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Monthly Archives

July 2011

Fresh Fish Anyone? A Problem With Our Oceans

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These days, stress seems to affect everything, not the least of which are our oceans. A recent cover story on TIME magazine titled The Future of Fish was anything but reassuring. Our demand for fish is about to exceed the supply. Experts have been predicting for years that un-enforced limits on fishing would eventually begin to wipe out entire species of fish. That day is closing in on us. The problem is so severe that in Asia people are turning to Jelly fish as a source of food (oddly enough, jelly fish seem to thrive in warming ocean temps with more acidity). Some say that aquaculture (manmade fisheries) will be THE answer, but this is not without its own stressors. According to TIME magazine, since 1960 worldwide seafood consumption has increased 60%, leaving our oceans in short supply. 90% of Atlantic Salmon are not wild, rather they come from farms (these fish have to be given pellets to make their flesh pink). Some names of fish have been changed to make them more appealing (and were once thought to be garbage fish decades ago not worth eating) including Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonian Toothface fish—not even a bass) and Orange Roughy (slime face fish). Add to this mix the fact that many wild fish: Tuna, Swordfish and Salmon contain potentially toxic levels of mercury and PCB’s (toxins we then consume) and this is one fish story that no one boasts about.

Stress Tip for The Day:

By now you have heard of the benefits of eating cold (deep) water fish for their Omega 3 oils. It’s true. Eating fresh fish is quite good for you, but there are caveats. Before you buy your fish from the market, ask the person behind the counter where the fish comes from (farm or wild). If they plead ignorant, find someone who knows. Although more expensive, wild is always preferred over farm-raised fish, including shrimp. Also find out what day the fish comes to market and try to buy it on that day (usually Tuesdays and Saturdays). Rest assured that most restaurants serve “farm raised” salmon (remember, the best choice is wild salmon!) Make a habit to become educated about the health of our oceans and the fish that you eat from them. Finally, consider some new fish recipes to broadend your pallette: Here is a quick recipe: Marinate 2-4 servings of fresh Coho Salmon in Paul Newman’s Italian Dressing for 30 minutes. After preheating the oven, cover then cook the fish in the marinade for 20-30 mins (350 degrees) until done. Serve over a bed of fresh mashed potatoes (not from a box) or wild rice. Add a side of organic corn on the cob (organic butter) and fresh organic greens with raspberry vinegarette dressing. Yum!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
For starters, see if you can get your hands on, the read the TIME article (July 18th, 2011).
It’s not good news about the ocean fisheries, but here is some more information to understand the bigger picture:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0225_0226_fishcrisis.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/02/AR2006110200913.html

Quote for the Day:
“In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight.” — J.B. Savarin

Photo of the Day:
Fresh catch of the day! Last summer while in on the island of Moorea (Tahiti) I saw various fishermen out at the end of the day with their catch. This guy was proud to pose with his fish. Fresh fish indeed! 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 (7E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

In Remembrance:

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Today, we honor the dead and wounded of last week’s horrible and
senseless act of violence in Oslo, Norway. Please keep these people in
your heart with thoughts and prayers in this stressful time of grieving. Thank you. To my friends in Norway, I wish you peace.

Quote for the Day:
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” —William Shakespeare

Photo of the Day:

Years ago I was invited to Norway on behalf of the US Olympic Biathlon team, as their sport psychologist. Norway is a beautiful country with the friendliest people on the planet. This photo of their flag was taken outside of Oslo.

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 (7E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

A Time for Heroes…The Hero’s Journey Revisited….

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With all the problems in the world today, perhaps the popularity of superhero movies is to be expected. Harry Potter, Thor, X-Men… like millions of others, I went to the movie theater last weekend to see Captain America; A classic hero’s journey tale. The renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell, stated that we gravitate toward these stories because we need to repeatedly hear the message: The hero must rise to the occasion and then return home! Like a map and compass, these stories provide we viewers (or readers) with the “tools” to get home safely. Each and everyone of us is on a hero’s journey. Rising to the occasion in real life means coping with stressors gracefully, not as a victim. Every superhero will face his or her nemesis. So will we: The boss from hell. A foreclosure. Alcoholism. The ex-spouse from hell, etc. To be honest, the list of stressors is nearly endless. Each hero is given two choices: Rise to the occasion and deal with things gracefully, or declare victimization. There really is no choice! Watching a movie about a self-declared victim is a weak, if not boring, plot line. Perhaps you know this story. It’s one thing to watch superhero movies. It’s quite another to “walk the talk” and become the hero of your own life. There is no time like the present. Campbell also gave this repeated warning. “Live your own life rather than trying to imitate someone’s story.” Be your authentic self. Be an authentic hero!

