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Monthly Archives

May 2009

Stress and the Human Spirit

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Stress doesn’t just affect the body, it affects all aspects of our being (mind, body, spirit and emotions). Perhaps because it’s hard to measure, the human spirit often gets neglected in stress management programs, which is too bad, because so much of stress these days is of a spiritual nature. Wisdom keepers the world over remind us that there are three key pillars to the health of the human spirit: Relationships, values and a meaningful purpose in life. Take a look at your list of top 10 stressors and if you are really honest with yourself, you will see that each one falls into one or more of these categories. Relationships include not only those people in your direct sphere of living, but also the relationship you hold with yourself (and your higher self, whatever you choose to call this). Values (e.g. faith, humor, love, honesty, etc.) are quite intangible yet are made tangible with material possessions… Real stress comes when two or more values come in conflict with each other such as freedom and responsibility). A meaningful purpose in life strikes at the very core of our being with this age old question: Why are we here? Many people see stress and human spiritually as diametrically opposed, but if you take a closer look you will not that stress and human spirituality are partners in the dance of life. When we choose to learn from our stressors we encourage spiritual growth. Perhaps the biggest step to take in this dance is moving from a motivation of fear (ego) toward a motivation of love and compassion (soul).

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Take inventory of your top stressors. Be honest with yourself. What areas in your life (relationships) need some cultivation? What values need addressing (do you hold one set of values and live by another?). What is the purpose in your life? Are you striving for this purpose or sitting by on the sidelines waiting….

• Books Worth Noting:
Michael J. Fox (Mr. Back to the Future) has a new book out called Always Looking Up. As the new national spokesperson for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) he highlights his trials and tribulations of the past 20 years and demonstrates that indeed he is an optimist. It’s a very inspirational book.

• Photo of the Day:
A man walking under a rainbow by the Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland late last summer.

• Quote for the Day:
“The winds of grace are blowing perpetually. We only need raise our sails.”
— Sri Ramakrishna

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.

Mountains and Molehills: Stop It!

By | Thought Stopping stress management | No Comments


We’ve all done it….taken a simple problem and turned it into a catastrophe, letting it build bigger and bigger in the depths of our minds. Fear builds upon fear and soon what was once a small bump in the road has become an insurmountable version of Mt Everest. Left undisciplined, the ego can turn any situation into a disaster. In the field of psychology this is referred to as “irrational thoughts;” in essence making a mountain out of a molehill. While real problems really do exist and we will surely encounter these in our lives, there is no sense adding to life’s difficulties by adding unnecessary stress. Thought stopping is a technique to stop irrational thoughts from keeping you immobilized by fear-based thinking. Good stress management includes cultivating a clear mind free of fear-based thoughts that derail our human journey.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Take some time each day to observe your thoughts as you are thinking them or speaking them. (By the way, this is the purpose of meditation… to observe your thoughts and discipline your ego from turning molehills into mountains!) Question your thoughts. Do they pass the “Is this a rational thought” test? As the bumper sticker says: Don’t believe everything you think! When you find yourself conjuring up negative thoughts or fear-based thoughts, domesticate your ego by telling yourself to stop that thought and find a new (healthier) direction of thinking. If you want to see a version of how this works, check out the youtube link below.

• Links Worth Noting:
Thought stopping is a commonly used technique to stop irrational thoughts. Bob Newhart took this idea one step further in a television skit. It is hilarious and something I am sure many therapists have always wanted to say to some clients. Watch the clip till the very end.

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

• Photo of the Day:
I just came back from a trip to New England where I had the good fortune to go whale watching off of Cape Cod. Whales were a-plenty. Here is one photo from the excursion (and wait till you see the film footage for the documentary, EARTH SONGS!)

• Quote for the Day:
“Tell the truth… it’s easier to remember.”
— 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.

