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Monthly Archives

April 2009

Good Stress (The Other Kind of Stress)

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Distress gets its share of headline news these days, yet there is another kind of stress worthy of attention: Eustress (also known as good stress). Renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow called this kind of stress “peak experiences” a spiritual moment where you feel like you are one with the world. Eustress is any kind of experience where you feel exhilarated, inspired and happy. A whole new field of psychology had emerged from this concept: Positive Psychology. It takes a look at what’s right with human behavior (rather than Freud’s stance of what’s wrong with it). If you’ve ever heard Julie Andrews sing, “Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” then you’ll begin to have the idea of what this is all about. To see a stunning sunset, embrace a close friend whom you haven’t seen in years, to eat a favorite meal, to listen to a song that brings back enchanting memories, to stand in the presences of nature’s finest wildlife (and capture it on film), to share an exceptional experience with friends… these are some examples of eustress, and frankly, by and large we don’t have enough of these. While distress may be a part of the human experience, it doesn’t have to be the WHOLE experience. Balance is the key which is why eustress is so important.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a list of what brings joy in your life: Those things that make you feel happy, warm the heart and bring a smile to your face. Post this list some place where you can see it daily (and add to it as well). Make it habit to engage in one “eustress moment” each day (even if it’s brief moment). You will find that by looking for “raindrops on roses” you will begin to attract more of these moments into your life and achieve the balance toward inner peace.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
As you many know, Disney has repackaged the BBC Planet Earth series into a major motion picture called earth. They plan to release another movie next April (on Earth Day) on life under the sea. Here is a link to the preview which in and of itself is inspiring.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/oceans/large.html

• Photo of the Day:
Speaking of eustress, I was up in Kalispell, MT last weekend filming more footage for Earth Songs, a documentary film I am making on the healing power of nature. I was lucky enough to film a mountain lion, a lynx and a bobcat (as well as few more wolves). At times I was so in awe that I almost forgot to take photos. This lynx stole my heart (check out the size of his paws!) Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”
—Helen Keller

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Stress and Disease Connection (Part 1)

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The association between stress and disease is colossal! The current estimate, by several researchers (and energy healers), suggests that as much as 85% of disease and illness is not only associated with stress—there is a causal relationship! Everything from the common cold to cancer (not to mention the tension headache) has an association with stress. Given the current news of the swine flu outbreak all over the world, remembering the stress and disease connection is timely (with the economic stress of the world, perhaps this is not to be unexpected?) Stress physiology can be complicated yet if we were to reduce it down to some basic facts these would be the ones to know: Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is released from the adrenal gland (which sit atop your kidneys) and sets off a whole cascade of metabolic reactions for “fight or flight” also known as the stress response. We don’t know why, but prolonged Cortisol effects include destroying white blood cells, meaning that chronic stress negatively impacts one’s immune system. Interestingly, Cortisol is often given to recipients of organ transplants so their bodies won’t reject the new organ. Given the connection between stress and disease, it is incumbent upon us to take time each day to allow our bodies to return to homeostasis which is why relaxation techniques are so important. Regarding the flu situation here are a few other suggestions to maintain optimal health: 1) decrease your refined sugar intake, 2) increase natural sources of vitamin C, 3) get a good night’s sleep and 4) exercise regularly.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Time for daily relaxation is essential in this day and age of rapid change (and migrating germs). Just sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing each morning for about 5 minutes is a great start to a habit of relaxation techniques. Close your eyes and place all of your attention on your breathing. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breathing. For the next five minutes… think of nothing but inhaling and exhaling.

• Books Worth Noting:
Currently I am reading Gregg Braden’s book titled, Fractal Time, where he synthesizes much information about the year 2012 and what it means symbolically. Gregg pulls together many sources and gives the mystical date a very grounded approach (as does Daniel Pinchbeck in his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl).