Stress Tip for The Day:
True to fashion of the hero’s journey, the hero gets some help along the way. Dorothy had the ruby red slippers. Frodo had Gandalf. Luke had Yoda and “the force”. You too, have what Joseph Campbell called “the assistance of spiritual aids:” what I call muscles of the soul (e.g., humor,
patience, forgiveness, optimism, compassion, to name a few). Like the superheros with bulging muscles, we too have muscles. We just have to use them. Yes, we can look at other’s lives and wish we could change places at times, but that’s not how the rules are played. We are THE hero in our own story/journey and we must accept this challenge, returning home with our arms held high in a victorious salute.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
By no coincidence, this weekend I was also sent a Youtube link for a new documentary about Joseph Campbell’s concept of The Hero’s Journey (see below). Enjoy! And if you haven’t seen the PBS special with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, please do yourself a favor and reintroduce yourself to The Power of Myth. Oh, and by the way, I liked Captain America!

www.findingjoethemovie.com

Quote for the Day:
“We save the world by being alive ourselves.” —Joseph Campbell

Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken years ago at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, where children (of all ages) can work their imaginations to hone their skills on the hero’s journey. 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 (7E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Relationships: Reflections or Projections?

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Freud was right about his concept of defense mechanisms! The sensitive ego has many strategies to minimize pain, not the least of which is to project one’s thoughts and feelings onto others; realizations that we find annoying about ourselves but would rather not admit. Interestingly, when people are caught “projecting negativity” they come back and say, “No, it’s just an observation!” Freud called that comment rationalization (another defense mechanism). Relationships provide an incredible mirror into our egos…if we let them. Finding fault with others, from noticing idiosyncrasies and irritating mannerisms to outright prejudice and racism offers insights into our own psyche, if we can truly be honest with ourselves. Interestingly, we tend to see these faults in others when we are ungrounded, less than centered and basically stressed. Do the images you see in your relationships offer a reflection of what’s really there, or a projection of what you have placed there? What lens do you choose to see the world through?

Stress Tip for the Day:
Stop and take another look at those you are involved with (e.g., friends, family co-workers, neighbors, etc.) Honestly ask yourself, what is it in that person that really bothers you and then ask yourself, how is it that you can identify this? The old adage, it takes one to know one may prevail. As noted many times before, meditation is one of the best ways to “domesticate the ego” and come back to that place of inner peace. Feeling grounded and centered one’s perspective tends to focus on the positive and the beauty in life. When the mind is calm, the mirror images offer the best reflection of what is really there, rather than a distortion of reality.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
It may have been a while since you took Psych 101, so perhaps a refresher is in order: Here are some links for more information on your biggest nemesis: The Ego.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/defense_mechanisms.htm

Quote for the Day:

“Vanity inclines us to find faults any where rather than in ourselves.” — Samuel Johnson

Photo for the Day:
While in Ireland on a photo expedition with a theme of Castles, I came across Kylemore Castle, now known as Kylemore Abby in County Mayo, Ireland. It was built by a man as a present for his wife, whom he adored. She only lived a few years after it was finished and over time it changed hands and is now a Benedictine monastery open to the public.

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.

Fresh Fish Anyone: A Problem with our Oceans

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Stress Tip for The Day:

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
It’s not good news about the ocean fisheries, but here is some more information to understand the bigger picture
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0225_0226_fishcrisis.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/02/AR2006110200913.html

Quote for the Day:
“In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight.”— J.B. Savarin
Photo of the Day:
Fresh catch of the day! Last summer while in on the island of Moorea
(Tahiti) I saw various fishermen out at the end of the day with their
catch. Fresh fish indeed. 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.

Technology: Master or Servant?

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I can recall Walter Cronkite telling his TV audience decades ago that technology, in the years to come, was going to simplify peoples lives to the extent that Americans would have oodles of leisure time. So emphatic was he that it was predicted Americans might even become fat and lazy with so much leisure time. Well, he was partially right. But what he and so many others didn’t factor into the technology equation was the human ego with an unending desire to be needed. That which was supposed to be our servant (providing information, and so many other conveniences for the rich life) has become the master and we are technology’s servants, or so it seems. Experts now have a name for the syndrome known as slavery to technology: “Screen addiction.” And it is everywhere… and causing much stress for a great many people. One of the greatest casualties of screen addictions is youngsters, when parents cannot break away from the internet or cell phone long enough to be present with their children.

