Healing Secret

Do you believe that someone else “Heals” you? Or, do you believe that you heal yourself? When you get a small cut or scratch how does your body repair itself? When you get exposed to a cold virus how does your body fight off the virus infection? These are mysteries that are just being explored. A doctor in an emergency room can set a bone, or put stitches in a wound, or restart your heart, or prescribe a medication like an antibiotic which can save your life. This demonstrates the mastery of medical arts, but does this heal you?

The power to heal is within you. People with faith may believe that the holy spirit can help the healing process or is it the “belief” in the holy spirit that actually supports the healing? The magic of the body hunting for an infection, building anti-bodies, and then destroying a bacteria or virus or even a cancer cell is still not well understood by medical professionals. There are many who believe that healing can be enhanced by the power of the focused mind.

I bought my wife a crystal that has healing properties, as told to me by the shop keeper. Perhaps the crystal focuses a healing energy that can not be measured by current scientific monitors or perhaps a person’s belief in the healing properties of the crystal are what rallies the patient to enhance their own healing mechanisms. In many ways, it does not matter whether the crystal does the healing or the faith in the crystal provides the healing, but…

From past experience in coaching clients, I have witnessed the power of the positive suggestions offered to enhance the healing process. The positive focus and concentration upon the positive end results and a soothing or calming environment can help promote the healing process. Many clients have responded well, physically and emotionally, to positive visualizations and suggestions, but I can not claim to know why this happens. I do know that the safe way I practice this use of suggestions does not hurt them and it is meant as an adjunctive process to traditional medical protocols.

I have seen “miracles” (or unexplained benefits) occur. As an example, I had a woman in her mid-twenties come in to my private practice with a diagnosis of a hyper-active thyroid and the symptoms that go along with this diagnosis. She said that she had been treated by an endocrinologist for 4 years with little positive result. Her symptoms included: hyperactive behavior, skin breakouts, bulging (protruding) eyes and high levels of thyroid hormone in her blood tests. I told her that I had not worked with this diagnosis (this was early in my career) but as we discussed her life she seemed to respond to information about biofeedback and stress management. We discussed a process that involved relaxation with Autogenic Training and a targeted visualization of blue light and coolness surrounding her thyroid gland to reduce blood supply to her overactive thyroid. It seemed to make sense to her and she went home to practice these techniques. 4 weeks later her skin was better. Her eyes were not bulging. Her energy levels seemed better under control. AND, her doctor found no trace of excessive thyroid hormone in her blood test. She felt that her success was due to her relaxation and visualization of a positive result. She used the power of her mind to heal herself in a measurable way. I loved this experience but I can not really explain the positive result.

I believe that we have the power to help keep ourselves healthy and we can be a big part of the healing process. I recommend that we get diagnosis and support from our medical professionals especially with our personal physicians but we should not always assume that they will heal us… We have a big part of this responsibility and we need to do our part.

I do not know whether a crystal helped my wife but I like to think that she may found emotional support in the belief that a positive environment helped her invest her own healing energies in appropriate ways. I also know that other people’s prayers, healing thoughts, love and positive energy can give great comfort and support. This may assist the healing process by having positive effects on the mind, emotion, and spirit of the person receiving this support.

Heal yourself. Share love and support with people who need healing. Allow them to bask in the healing, spiritual golden-white light of your unconditional, loving thoughts and prayers.

Contact me through the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com for more healing examples or coaching on how this might benefit your healing process. Please take good care of yourself.

Dangers of Ignoring the Impact of Stress

Why are we in denial?

Have you ever experienced any stress? Is the world more stressful now than it was 20 years ago? Have you ever experienced physical or emotional symptoms that are made worse as a response to stress? Do you believe that the best solution to stress is getting drunk or taking drugs?

I ask these questions many times per month to groups I train or individuals I coach. Without exception, people respond by saying that there is plenty of stress out in the world. It can be a distraction and effect physical and emotional health.

