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Monthly Archives

October 2009

Name Your Joy! Live Your Joy!

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A friend and colleague of mine is a massage therapist in the Midwest. She begins each massage therapy session by touching the shoulder of her client and asking a statement: Name your joy! When she asked me this the first time, I must have gone for about 10 minutes citing all of my favorite things… until she told me to shut up (smile). Then she paused and said, “You know, when I ask people to name their joy, by and large, most people can’t. If you cannot name your joy (those things that bring happiness in your life) how can you possibly live your joy?” We both agreed that it appears the vast majority of people are NOT living their joy these days. And this can only be a bad thing! So…what brings you joy and happiness? Can you name your joy? If so, are you living your joy? Stress tends to act like blinders in that it obscures people from seeing the big picture. Instead stress creates a myopic view where it tends to magnifies itself. Naming your joy is a concept to bring some emotional levity to your day. It’s a way to find emotional and spiritual balance. Naming our joy, then living it is one of the first steps to enhancing the health of the human spirit.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Today, consider making a “stress management first aid kit” (I call these “Relaxation kits”). Start collecting things that allow you to relax through the five senses (a vile of lavender—smell, chocolate—taste, a Mozart CD-sound, bubble wrap-touch, a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon book—humor, a collection of funny jokes). Gather two items for each of the five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell—don’t forget your sense of humor!), plus anything else you wish. Place these in a tote bag, a lunch box, or any container that will contain all of these items. You might even consider having one at home and one at the office. These are also great to make together as a family project. When you are feeling stressed, grab the kit and sooth one or more of the fives senses until you are headed toward homeostasis, possibly joy!

• Links Worth Noting:
If you are suffering from depression (and current estimates suggest that over 25% of Americans are), joy may be the last thing you are thinking about. This link came my way as I was writing this and took the hint to include it here. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023163346.htm
Why Antidepressants Don’t Work For So Many
Science Daily (Oct. 27, 2009) More than half the people who take antidepressants for depression never get relief.

• Photo of the Day:
Coffee milk shakes on a hot summer day, downhill skiing at Copper Mt, potluck dinners with friends and live music, walking my dog, Logan at sunrise. . The list is quite long, but a few years ago I added one more thing to my list: Surfing. This photo was taken the day learned to surf, a few hours after my first lesson. The waves on the north shore of Oahu were really high and all the hotshots were out in style… which made for some great photography.

• Quote for the Day:
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln

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.

Stress, Breast Cancer and the Wired Bra

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Here is a fact that you may not be aware of: While the heart is the pump for the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no pump to circulate the family of white blood cells around the body to search and destroy pathogens (including cancer cells). Rhythmic cardiovascular exercise is the best way (perhaps the only way) to increase the circulation of the lymphatic system. One of my colleagues, Donna Eden, shared with me that, as a healer, she has noted that women who wear wired bras tend to have very poor circulation of their lymphatic system, particularly the lymphatic ducts around the breast area. Hence, she noted, that they are more likely as candidates for breast cancer. She recommends that women NOT wear wired bras, if they might be prone for breast cancer. Another friend and colleague of mine, Christine Bonoli, shared with me that she uses wired bras BUT removes the wire, telling me that the extra-reinforced sewing still gives more support than not wired bras. Something to consider! Breast cancer is a HUGE problem in this country; one not with stress, and while there are many factors involved, this is one aspect you have control over. November is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (yeah!), but why wait till November to become aware?

• Stress Tip for the Day:
First: If you are a woman who wears a wired bra, consider your options, including removing the wire and still using the bra. Sports bras, I am told, also offer extra support.
Second: One cannot underscore the importance of regular rhythmic cardiovascular exercise; even walking, as this helps promote the circulation of the lymphatic system.
Third: Consider a regular lymphatic massage to help cleanse the lymphatic ducts around the breast area.

• Links Worth Noting:
Let there be no doubt, there is great stress involved with breast cancer. Many women I talk to find it awkward to talk about, not to mention a self-breast exam (and… did you know that more men find lumps in women’s breasts than women?) And guys, did you know that men can get breast cancer too? In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is posted for women and men to visit: http://www.nbcam.org/

• Photo of the Day:
This photo is a poster for a play in the Denver area called Girls Only, “celebrating the feminine with humor, truth and honor.”