Anger Management: A closer look

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Every episode of anger (fight of the fight or flight respones) is the result of unmet expectations. You may have noticed that there is a lot of anger out there in the world these days. Experts suggest that the average person can have between 15-20 anger episodes …PER DAY! People who study anger and aggression suggest that there are four different styles of mismanaged anger (somatizers, exploders, self-punishers and underhanders). They also say that we are capable of all of these, but typically we tend to gravitate toward one style: Simply stated, one style dominates our personality. Perhaps we adopt this style from our parents or perhaps it’s modeled from others. Regardless, none of these styles is good. In fact, each is bad, because they don’t resolve anger, they perpetuate it. Somatizers tend to repress their anger but it eventually shows up in the body (soma). Exploders tend to make the headline news. Self-punishers feel guilty about feeling angry and tend to adopt a self-destructive behavior and underhanders live by the motto: “Don’t get mad, get even!” All of these styles are means to control oneself or other and doing a really bad job at it. Every unresolved anger issues is a control issue but the truth is that these styles are an illusion of control. In reality you are giving your power away, as expressed in the quote by Elizabeth Kenny, “He who angers you, conquers you.”

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Learn to monitor your anger episodes per day and see if you can determine what is your mismanaged anger style. Do you stuff your feelings? (if so… do you suffer from TMJ, migraines, lupus, fibromyalsia or other auto immune diseases?) Is your anger expressed as a form of intimidation. Do you eat to calm your frustrations? Do you use sarcasm to express your feelings? If you answer yes to any of these questions, chances are there are some unresolved anger issues lurking in your past. Remember, somatizers cross the stress and disease finish life first, but other mismanaged anger styles eventually cross that line too.

• Links Worth Noting:
This link, found on Ted.com highlights noted speaker Dan Ariely on human behavior. Very interesting.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions.html

• Photo of the Day:
Pictured above is a photo of an art therapy piece drawn by one of my students (thanks Franca V.) when asked to depict pictorially what she felt like when she was stressed. She described her stress as both anger expressed as a tornado in her head, yet her fear was symbolic of blinders over her eyes.

• Quote for the Day:
“Nobody gets to live their life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies.”
—Ann Landers

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.

Fight, Flight or Delight

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The “fight or flight response” is a wonderful dynamic for physical survival. In the face of physical danger, the fight (anger) or flight (fear) response; also known as the “stress response,” sounds the alarm for the body to prepare to defend oneself or… run for the hills. What was once a great survival dynamic long ago has become one of our biggest liabilities for health; an overactive stress reponse is associated with many chronic diseases. The reason is that the fight or flight response is also triggered for non-physical threats, such as waiting in traffic, playing phone tag, the thought of attending a high school reunion, or coping with an unruly teenage son. Experts in the field of stress management often say that the fight or flight response is antiquated, and to an extent, it is. Yet on rare occasions, we still need it for physical survival (note the photograph above). The wisdom is to know the difference between these threats and act accordingly.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Pay close attention to how your body response to stress. Do you feel your heart rate increase? Do you clench your jaw muscles or bite your fingernails? Do you tug at a lock of hair? By tuning in to your body’s physiology you can begin to recognize the signals your body is giving you and intercept the stress response when its inappropriate for non- physical stressors. Begin to cultivate a relationship with your body’s wisdom.

• Links Worth Noting:
The Institute of Noetic Sciences has created a one (1) minute interview with various luminaries in the field of mind-body-spirit science. This link shares some insights from the Institute of HeartMath and well worth watching.

http://oneminuteshift.com/

NPR featured a segment on spirituality yesterday with interviews from the IONS staff.
Here is a link to that interview:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104351710

• Photo of the Day:
A mountain lion on the prowl for breakfast outside of Glacier National Park, MT. I took this photo while filming for my documentary on the healing power of nature. This kitty (wild but friendly) is an actor/model from the Triple D Wildlife Preserve in Kalispell, MT. I spent the better part of the morning with her. To my surprise, even big cats purr (although she sounded like a 6 cylinder engine when she did).

• Quote for the Day:
“God gave us two ends: One to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which end you use. Heads you win. Tails you lose.”
—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.

Antiodidants to the Rescue!

By | antioxidants, Coping With Stress, free radicals | No Comments

There are many types of stress. While much attention is placed on emotional stress these days, there are environmental stressors one should not ignore, specifically free radicals. In simplest terms, free radicals are oxygen molecules with an aberrant electron. We breathe these in quite regularly. In a perfect world, the foods we eat negate any harmful effects of these free radicals and all is well. When all is not well, the damage of free radicals in the body includes cell wall damage as well as damage to the DNA, RNA and mitochondria in the cell. The end result of such cellular havoc can range from cancer to heart disease (not to mention rapid aging) and much more. Many fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of antioxidants that destroy free radicals, thus promoting homeostasis (health) in the body. HOWEVER…today people’s eating habits are less than perfect. In fact, they are attrocious! To be clear about this, there are no antioxidants in ice cream, potato chips, doughnuts or tiramisu; in short junk food, processed food and the foods people often take comfort in when they are stressed. Is there a connection between poor eating habits and poor health? You bet!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
As we approach the summer months, the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables is amazing! Consider shifting your appetite of comfort foods toward colorful fruits and vegetables (organic wherever possible!) Your body will thank you!