Stress Tip for The Day:

Is technology your slave or master? Do you show signs and behaviors of a screen addiction? Do you take your lap top, cell phone, Ipod and Blackberry on vacation with you? Do you use more than one cell phone at a time? As the expression goes, technology is neither bad nor good; it all depends on our behavior with its use that makes it so. Take some time examine your boundaries with your technology. Do you even have healthy boundaries with the technology you use? Take this week to refine your technology habits by pulling in the reins and letting technology server you rather than having you give your power away to it and having it become your master. For starters, know it’s OK not to have your cell phone turned on all the time, nor feel the need to answer it, or check emails every five minutes of the day.

Quote for the Day:

“(Technology) is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal, that there is no human relationship between master and slave.” —Adapted from a quote of Leo Tolstoy

Photo of the Day:
While I could have placed a photo of someone addicted to their cell phone or blackberry, I chose to include a photo of an amazing sunrise this morning. 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.

Defining Moments

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If you were asked to use one word or term to define yourself, you may give a look of frustration. Most of us would say this nearly impossible to do (e.g., father, artist, husband, brother, author, environmentalist, etc.). Yet as hard as this may seem, many people actually do define themselves with labels based on one defining moment in their lives: Rape victim. Cancer Survivor. Recovering Alcoholic. Refugee. Divorcee. Co-dependent. Labels may be helpful at the start of a situation but in time, they can become a gilded cage of sorts. Soon not only do we invest all of your energy into this identity or label, but others soon label us this way as well, making it hard to realize our full potential. Defining moments certainly help build character, if we allow them to do so.

Stress Tip for the Day:

How would you define yourself? Can you do it in one word or phrase? It this word or phrase an adjective or noun? Do you limit yourself to one word or phrase? Is there a label you use to define yourself? These are important questions to ask (and keep asking yourself) as you navigate the human journey. Labels can either be the gas pedal or brakes in how you drive your life. Do the labels you give yourself enhance your human potential, or detract from it. If you don’t like (or more likely, have outgrown the label you use, you can always create another. Pick something that will enhance your potential. Write it down on a sticky note and post it where you can see it, with the promise that as if becomes as is.

Links/Books/ Movies Worth Noting:
If you think you might like to read more about the concept of defining moments, here is a link by psychotherapist, Mel Schwartz… enjoy

http://www.melschwartz.com/DefiningMoments.html

Quote for the Day:
“Once a victim, twice a volunteer.” — Anonymous

Photo for the Day: I am back in Ireland at the present moment doing a photo expedition and scouting out some new places for a possible tour next year. This photo was taken at a stately manor (the Adare Manor) in Adare, Ireland and although it has nothing to do with today’s blog, the artwork on this castle wall is nothing less than amazing. 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.

Trust the Universe!

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Free will or fate? This question rivals the “nature or nurture” argument regarding how much control do we actually have in our lives. With free will, we have all the control, and all the blame. With fate, we can claim no control, yet none of the responsibility. Perhaps the answer regarding free will or destiny is we share a little of both. As someone once explained it to me, the bus is scheduled to come down the street and stop. Whether you choose to hop on is entirely up to you. Regardless of the free will vs. destiny question, the issue of trust arises; trust in ourselves, or trust in something bigger than ourselves; more likely trust in both. A common phrase I hear among friends and colleagues (and one I use myself) is this: Trust the Universe! In essence, it’s a team effort (like an orchestra, and yes,,metaphorically speaking, there is a conductor who keeps tempo). Using the orchestra metaphor, it is up to us to tune our instruments, practice our skills, and keep up with everyone else on the team. Even those who play solos still play in tune with the rest of the orchestra. Trusting the universe also means knowing when to play the solo and when to be still. Being still is “code” for letting go, releasing, or detaching from the outcome of how you think things are supposed to be. Trusting the Universe (God) means having faith that, in the end, it will all work out as it should. In hindsight, we often recognize this wisdom.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Control issues (also known as control dramas) make up a large percentage of chronic stressors. How much trust do you place in yourself on your own human journey? Are you in alignment with the Universe or do you fight it? Take some time to do some soul searching on this issue. Learn to find that delicate balance between honoring yourself (and what it takes to get things done with your effort) and honoring that which is beyond you but very much a part of you. Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

Quote for the Day:

“When I’m trusting and being myself as fully as possible, everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” — Anonymous

Photo for the Day:
Rainbows are often a symbol of trust. Yesterday we had several rainbows throughout the day and although I didn’t have my camera with me (big mistake!), and as the expression goes, no rain, no rainbows.” This rainbow photo was taken in 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.

Mediterranean Diet, Anyone?

