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Monthly Archives

May 2011

Stress, Addictions and Human Behavior

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Dear Blog fans… I am having many problems (but no stress) with posting the blog today and I don’t know how to fix things… so below is what I was able to salvage…my apologies.

• Stress Tip For The Day:

Are there good addictions? Some people see exercise as being a good addiction, but there are others who say that addictions of any kind are an attempt, consciously, more likely unconsciously, of avoidance. Still others suggest that addictions of any kind are an attempt to fill a spiritual vacuum. Regarding addictions, there is no separation between mind, body, spirit and emotions. Today it’s time to take an honest look at yourself and your behaviors (all of them). If you are not sure about any potential addictions, try doing “without” for a few days and see where truth lies. If you are still not sure, ask a close friend. Often what we fail to see in ourselves is quite obvious to others. Finally, as the saying goes, everything is moderation.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

The topic of addictions is vast and no blog can begin to address it. But there are lots of books, links and resources of interest.. Below are a
few:

When Society Becomes and Addict, Anne Wilson Schaef

Codependent No More, Melodie Beattie

http://addictionrecoverybasics.com/

• Quote for the Day:

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether it be a narcotic, alcohol, morphine or idealism.”— Carl G. Jung

• Photo of the Day:

Today’s photo is a beach scene on the island of Kauai. Enjoy!

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.

Addictions, Stress and Human Behavior

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Several years ago I taught a graduate course called behavioral medicine where we focused a fair amount of attention on the addiction process. As it turns out, there are two kinds of addictions: Chemical addictions (such as drugs and alcohol) and process addictions, including gambling, eating, sex, money and shopping, even people (this is called co-dependency). One book I often quoted from that time from was by Anne Wilson Schaef. The book was called When Society Becomes and Addict. Her premise was that addiction is an inherent part of the human condition—tied directly to the ego’s need to be satisfied. Where there is ego/control issues, there is stress. According to her (and others) we are all addicts of some kind. For several years television watching was the number addiction, and of course alcoholism. Experts suggest today that addictions to technology tops the list (e.g. cell phones, internet, etc.). The term today is “screen addictions, ” and the problem is rampant. Regardless of the addictive behavior, it becomes problematic; stressful to everyone near and far, when there is denial about the addiction and refusal to get help. Addictions are some of our biggest health problems today and where there is an addiction, there is stress.

• Stress Tip For The Day:

Are there good addictions? Some people see exercise as being a good addiction, but there are others who say that addictions of any kind are an attempt, consciously, more likely unconsciously, of avoidance. Still others suggest that addictions of any kind are an attempt to fill a spiritual vacuum. Regarding addictions, there is no separation between mind, body, spirit and emotions. Today it’s time to take an honest look at yourself and your behaviors (all of them). If you are not sure about any potential addictions, try doing “without” for a few days and see where truth lies. If you are still not sure, ask a close friend. Often what we fail to see in ourselves is quite obvious to others. Finally, as the saying goes, everything is moderation.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

The topic of addictions is vast and no blog can begin to address it. But there are lots of books, links and resources of interest.. Below are a few:

When Society Becomes and Addict, Anne Wilson Schaef

Codependent No More, Melodie Beattie

http://addictionrecoverybasics.com/


• Quote for the Day:

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether it be a narcotic, alcohol, morphine or idealism.”

— Carl G. Jung

• Photo of the Day:

Today’s photo is a beach scene on the island of Kauai. Enjoy!

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.

To Tell The Truth!

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It’s fear that causes us to lie. Simply stated, the ego feels insecure about the course of our actions (often motivated by fear). So… to avoid embarrassment, we bend the truth, tell a white lie, or in some cases a whopper! Lies may see like a way to avoid the pain of embarrassment, but it doesn’t take long to see the foundations of trust, either in a friendship or working relationship crumble, then disintegrate! Once trust is violated, it’s hard to ever get that back. Ironically, it’s
stress that can cause one to lie, and it is stress that becomes compounded when one perpetuates the lie(s). The weight of a lie can be a heavy burden. Living with the incongruency of a falsehood tears at the heart. This, in turn, affects (taints) all other behavior. Many people have made the news with their whopper lies including Martha Stewart, Barry Bonds, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Things are not looking good for Lance Armstrong, either. But are we any different, really?
Taking the high road means to walk the path of integrity, domesticating the ego to be our bodyguard, not the CEO of our lives. Telling the truth is the noble course of action.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
Make a habit to observe your thoughts today (and every day). When you catch a fear-based lie passing through your lips (preferably before), stop, ponder and explain your fear then correct your communication and ask for forgiveness. Making peace with yourself at the earliest possible moment is one of the surest ways to return to inner peace.

