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Monthly Archives

December 2009

Happy Holidays!

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Happy holidays and seasons best from Brian Luke Seaward and the staff of Inspiration Unlimited and the Paramount Wellness Institute. We look forward to having you join us again in January as we begin our second year with the Stressfully Speaking blog. Thank you for your kind emails, comments and well wishes this year. Enjoy the holiday season.

—Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Holiday Stress Survival 101

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As we enter the home stretch of the 2009 holiday season, now is the time to step back (again) take a deep breath and regroup! The holiday season is considered one of THE most stressful times of the year. Here’s why: This is the time of year that is filled with expectations, many of which go unmet (this means that tempers become raw and buttons are easily pushed). It’s also a time of control dramas. These include the perpetual reenactment of family dramas from childhood (this means added, often latent, tension at family gatherings, but let us not forget office or work environments which mirror family dynamics). Combine these aspects with impatient store customers (and clerks), rude drivers, bad weather, financial stress, great Christmas music (and perhaps some really bad Christmas music) played to death in stores and several more aspects too numerous to mention and you have the potential for a textbook definition of holiday stress. All is not lost, however—or even jaded! Step back, take a deep breath (perhaps two or three), and relax for a moment. With a calm mind, restablish healthy boundaries, and remember to open your heart and show kindness to everyone, no matter how they treat you.

• Stress Tip of the Day
There is no law that says Christmas cards have to be written and sent before Christmas. There is no commandment that states friends and family have to receive gifts (sadly, this holiday has been hijacked by consummerism!) This is a holiday season about love in our hearts and light in the world. If you can remember these two things while you wrap up this week’s final errands you will be doing good. If you can practice these two behaviors, you will be doing great and contributing to both inner peace and world peace, perhaps the greatest gift of all.

• Movies Worth Noting:
There are several movies to watch at home this week to inspire the Christmas spirit:
My favorite is, It’s a Wonderful Life, but there are many others including Love, Actually. The Holiday, The Muppets Christmas, and Joyeux Noel. Enjoy!

• Photo of the Day:
Even Santa can have a bad day. This photo/cartoon was sent to me by a friend who begged to have a blog entry on holiday stress. For her and all of you gnashing your teeth about now….Smile… This one’s for you.

• Quote for the Day:
“God bless us all, everyone one.”
—Tiny Tim (Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol)

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 Victimhood

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There are two ways to get through a situation of stress. The first is as a victim (also known in the field of psychology as “victimization” or “victim consciousness.”) There are many self-proclaimed victims in our world today! Perhaps you’ve noticed. You can tell by the conversations you have with people because they whine and complain a lot—sometimes all the time! Ironically, by doing so, these people attract more stress into their lives. As the saying goes… “Once a victim, twice a volunteer.” The second way to get through a situation of stress is to learn from the situation, grab the bull by the horns and declare victory. In the words of Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell… keep going!” The second way is the path of grace. This is path Joseph Campbell refers to as The Hero’s Journey. This is the recommended path, despite the fact that it hard work. Hard work, indeed, but the views up top are extraordinary.

• Stress Tip of the Day
Eavesdrop on the conversations you have with others and note if the content of your message is one of victimization. Sometimes you may just need validation that how you are seeing the world is a bit unjust, but if this slant on life consumes your conversations, then you will become jaded and start wearing the label of “Victim.” If you find you are wearing that label, tear it off and replace it with the word, victor. Then start acting like one. The world has enough victims already.

• Movies Worth Noting:
Even if you’re not a sports fan, please consider going to see the movie, Invitus, a tribute to Nelson Mandela, wrapped up in a rugby story. With sport as metaphor, Clint Eastwood masterfully tells a heart-warming story of one of today’s leading luminaries.

• Photo of the Day:
One symbol of victory is the eagle, so in honor of all victors, heroes and legends who bushwacked their way to the top, who found themselves in a state of hell… and kept going.. this eagle, photographed in Sitka, AK, is for you!

• Quote for the Day:
For this entry, the quote of the day is not a sentence, but a poem, Invictus, the poem that Nelson Mandela said got him through 26 years of imprisonment. Please read it and consider coping it and posting it on your bathroom mirror.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years
Finds,
and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

—William Ernest Henley 1849–1903

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.

Earth Summit in Copenhagen

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The words “stress” and “change” are often used synonymously. Perhaps nowhere are these two words use with such frequency as they have been last week and this week in Copenhagen. World leaders, scientists, environmentalists and policy makers are attending the Earth Summit in Copenhagen to address the perfect storm of stress known as “Global Warming” (the term “Climate Change” was coined by a George W Bush adviser to market a softer take on this problem). Sadly, a report last week stated that over 55% of Americans now don’t believe the planetary weather changes are real or have anything to do with human impact (those living in low lying island nations who are already feeling the impact find this ignorance hard to believe). Experts asked to decipher this “poll of Americans on global warming) suggest that denial is an important (if not potentially deadly) coping technique when other stressful matters hit closer to home, such as personal finances, health issues/insurance, and job security (or job searching). Adapting to change, whether it’s finding a new job, relocating to a new house (or apartment) or dramatically decreasing your carbon footprint, will mostly likely include some stress. Some call it growing pains, and this is natural. While some fear change, the bottom line is that we must all learn to embrace it, for nothing is certain but change. Adaptation is the key. In the words of Nietzsche, “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.”