• Books/Links Worth Noting:
Two books that should be on everybody’s bookshelf these days are 1) The Omnivore’s Dilemma and 2) In Defense of Food, both by noted athor, Michael Pollan. The information in these books will clearly change the way you see food and with any luck shift some of your eating habits in the direction of great health and longevity.
Here is a TED.com presentation by Michael as well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQPN1O03z8I

• Photo of the Day:
A beautiful bowl of organic blueberries

• Quote for the Day:
“Sixty percent of all cancers could be eliminated if people ate healthier foods.”
— The American Cancer Society

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.

Financial Stress! Join the Club

By | Uncategorized | No Comments


If you have stress about your finances… sadly, you’re in good company. To be honest, stress and money (or the lack of it) have been closely associated since the first coin was minted thousands of years ago. To put it bluntly, many of us live way outside our means. Perhaps all of us live in too big an economic footprint. Over the years, retail therapy has been the norm for many. From a psychological perspective, the ego’s addiction for material items is never satisfied and each purchase becomes a “fix” until the next purchase. Pulling in the reins on spending, seeing a monthly deposit to one’s saving account as a required expense and learning to cut back on unnecessary purchases becomes a whole new mindset and that itself can cause stress. It may be hard, but its not impossible. Before you go shopping make a list of what you intend to buy and stick to the list. The next time you take out your wallet, credit card or checkbook, ask yourself if you really NEED this item. Scaling back on living expenses will become the norm for all of us and the sooner we can adapt to this mindset, the less stress we’ll have down the road.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Many purchases are made on impulse, whether it’s window shopping or browsing through website catalogues. Consider putting every purchase you make this week on a 24-hour hold. Sleep on it and see if you still feel the same way the next day. Most likely its something you can live without.

• Books Worth Noting:
My good friend, colleague and mentor, Larry Dossey, MD had a new book out, titled, The Power of Premonitions. As someone who has quite of few of these I think this is something we should all become more familiar with. You can read an excerpt from his book at” www.larrydossey.com

• Photo of the Day:
For the powerpoint slide set for my textbook, I took several images of money (spare change in my pocket that day, plus a few credit cards.)

• Quote for the Day:

“The best way to save money is to fold in half and place it back in your wallet.”
—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.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

By | assertiveness, healthy boundaries | No Comments


One cannot address the issues of stress without looking closely at the concept of healthy boundaries, and sadly, there seems to be a dearth of healthy boundaries in the American culture today. This, in turn, creates a negative feedback loop that increases levels of personal (and planetary) stress. Healthy boundaries are appropriate behavioral limits to daily activities, from eating to shopping to watching television. Basically all aspects of our lives. Poor healthy boundaries range from ignoring personal guidelines to a complete apathy about one’s level of health. The whole economic collapse is a prime example of poor boundaries (with a lot of greed thrown in). Today infractions of healthy boundaries can be seen just about everywhere: using cell phones in movie theaters, shopping with credit cards when there is no money to pay the bills, hours upon hours of internet surfing, incessant whining, (also known as victimization) and poor eating behaviors top the list, but there are hundreds more. Even the war on terrorism has no boundaries! Addressing the issue of healthy boundaries to decrease one’s levels of personal stress begins with a strong degree of assertiveness: creating a healthy boundary… and then employing your will power to honor it.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Is there an area in your life you feel the need to pull the reins in on? Perhaps there are several. Pick one area and set a goal. Write it down on a yellow sticky note and post it in places where you will see it several times a day. If need be, ask your spouse, friend or family member to help you. Creating a healthy boundary and the enforcing it is a skill, which may need lots of practice until it becomes second nature.

• Links Worth Noting:
This link promotes a new documentary movie inspired by Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. The movie is called “Home.”
http://www.home-2009.com/us/index.html

• Photo of the Day:
Even rivers have healthy boundaries (until, of course, they flood their banks). These three rivers where photographed (while I was in a helicopter ride) as water cascaded down the side of Kauai’s dormant volcano crater.