• Quote for the Day:
I got a postcard from my gynecologist. It said, “Did you know it’s time for your annual check-up?” No, but now my mailman does. ~Cathy Ladman

“ There are far too few pairs of beautiful breasts in the world.” — Westly to Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride

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.

Did You Get Your Quota of Laughs today?

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Why is laughter thought to be healing? Glad you asked! Research studies have revealed that laughter tends to decrease resting heart rate, resting blood pressure and muscle tension (muscle tension is THE # symptom of stress!) And let us not forget all the great neuropeptides (e.g., the beta endorphin) that are released from the brain to make us feel better, if only momentarily! Experts have noted that children laugh as many as 300 times per day. Adults (we are so sophisticated) have narrowed it down to 15, and hospital patients (are you ready for this?) zero! Emotional wellbeing is perhaps best defined as “the ability to feel and express the entire range of human emotions (from anger to love) and to control them, not be controlled by them! ”Anger and fear (the two stress emotions) permeate our culture today. If stress is a toxin, then humor is the antidote! Freud said that humor was a great coping technique because it not only decreased pain, but increased pleasure… AT THE SAME TIME! The antidote beings with a smile!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
The suggested quota for laughs per day is 15. There are three in this blog (Photo, joke and quote), which means you’re on your own for the other 12, so get going. But here is a start! Today’s Joke: The Conversation

God is sitting in Heaven when a scientist says to Him,
“Lord, we don’t need you anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing. In other words, we can now do what you did in the beginning.”

“Is that so? Tell me about it,” replies God.

“Well, “ says the scientist, “we can take dirt and form it into the likeness of You and breathe life into it, thus creating man.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Show Me.”

So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil.

“No, no, no…” interrupts God, “Get your own dirt.”

Movies Worth Noting:
There is a famous quote from Chaucer that says, “Many a truth be told in jest,” and there is much truth to this quote! Film maker, Michael Moore, is considered by some to be a jester and his sense of humor is not without its critics. Personally I find him funny, and after seeing his latest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, I think everyone should see this movie, particularly in light of yesterday’s news about the ridiculous bonuses being given from the TARP money (your tax dollars!) You owe it to yourselves to be informed (and catch a few laughs while you’re at it!)

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was sent to me to be added in my tickler notebook. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made” —George Bernard Shaw

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.

Water and Stress: Things You Should Know

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Water is called the “essential nutrient” because we cannot live without it very long (some say a matter of days). Dehydration is a stress to the body. So is contaminated water that we drink out of the kitchen sink. Rain, rivers, lakes, underground aquifers; one might think that water is a God-given right, but these days our water supply is in dire straights. One might even say, “stressed.” During the last administration, the federal government had ignored The Clean Water Act, hence ignoring thousands of companies who have been dumping toxic waste into rivers and streams that find its way into your drinking water. Agricultural runoff (herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and synthetic petrochemical fertilizers, antibiotics and synthetic hormones) also finds its way into your drinking water as well. Its no exaggeration to say that we have a problem here.City drinking water cannot possibly remove all of these contaminants. The bottom line is that this is a major stress to your body’s physiology. Ideally, water acts to clear your body’ of contaminants. Poor water quality greatly compromises one’s health!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
First: Stay hydrated. If you are thirsty, most likely you are already dehydrated. Caffeine (found in coffee, teas and soft drinks) is a diuretic, drawing water out of your body through urination. Consider cutting back on your caffeine intake for better homeostasis, and at restaurants, order water as your first choice of beverage.
Second, if you don’t have a water filter system in your kitchen (to remove chlorine-based compounds that some say are carcinogenic) this would be a good time to install one (google water filters and do your homework. If you do have one, remember to replace the filter REGULARLY!
Third, get active in your local politics about the quality of your drinking water. When it comes down to it, water is a local issue.

Links Worth Noting:
NPR’s Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross held a special interview the other night with a writer for the New York Times who has written an informative series of stories about the state of water in our country. Here is a link to the transcript.
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=113927993

• Photo of the Day:
Water was not is short supply at the Skoggafoss waterfall when I was in Iceland last year, but climate experts have noticed that glaciers in Iceland, Greenland, Peru, Africa (Mt Kilimanjaro) and many other parts of the world are certainly diminishing in size, which ultimately will affect water supplies for the people who rely on these melting waters to sustain their lives.