Now I ask you, what do you do, on a daily basis, to control your responses to stress? Do you meditate or practice stress management for 20 minutes per day? Most people say that they are too busy for 20 minutes of relaxation. People think that there is some easier way to control stress like taking medication. It is not convenient to practice stress management, so why bother to do it? The other response that many people use when confronted by the challenges of stress is to a point a finger and then blame someone or something else, rather that to take any responsibility for ones own habitual response to life’s stress.

Do not believe me without testing this out for yourself, but most people find that by practicing 20 minutes of deep relaxation, daily, they will actually save time and energy. Research suggests that 20 minutes of deep relaxation can take the place of as much as 2 hours of sleep and the sleep that you do get will be deeper and more restful. When I first heard this statistic I did not believe it, as most of you will not. I tested the statement and after 3 months I discovered that I required less sleep. Instead of needing 8.5 hours of sleep, I was getting rested with only 7 hours of sleep. So I invested 20 minutes and required 1.5 hours less sleep time. I came out ahead by one hour and ten minutes. Many of my Executive Coaching clients, after I convince them to try the 20 minutes of stress management, report that they get more work done in less time, with less energy, because they are better able to focus and make fewer mistakes. I challenge you to try this activity for 8-12 weeks and find the benefits that will surface.

People resist trying new things even if these “new things” are good for them. In fact, people are so overwhelmed that most of us are apathetic about taking good care of ourselves. We simply do not have the energy to care… Making time, even just 20 minutes per day, is painful and difficult. Motivation is low for using stress management preventively. Stress can cause headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, rapid heart rates, anxiety, depression, GI complaints, sexual dysfunction, back or neck pain, and poor quality of life, and yet most people would rather develop annoying or dangerous symptoms rather than practice stress management…

Most people have an unconscious need to get beaten up by stress as if it were their badge of honor for surviving our hectic world… There are a few genetic immunes who thrive on stress, with no sleep, and they make the rest of us mere mortals look bad. These “immunes” are in denial and stress will eventually affect their health or their relationships in negative ways. In Japan there is a word “Karoshi” which translates; people who work themselves to death. There is an addiction to work in our society and we need to be aware that the long term consequences of this attitude are high costs to our health, relationships, and quality of life.

When we are younger, we can get away with not sleeping or self-care. We are young and strong and flexible, but as we get older, we lose our flexibility and our strength. We have to learn how to do things smarter instead of “muscling through.” If we don’t, we will pay the price and our denial will not save us from our suffering.

Things in life that are the most stressful are the things that you care the most about but that you can not control. The only thing that you can control is the way that you respond in these difficult situations but this can take time and effort.

Please take your head out of the sand and take good care of yourself. Even if this means spending 20 minutes per day with stress management. It will save you time, energy, and even money in the long run.

L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading expert on stress management and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training. In 1978, he opened the Stress Education Center www.dstress.com.

Healing The Body

You may not have thought much about this but, how do we heal? Doctors and scientists have not been able to fully explain how the body heals. Some health care professionals may try to take credit for the healing process, but the best these health care practionners can take credit for is helping to improve the environment for the body to heal itself. Our bodies are amazing and all of the things that happen within the body have been studied but not fully explained. For example, how does a single cell divide and then change into the many different types of cells that has to happen after conception and prior to birth? How does food or drink get digested, absorbed, and transferred to feed the brain? How does a cut to the skin grow back together and heal? How we get a thought and take action to deal with this thought? How do we know when to eat or sleep?

An honest health care professional will educate you on how you can create the best environment so that you can heal yourself. Now, emergency procedures like setting a broken bone, removing a bullet or tumor, or clearing a blocked artery to the heart are health procedures that the body might need help to achieve, but after an emergency procedure the body must heal itself.

Why do some people heal rapidly from devastating injury and some people perish from a relatively minor health challenge? How can a tumor show up on an X-Ray one day and sometimes disappear a few weeks later, possibly without any medical treatment? Why do some auto-immune disease start or disappear?