• Quote for the Day:
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you’re just sitting there!”
— Will Rogers

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.

Domesticate Your Ego!

By | Coping With Stress, ego, meditation | No Comments

Where there is stress, the ego is not far behind! Your ego is necessary for survival, afterall… it’s the ego that pulls the alarm for “fight or flight” when you are in physical danger. Metaphorically speaking, the ego is the bodyguard for the soul. It is the ego’s role to get you out of harm’s way. But today, few of our stressors are of a physical nature. Most are mental, emotional or spiritual stressors. Yet regardless of the source of stress, the ego acts the same way pulling the stress alarm, defending our thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and opinions. Moreover, it lives (controls) by the motto, “If some is good, more has got to be better!” Remember, the ego is supposed to be the bodyguard, not the CEO! In the western hemisphere of the world, there is an expression that says, “Keep your ego in check.” In the eastern culture, one might here the expression, “Domesticate your ego (or you will have poop all over the place).” Never let your ego eclipse the light of your soul. Remember, the ego is not the bad guy. After all, ego is directly tied to self-esteem. Still and all, where there is unresolved stress, there is ego…pushing its agenda of control (which often times is an illusion of control where we often give our power away), thus perpetuating our stress. One reason why meditation is thought to help reduce stress is that it helps you observe your ego and thus learn to domesticate it.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Every now and then, in the course of your day today, stop and listen to your thoughts. See if you can distinguish the voice of the ego, from the voice of your soul. Ego-based thoughts are often fear-based and negative. Soul based thoughts are affirming and lead you to your highest potential.

• Links Worth Noting:
Ken Wilber hosts an incredible website, featuring interviews with some of the most remarkable luminaries of our time. If you are a fan of Ken Wilber, then you already know this, but if you are not familiar with his work, this link is a good introduction to the man and his vision. Enjoy!
http://in.integralinstitute.org/

• Photo of the Day:
Hawaii is a favorite place of mine to vacation and do photography. This photo was taken on the north shore of Oahu when the waves were reported to be some of the highest they had ever seen. Naturally, this made for some great surfing, which in turn lead to some great photography moments.

• Quote for the Day:
“Attitude is the paintbrush we choose to color the world.”
—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 Healing Power of Nature

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

There is a good reason why people head to the beaches or the mountains for vacation; being in nature is a great elixir for stress. Oceans, mountains and cathedral forests tend to dwarf our problems into a size that becomes quite manageable. Moreover, taking time away from the stress of everyday life is necessary for better clarity of these problems. Breathing in rhythm to the ocean waves, being caressed by gentle summer breezes, or finding yourself completely mesmerized by the colors of a butterfly or the large eyes of a white tailed deer. Typically, we turn to nature to find a respite for the soul. We come searching for solitude and we return refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated. Due to our love affair (some would even say “addiction”), with technology, many people today have what is becoming known as “nature deficit disorder;” not getting outside enough. For the first time since public records have been kept in the United States, health experts suggest that Americans are becoming Vitamin D deficient (Vitamin D is synthesized via natural sunlight hitting the skin). Vitamin D deficiency can have many health implications. Nature can be a wonderful healing agent for stress, when we take the time to step outdoors and reunite with a world that we never should become separated from.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a habit to get outside every day, whether it’s for a morning walk, a noonday stroll, or evening star gazing. Learn to recognize the wildlife in your locale beyond robins and squirrels. Get an adequate supply of fresh air and natural sunlight and reestablish a healthy connection to the natural world.

• Books Worth Noting:
One of my favorite books on Nature is called Earth Prayers (edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon). With over 365 prayers and poems it is a great way to start the day and become inspired about our home planet. AND… if you haven’t seen the BBC series, Planet Earth, it’s high time to treat yourself to this stunning documentary series that is unparalleled in cinematic beauty.

• Photo of the Day:
There are many places on planet earth that take one’s breath away, but Spirit Island outside of Jasper, Canada is at the top of my list. I took this photo while filming footage for my upcoming documentary, Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature (due out at the end of summer). Truly this is one of the prettiest places on Earth. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:

When the wind blows
this is my medicine.
When the sky rains
this is my medicine.
When snow falls from the heavens
this is my medicine.
When the sky becomes clear after a storm
this is my medicine.
—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.