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The first thing you notice when you walk into a European Market is how fresh the food is. Food items aren’t wrapped in plastic or tucked away in cardboard boxes behind frosted glass freezers. Olives float in fresh olive oil contained in aged wooden barrels. Huge blocks of cheese temp the eyes and nose. Fresh baked breads are stacked in piles high and the aroma awakens the senses. Veggies begged to be picked up and practically fondled. Europe has tried very hard to stop genetically modified foods into their boarders. Dairy products cannot have traces of antibiotics, hormones or petrochemical fertilizers. The foods just look fresher as you walk by each stall in the market, and for good reason, IT IS! There has been much talk about why Europeans, particularly those who live around the Mediterranean Sea, by and large, are healthy (and more so than Americans). Is it the foods they eat (fresh olives and olive oil in their cooking), red wines (bioflavinoids), fresh meats, or the abundance of fresh herbs (antioxidants) used in food preparation? Or is it the lifestyle (walking rather than driving everywhere), sitting down to a delicious meal and talking with friends and family rather than eating in front of the television (with all it’s food commercials enticing you to eat more?) The Mediterranean Diet is not so much about food, as it is a way of life.

Stress Tip for the Day:
How is the quality of your life? Do you wander through the market (other than a farmer’s market, Whole Foods is the closest thing most people will see to a Mediterranean Market display of food) letting your sense of smell influence your food selection? Are evening meals a celebration of life, or an errand to rush through? Is food preparation an art form or just something to microwave? Do you take evening strolls through your neighborhood to visit with neighbors or stay sequestered in your house after work each day? Do you take time to watch the sunsets and smell the flowers and herbs at dusk (the best time)? If you’re looking to improve the quality of your life, start with the freshness of the food you eat, but don’t stop there.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Here are a few links with more information about THE diet:

http://www.mediterranean-food-recipes.com/
http://www.oldwayspt.org/mediterraneandiet

Quote for the Day:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”– J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo for the Day:
One of ourfirst stops in Ireland was at the English Food Market in Cork. This photo, of the olive stand, was nothing less than mouth-watering (and the free samples were excellent).

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 New Normal?

By | Holistic Stress Management, Time affluence | One Comment

Listening to the news as I do, I hear a phrase used with great regularity, “The New Normal.” The phrase begs two questions, What’s normal? and what’s changed since the old normal? Certainly, the influx of technology is considered part of the new normal. Extreme weather conditions are also considered the new normal. And sadly, the continual economic woes have become the new normal as well, particularly for those who cannot find a job. Normal, it is often said, is not necessarily healthy. These and other factors that make up the shifting sands of our society are creating the face of the “new normal.” Out with the old and in with the new means change, and change is often met with resistance (this is code for stress). One person who is questioning what is normal and with equal measure, trying to create a healthier new normal is David Wann.

Wann first gained national recognition with his acclaimed book, Affluenza, a critical look at consumerism in America. Wann suggests that we all take a new look at what it means to be successful. For so long success was (and still is) based on keeping up with the Jones, a never ending competition of consumerism, which is now coming back to bite us in the collective butt. This normal has with an unsustainable lifestyle saddled with stress (Wann notes that the US ranks 5th in the world in stress right below the people of Afghanistan and Haiti; not exactly a healthy new normal.) Wann also speaks to the issue of “time affluence” in essence, leisure time, something many people seem to have little of these days.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Do you measure your success by various social tangibles such as the size of your house, the make of your car, vacation destinations? If so you are in good (perhaps quite bad) company. Just as people are looking at what it means to be successful, they are also trying to determine how to
best measure happiness, and the two certainly go hand in hand. Many people have countless possessions, yet are anything but happy. Consider making a strategy today for your new normal, one that allows you to create a sustainable lifestyle. How would you rate your time affluence? Do you even have any? How does technology impede your time affluence? Awareness is the first step to making changes for your new normal.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
I highly recommend you take a look at David Wann’s link and perhaps consider reading his book, The New Normal.

http://www.davewann.com/publications/the-new-normal/

On a somewhat related note, over the holiday weekend I took refuge in a cool movie theater with a friend. The movie of choice was a pleasant surprise, BUCK. Living in the Rocky Mountains, I have ridden my share of horses, but this movie brought horse ridding to a whole new level. There are many great messages in the movie, about how to live your life, and I highly recommend it.

Quote for the Day:
“If you don’t like the culture you in, change the culture, be a culture of one.”
A paraphrased quote from the best selling book, Tuesdays With Morrie.

Photo for the Day:
Having just returned from our Spirit of Ireland Journey workshop, I thought Iwould share with you a photo I took while in the town of Doolin; a magical scene for sure.

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.