• Stress Tip of the Day
One of the best effective coping techniques is called “Information Seeking.” It involves doing some homework on a topic to get a good handle on the situation. Take some time to educate yourself on the topic of global warming—not from Fox News or other opinionated “news” organizations, but from several sound news organizations. Knowledge is power!

• Links Worth Noting:
The topic of global warming can be daunting to say the least, so to add some emotional levity, here is a totally unrelated link that hopefully will make you smile (I did and am still laughing). Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCFCeJTEzNU

• Photo of the Day:
As some of you know, I was in Greenland several months ago to complete some filming for my documentary, Earth Songs. There is no direct route to Greenland from the US. Pretty much everyone has to go through Denmark (in this case Copenhagen). I was lucky enough to have a friend and colleague (Hej Christian) who with his lovely wife, Anette, showed me Copenhagen like NOBODY sees Copenhagen. Here is a photo from my stay there, a classic shot of Nyhaven Harbor. By the way, unlike low lying islands that are losing beach front property, Greenland is actually rising out of the ocean due to the decreased weight of the Greenland Ice Sheet that is decreasing due to melting from… you guessed it, global warming.

• Quote for the Day:
“The only person who likes change… is a wet baby.” — Roy Blitzer

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 Diabetes

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I just returned from Anchorage, Alaska, where I attended and spoke at a diabetes conference. While there is no scientific evidence that stress causes diabetes, this we do know: Stress certainly exacerbates blood sugar levels. The stress hormone, Cortisol, play a significant role in increasing blood sugars to ensure enough of this nutrient for energy production in fight or flight. While Type I diabetes is now thought to be an autoimmune disease, Type II diabetes is a function of lifestyle (diet and exercise). Diet and exercise (or the lack thereof) are certainly related to stress. To be quite blunt, the association between stress and diabetes cannot and should not be ignored. The statistics regarding diabetes in the United States is nothing less than bewildering (as much as 33% of the American population has or will have diabetes in their lifetime), and no less bewildering is the epidemic of obesity; both of which are closely linked.

• Stress Tip of the Day
Exercise plays a crucial role in the balance of blood sugars. Exercise plays a critical role in the balance of nearly every aspect of human physiology. As hard as it might be to find time to get out and exercise, this one aspect of your life is as important as showering and brushing your teeth. And while you’re at it, talk to your pancreas. Tell it how much you appreciate it.

• Links Worth Noting:
For those who are interested, below is the official website for the American Diabetes Association.
http://www.diabetes.org/

• Photo of the Day:
This photo has absolutely nothing to do with diabetes, Alaska or stress. Usually at this time of year, I head off to Kauai. This year, the funds just weren’t there. I heard on the news though that all of the Hawaiian Islands are getting hit with MONSTER Waves. Needless to say, the surfers are loving this. I took this photo a few years back during another parade of monster waves. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“With the Industrial Revolution and introduction of various industrial techniques for purifying sugar, we have a situation in which what we are consuming is not good nutritionally or ecologically.” — Marvin Harris

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.

Nature and Stress

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Several years ago, a study revealed that hospital patients who have a view of trees (and perhaps other aspects of the natural world) seem to recover sooner and are discharged earlier than those who didn’t have the same view. Much can be drawn from these conclusions, but suffice to say that when given the chance, nature embues many healing qualities; from tranquil scenes that promote a sense of inner peace to the many herbs and spices that grace our foods. It was such a study (and decades of my own personal experiences in nature) that lead me to film, direct and produce the documentary, Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature. I am happy to say that the movie is complete and now available for those times when getting out in nature isn’t as easy (e.g. cancer patients and the chronically ill). Having just returned from a conference held in Anchorage I was lucky enough to get a window seat as my flight flew over the inland passage of Southeast Alaska. The views of the snow covered mountains at the edges of the northern Pacific ocean were spellbinding. Indeed nature holds many healing qualities to diffuse the feelings of stress.

• Stress Tip of the Day
No matter how busy your day is, or how cold the weather might be, bundle up and step outside to take a breath of fresh air, and give a moment of gratitude to Mother Nature.

• Links Worth Noting:
In a episode of shameless promotion, here are three links to Earth Songs (now posted on Youtube.) Let me know what you think. For more information on ordering Earth Songs ($25 + S&H), please go to the home page of my website and you will find an order form in the menu bar.

• Earth Songs Documentary Introduction
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3JxqyCvZVk

• Earth Songs Meditation (song: Prairie Moon by Michael Hoppe)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swE5aYurZcg

• Earth Songs Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_ktYuzEv8E

• Photo of the Day:
Today’s photo is a composite of three photos taken during the filming of Earth Songs that became the cover of this new DVD.

• Quote for the Day:
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! ”
—John Muir

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.