Coping Technique 101: Information Seeking

By | Coping With Stress | One Comment


Fear of the unknown can cause a lot of stress and in a rapidly changing world there is A LOT of uncertainty (e.g., the economy, job security or lack thereof, etc.) When the emotional stress response kicks in it is not uncommon to want to run and hide from fear (avoidance), or take on the “deer in the headlights” appearance—for days or even weeks on end. While the initial shock of change and uncertainty may be emotionally stunning, this modus operandi isn’t beneficial in the long run to cope effectively with stress. Taking a proactive stance is! There are literally hundreds of effective coping technique (and many ineffective ones as well). Information seeking is an empowering technique in which one tries to make the unknown know to lessen one’s fear. Knowledge is power and information must be processed well to become knowledge. As we careen head on into the information age, people have embraced this technique, however, there are caveats: Too much information can be as dangerous as not enough. A Google search is a great start for any information search, but don’t end there (not everything is on the web!). Talk to people who have experience. Back up your sources and try to validate your information. Turn your information into knowledge, and turn your knowledge into wisdom.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
What stressor are you facing that is rooted in the fear of the unknown? Where can you turn to for some additional information? These are questions to ask yourself as you work to resolve life issues both big and small. Do you back up your resources (get a second and third opinion?) Remember, its always a good idea to validate your information, even if its opinions about various situations so that you have a bigger perspective and a wider platform of insight.

• Books Worth Noting:
The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck didn’t take long to become a classic when it came out in 1980. Many books that hold ageless wisdom between the covers often merits a second read as we further down the road of our life journey. If you have this book, consider pulling it out and browsing through it again. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

• Photo of the Day:
A pretty photo to start the week, this one was taken at Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

—Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

Physical Exercise: The Great Neutralizer

By | cardiovascular exercise, stress management | No Comments


Fact: Physical exercise is stress! Specifically, exercise is the manifestation of the stress response. Metabolically speaking, aerobic exercise is the flight response, whereas anaerobic exercise is similar to the fight response. Just as the heart races during a crisis and blood pressure increases dramatically with personal chaos, the same physical response occurs during jogging, walking, swimming and most other modes of exercise. The good news is that once the exercise session has ended, the body’s response is to return to homeostasis (also called the parasympathetic response or parasympathetic rebound). Conversely, when people are chronically stressed, the body rarely returns to a resting state which then sets the stage for disease and illness. To use an apt metaphor, exercise is like a homeopathic remedy, where “like cures like.” Here is one more vote for starting or maintaining a regular exercise program: Physical exercise flushes out the stress hormones (e.g., cortisol, aldosterone, thyroxine, vasopressin, etc.) rather than having this toxic stress cocktail linger in your body for days on end wreaking havoc on your body. By now you know the routine: Intensity (75% of max heart rate), frequency (#’s of times per week—the magic # is 3) and duration (# of minutes per exercise session—the magic number is 30). This famous recipe for fitness is ideal, but if your life seems too complicated, I have this suggestion: Just get out side and move! 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. Walking is highly underrated and it’s a great mode of exercise to flush out the stress hormones. Morning and evening walks are ideal! There is enough research on the merits of cardiovascular exercise to build a road to the moon! The fitness boom of the ‘70s has come and gone, but the importance of exercise had only increased. Physical exercise isn’t the fountain of youth, but it’s the next best thing!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
For many people physical exercise may seem like a luxury (certainly the time to exercise may seem like it), but more than ever it’s a necessity. Exercise is considered “good stress.” If you don’t have a formal exercise program, now is the time to start. Start slow but steady! If you think you don’t have time, you need it even more.

• Links Worth Noting:
The world is in a very precarious position, but there are many people who are working at a conscious level to steer humanity in the right direction (versus off a cliff where this train seems to be headed). This link was passed along to me and I thought it was worth sharing:
http://www.globalone.tv/

• Photo of the Day:
Many thanks to Kristin Weiner, a friend and colleague, who obliged my request one day at the pool, while doing our respective workouts, to take a few photos of her great swimming style. Thanks Kristin!

• Quote for the Day:
“That birds fly overhead, this you cannot stop. That birds make a nest in your hair, this you can prevent.”
—Chinese Proverb

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.