The body is amazing and there are so many unexplainable things that happen. But one study out of the medical research done at Stanford University on women with breast cancer found, to the researcher’s chagrin, that women who participated in a breast cancer support group seem to live much longer, on average, then women who do not have this kind of support. Is it the mental anxiety from living with the illness alone, without support, that makes the difference? Is it the positive caring or some healing energy within the group that helps to sustain some of the group’s participants? This phenomenon is not understood or explained… yet. But, it is noted that people who have positive social connections will often do better and have better outcomes. In a basic wellness program, an emphasis on a positive integration of mind, body, and spirit includes many potential areas of life that can prevent disease, or minimize possible physical or emotional ailments, or assist people who want to recover from health challenges.
Consider your mental, emotional, and your spiritual requirements when you look to build the most successful wellness program for yourself.

More information and coaching is available to you through the Stress Education Center available for you at www.dstress.com.

Support from Friends

When times are “difficult” emotionally, it can be great to get a supportive visit or call from a “healthy” friend. From recent personal experience, I can celebrate some recent visits and supportive contacts with some of my good friends. I hope that you have “good” and “healthy” friends in your life who can show up when life events turn difficult.

Good friends can be a loving distraction from distressing situations and, when timed properly, can be useful for getting perspective on difficult decisions. When you do not have to figure things out alone, in a “vacuum,” your best path toward solution can be more complete or simply a better one. When you have someone who you trust to share an emotional burden with then you can benefit in decision making and in support. When you are lucky enough to have “healthy” and caring people in your life, you can feel less alone and reduce the anxiety of your decision making.

There are times when your family may not be the best place to turn when you have a difficult decision to make especially when your family may be involved in the problem/challenge/concern/issue. There are times and certain family members that might be trustworthy or “healthy” and may not have your interests in mind when asked to help make a difficult decision. For example, if you are thinking about the “end of life” planning, family may have very personal reasons to not allow you to take the best path.

There are professional coaches or therapists or even clergy who you can go to for assistance in making decisions but sometimes finding the “right” professional to assist you can take as much time and energy as solving the challenge. The downside to confiding in friends is that you may have to be available, as a “healthy” friend when they need support which is different than when you hire a professional. Personally, I love the opportunity of giving back so support from good friends is not an emotional debt that concerns me.

The trick can be allowing yourself to be available to receive needed support. Many of us can give energy to others but find it difficult to be on the receiving side of the friendship equation. In my experience, moms and dads can be good at giving to their families but not good at getting the support when it can be returned. For perspective, I have found myself saying, “You are giving a great gift by allowing other people to give back to you.” And, this is true… People (friends) need to be allowed to “settle” their emotional debts and when NOT allowed to settle these “debts” can find themselves uncomfortable with allowing their relationship to continue, ’cause they do not want to continue the one way street of receiving…. (If they are “healthy” the debt can take its toll.)

I am blessed with having people in my life who can support me and offer perspective to me when I must make difficult decisions. I am blessed to have “healthy” people in my life who do not cloud a difficult situation with their own emotional baggage, as is possible. I have worked hard to connect with “healthy” people and I enjoy their friendship and, when possible, their company as I travel through my life. I work to maintain the important relationships because I like these people and want to be there for them and have them be there for me, when necessary. We are not all the type of people who can live happily isolated in a cave of life. So, celebrate your good, “healthy” relationships. Do the work to find and maintain these positive relationships. If you find yourself needing support when trustworthy friends who are unavailable, do not be too proud to reach out for “good” professional support.

In this light, visit or call or connect somehow with your network of healthy friends. Support them and allow them to support you. We must all reach out and walk through life as we move through our life’s lessons and it can expedite these lessons to have perspective from your healthy friends. We must all assist each other in developing the highest possible levels of consciousness.

AND, thank you to my good friends and family for being available for me as I work my way through my current challenges. I wish all readers to be as blessed as I am when it comes to supportive friends. It is worth the work of building and maintaining these relationships…

One last thing… We are never alone! We just have to become open to developing the connections with healthy, positive consciousness and to the source of our own souls.