• Quote for the Day:
“Water has become a highly precious resource. There are some places where a barrel of water costs more than a barrel of oil.”— Lloyd Axworthy, Foreign Minister of Canada (1999 – News Conference)

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.

Healthy Boundaries Revisited

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I had the pleasure of attending a dinner party at the house of a friend over the weekend and met some really neat people. Topics of conversation included everything from the latest movies to the start of the ski season and the Nobel Peace Prize. Given my travel schedule in the past few months, people were all ears to hear about Greenland, Peru, Sitka Alaska, the Virgin Islands and St. Lucia. One guest commented that he could never travel because his job (he was self-employed) wouldn’t allow him time off (even a week’s vacation). As he talked, it occurred to me that it wasn’t his job. Rather it was his own limitations that were so constrictive. He’s not alone in this regard. As the expression goes, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough, their yours.” My first thought after hearing him say this was a lack of healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries require a strong sense of assertiveness; to claim what is truly yours (in this case, vacation time). Assertiveness is one pillar in the structure of healthy stress management skills. Make a habit to use your assertiveness skills to give balance to your life.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Take inventory of your life today. Are there areas that you need to be more assertive? Where are the areas that you need to pull in the reins? Where are there aspects that you need to lighten up? There is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Avoid the later. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. As you review your day, your week or your life, remind yourself this simple phrase: “Healthy Boundaries.” Repeat it to yourself. Repeat it aloud. Repeat it to friends or colleagues who ask one to many favors or infringe on your personal time too often. Make your mantra today: “I have healthy boundaries.”

• Books Worth Noting:
Of the many topics of conversation that night at dinner, we discussed good books to read. Several people had read the book, The Cosmic Serpent, by Jeremy Narby, a story about a trip the Amazon rainforest and the quest for knowledge through shaman experiences… all of which leads the author to an amazing search to understand our DNA better. We all gave it a 5-star recommendation.

• Photo of the Day:
Speaking of vacations… this photo was taken of the Napali coast last winter while visiting Kauai. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week… My schedule is already full.” —Henry Kissinger

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.

Stress and The Immune System

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With all the news about Swine Flu these days it’s a good time to revisit the concept of stress and the immune system because not only are we approaching the flu season, we are approaching the holiday season and there is a definite correlation! Experts suggest that as much as 50% of Americans are walking around with a suppressed immune system (stress, poor nutrition and insomnia are the contributing factors). The metaphor of falling domino works well here. Domino # 1: There is a whole cascade of biochemicals that are produced and secreted under stress. First, the nervous system reacts to a “Threat” by releasing epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. This is followed by (Domino # 2) the release of many hormones, all of which prepare the body for fight or flight. These include but are not limited to: Cortisol, aldosterone, vaspressin, and thyroxine. When one engages in fight or flight these hormones are used for their proper duties. When one sits in front of a computer terminal all day (or other sedentary means) then these chemicals become a toxic hormone cocktail in the body. When cortisol lingers in the body (and we don’t know why) destroys white blood cells (Domino # 3). That’s right, prolonged stress, in terms of lingering Cortisol, suppresses the immune system.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Good eating habits tend to disappear in stressful times. We tend to eat comfort foods which are high in refined sugar. Refined sugar also suppresses the immune system. Consider reaching for a piece of organic fruit or trail mix when the hunger pangs strike and try to minimize your intake of refined (table) sugar.

• Books Worth Noting:
Speaking of nutrition, Michael Pollan’s most recent book, In Defense of Food, is an excellent resource to add to your library. As a sequel to his best selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he highlights a clear path to healthy eating. I highly recommend this book.

Photo of the Day:
Sometimes seeing a picture of the stress and immune system brings home the point better than words. I had this image created for my college textbook, Managing Stress.

• Quote for the Day:
“The bottom line is that refined sugar upsets the body chemistry and suppresses the immune system. The stronger the immune system the easier it is for the body to fight infectious and degenerative diseases.” —Professor Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., Nutritionist

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.

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

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In time of stress, laughter can help balance one’s scale of emotions, if only temporarily. Today I have opted to cut to the chase, dispensing with theory and going straight for the application. Hope you get a few laughs today’s edition of Stressfully Speaking. Enjoy!

