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Monthly Archives

March 2010

Stress and Cancer

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Is there a connection between stress and cancer? A quick look into the research on stress physiology suggests that the relationship is more than a simple correlation. While there are many neuro-chemicals in the stress hormone cocktail for fight or flight, cortisol is considered THE stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for increasing blood sugar levels for short term energy; fight as well as lipids in the blood for long term energy; flight. While there are several other responsibilities that Cortisol is associated with, it appears that when left lingering in the blood (and not flushed out through physical exercise) Cortisol (and we don’t know why) tends to destroy white blood cells. Simply stated, Cortisol (in large and lingering amounts) compromises the integrity of your immune system. Researchers suggest that we produce a cancer cell in our bodies every day (perhaps more often). In simplest terms, these white blood cells search and destroy the cancer cells, thus warding off any threat of rapidly proliferating cancerous tumors. If the numbers of white blood cells decreases due to the Cortisol effect, one can easily see how this story ends.

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day
One of the best ways to flush cortisol out of your body is to exercise regularly. Experts suggest every day, but if that seems like it won’t fit in your schedule, try at least every other day. Walking, swimming, bike riding, jogging, and hiking, are just a handful of ways to engage in the process of flushing the stress hormones out and allowing your body to return to homeostasis.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
This link below offers some more information from the National Cancer Institute. The first reference is regarded as one of THE most comprehensive analysis of the topic.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/stress
Once again, I would like to make mention of Suzanne Sommer’s great book, Knockout. Anybody with cancer should read this book.

• Photo of the Day:
I took a mental health day yesterday (known in Colorado as a ski day or powder day) and went up to Copper Mountain to ski and do some photography. I spent the better part of the day at the Half pipe watching the snowboaders:Poetry in motion, but you judge for yourself. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“A sound mind in a sound body.” — Verjule

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.

Simplicity vs. Complexity

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One of the tenants taught for effective stress management skills is the concept of simplicity (known in the business world as the KISS principle; “Keep it simple, stupid!”) Perhaps its human nature, but we tend to take on many responsibilities in our lives and at the breaking point, we just keep on adding more. Balance is the key! Its is well known in the arts that “less is more,” meaning that by keeping things simple, (e.g., a melody, a sculpture, a poem) it takes on an air of profundity. Keeping things simple doesn’t mean to take the easy way out. Simplicity suggests the path of least resistance when our resistance is low. The path of simplicity suggests knowing your limits and being pleasantly assertive with your boundaries so that what you take on, you do with class, rather than mediocrity. The world has become very complicated these days with everything from finances and nutritional habits to technology gadgets and changing weather patterns. You don’t have to add to this perfect storm of stress. When in doubt, pause and take the path of least resistance. Your body, mind and soul will thank you. Your spouse, kids and friends will most likely thank you too.

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day:
Get in the habit of asking yourself this question before every action: Is this going to simplify or complicate my life? Taking the path of least resistance doesn’t mean to compromise your integrity, nor does it mean doing a half-baked job with any and all responsibilities. It means knowing your limits and honoring them. This also means being conscious about purchases and the acquisitions of material possessions. Remember the wise adage: You can’t take it with you.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
Author Annie Leonard has just come out with a book about people and their relationship to stuff and the accumulation of stuff. Here is a link to her book and an article published last week in USA Today.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/03/why-are-we-so-obsessed-with-stuff-and-more-stuff/1

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Stuff-Obsession-Communities-Health/dp/143912566X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269805837&sr=8-2

• Photo of the Day:
There is a lot we can learn from animals. They certainly know how to keep their lives simple. By and large animals keep to a routine. They only use what they need. They don’t acquire loads of possessions. In short, they live in harmony with the natural world. We would do well to follow their lead. This photo of a grey wolf was taken in BC Canada during the filming of my movie, Earth Songs. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:

“He who dies with the most toys, wins.” (NOT!)
—bumper sticker seen in Washington D.C.