• Photo of the Day:
A few summers ago I went on a 10 day wilderness kayak trip to the northwestern part of Vancouver Island (Brooks Penninsula). It was a remarkable trip on many levels including the eagles who came around during our smudging ceremonies. Her is one of my friends, Jack, taking time one morning to do his practice of meditation.

Speaking of friends… Dan Bretton… give me a call! Its been too long!

• Quote for the Day:
“Meditation… it’s not what you think.”
—Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

A Good Night’s Sleep

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Even before the economic collapse last fall, people were having a tough time getting a good habitual night’s sleep. Various research studies indicate that perhaps as much as 60-65% of Americans are sleep deprived on a regular basis. Chronic Insomnia is a new epidemic hitting the country, some say with a vengence! Although there are many causes for insomnia (from jet lag to menopause) it is estimated that over half of all insomnia is the result of STRESS! Insomnia is such a problem that it not only affects work productivity and safety (such as driving), but ultimately one’s health. One of the biggest effects of NOT getting a good night’s sleep regularly is the impact on one’s immune system which is greatly compromised, thus laying the groundwork for many chronic health issues. One of the first aspects to consider when understanding a case of insomnia is what is known as “Sleep Hygiene:” When approaching your own sleep hygiene, it’s best to consider everything that affects the five senses (e.g., light, heat, noise and sleeping surface…such as linen and pillows, etc.). By and large, most people could use an upgrade in their sleep hygiene, including removing the television from the bedroom. The topic of insomnia is far more complex than a short blog can do justice to (which means we will revisit this topic again).

• Stress Tip for the Day:
The hormone melatonin is secreted in the evening hours as natural light diminishes and it is this hormone that is called the “sleep hormone” because it is responsible for ensuring a good night’s sleep. Eating carbohydrate rich food is known to increase Serotonin levels which will decrease melatonin levels, thus impacting your quality of sleep. One suggestion for a good night’s sleep is to consider NOT eating a late night snack. Currently, we don’t know the full effects of cell phone use (ELF’s) on the brain, but it is suggested that repeated cell phone use decrease melatonin production as well (FYI).

• Links Worth Noting:
These two links were sent to me last week. They are from the TED.com website which features various luminaries in a 20 minute lecture format. This lecture highlights various aspects of new technology. If you are interested in seeing where things are going, take a peek:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfV4R4x2SK0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeRuce775bI

• Photo of the Day:
While there are many photos I could have used for this photo, I opted for a bedroom scene I shot while on vacation in St. Lucia (Jade Mountain). This place is paradise and from what I hear, everyone sleeps well while on vacation.

• Quote for the Day:

“Americans are the most entertained and least informed people on the planet”
—Robert F. Kenney JR

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Every Day is EARTH DAY

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April 22 marks a special day in our earthly calendar; a day to renew our relationship with the planet. Earth day means many things to many people, but as we see the realization of a global village take effect, and projections that it would take 6-8 planet earths in natural resources for all her inhabitants to live like Americans (who as we all know consume 1/4 of the worlds resources), this year underscores the importance of sustainability. Sustainability is something we should all take to heart… and put into practice.

Naturalist M. J. Slim Hooey penned these words that were first puplished in the book, Earth Prayers (Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, Editors) as a reminder for all of Earth’s inhabitants:

I have come to terms with the future.
From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth.
Plant trees. Kill no living things.
Live in harmony with all creatures.
I will restore the earth where I am.

Use no more of its resources than I need.

And listen; listen to what it is telling me.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Step outside at dusk tonight with a blanket to observe the Milky Way and the constellations. Reacquaint yourself with the ocean tides and the phases of the moon. Memorize the cricket’s song, or the eagles’ cry and address the trees and flowers by their names. See yourself as part of the natural world, not separate from it. Inner peace abounds in nature. Allow it to abound in you as well.

