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Monthly Archives

February 2010

A Chemistry Experiment Gone Very Bad (bio-ecological stressors revisited)

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Last year I was a speaker at an Earth Day event in Los Angeles. The speaker following my presentation addressed the issues of home health care products. Out of curiosity, I stuck around to listen. Boy did I get an education!!! On average, the typical American comes in contact with over 150 chemicals a day from home health care products (e.g., scented soaps, shampoos, deodorants, cream rinses, hand lotions, tooth paste, lip balm, sun block, shaving cream, etc.), many of which are petroleum-based. The skin is your largest organ and absorbs these chemicals like your lungs absorb the air you breath. What is the result of all of these chemicals on your skin, in your blood, and roaming through your body? The answer isn’t pretty! Phthalates (phi-lates) are one such chemical compound, BPA is another (and its in A LOT of in plastic containers that ultimately leaches out into contents). Experts report that BPA acts like a hormone and it is linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, CHD, birth defects, and many other chronic health care issues. You have a set of lymph nodes that run along side the underarm area, which is where most people lather up their deodorant. Breast cancer patients are told NOT to use chemical deodorants. The rest of us would be wise to follow this advice as well. Andy Weil said the body is like a river. If you stop polluting it with chemicals, all things being equal, it will return to a state of homeostasis. Good advice!

• Stress Tip of the Day
Regardless of how much you might dislike the topic of chemistry, it would be in your best interest to understand the concept of chemical toxicity and stress to your body. Experts call this “bio-accumulation.” While the body is rather resilient, it does have its tipping point (also called disease). Emotional stress quickens this tipping point. How many of these chemicals do you come in contact with each day? Start counting. Sure the products most people use are inexpensive and perhaps convenient when shopping, but what is the real coast of health when the chemistry experiment goes bad? Please consider the alternative: Organic home health care products. Please also consider home cleaning products as well.

• Books Worth Noting:
The other night I heard an interview with author, Rick Smith, who wrote a book titled, Slow Death by Rubber Duck. This book should be read by everybody regarding this topic of plastics and our health.
Here are a few links and I HIGHLY recommend this book:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123902198
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-goleman/death-by-rubber-duckie-is_b_202085.html

• Photo of the Day:
I like to think I am cautious and conscious about this topic (and I use organic home health care products), but a quick survey of items in my bathroom gave significant pause for thought.

• Quote for the Day:
“Don’t put anything in your mouth you wouldn’t put on your skin or hair.” —Kevin Trudeau

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 Use of Credit Cards

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Today new credit card rules go into effect and these will definitely impact all of us (for the better?), at least until these banks connive new ways to extract your hard earned money. Experts predict with great certainty that this is no time to ignore your credit card statements. Financial vigilence is suggested—by all financial experts. Since Congress has instituted new laws that prohibit the credit card companies (e.g., banks) from all kinds of now previous nefarious activities, new credit card fees are headed your way to make up for the loss of revenue. Since previous if not diabolical means were a HUGE revenue stream for them (in the billions) they are now conniving new ways to recoup this once lucrative pot of gold. One of my friends used to work for MBNA. His job was to create complex interest rate algorithms , in essence, to siphon money out of people’s wallets. He quit because he said he couldn’t live with the lack of integrity of the company. Due to his own financial stress he’s back (yes, he said he sold his soul) and in his words: Let he credit card user beware.

• Stress Tip of the Day
Make a habit of reading your credit card statements carefully (check the interest rates, annual fees, non-user fees (that’s right, many companies will now charge you NOT to use their credit cards. Ask yourself if all those miles, bonus points, etc. are really worth it (experts are divided on this issue). Pay off all balances when they are due. If you must own a credit card, consider a Credit Union credit card (these institutions are reported to be the most honest, since they are member-owned). Get in the habit of using your credit cards for emergency purchases, if that.

• Links Worth Noting:
I listen to public radio a lot and on Saturday mornings in my locale there is a nationally syndicated show called Marketplace Money. Last weekend’s show was dedicated entirely to credit card use. Here are some links to the program’s transcripts that you can read, and I strongly suggest that you do.

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/02/19/mm-openandnewrules/

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/02/19/feeq/

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/02/19/mm-commentary-farrell/

• Photo of the Day:
Rather than insert a photo of credit cards, I opted one again for a nature photo… I live near a nature sanctuary and this is one of my neighbors. (For those who might have missed the symbolic message: don’t be outfoxed by credit card companies..