Life Balance Quality of Life

Since the “Information Age” began in the late 1970’s, we have been struggling to keep up with changes in technology and 24/7 streaming information. Consider the 1980’s and 1990’s when the information explosion included: fax machines, cell phones, personal computers, and the internet (world wide web-www.) In today’s world, we often feel that we are falling behind if we do not check our e-mail, text messages, facebook-twitter-myspace (etc) accounts, and have our cell phones turned on ALL THE TIME! There are many people who have no idea how to control their “connectedness” and will text while driving, at dinner, in their counseling appointments (I am NOT kidding,) in the bathroom, or even in other important meetings-classes-dates, etc. Maybe ADDICTION to this connectedness is the issue. Technology has driven us to rethink what Life Balance really looks like.

The concept of Life Balance has been around along time however, the challenge of how to achieve or maintain Life Balance has become a difficult dilemma. There are some major areas in most people lives that are necessary to maintain balance in life. Though we are focused on financial survival, focus only on our finances and our careers is not enough to sustain the highest qualities of life. Often we are trapped into thinking that if we made more money, had a bigger bank account, or had moved to the “better” job, we would be happy and healthy. For most of us, this is a false assumption. Besides money and a decent job, we need to be well-rounded in other important areas of our lives including: our family relationships, our world of friendships, continuing our educational pursuits, our health, participating in aesthetic or creative pursuits, and honoring our spirit. If any of these areas of our lives are not celebrated, with at least brief regular attention, we can suffer from “burnout” and a reduced quality of life. We may lack emotional well-being if we do find make time and put energy into these areas of our lives.

“Healthy” relationships with family and friends are more than just social outlets. It is life sustaining to develop and participate in positive connections with other people. Babies who do not have positive human connection do NOT thrive and can die even when they are provided with food and shelter. Most people need to connect and in our desperation to connect, we often settle for relationships with unhealthy people. This has been a problem that affects quality of life. We must guard against negativity in the people we must interact with and prevent ourselves from being drawn into other people’s “drama.” This is easier said than done…

Our psychological, emotional, and physical health requires regular work and attention. Many people take their health for granted. Many people put other people’s needs before themselves and eventually whither or burnout. Every one of us requires a different pattern of prevention to maintain our health and well-being, so you have to learn what your specific requirements are and do not fall into the trap of doing things that other people say you “should” do, when actually your requirements may be very different.

We must continue to learn and to grow. Life long learning keeps us going and interested in life. Waiting for TV to entertain us is usually not enough. We need to reach out and stimulate our brains with new and challenging situations.

Participating in aesthetically pleasing or creative endeavors is also required for the highest qualities of life. This may be appreciating works of art or going for a walk in nature. It may take the form of hobbies or crafts. It may be time spent creating or appreciating music. It is often shared with other people and aids in positive connections. It is a celebration of life and your own unique creativity. You do not have to be a great artist to celebrate the art that you encounter. And, this leads us to the celebration of our spirit.

Spiritual development is a necessary life sustaining activity. It is not a religious pursuit. It is a pursuit of higher connection to an aesthetic belief or activity. Honoring that positive exposure to nature or art through conscious meditation will help lead to a satisfying quest for your spirit. If we do not pursue understanding and celebration of our spirits, we can lack the depth which helps us to achieve the highest quality of life. To be clear, spiritual development does not require the practice of religion. The spirit does not dwell within a specific religious philosophy or the practice of ritual, for all people.

An additional life requirement for your consideration is the need in life to play or to have fun. A life is best lived when we find time for positive entertaining and joyful experiences. We can often overlook the need to have fun because other challenges are so pressing but people thrive when there is time and energy spent pursuing situations that can bring laughter or, at least, smiles to our daily existence. Please remember to play.

Balance in life requires a commitment to yourself. This commitment includes scheduling time and allocating energy to the various specific areas of your life. A well rounded and balanced life makes time for positive relationships, health practices, and the pursuit of creativity to feed the spirit. What are your requirements? What do you need to add to your life to be whole and complete? Can you be a positive role model for the the people who share your life?

If you require coaching to achieve life balance consider the coaching opportunities available through the Stress Education Center by contacting our website at www.dstress.com.