• Links Worth Noting:
A friend sent this link to me in the hopes that I would share it with as many people as possible. Please take a look and read the message. It is one that I feel we all need to hear.
http://www.environmentmagazine.org/March-April%202009/Nisbet-full.html

• Photo of the Day:
This is one of the best photos of the planet earth I have seen. It was on a calendar from Deepak Chopra’s Center. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson, Environmentalist and author of Silent Spring

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Forgiveness

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It’s hard to believe that the Columbine High School shootings took place ten years ago. At times it seems like it occured yesterday. That catastrophic event was the epitome of stress for scores of people across the state. During this past week, various NPR (local and national) programs have focused on the anniversary of this horrid event by talking to survivors (students, teachers, the principle) and family members of those who were killed. One recurring theme that came up in each interview was whether each person has come to a place of forgiveness with the killers. Forgiveness, under any circumstance, is a tremendous challenge to the heart (and ego), particularly when a loved one is killed. I have met many people in my life who have had a loved one taken from them, and in the course of these conversations forgiveness often comes up. Just as with these most recent interviews with Columbine High School survivors, many said that they had to learn to forgive the killers so they could move on with their lives. Forgiveness is not letting somebody off the hook, or condoning reckless behavior. Forgiveness is coming to terms with the situation, as horrible as it may be, and moving on with your life gracefully. While it may seem important (even necessary) to hang on to resentment (and many people do… as a form of control), when we hang on to anger (a form of unresolved stress), we give our power away. Forgiveness is one of many ways of reclaiming your power.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Extending forgiveness to someone doesn’t have to include a face to face contact. Forgiveness begins with an attitude of letting go of anger feelings and feelings of victimization and moving on. In essence, forgiveness is the act of opening a closed heart. Forgiveness is not the same thing as restitution. If you are waiting for an apology with your act of forgiveness, you may be waiting for a very long time. Is there someone whom you are carrying some ill-feelings toward (e.g., a grudge)? Now is the time to let go of this emotional baggage and lighten the load of your life journey. Now is the time to move on with your life.

• Books Worth Noting:
I am often asked, when giving talks on forgiveness, to recommend a few resources. Although there are many good books on the topic of forgiveness, my favorite book is by Fred Luskin, Forgive For Good. I highly recommend it!

• Photo of the Day:
This photo is an illustration that one of my college students drew in an art therapy session. She drew a picture of herself grieving. I learned later that day that she (along with 6 others in the class) was a survivor of the Columbine Shootings and this, she said, was a very cathartic way to relieve her stress.

• Quote for the Day:
“ He who angers you, conquers you.”
—Elizabeth Kenny

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Gratitude

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These times of economic stress may seem like a black cloud over one’s head, but in truth we always have much to be thankful for. A friend whose husband left her and her four children (for another woman) told me that at least she had her health and she was very grateful for that. Another friend called me last week to tell me she lost her job. While she was grieving the loss, she expressed her gratitude for a supportive group of friends and family. I have a dear friend named Mark, who, when I ask him how he’s doing, often replies, “ By American standards, fair. By world standards, quite excellent.” Perspective makes the art of gratitude a little easier. In times of loss (or unmet expectations) it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves. Don’t deny yourself this human experience, but after 5-10 minutes start giving thanks for all the things going right in your world. This shift in attitude can help redirect your life. So…can you breath? Good! There are many people who are on respirators. Can you walk? Excellent! I have two friends who are paraplegics who cannot. By giving thanks for the small things we begin to open our hearts and find our way back to balance.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Based on an exercise created by my friend Ilan Shamir, called “1,000 Things Went Right Today,” I often give people this exercise is my stress management seminars. Rather than asking for 1,000 I let them off easy and only ask for ten. Pull out a pad of paper and pen and start writing. If you come up with ten quickly, add another 20 items to your list. Then post it somewhere where you can see it regularly and remind yourself just how good you really have it.