Links/Books Worth Noting:
I would like to recommend a really good book on forgiveness. It’s by Fred Luskin (who does research on forgiveness out of Stanford University), and it’s called Forgive for Good.

• Quote for the Day:

“Tell the truth… it’s easier to remember!” — Mark Twain

• Photo of the Day:
It will be quite sad if we learn that Lance Armstrong fell under the spell of fear in an effort to win the Tour de France. Time will tell and I wish him well. This photo was taken in Colorado at one of our many cycling races. Enjoy!

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.

Feet Are Made for Walking

By | Holistic Stress Management, Stress and Walking | No Comments

We often take our feet for granted, but today, take time to thank your feet for all the support they have given you over the years. Decades ago, people spent far more time investing in quality footwear than they do today. Feet placed in shoes that don’t properly support the arch can
cause big problems (stress) to the structure of the entire body, primarily lower back and hip problems. Bunions and bone spurs are telltale signs that proper footwear has been ignored. Her is a good rule to remember: When fashion overrides function, it spells trouble for the feet. Without naming names, there are many shoe brands on the market today, which look cool and may even feel great initially, but offer no support to the feet and may cause serious structural damage down the road, not just to your feet, but your knees, hips and lower back. Indeed, your feet are made for walking and using them for this purpose is a great way to reduce stress as well.

• Stress Tip For The Day:

If you have lower back pain, or pain in the hip, knee or ankle joint, very likely it’s your feet that have been ignored. Please consider making an appointment to see a podiatrist (foot doctor). It might be that what you need are orthodics, followed by a good pair of shoes. Also… consider a good foot massage (reflexology) every now and then. 15-30 minutes on each foot is nothing less than heaven.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

Once again, I would love to direct your attention to the Walking With Walgreens website which is promoting wellness through walking. There are many blog entries (including a few I was asked to contribute) for this website. Enjoy!

http://walk.walgreens.com/

• Quote for the Day:
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” —John Muir

Photo of the Day:
My Godmother, Pat O’Connor, (and her daughter and granddaughter) came out to visit me last week here in Colorado. We went up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in the hopes to see some wildlife (which we did; a coyote, some deer and LOTS of elk). Somehow the girls all missed the memo about bringing good walking shoes so our tour of the park was primarily by car. All is all it was a great visit.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D
. isan 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 Stimulation Threshold

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One of the tenants of psychology is the concept called the Yerkes-Dodson Law or curve. With performance on the bottom and arousal on the left, the graph showed that arousal can and will increase performance to a point (and this point differs from person to person). Then performance decreases, sometimes dramatically. Arousal is another word for stress. It’s also another word for sensory stimulation. Similarly, performance can also be described as health. So another interpretation of the Yerkes-Dodson curve suggests that to a point, stress (sensory stimulation) is good, but past that point, all hell breaks loose. I first heard of this in my work with Olympic athletes, but the concept applies to anyone.

We are living is times of sensory bombardment. While many people call this the “information age,” others have nicked-named it the “marketing age,” where not blank space, real, cyber or otherwise, is left blank. Bits and bytes of information are flying everywhere. Signs of information overload include a shortened attention span, irritability, poor memory, even poor reaction time. Because there is no separation between mind and body, when these conditions persist, the next sign is burnout, followed by some aspect of health that becomes compromised. The key in psychological terms is this: Know your threshold and don’t go beyond it.

• Stress Tip For The Day:

What is your threshold for sensory stimulation? People under the age of 20 seem to have an unquenchable thirst for sensory stimulation. Conversely, the elderly do best when they stick to a routine, perhaps minimizing/filtering what comes in . Experts in the field of brain physiology with an eye on Alzheimer’s suggest that the brain needs new stimulation (e.g., a new language, Sudoku, cross word puzzles, etc.) Experts in the field of stress management remind us of the importance of meditation as a means to stabilize, if not master, this threshold of excitement. Balance is the key. Knowing your excitement threshold is like knowing your checking account balance. What is your threshold for sensory stimulation? What do you do to master it? If you don’t have a practice of meditation, it is never too late to get started with it.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

If you haven’t read the Newsweek article on Information Overstimulation, here is the link:
http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/27/i-can-t-think.html

• Quote for the Day:
“I finally get meditation. It’s like deleting old emails.” — 8th grader at Sunset Middle School, Longmont, CO.

• Photo of the Day:
Today’s photo isn’t a photo at all. It’s a cartoon I had created for my textbook. Enjoy!