Being Present: Key to Mindfulness

Have you ever suffered from anxiety, fear, or major stress? If so, then the chances are good that the fear or anxiety were born out of an experience from the past, as a learned response, or from fears of some future unknown or uncontrollable event. Throughout our lives we suffer great or small traumas and our body learns to respond to similar scenarios as if we were having PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) reactions. In deed, we may have mini-PTSD responses to fearful or difficult events even if these past events were not life threatening. Most importantly, if we ruminate on past events then we are not totally “present” in our bodies, in present time. Our bodies will then attempt to make us “present” by dragging us back into the present moment with an irritating, if not worse, symptom like an anxiety attack. This symptom is not necessarily the enemy, but it is a warning sign that we are not paying attention to our bodies, in the present moment.

Fear of the unknown or the uncertainty of what can happen in the future will also trigger a symptom of fear or anxiety. Since we can not predict the future with 100% accuracy, our flight-fight response can be triggered and physical or emotional symptoms can be exacerbated. When we lose track of the present moment, our body can force us to consider the present in rude ways.

Conversely, at the heart of every stress or anxiety management technique are simple activities designed to bring us back into our bodies in the present moment and in a “positive way.” One strong example is the request to take a deep slow breath and to feel the cool air as you inhale and the warm breath as you exhale. This simple, but powerful, request asks that you release thoughts regarding the past or expectations of the future and to feel the subtle difference of a slow inhale and exhale. This act of Mindfulness can back you away from your fear or anxiety especially when this has been rehearsed enough to become a habituated pattern.

Being Present or practicing Mindfulness is easier said than done, but the concept is not difficult to understand and with practice not too difficult to learn. Being prepared to “let go” of fear, anxiety, or traumatic thoughts can be very useful and can succeed when the skill of “Being Present” has become a positive habit.

Other techniques for mindfulness would include feeling: muscles relaxing, heart rate slowing, hands and feet warming, stomach tension releasing, and sensations of slowing down of distracting thoughts. Techniques which can lead to this state of mind and body, when practiced, include: Meditations, Autogenic Training, Progressive Relaxations, Visualizations/Imagery, forms of Self-Hypnosis, Breathing techniques, Yoga/Stretching, biofeedback training, and other types of focusing and observations. The secret is to find the one that works best for you, master it, and then use it preventively on a regular basis.

Information at the Stress Education Center’s website wwww.dstress.com may prove helpful to you.

How Much Sleep Do YOU Need?

I am L. John Mason, Ph.D. and I founded the Stress Education Center (www.dstress.com) in 1978. Like you, I have required sleep every day of my life. But the question arises, how much sleep do you require to be happy, healthy, and most productive. This is more complicated than you might image. Even the “Sleep experts” have difficulty agreeing because this is such a complicated question. There is a great deal of good information about sleep and how much you may require at the “Sleep Foundation’s” website at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/

Since everyone has different lifestyles, health backgrounds, ages, and living environments the understanding regarding your specific requirements for sleep gets difficult. Experts do agree that babies and young children require more sleep that most adults. The chart below comes from National Sleep Foundation.

Age: Sleep Needs:
Newborns (0-2 Months) 12-18 hours/day of sleep
Infants (3-11 Months) 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 Years) 12-14 hours
Preschool (3-5 Years) 11-13 hours
School Age (5-10 Years) 10-11 hours
Teens (10-17 Years) 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults 7-9 hours

As you can see, this may not fit for many of us who get less than 7 hours of sleep due to choice or lifestyle. There is also research that suggests that too much sleep can have negative impacts for many people as well. The “quality” of your sleep will also be a factor in the duration that you require for sleep. The quality of sleep will be discussed in another blog as well as tips for getting the best sleep.

In a recent article at http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/27/30-percent-us-workers-dont-get-enough-sleep/ researchers reported that 30% of workers are not getting enough sleep and it affects their work.