• Quote for the Day:
“There’s a sucker born every minute.” — P.T. Barnum

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 Addictive Process

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Experts tell us that there are two kinds of addictions: Substance addictions and process addictions. Substance addictions include drugs and alcohol. Process addictions involve repeated behaviors and the list is nearly endless: eating, gambling, sex, watching television, shopping… you get the idea. In each of these types of addiction, the person engages in a specific behavior to get “a fix,” yet the “high” doesn’t last long and hence is repeated (some say that people are filling a spiritual void with material things, which will never work). The newest process addiction to reveal itself today is technology, specifically cell phone use and right behind it is WiFi use (emails, twitters, text messaging, etc.). Perhaps you have noticed. There IS a good reason why the Blackberry is called the “CrackBerry”. A recent report on the BBC stated that cell phone use is now denied in many board room meeting because no one is paying attention (they are too busy fingering the keypads). College professors see this all the time with their students, who fidget under their desks with their cell phones during lectures. And sadly, scores of people have died in car accidents due to someone not keeping their eyes on the road. All of this is sending untold ripples of stress in many directions.

• Stress Tip of the Day
Do you have an addiction to technology? How many times a day do you check your emails? Is your cell phone turned on all the time? Are you accessible by phone 24/7? These are some serious questions to ask as this new social addiction takes hold. Healthy boundaries are a must with technology. It is mean to serve us, however most people find themselves a slave to it. If you find yourself a slave (dependent) on technology in terms of getting that next fix… consider some healthy options. The status quo becomes a endless whirlpool that perpetuates stress.

• Books/links Worth Noting:
Roberta Lee, MD. has a new book out called The SuperStress Solution. If you are looking for some new insights into how to find balance in your life, please consider adding this book to your library.
And.. I am happy to say that my new website was launched yesterday. It too has lots of information about finding peace and balance. Please check it out.
www.brianlukeseaward.net

• Photo of the Day:
I went looking through my files for a photo of a cell phone, but instead opted to place a nice nature photo instead. Today’s photo is a beautiful waterfall in Iceland. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well viewed.” —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.

Abraham Maslow Revisited

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Think back, for a moment, to your Psych 101 class regarding human behavior. While many experts in this emerging field were looking at the dark side of human nature, one individual decided to look at the best side. In his search for what motivates the individual to his or her highest potential, Maslow focused his attention on love rather than fear. A fair amount of human behavior is fear motivated. In a concept he coined as the “Hierarchy of Needs,” i’s fair to say that the needs of security are rooted in fear. Conversely, the quest for spiritual growth is inspired by love. If you look around today, you will note that an alarming amount of human behavior is fear-based. What does it take for you to reach your highest potential? Maslow might say that it takes an upward spiral progression in the quest for spiritual growth coming from a consciousness of love. The spectrum of human behavior can be seen played out daily, primarily the fear-based side, yet Maslow and people who honor his work, invite all of us to shift our motivation from fear (stress) to love (compassion). It’s not impossible, yet it does take practice.

• Stress Tip of the Day
Become the observer of your thoughts and actions, especially when you become stressed. Ask yourself if you are coming from a place of fear or love. The answer should be quite clear, even under the darkest of situations. This habit of observing your thoughts and behaviors will serve you well as the world inches its way toward a sustainable way of life, where the realization that greed is not a spiritual value (hero’s journey lesson #3) will become increasingly evident.

• Links Worth Noting:
One of my professional colleagues, Barbara Marx Hubbard, is one of the leaders of the human potential movement. She has initiated a new free on-line lecture series with a cast of many contemporary luminaries that we all would do well to listen to, as humanity struggles on its own Hero’s Journey back home. I highly recommend you check this out.

http://sacredawakeningseries.com/BarbaraMarxHubbard

• Photo of the Day:
In honor of Abraham Maslow’s concept of self-actualization and spiritual growth, here is a photo of the infamous feeling of being one with the universe; the peak experience!

Quote for the Day:
“If your only tool is a hammer, then you’ll see every problem as a nail.” — Abraham Maslow

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.