• Links Worth Noting:
I have been a fan of the movie, The Sound of Music ever since my Grandmother took me to see it decades ago. A friend who knows I love the movie sent me this link. This is really quite remarkable, definitely a feel good video and make sure to watch it all the way to the end (I am guessing most of the people learned this before but there seems to be a few people who picked up the moves rather quickly.

http://video.yahoo.com/network/100000089?v=4816051&l=100022574

• Photo of the Day:
I am very grateful that I had the chance to go to the island of St. Lucia (in the Caribbean) to do some filming for my upcoming movie, Earth Songs. Here is a photo of one of my favorite places on earth. Enjoy! By the way, I am also very grateful to all of you who read this blog (and even send email comments!). Thanks!
• Quote for the Day:
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
—Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Self-Esteem: The Backbone of Good Stress Management

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It’s been said that when our self-esteem is high, problems simply roll off our backs. When self-esteem is low, we are a “bulls-eye target” for stress. Self-esteem has many definitions, mostly regarding how we value ourselves. Those who research the many aspects of self-esteem include these factors: Mentors (people whom we look up to), Uniqueness (things that we feel make us special and unique), Empowerment (things we feel we have control of), Social Support (friends and family) and Calculated Risk Taking. As a rule, people tend to focus on what they feel are their negative aspects rather than those things they having going for them. While this ego-bashing behavior is normal (on occasion) its neither normal nor healthy on a regular basis and only lays the groundwork for a black cloud of stress over your head. Part of boosting your self-esteem requires to put your eggs (talents) in many baskets so if/when you have a bad day, you don’t have a scrambled mess. Where there is stress, there is ego right behind it, usually exaggerating the negative. Boosting self-esteem to combat stress begins with the practice of “domesticating the ego” so you don’t have poop all over the place. Remember… you are not just your job, your paycheck or your mortgage payment. Like a diamond, you are a multi-faceted human being.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a list of 10 things that make you feel unique and special. Start with the physical aspects but then move into the less tangible but very important inner resources (e.g. sense of humor, sense of adventure, etc.). If you are having a hard time coming up with ten, ask a few friends to contribute to your list. Then post the list where you can see it every day… to remind you of your highest potential.

• Links Worth Noting:
Speaking of Self-Esteem, this link came to me today and I am so delighted to share it with you.
This is a reminder NOT to judge a book by its cover, nor a person by their looks. We are all so talented is so many ways. In a world were we seem to worship people for their looks (with facelifts and breast enlargements, etc), this woman is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. Look at the smile on Simon’s face as she is singing. UNREAL! This made my day, and I hope it makes your too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk&feature=related

• Photo of the Day:
This is a photo I took up in Rocky Mountain National Park of a high self-esteem moment. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“Be Yourself! Everybody else is taken!”
—Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Myth of Multitasking

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Man crashes commuter train while text-messaging a friend. Woman kills little girl riding her bike while talking on cell phone driving. Teen crashing car while text-messaging. These facts are rather startling and they underscore the myth of multitasking. Research is very clear that mind cannot do more than one or two things at a time and do them well, yet despite the facts (and mounting death toll) people have to find out for themselves the hard way. Technology may save us time in accomplishing tasks yet it is very deceiving in making us believe that we can do several things at once (and do them well). Not only does this lead to more hyper behavior (some people say Type A behavior), but the quality of work done never surpasses that which is done when the mind is focused on just one thing at a time. In fact, its often of lesser quality. When asked, people often say they multitask to save time (often commenting that there is never enough time to get things done anyway). Talking on your cell phone while reading emails may seem benign. Killing someone with a car is another matter entirely. Don’t create more stress in your life by complicating it with technology. Stay mindful of all that you do.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Train you mind to focus on one task at a time today (even if it drives you crazing). This is also called mindfulness! If your reading emails, just read emails. If you’re on the phone, place all of your concentration there. Stay in the moment and stay focused on one thing at a time.

• Links Worth Noting:
My good friend and photographer Elan Sunstar has collaborated with two authors in a new book project about the youth of aging. The photographs on this link are very inspiring as I am sure the book is too. Enjoy!
http://www.sunstarphoto.com/Development/youthinga.html

• Photo of the Day:
A friend (thanks Michele) posed for a photo of multitasking to be used in the Managing Stress (6E) PowerPoint series.