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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It’s no secret that diabetes (specifically, Type II Diabetes) is on the rise in America, much to the dismay of many health experts. Type II Diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease, and as such is considered preventable. Unlike Type I where the pancreas makes insufficient amounts of insulin, Type II results when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, not allowing them to take up glucose in the blood, hence making the blood syrupy. This leads to a whole host of health problems. Stress plays a HUGE role in diabetes. Under stress, the body secretes a flood of hormones which are responsible for umpteen metabolic reactions necessary for fight or flight. One result of the metabolic stress response is to increase glucose into the blood so that energy is available for fight or flight. Getting stressed while sitting at a keyboard and computer screen is problematic for blood sugar levels. The bottom line is this: Stress elevates blood sugar levels. Chronic stress perpetually increases blood sugar levels, which is why taking proper steps to decrease stress levels (from effective coping techniques to essential relaxation techniques, including physical) is essential.

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day
Take time each day to relax: sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. You can help control elevated blood sugar levels with exercise AND other relaxation techniques. Walking is one of THE best forms of physical exercise.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
Diabetes is a complex disease and this blog entry has only scratched the surface. For more information please consider visiting this link(s):

http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/18/2/121.full.pdf

• Photo of the Day:
The ski season is rapidly coming to a close (sigh). I went out to Copper Mountain a few weeks ago with a buddy of mine and asked him to pose for this shot (and many others … thanks Eddie!). Eddie, in turn took me on the black diamond run from hell, (how do you say multiple face plants?) so we are even.

• Quote for the Day:
“Life is not over because you have diabetes. Make the most of what you have, be grateful.”— Dale Evans Rogers (Roy Roger’s wife)

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 Balance of Life

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The spring equinox (when sunlight and darkness share equal time on the planet) is a metaphorical reminder for us to strive for balance in our lives as well. I was once asked on a national television show to put the concept of stress management into a sound byte. Since the expression, “Don’t worry, be happy” was already taken, I opted for a one-word byte: “Balance.” I never cease to be reminded how important the concept of balance is when I am teaching or facilitating programs on the topic of stress management. Balance is the undercurrent to nearly everything, including happiness, health even longevity. Balance is not a hard concept to grasp, but in this ever-changing world we live in, it often becomes a challenge to maintain. Balance is inherent to the human condition, from our first steps as a child to our checkbooks. Amid all the daily distractions, change can often throw us out of balance. Nature offers many examples of how we can best live our lives in balance. Lao Tzu, the father of the Taoist philosophy speaks of this in his immortal book, The Tao to Ching:
Here is some simple advice: Less is more!

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day
Take inventory on your life today and check and see what appears to be “out of balance.” Imbalance and poor healthy boundaries often go hand in hand so you may wish to look at a score of human behaviors. Pick one and pull the reins in to help you maintain a sense of balance.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
Pick up a copy of the Tao de Ching (perhaps even at your local library). It contains a world of wisdom of how to live our lives in balance.

• Photo of the Day:
While at Hilton Head Island last week for a health promotion conference (hence the lack of blog entries and I apologize), I took a stroll along the beach at sunrise everyday. Here is one photo from the trip. Enjoy

• Quote for the Day:

“Stand like mountain, flow like water.” —Lao Tzu

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.

Mental Health Day

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After a wildly successful (and sold out) screening of Earth Songs on Wednesday night (and thanks to everyone who attended), I have declared today a mental health day (I am going skiing!) I’ll be back tomorrow with new blog entry. This scene is a photo I took from the airplane flying over the east coast of Greenland. Enjoy!

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

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American woke up to the fact that our food supply in this country is abysmal upon the publication of the book, The Omnivores’ Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. People were so frustrated by the contents of the book he was deluged with comments from readers asking, “What can I eat?” In response to this outcry, he wrote a sequel, In Defense of Food, with the mantra: “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” Pollan’s ideas aren’t new, but in all of the confusion of strategic news sound bytes, corporate politics and obesity headlines, his voice seems to have risen above this cacophony—and we should all pay attention. Having taught the topic of nutrition for over 10 years (at the University of Colorado), I shared much of this information with my students. Given the relationship between nutrition and health, not to mention the relationship between stress and nutrition, this information cannot be understated.

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day
Pollan offers over 64 “rules” for healthy eating, here are just a few, and most likely these are not too different from what you heard growing up from your mom or grandmother. In the words of poet Robert Bly, “I’m going to read it again.. this time, pay attention:
1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food (e.g., margarine, and all processed foods)
2. Avoid food products with ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
3. Avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
4. Avoid food products that contain more than five (5) ingredients
5. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

Pollan’s newest book, Food Rules is a quick read and a good reminder of what we should be doing in terms of eating.