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year’s winners…..
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
11. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
12. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field
toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
13. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
14. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
15. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
16. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
17. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
18. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
19. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
20. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
21. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
22. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
23. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

• Photo of the Day:
The 10th Annual Mountain Retreat, held this year at Vail’s incredible Sonnenalp Resort may be over, but the memories will last a lifetime for all those who attended. Here is a photo from last night’s concert featuring Christine Bonoli and guitar virtuoso, Zach Bergen. A great time was had by all and we hope YOU can join us next year… Mark your calendar for Columbus Day weekend 2010!

• Quote for the Day:
”Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
— Victor Borge

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.

Stress and Positive Affirmations

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We have all heard of the concept of positive thinking and the story of Pollyanna. There is MUCH merit to the power of positive thoughts. Lance Armstrong didn’t win the Tour de France repeatedly by having a bad mindset. Research suggests that a pessimistic view of life is a contributing factor to a suppressed immune system. Positive thoughts are essential to a happy and healthy life. However, the secret to positive affirmations (a word or phrase you repeat to yourself for mental and emotional stability) is to combine the conscious and unconscious minds for the best effect. Reminding yourself of your positive attributes is good, but words alone are not enough. The unconscious mind speaks in symbols, images and metaphors, not words. The unconscious mind also sees things as the present moment so your affirmation statement is best if it begins with the words I am (e.g., I am calm and relaxed).

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Given the amount of negativity today, a little Pollyanna goes a long way! Consider creating a word or phrase combined with an image (e.g., a calm body or water, a humming bird perched on a branch, a rainbow) with your positive affirmation statement. Rehearse it when you are relaxed (e.g. meditating) and then practice it throughout the day; in traffic, long lines at he grocery store or staff meetings. Postive affirmations are a mantra of sorts, they act as a compass to guide you around the potholes of

• Links Worth Noting:
Here is a link with some more information on Positive Affirmations: Enjoy.

http://www.successconsciousness.com/index_00000a.htm

• Photo of the Day:
I took this photo while down in the Virgin Islands last week. My publisher (Jones and Bartlett) wanted me to capture some ideas for another book cover. It’s hard not to be positive in the Virgin Islands (smile).

• Quote for the Day:
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale

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 Virtue of Patience

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Have you noticed how impatient people seem today? Everything is rush, rush, rush. I just returned from a trip to the Caribbean (doing some last filming for my documentary on the healing power of nature). In case you forgot, let me remind you; airports are a GREAT place to study stress and human behavior. It wasn’t long ago that cross-country travel, not to mention international travel, would have taken weeks, if not months (how quickly we forget?) There are lots of impatient people in the skies these days. Impatience is a precursor to rudeness. It’s not just airports where patience is a lost art; its grocery stores, post offices, and least we forget, traffic intersections. Impatience is a form of anger, and anger is one half of the fight or flight response. Impatience is the ego’s way of saying, “I am more important than you, let me through.” Patience is indeed a virtue, particularly in times of stress.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Observe your behavior today. Are you caught in a rut of impatience? What’s the hurry? Step outside yourself and take an honest look at your behavior. Is the world really going to end if you don’t make it through that next yellow traffic light? Engaging in the act of patience is a muscle we all need to exercise regularly. Make a practice to step back, take a deep breath, and wait a moment.

• Books Worth Noting:
While on board a flight to the Caribbean, I started and finished Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol. I was really pleased to see how he wove in some of the concepts of higher consciousness through his exposure to the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Aside from being a great story, in his own way, Brown does a great job to elevate consciousness as well. It’s a good read, and should make for a great movie (fingers crossed on that one).

• Photo of the Day:
This photo is of an Irish farmer and his little daughter, near the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. Ireland is a magical country filled with stunning beauty, great music and mystical Celtic ruins.
Inspiration Unlimited has a trip to Ireland scheduled next June (summer solstice) to experience it all. We have 8 spots (out of 20) left. The first deadline to sign up is Nov 5th. Below is a link with all of the information. Please direct all questions to MaryJo at (303) 439.0948. If you have ever wanted to visit Ireland and the old country… this is the perfect chance.

http://brianlukeseaward.net/Seminars/Ireland.html

Quote for the Day:
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” —St. Augustine

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.