• Quote for the Day:
“I’m an old man now, and I have known a great many problems in my life…most of which never happened.”
—Mark Twain

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Circadian Rhythms: Time To Reset Your Body Clock!

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It would stand to reason that living on a planet that takes approximately 24 hours to spin around its axis, our bodies would adapt to this planetary/solar clock. In fact, scientists have a name for this wonderful adaptation: Circadian rhythms. Our bodies, in fact, do operate on a 24+ hour clock and research shows that health is optimized when we live our lives in accordance to these rhythms. By not doing so we tend to add another layer of stress to our bodies laying the seeds for potential illness and health issues. Eating each meal at about the same time each day, going to sleep and getting up at about the same time each day (even weekends) and exercising at about the same time each day all contribute to optimal health with our circadian rhythms. It may even promote longevity. Circadian rhythms are thought to play an essential role in quality sleep. Its also known that certain times of the day are better for chemotherapy treatment due to these natural rhythms. In a stress-filled world, it is easy to get off schedule with our eating habits. Sleep patterns are also greatly affected by stress as well. It is important to remember our connection to the natural world and that whether we like it or not, we are directly connected to it. When we honor this connection it can only help enhance our quality of health.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a mental note as the times of day you eat your meals. If you are 30 mins off from what you deem as your normal eating times off this might suggest a closer look at how this affects your circadian rhythms. Note the same with your sleep cycles. One way you can tell if you are “regular” with these cycles is to note time approximate time of day for your bowel movements (a strong indicator of circadian rhythms regarding your GI track physiology).

• Books Worth Noting:
One of my favorite books of all time is the classic, The Cosmic Serpent, by Jeremy Narby. It’s a look into the art and science of our DNA. Narby began his explorations by his research into ethno-botany and the study of ayahuasca during his trips to the Amazon Basis.

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken out in Death Valley a few years back. I was attending a photography workshop and one night we decided to try to shoot the movement (rotation) of the earth by pointing the cameras toward the north star (Polaris).

• Quote for the Day:
“ Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”
—Lily Tomlin

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Good Vibrations!

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A stress study conducted by the Mitchum Deodorant company years ago found that more people site “listing to music” as their premier way to relax more so than any other technique and although this study was done a while ago, one can assume with the recent introduction of the Ipod to the world culture that things have only increased in this direction. Why is music thought to be so influential on mind, body and spirit? One reason attributed to music has to do with the actual vibrations that we soak in through our entire body (not just the ears). The term is called “entrainment” and it comes to us from the field of physics: The ability of an object to adapt to nearby sympathetic frequencies. One thing researchers have learned about music is that for it to REALLY be relaxing, its best NOT to have lyrics (words begin to involve the left hemisphere of the brain, the side that is really good with perpetuating the stress response). Taste also accounts for a great deal with regard to “how relaxing is the music.” Jazz, new age, and classical are the primary examples of instrumental music which promotes relaxation but it’s best to explore what you like best. Time and time again, classical music scores very high when aspects of heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension are looked at. Perhaps Mozart and Beethoven were really on to something. Go check ‘em out.

Stress Tip for the Day: Stop everything for a moment and simply listen to a favorite instrumental song—completely uninterrupted. Allow your body to float down the river of music and relax—completely. (If you cannot do it now, try this when you get home from work.)

• Website Links Worth Noting:
Well over a year ago, author (and bright star on the planet), Elan Sunstar invited me to contribute a short chapter to his new book, SMILE! The book has just come off the press. The other day “Sun” interviewed me for a little promotional piece for his book. This link will take you there:
http://www.smilesbook.com/smile%20interviews/Smile!_BrianLukeSeaward.mp3

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken at the Vermont Mozart Festival several years ago, hosted at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. I’ll never forget that when the orchestra played Mozart’s Concerto in C minor, birds came out of the woods and hovered over the stage for the entire song. It was magic. CD’s and Ipods are great, but nothing beats live music.