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 Cancer

By | Stress and Cancer Holistic Stress Management | One Comment

Just the other day I read that in the year 1908, it was estimated that one out of every 8,000 people came down with cancer. Today, the stats indicate that one out of every four people will be diagnosed with cancer. What has changed in the past 100 years? Obviously, a lot. I often say that the association between stress and disease is quite high, some estimates suggest as much as 85%. This relationship is more than an association. There is a direct causal link. The stress hormone,
Cortisol that lingers too long in the blood is known to destroy white blood cells. White blood cells scan the DNA of all cancerous cells and destroy bad cells. If the count of white blood cells decreases, then the search and destroy mission is compromised. Simply stated a healthy immune system is key to the fight against cancer. It is well known that
the human body produces its own cancer cells, the immune system keeps things in check. It is also well known that forces outside the body (carcinogens) that enter the body, can cause huge problems. We have all heard of asbestos, and red-dye # 3, but there are countless others. Some cancers are now known to be created by viruses. Suffice to say the topic of cancer is far greater than a blog can do justice to, but the bottom line is the health of your immune system and all you do to maintain its integrity.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
Years ago the American Cancer Society stated that 60% of all cancers could be eliminated if people ate better. Your immune system will only be a strong as the nutrients that support it. It’s fair to say that, by and large, people ate a heck of a lot better 100 years ago than they do now, considering all the processed foods in the American diet. What do you do to support your immune system? Please consider eating fresh produce, organic products, free-range meats and fresh herbs and spices.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

A great resource for healthy eating is the book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan (author of the best selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma). I would also like to recommend everyone see the movie, Food Inc. How does stress affect cancer once diagnosed? This link will bring you
to an artice in the Scientific American that suggests stress increases the rate of cancer cells.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-stress-feed-cancer

• Quote for the Day:

“Almost no germ is unconditionally dangerous to man; its disease-producing ability depends upon the body’s resistance.” —Dr. Hans Selye

• Photo of the Day:
In the hopes to promote some relaxation your way, I selected a photo that I took in Tahiti last summer; an overwater bungalow on the island of Bora Bora before sunset. Enjoy!

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 Power of a Circle

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In the land renowned for its pyramids, I heard the other day that people in Egypt are gathering together in circles to discuss the formation of a new government. The circle is known the world over as a powerful divine symbol of wholeness, where all parts come together to form a whole, yet, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. Wisdom keepers and sages remind us of the power of the circle, an archetypal symbol of wholeness; the Tibetan mandala, the Native American medicine wheel, and the African drum, now used is so many cultures. Wisdom keepers also remind us of the four aspects of each circle (also known as the four gates): Spring, summer, autumn and winter. North, south, east and west. Centering, emptying, grounding and connecting. Joseph Campbell wove these four gates into the Hero’s journey (departure, initiation, assistance of spiritual aids, and the return home). M. Scott Peck (author of The Road Less Traveled) highlighted these four aspects in his template of spiritual growth: chaotic antisocial individual, institutionalized individual, skeptic individual and the mystic communal. Corporations also use the circle as a symbol of wholeness, if nothing more than to remind you at an unconscious level of their intent: Target, ATT, and Starbucks, just to name a few. The promise of wholeness is embedded within us. Should you ever forget the promise of wholeness, simply look into a mirror and see not one, but two circles; the iris of your eyes.

Stress Tip for the Day: Thomas Jefferson was so impressed with the power of the circle that he built his home, Monticello, around the shape of one. We even have a circle in the White House: The Oval office. Take a look around you and make note of all the places you see circles; dinner plates, clocks, wedding rings, coins, peace symbols, Christmas wreaths, CD’s and flower pots. The list is nearly endless. The promise of divine wholeness is all around. You just need to be aware of it.


Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting: If you haven’t seen Joseph Campbell’s interview with Bill Moyers: The Power of Myth (aired on PBS back in the late 80’s, but still as relevant today), it is surely worth a look.

Quote for the Day:

“Modern man is sick because he is not whole.” —Carl Jung

Photo for the Day:The sun and the moon often serve as symbols of wholeness. In honor of this concept, this photo of the full moon over Greenland’s town of Illulissat. Enjoy!

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.

Eat Walk Meditate: Join Us For A Trip to Tuscany!

