with this increased input. Have humans evolved to keep pace with this new use of technology? When we are threatened, we have a response that NEEDS to know what is going on around us so that we can take action and survive any threat. We are often overwhelmed. We have learned to cope by becoming unconscious regarding this media craziness. The media fights to keep our attention. The media has evolved their approach to sensationalize their coverage, to yell at us even louder, with more graphic events that “demand” our attention. Even the weather news whips us with “STORM” coverage that makes weather events major news, even when it occurs hundreds of miles away!

To combat this media blitz on our senses we must do three things. First, we must become aware that we can become victims to sensationalism that may not necessarily be an immediate threat, and filter the news so that we can respond more appropriately. Secondly, as my friend Rodger Ruge suggests, we should consider a media “Fast,” where we reduce and limit the amount of media news that we subject ourselves to. For many of us, turning off the news, especially before bedtime, would be a very good option. The third necessary step is to practice self-care and strengthen our emotional foundations by eating better, avoiding caffeine, getting regular exercise, and practicing daily relaxation.

Awareness of the media frenzy can help protect us and our children from the “overwhelm.” Since the mid 1980’s, we have been deluged by new technologies that force us to react to news and information that is swirling around us. We have experienced: pagers, fax machines, cable TV with 500 channels, Cell phones, text messaging, e-mail, internet information, changes in media coverage of world “disasters,” “robo-calls” at dinner time, and huge expectations that we are plugged in 24/7 and can respond instantaneously even when we are driving our cars…. This is crazy making! Some people can handle this gracefully, in fact, some people can thrive in this environment. But most of us are just victims to our technology and can benefit from setting some limits on the ways that we use, and react to, our technologies… We need to evolve and to create survival strategies that meet our unique, individual requirements.

Please be smart and figure out how to “not become a VICTIM” to the media and our newest technologies!

When we see natural disasters on the TV, we think that we filter the visceral effects on our survival systems, but our unconscious often reacts to the possible threats that are perceive through our visual and auditory senses. When we witness “coverage” of war zones, murders, attacks, rapes, fires, or vehicular accidents, we may believe that this does not affect us at a “conscious level,” but we are still triggering the flight/fight response in some systems at an unconscious level. Have you ever noticed your heart race or your gut tighten when confronted by news or movies? Does your neck, jaw, or back react to accidents or disasters that you witness in person or on TV? Do thoughts of “media images” ever pop into your conscious mind as you try to sleep? We are bombarded by negative media attacks almost everyday.

Do media pundits ever whip you up with their “news coverage” or editorials so that anger or fear seem to rise to the surface of you or your loved ones? This can be emotionally and physically hard on our systems…. Be aware and do not get caught up in the media circus, if at all possible.

Final note. Many people are studying and applying the principles of the “Law of Attraction” believing that goal setting and positive attitudes toward achieving these goals is essential to success. World class competitive athletes have been using these “Sports Psychology” techniques in their training regimen for decades to achieve advantages in mental preparation in their events. When we get caught in the sensationalized, negative reporting by the various media we are sapped of our positive thoughts and energy. We lose our focus on attracting success and positive outcomes. In fact, we can be overwhelmed by negativity. This can strip you of your ability to problem solve in positive and creative ways. Negative thoughts can attract negative outcomes, mistakes, and ill health. Avoiding negativity (and negative thoughts) can be a path to better health and lead to positive outcomes. “Dwell in the Light” (Choose “Joy”) and when you feel overwhelmed, consider turning off the negative newscasts and immerse yourself in a book or audio program, or a video that will inspire you with positive; thoughts, actions, and emotions.

L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading stress management expert and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Success & Executive Coaching and Training.

Please visit the Stress Education Center’s website www.dstress.com. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (360) 593-3833.