• Quote for the Day:
“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”
—Maria von Trapp

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Come On Out and Play!

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The Puritan Ethic has a very strong grip of the American culture, well after it was brought over from England centuries ago. “Worth =Work” may not appear on bumper stickers, but a great many people live by this expression. To place all of your self-worth and self-esteem in your job or career is nothing less than insanity. You are not just your job or your pay check. While we all have to pay the mortgage, balance is the key to life. Experts in the field of Leisure Studies see an alarming decrease in the time spent in leisure pursuits for adults. Many people claim to have neither the time or energy to engage in recreational pleasures after work or on the weekends, yet these same people put in way more than 40 hours per week at work. While it’s true that a job does support one’s purpose in life, a meaningful life of just work can become toxic when things go bad at the office. Healthy boundaries are essential. Play, no mater what form it takes, is the balance to work. In the words of Jackson H. Brown (author of Life’s Little Instruction Book), “No one ever said on their deathbed, I wish I spent more time at the office.” It’s time to place a stake in the heart of the Puritan Work Ethic and declare some play time in your life!

Stress Tip for the Day:
Play isn’t just for school kids with recess. Play (non work time) is essential for everyone. Take a look at your schedule this week and ask yourself where is there time to allocate one hour (more if you can) of scheduled play. Calling a friend (to come out and play) is also a great idea! Then make this a part of every week!

• Website Links Worth Noting:
This website offers a fresh new look on Complimentary Healing and appears to have a DVD with a trailer to watch. Enjoy!
http://www.thelivingmatrixmovie.com/

• Photo of the Day:
Dolphins are the masters of play. This photo was taken at SeaWorld in Florida several years ago. This dolphin came out of nowhere to appear right in front of me face to face. I put my camera down, gave the dolphin a hug and then took his photo.

• Quote for the Day:
“Never pass up the opportunity to sell your cow for some magic beans.”
—Tom Robbins

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Respond, Don’t React!

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Respond, don’t react is a useful mantra (a living reminder) I teach at the start of my stress management classes. Under stress we tend to be in some level of survival mode. The primary two emotions under stress are anger (fight) and fear (flight). While these emotions may be beneficial for short-term survival from physical stress, they can cause BIG problems for long-term implications. Many reactions made under the pitch of anger, fear or both often necessitate a fair amount of “clean-up” afterwards (e.g., saying something we regret). While it may seem natural to “react” to stress at the time, a prudent approach is always best. In these times of economic uncertainty “responses” to stress are surely needed. Responding is a skill (like golf or swimming). Practice will serve you well.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated about something that didn’t go as planned, step outside of yourself (also called “ego detachment”) to form an appropriate response, rather than possibly regretting a reaction you made in haste. Keep working on this until it becomes second nature: The benefits are immeasurable. Respond, don’t react.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
http://www.awakeningearth.com/writing-mainmenu-82/living-universe

• Highly Recommended Book Worth Reading:
A good friend of mine (thanks Llyn) put me in touch with one of her friends who happened to be in Boulder last night for an event. We sat down over dinner before he gave an evening presentation based on his best selling books, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of The United States. John Perkins writes extremely well and his story is one that may interest you. I found it fascinating. Perhaps most fascinating is his interest in shamanism (learned in Ecuador when he nearly died as a Peace Corp voluteer, was healed and the repayment was, you guessed it: learn to become a shaman). He “came out” as and EHM after 9/11 and is now one of the biggest advocates for sustainable living.

• Photo of the Day:
I just returned from a trip to St. Lucia where I happened to be very lucky to catch this photo of a humming bird that is looking directly at me, suspended in mid air. I call this guy the “Jedi Ninja humming bird.” On second thought, he could have been flirting with me with his forhead colors.

• Quote for the Day:

“If you get angry, count to ten. If you get really angry, count to 100.”
—Thomas Jefferson

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.