We need to understand our own body’s requirements for sleep to determine the best length for our best health. If you wake tired, you can assume that you are not getting enough “quality” sleep. Reduced sleep can lead to low energy, poor concentration and reduced productivity, possible depression, weight gain, and a variety of more serious health challenges, including heart disease. Too much sleep can lead to accidents, illnesses, and even death as reported by sleep researchers. The “right” amount of sleep will vary for you and is affected by what your environment and life changes can do to your physical and emotional health & well-being. Changing work schedules (or activities like classes) can be factors that need to be considered in your need for sleep and need to be taken into account as you determine how much sleep you require. Also, talk to your doctor about how medications, diet, and especially caffeine can be affecting you and your requirements for sleep.

Stress management can offer better sleep, better focus, and control of the anxiety that can be negative on your quality of life. Consider the information offered by the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com including the audio download for stress control to improve your sleep.

5 Powerful Stress Management Tools

There are many stress management techniques. Everyone who has spent time attempting to find the best stress management technique has found that there are many ways to reduce stress. The block to success has been that it requires time and patience to develop the awareness and the skills to allow these techniques to have their maximum benefit. I want to list 5 of my favorite techniques and would encourage you to consider trying one or more of these until you find the ones that work best for you. If you have suffered from: lack of focus, high blood pressure, anxiety/panic, headaches, or sleeping problems, seriously consider learning one or more of the following techniques to minimize stress in your body and to get back in control of your life.

Many people have tried forms of Eastern Meditation to relax. These techniques have been around for thousand of years. The “Western mind” may struggle with the discipline it requires to focus your attention and to then “still” your mind. When coaching busy individuals, I do not start with these techniques, except for some of the basic breathing techniques.

What I do start with, and is #1 on my stress management list, is Autogenic Training phrases. I learned these in 1977 as part of some of my original training in stress management and biofeedback. This is the technique that I use regularly for myself. This style of stress management uses 6 basic phrases that I repeat to myself, each 3 times, and then with practice get to the level of stress management that I desire. First there is a “mood” phrase- “I am at peace with myself and fully relaxed” to get me in the mood to begin relaxation. The text for the entire exercise is available in my books with a chapter dedicated to Autogenic training in “Guide to Stress Reduction.” The six basic phrases include: “My right arm is heavy,” repeated 3 times, (then left arm, right leg, left leg, and neck and shouldes are heavy) (which is used to begin to relax skeletal muscles,) then “My right arm is warm,” slowly repeated 3 times, (then left arm, right leg, left leg, and neck and shoulders are warm) (which is used to improve blood flow and circulation into the extremities,) then “My heart beat is calm and regular,” then “My breathing is calm and regular,” then “My stomach region is warm and calm,” and finally, “My forehead is cool and calm (or smooth.” Amazing results after daily use for 8-12 weeks especially with sympathetic nervous system symptoms like: migraine headaches, high blood pressure, panic/anxiety, distress related digestive challenges, etc

My #2 relaxation favorite is progressive relaxation. There is a whole chapter about this technique in “Guide to Stress Reduction” and many other sources. There two major versions of Progressive Relaxation including an “active version” where you tighten and then release muscle groups and the second form which is the “passive version” of attending to muscles and releasing tension without tightening the muscle groups. This is great for sleeping problems, headaches, neck/shoulder pain, and back pain.

#3 is using Visualization or Imagery for stress management. This is often combined with one of my first 2 choices to deepen a relaxation practice. This involves using your imagination to see or feel or hear or even smell mentally constructed relaxation triggers. As an example, picture yourself on a mental vacation in beautiful place outdoors on a warm and peaceful day. Settle back into what ever you might imagine yourself lying on such a lounge chair or a blanket in the warm sand (or grass.) Imagine that you can feel the warmth of the sunshine or the warm breezes as the tension melts away. Perhaps you can imagine the sounds that might surround you like the sound of waves or running water or the sounds of the birds or the warm breezes. Perhaps you can imagine the smell of salt air, or of the flowers or grasses or of the woods. Imagine that you can soak up the warmth and let the tension melt away. This is fun mental relaxation that can help you to control anxiety and start the process of encouraging healing o begin.