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Have you ever dreamed of basking under the rays of the Tuscan sun (if you have seen the movie staring Diane Lane, then the answer is YES!) Well…our trip to Ireland last year was so successful that I was asked (many times over) to put together a similar type trip to Tuscany this year. I found one of the best tour companies for small groups like ours and the dates are set: Sept 23-Oct 1st. We begin in Florence for two nights, then drive to the Tuscany countryside for four nights and end our trip on the Mediterranean Sea near the UNESCO villages of Cinque Terra. It will be a most memorable trip. We have several spots left and would LOVE to have you join us: Great food, awesome sights, and great like-minded people who wish to recalibrate their lifestyles toward optimal health and wellness with great food, morning meditations and some light lectures on various aspects of health and wellbeing (we even have 10 CE’s through the American Holistic Nurses Association. A link below has all the information. So…start packing your bags…

Stress Tip for the Day: Please consider joining us for a most memorable trip to Tuscany, Italy this fall. $3,600 (land package). Call or email for more details.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting: This link has all the information you need for our trip:

http://www.brianlukeseaward.net/tuscany.html

Quote for the Day: “We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find.” —Anonymous

Photo for the Day: A photo of the unique, memorable Tuscan countryside.

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 & Diabetes

By | stress and diabetes | No Comments

There is an epidemic of Type II diabetes in our culture and perhaps by no coincidence, there is an epidemic of stress as well. While lifestyle habits (diet and the lack of exercise) are often cited as factors associated with Type II diabetes, one should not ignore the stress and disease connection. Under stress, the body prepares for fight or flight. In doing so, a score of hormones work in unison to provide the means for survival. This includes increasing blood sugar levels for energy (needed to flight or flee), even if you consciously override the stress response and sit all day in front of a computer. To be clear, stress doesn’t cause Type II diabetes (as far as we know), but it certainly compounds the issue. In Type II diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the cells throughout the body are not able to allow the insulin to transport blood sugar (glucose) past the cell wall for energy production in any sufficient quantity. As a result, glucose remains in the blood, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. At the same time, cells send hunger messages to the brain suggesting they need energy, causing one to feel the need to eat. Ultimately, this leads to obesity.

Stress Tip for the Day: One of the first things I learned about cardiovascular exercise is that regular bouts of exercise promote a healthy homeostasis within the body (including blood sugar levels). The benefits of exercise are many, but first and foremost, regular exercise helps flush the stress hormones out of the body and returns the body back to physiological homeostasis. Even walking serves as a great example of exercise. Please consider walking each day as an investment in your health.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting: I, along with many others, have been asked to be a contributor to Walk With Walgreen’s website; a special program established to help motivate people to get outside and walk for health and fitness. Here is the link. Please consider checking this out.

http://walk.walgreens.com/

Quote for the Day: “Recent studies have revealed that children 8-10 years old are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure at an alarming rate.” — Lee Haney

Photo for the Day: Today’s photo is of a person walking the beach in Hilton Head, SC, at sunrise… a great time to get out and walk.

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 Art of Leadership

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Having just returned from Lansing, Michigan where I was invited to make a presentation at Michigan State University on the topic on The Call to Leadership, I felt inspired to share some insights from this presentation. The study of leadership is a study of the psychology of leadership; those qualities and aspects of personality that galvanize the human spirit to new heights of potential. There are some who say we are living in times of a crisis of leadership in all aspects of society. In such times people tend to look back in history and try to identify the best examples of leadership. Examples might include Nelson Mandela, Lewis and Clark, and one of my favorites, Ernest Shakleton. In this search for leadership, people also try to identify what are the best qualities of dynamic leadership including, but not limited to integrity, courage, honesty, inspiration, vision, and humility. The pitfalls of leadership are also examined and there tends to be no short list of qualities that are noticed. No matter how many shortcomings are listed, it is fair to say that they begin with stress in the form of arrogance coupled with fear” Simple stated, stress makes for bad leadership. Servant leadership is a term you might start listening for these days; a leader who works directly with people as opposed to remaining perched on the top. Leading from behind is also an expression you might hear more of. It speaks of unity building, consensus building and bringing people together rather than ruling by decree. Nelson Mandela referred to the bloodless transition out of Apartheid as leading from behind.

Stress Tip for the Day: How would you rate your leadership skills? Luminaries in many fields remind us that each of us is a leader, and at this time, this chapter of humanity, each of us needs to step up to the plate and demonstrate the epitome of dynamic leadership. This includes, but is not limited to, parenting skills, neighborhood meetings, environmental behaviors, driving, you name it.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting Many books have been written on the topic of leadership, but perhaps some of the best book are those autobiographies from those who have lead by example. For this reason I would like to recommend the following books:

South by Sir Ernest Shackleton

Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Quote for the Day: Normally I only have one quote, but this topic has no shortage of quotes from people who have been there: Enjoy!

“A leader should have an ability to see beyond the present problem”— Norman Vincent Peale

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” ~Steve Jobs

“In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” —Thomas. Jefferson

“The only real training for leadership is leadership.” —Antony Jay

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”Albert Schweitzer

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” –John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.” —Warren Bennis

Photo for the Day: A photo of several Canada geese (these guys take turns leading). Enjoy!

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.