Bio-ecological Stress: Mercury Rising

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Having just watched the documentary movie, THE COVE (a movie I highly recommend everyone watch), I was inspired to watch some of the DVD extras afterward. One special feature was a short movie called “Mercury Rising.” During the making of THE COVE, the filmmakers learned that officials in Japan, who are the equivalent of our EPA officials, would NOT eat sushi, due to the extremely high amounts of mercury in the fish (imagine, Japanese NOT eating sushi!!!) Where does the mercury come from, you ask? It’s a by-product from burning coal. Over 70% of the electricity in this country comes from burning coal (lights, Ipods, computers, plasma televisions, etc.). Mercury, via exhaust, makes its way into the atmosphere and eventually falls into the sea, via rain. Bottom feeders consume this mercury, and it works its way up the food chain. Tuna, apparently, is near the top of the seafood food chain, and when we eat tuna (because we are at the top), we inadvertently consume this mercury, as well. You may have heard that mercury is bad for pregnant women, but here is the real news. IT’S BAD FOR EVERYONE! It’s not just ocean fish; fresh water fish (e.g., trout) in Colorado’s waters measure high in mercury too). Mercury consumption destroys neural tissue (I’ll let you figure out rest of the dots to connect, but needless to say all of this results in stress, specifically bio-ecological stress)!

• Stress Tip of the Day
The next time you are in your doctor’s office, consider having a blood test done to measure the amount of mercury in YOUR body (it can also be done with hair samples). If it’s high, you might wish to consider cutting back on food sources that contains mercury (cold water fish, but perhaps all types of sea food. Recent news in Colorado stated that lake trout also have high levels of mercury). Mercury is known to destroy neural tissue, correlated to several aspects of mental thought processing! Also, please consider watching the movie, THE COVE and the special features on the DVD as well. Consider also demanding higher EPA regulations on coal burning in your locale (these were relaxed nation-wide during the 8 years of George W’s administration).

• Links Worth Noting:
Don’t take my word for it. Here…please read for yourself.. three links:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20100205/hl_hsn/testsshowtoptunabrandshavehighmercurylevels

http://www.pbs.org/now/science/mercuryinfish.html

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/tuna-mercury-47050102

• Photo of the Day:
As many of you may know, the dolphin is my logo symbol for my company, Inspiration Unlimited. Watching the movie THE COVE, about the Japanese slaughter of thousands of dolphins each year (after selecting the best for ‘pets” in places like SeaWorld and other swim with the captive dolphin programs, etc.), was heart wrenching. This photo of a spinner dolphin was taken off the shores of Kauai last winter. Spinner Dolphins jump out of the water and spin, sometimes several rotations before reentering the water. It’s pretty cool to watch…in nature. Let’s hope future generations will always be able to see these creatures in the wild.

• Quote for the Day:
“If you are not an (environmental) activist, you’re an inactivist!”
—Louie Psihoyos, Filmmaker, THE COVE

“If you’re not upset about the state of the world’s environment, you’re not paying attention.” — bumper-sticker seen in Boulder, CO

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.

Stressed? Try the Credit Card Fast:

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Are you, like many people, addicted to spending money? FYI: Retail therapy may be a form of mismanaged anger. How much money do you have saved up for emergencies? Is money (or the lack of it) a stressor for you right now? If so, listen up. It’s time to go on a financial fast for 21 days… staring now! FYI: your job is not to support the US economy—BY YOURSELF! If your financial house is not in order, your job is to get it in order—Today. This means “fast” from compulsory consumerism (buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have, thus perpetuating more stress). Michelle Singeltary is a financial columnist for the Washington Post and she now recommends a 21-day fast with all credit cards and debit cards: Cash only for all transactions (and not from an ATM!) Be conscious about how you spend your money. Michelle says that by placing yourself on a financial fast, very likely you can get a better handle on your finances and even put some money away for savings (everyone should have enough money in a savings account to cover expenses for a 3-6 month period of no income). If you are married, get your spouse on board too. In fact, get the whole family on board. Act and teach responsibly.

• Stress Tip of the Day
OK… first put away your credit cards and debit cards… for three weeks (some people suggest placing them in a glass of water and placing the glass of water in the freezer—Good idea!) Pay attention to your spending, all of it. Make purchases on a needs basis only (not wants, but actual needs: food, clothing, shelter, mostly food and shelter, forget new clothing for right now). Do you really need a Starbucks Latte today. No! Blockbuster DVD rentals? NO! You can live without these things, especially for 21 days (and if your Catholic looking for a Lent idea, consider making it 40 days!) A financial fast, like all kinds of fasts is a symbolic means to do some introspection about your life. Put away the plastic and start looking inside.