#4 Using special breathing techniques to slow yourself down and distract yourself from stressful experiences. Start with taking 3 slow deep breaths to begin to trigger some relaxation. Then you may want to take 4 breaths by slow counting 1-4 as you inhale, then hold your breath for a count of 1-4, and then slowly exhale as you count 1-8. The counting will occupy your mind and help you to relax. A great counting relaxation at bedtime involves counting backward from 50 down to 1 but do it this way. 50,1,2,3, 49,1,2,3 48,1,2,3, 47,12,3 etc. Your mind can get bored with keeping these numbers in line and gradually drift off into a restful sleep. (key: do not rush through this counting and breathe slowly.)

#5 is using a form of biofeedback to monitor your body’s level of stress and then monitor your learning of relaxation as you “let go” of your stress. There are several forms of biofeedback which are used. EMG biofeedback measures levels of electrical activity, or muscle tension, and teaches you to relax specific muscle groups. A more inexpensive form is temperature biofeedback where you begin by taping a simple thermometer to the side of your index finger and allow yourself to relax until you feel your hands warm above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 93-95 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal and usually symbolizes relaxation of this system. The reason this works for many people is that when we are under the effects of stress we often constrict blood flow into our hands and feet as a survival response. When you can “let go” and have a vaso-dialation which increases blow flow into your extremities you are better able to “let go” of emotional stress and function at a more ideal level.

Most of these simple, but powerful, stress management techniques are described in “Guide to Stress Reduction” and at the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com. Audios are available for download as stress management products and are at the core of the 5 session online stress management course. Contact us with any questions or for stress management coaching/training.

More information and detailed stress management techniques are listed at the Stress Education Center’s webpage. Please visit and read the “articles” which may assist you.

3 Pillars of Health and Wellness

Most people want to be healthy. Most people enjoy feeling good, having energy, and having their bodies be able to do the activities that are required. Most people take their good health for granted until an accident or illness robs them of their naivety. As we get older, most of us discover that good health is not always to be expected and that it may require some attention to maintain even normal levels of good health. We inherit characteristics from our families both physically, through our genetic code, and as we learn about lifestyle choices. Many families have heart disease or diabetes or obesity or dental problems, etc in their family histories which means that you may be born with a proclivity to develop certain health challenges. Or, we learn by watching our parents live in a healthy way (lifestyle) or a less than healthy lifestyle. We can not always prevent the characteristics we inherit from having a negative impact on our health and our lives. We can take steps to minimize the possible problems from developing or keep them from affecting us in the most damaging ways by practicing health and wellness for prevention. This is easier said than done.

Most people lack the focus, the motivation, and the energy to select the healthier options and to use them regularly. That is why the lifestyle diseases like heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, addiction, and obesity are still the major killers in our society. That is one huge reason why our healthcare costs are so high.
If we “took responsibility” for our good health and practiced wellness, we could live longer in better health. Taking responsibility for our actions is not practiced or taught effectively in our society (editorial opinion.) Most people find that the easier way to live is seductive but not the healthiest way to live. Convenience is not often the long term solution. Bad habits are bad choices.

The 3 principles of wellness and prevention of many diseases are 1. Physical exercise/activity on a regular basis, 2. Eating healthy with reduced portions of more naturally occurring foods, and 3. practicing regular stress management. It requires commitment to put time and energy into using these three pillars of health and many people will try one or two but not find all three in their lives.

Physical exercise or activities for prevention and optimal health should include at least 30 minutes per day for a minimum of 5 days per week. This is minimum for most people to maintain health and vitality. Exercise can be walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, playing, etc. It does NOT include TV watching or video gaming. Some societies and cultures promote non-automobile driving transportation which may make these people healthier and less sedentary.

Healthy diet and nutritional practices often include eating as close to natural and less “processed foods.” Many people believe the American society eats too much meat, or dairy, or “fast foods,” and this is probably true. Since every person is different, it is difficult to make a blanket judgement and say that “meat eating,” as an example, is bad for everyone. But it is accurate to say that eating too many calories, or too much fast food, or too much food with unpronounceable ingredients is just not a wise choice. Preservatives, artificial coloring, high sugar content, and unnatural flavorings may be worth avoiding, at least in large doses. Fresh fruit and vegetables along with whole grains are generally considered good, unless you have digestive difficulties.