Totally unrelated to food, here is a link send to me by a colleague. Some of the people interviewed here have been speakers at several conferences I attend regarding health and consciousness.

http://www.voiceentertainment.net/

• Photo of the Day:
I was invited by the people at WELCOA to create a webinar on the topic of Stress and Nutrition. This is one of the (colorful) slides I used of some dried beans and peace (no processed foods here).

• Quote for the Day:

“ If a third grader cannot pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it.” (e.g., all the chemical preservatives in processed food to prolong shelf life). — Michael Pollan

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

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

A Good Night’s Sleep Revisited: Good Sleep Hygiene

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Do you have a problem getting a good night’s sleep? If so, you are not alone. Millions of Americans currently suffer from poor sleep quality, also known as insomnia. Stress is the biggest factor associated with NOT getting a good night’s sleep. Today’s blog entry deals specifically with sleep hygiene; your sleep environment, which also is a contributing factor to restlessness during the typical sleep hours. A poor sleep environment can greatly (negatively) impact one’s quality of sleep. For starters melatonin (known as the sleep hormone) starts being secreted from the pineal gland when light diminishes (think setting sun) and ambient temperature decreases (also think setting sun). In an artificial environment such as we live in (with electric lights and heating) the body’s circadian rhythms can be thrown off, thus affecting melatonin production and secretion. nightlights, alarm clock lights, outside street lights, etc. will affect your quality of sleep, as will a warm room temperature. Cool temperatures are more conducive for better sleeping. Sleep surface is also a very important consideration. Consider the fact that you spend one third of your life sleeping. This reason alone would suggest you invest in quality sheets, pillows, mattress pad and comforters etc.) A final consideration is noise. Experts suggest that the bedroom is for one reason, and that ‘s sleep (OK, if you’re lucky, possibly two reasons). Televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. do not belong in the bedroom!

• Stress Tip for the Day
Consider making a purchase of some new bed sheets with 800 to 1,000 (softest) thread count. Egyptian cotton is ideal, as are down pillows and comforter. Silk sheets are incredible too, but more so for the summer months. Keep your electric alarm clock at least 6 feet from your bed (the ELF’s can and will negatively affect your human energy field, as will electric blankets and anything else electric.) Keep your sleep environment as natural (unplugged) as possible. In terms of fung shui, consider having you head and feet lay in line with (not against) the earth’s magnetic lines (north and south).

• Links Worth Noting:
After spending a night at the Beverly Wilshire hotel years ago, (I was there speaking at a Fortune 500 conference) I realized just what I was missing with incredibly nice bedding. A phone call to front desk put me in touch with some of THE best bedding merchants…. Here are some links to peruse as a means to improve your sleep surface.

http://www.luxorlinens.com/

https://www.pacificcoast.com/comforters/all-comforters/classic-2-ddar-bed-bundle?&9gtype=search&9gkw=down%20comforters&9gad=3675968198&gclid=CPGZyqSYhKACFRcdawodrB35lw

• Photo of the Day:
This photo of my guest bedroom on the island of Dominica at the Jade Mountain Resort (which by the way, had great beddin!), and a view to put a smile on anyone’s face. The ocean wave soundtrack wasn’t bad either.

• Quote for the Day:

“Life is too short to sleep on low thread-count sheets.” — Leah Stussy
“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” — Leo J. Burke

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.

Monday Morning Humor

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What better way to start off the week (and month) than with a few laughs to lighten the load of potential stress. Today, once again, we skip the theory and go straight for the application. Enjoy!

• Stress Tip for the Day
Hollywood Squares: These great questions and answers are from the days when the Hollywood Squares game show responses were spontaneous, not scripted, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.

Q. Paul, what is a good reason for pounding meat?
A. Paul Lynde: Loneliness! (The audience laughed so long and so hard it took up almost 15 minutes of the show!)

Q. If you’re going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he’s married?
A. Rose Marie: No wait until morning.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say ‘I Love You’?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A.. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I’m too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what’s a perfect score?
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?
A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn’t neglected..

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh

• Photo of the Day:
This image jpg came courtesy of a friend via email. Not sure where it was taken, but hope it puts a smile on your face.

• 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.