• Links Worth Noting:
Here is the link to Michelle’s Washington Post column. She also has a book on this same topic (but don’t buy it during your financial fast—wait… or better yet, go to your nearest local library where all books are free and get it there!)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123103495.html

• Photo of the Day:
This image was taken for my Managing Stress Textbook PowerPoint slide set on Resource management. I hope it inspires you to “take the fast.” Consider downloading the image as your screen saver for the next 21 days.

• Quote for the Day:
“There’s a real danger in relying on credit—even if you pay off your bill every month. Paying with plastic just makes buying too easy. Swipe, and within seconds you can be mired in debt.” — Michelle Singeltary

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.

Personal Power: Don’t Give it Away

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One of the primary components of self-esteem is the concept of empowerment. The word “empowerment” is often overused, but in essence, it means this: Capitalizing on your inner strengths for inner balance. Stress can magnify our insecurities, painting us into a corner— exactly at the time when we need to take action. Sadly, in this age of celebrity stardom, empowerment is in short supply. The reason is that people (non-celebrities) tend to give their power away. By this I mean they tend to focus on other people’s strengths and achievements rather than cultivate own own. Movie stars, athletes, politicians, authors, rock stars, spouses, gurus (especially gurus) are the focus of people’s unyiedling attention, admiration, and adoration (power). It’s only when we take back our power do we regain our center of spiritual gravity and live our lives in balance.

• Stress Tip of the Day
While it’s certainly OK to admire people for their talents, take inventory of how you admire someone (the word fan comes from the word fanatic). We don’t so much put people on pedestals as we stand in ditches (lowering ourselves), stuck in our own problems (trust me, even celebrities have their problems). So today, make a list of YOUR inner resources, YOUR star qualities. Add to this list those resources you would like to cultivate in yourself (e.g., sense of humor, creativity, optimism, faith) then get started exercising these spiritual muscles to round out your highest potential.

• Books Worth Noting:
Many people also give their power away to their physicians rather than taking initiative for their own health. Physicians are great with drugs and surgery, but there are many tools in the tool kit. Empower yourself to find this balance as well.
I highly recommend the book called Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer. The book is written by Suzanne Sumers (known for her roles in the movie American Graffitti and the television show, Three’s Company. Suzanne has been a health activist for many years, since her own health issues, which she masterfully conquered. A good addition to any health library.

• Photo of the Day:
I took a much-mental health day yesterday and went skiing at Copper Mountain. In Colorado we call a mental health day a “powder day.” Beautiful blue skies, clean air, fresh snow and lots of sunshine. That’s what I call empowerment! Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“You are perfect. The only time you are not perfect is when you compare yourself to somebody else. Be yourself, everybody else is taken.” — Rose Pere

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.

You know You’re Stressed When…

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Misery loves company, the expression goes… so, often in workshops, I help people find humor in their dark times by having them exaggerate (humor therapy) their plights:
Here are some of the funniest ones:
• You know you’re stressed when you try to open the front door lock with your car’s remote control lock and for a split second cannot figure why it’s not working.
• You know you’re stressed when you make a mistake putting on your make-up and then to click undo until you realize there is no click undo—you have to undo it yourself.
• You know you’re having a bad day when you drive home and see a SWAT team in front of your house waiting for you.
• You know you’re stressed when you call someone and in between the time when you dial the last number and they answer, you have no idea whom you called.
• You know you’re stressed when you just wish you could text message your Christmas cards rather than write them out long hand.
• You know you’re stressed in the morning when you pour orange juice on your cereal rather than milk… and then decide to eat it anyway.

• Stress Tip of the Day
If you can relate to (or worse, have done these) any of the above stress-misgivings (and who can’t) then its time to unplug from the world momentarily, close your eyes and allow your mind to rest. In the words of Lily Tomlin, “If you want fast acting relief, try slowing down. The stress tip for the day…. Try slowing down.

• Links Worth Noting:
A dear friend of mine (thanks, Pat) sent this National Geographic link and in her words, “ This is just too great not to share.” I agree.
It’s titled, “The Orangutan and the Hound”… Enjoy.
http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/the-orangutan-and-the-hound/1356710375

• Photo of the Day:
I traveled to Syracuse, NY last week for a screening of Earth Songs at Le Moyne College. Before the premier, I was taken to lunch at a great Irish pub (thanks, Anne) where we noticed these ice crystals formed on the red telephone box outside the restaurant. Note: there were actually two red phone boxes, one miniature one for the leprechauns (wink).

• Quote for the Day:
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” — J. Burroughs

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.