Stress management is very important but often over-looked. Stress kills people. Stress creeps in to people’s lives and robs them of energy, focus, strength, and even time. Stress management often can not eliminate stress from your life, but it can help to minimize the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Our 24/7 information age has create a new set of challenges for our society, and more importantly, our bodies to adapt to reducing the constant attack. A daily relaxation or stress reduction ritual is worthwhile and will save you TIME and energy, in the long run. (Do not believe me…. GO try it for at least 8-12 weeks.)

There are many sources of information regarding healthy choices and prevention techniques that can help to keep us happier and healthier, however, NOT ALL INFORMATION YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET IS RIGHT FOR YOU! You have to make informed choices and you may need GOOD advice and support. Hopefully, you have a GOOD physician or a GOOD nutritionist or a GOOD pharmacist or a GOOD health coach you can discuss information with. Not all health practionners are “GOOD” or have your best well-being in mind. Be careful and get more than one opinion if you are not sure.

Get motivated and get to work. If you need support, find a qualified health coach or trainer to get you started. TAKE responsibility and do not make excuses.

The Stress Education Center has information on many aspects of health and wellness, especially stress reduction. Visit the website at www.dstress.com to learn more about how you get started on your own or get coaching to build a program that is tailored to your specifc requirements.

Keys to Connecting with Spirit

Spiritual Development and Higher Consciousness

People discuss health and wellness in terms of a balance in “Mind-Body-Spirit.” But when we try to pursue “connecting” with our spirit, we can be frustrated because there are so distractions and obstacles in our way to higher consciousness. After 30 years of private practice, I have stumbled upon an important truth about “connecting with spirit.” In very simple terms, if you “quiet your mind,” relax the “distractions” of your body, and find your way into shedding memories from the past or anxieties about the future, you will have set the stage for a better connection with your spirit. One additional ingredient is an “openness” to feel and to explore your spirit.
I am not speaking about religion or any religious training. I am speaking in terms of your own personnel spiritual evolution and experiencing the source of “Universal Consciousness.” (Universal Consciousness, or possibly “Cosmic Consciousness,” will be defined and discussed in a future article.

If you have a passionate desire to connect with your spirit then read on.

Many clients have been referred to my private practice by health professionals who wish these clients to reduce, or eliminate, certain stress related challenges. Symptoms that are created, or made worse, by stress such as: insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches, backaches, poor circulation, GI disorders, irregular or rapid heart rates, panic/anxiety, and some respiratory challenges have all been referred. Of these referrals, 70-80% of the time within 4-6 weeks of our stress management process, I begin to hear about “unexpected positive results.” As the clients begin to practice our stress management techniques, on a daily basis, they begin to grow more skillful at quieting their minds and relaxing their bodies. Often before their symptoms begin to lessen, I hear things that consistently sound like this: “I am sleeping better and remembering my dreams,” or “My dreaming patterns have changed,” or “Things that used to bother me, do not seem to bother any more (or as much.)” My clients report having better attitudes or the ability to connect in positive ways with the people around them. They are less irritated. They have better energy. They make fewer stress related mistakes and this saves them time. They report have a better “balance” and a more positive mental attitude. This opens the door for their connection with “spirit” and the development of their higher consciousness.

Most of the stress management strategies that I teach get people to the same, or a very similar, place. With practice, when these clients find the “right,” stress management strategy and begin to practice it on a regular basis, they report saving time, energy, and feeling better. I believe that this process leads directly to connecting with spirit and changes the way these people experience their lives.

The Stress Education Center’s website has archived blogs & articles that teach these techniques and they are all written out in the best selling, “Guide to Stress Reduction” which you can find in your library or at Amazon.com…. www.dstress.com

If you want coaching or assistance with this process, contact us for coaching or for our 5 session online stress management course (available through the website.)

Please take good care of yourself. Expand your mind and connect with your spirit, it feels great!