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Monthly Archives

October 2011

Going With the Flow!

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I had the pleasure to witness first hand the October Blizzard that hit New England over the past weekend (It’s times like these that we are all reminded that there are some things we have absolutely no control over, yet we do have control over our thoughts). Power outages and downed trees over power lines were as common as snow plows trying to clear the roads. My workshop at Kriplau was affected (minimally) by the loss of power, but not as bad as the Hartford area where I was to fly out of on Monday. Downed power lines gave great discomfort to tens of thousands of people in the region, including those travelers at the hotel where I was staying (I nicked named it the Bates Hotel, and refused to take a shower in the dark…smile). Lots of worry. Lots of Anger. Moments like these can bring out the worst in people. I know because I saw it. Road rage at intersections that had no working traffic lights, indignant people demanding gasoline at stations that had gas but no power (it takes power to pump the gas), and episodes of rudeness that don’t bare repeating. It times like these we can only go with the flow. You can fight it, but it becomes a futile effort. You also look stupid.

Stress Management Tip for the Day:

You will not be able to control everything in your life, but you can control your thoughts. So take time this week to practice this behavior. Think before you speak. In fact, consider refraining from speaking at all when things don’t go your way. Be thankful for what you do have, rather than what you don’t. Think before you act. Always think before you act! Consider thinking of others before you act. Count to ten when you get angry. If that doesn’t work, count to 100. Remember the world doesn’t revolve around you, particularly in times of natural disasters and inconveniences. And while you can be assertive, remember there is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Also remember that the first three letters of the word assertive is what people will think of you (correctly) if you demonstrate behavior like what I saw last weekend.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

Two books come to mind for today’s blog, the first is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Rule # 2, don’t take things personally!) and one of my favorite books of all time, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water (I cannot remember the author, but it’s a great self-help book).

Quote for the Day:

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

Photo of the Day:

While waiting at Chicago’s O’Hare for the second leg of my flight home from Hartford to Denver, a customer representative walked and took her position at the ticket counter, dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween (by the way I saw United employees in Connecticut this morning also in costumes, they must have dressed in the dark before going to work). This is what I call going with the flow. I never got Dorothy’s real name, but she made everyone at the gate smile. Thanks Dorothy! Happy Halloween!

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) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

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Going With the Flow

I had the pleasure to witness first hand the October Blizzard that hit New England over the past weekend (It’s times like these that we are all reminded that there are some things we have absolutely no control over, yet we do have control over our thoughts). Power outages and downed trees over power lines were as common as snow plows trying to clear the roads. My workshop at Kriplau was affected (minimally) by the loss of power, but not as bad as the Hartford area where I was to fly out of on Monday. Downed power lines gave great discomfort to tens of thousands of people in the region, including those travelers at the hotel where I was staying (I nicked named it the Bates Hotel, and refused to take a shower in the dark…smile). Lots of worry. Lots of Anger. Moments like these can bring out the worst in people. I know because I saw it. Road rage at intersections that had no working traffic lights, indignant people demanding gasoline at stations that had gas but no power (it takes power to pump the gas), and episodes of rudeness that don’t bare repeating. It times like these we can only go with the flow. You can fight it, but it becomes a futile effort. You also look stupid.

Stress Management Tip for the Day:

You will not be able to control everything in your life, but you can control your thoughts. So take time this week to practice this behavior. Think before you speak. In fact, consider refraining from speaking at all when things don’t go your way. Be thankful for what you do have, rather than what you don’t. Think before you act. Always think before you act! Consider thinking of others before you act. Count to ten when you get angry. If that doesn’t work, count to 100. Remember the world doesn’t revolve around you, particularly in times of natural disasters and inconveniences. And while you can be assertive, remember there is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Also remember that the first three letters of the word assertive is what people will think of you (correctly) if you demonstrate behavior like what I saw last weekend.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

Two books come to mind for today’s blog, the first is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Rule # 2, don’t take things personally!) and one of my favorite books of all time, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water (I cannot remember the author, but it’s a great self-help book).

Quote for the Day:

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

Photo of the Day:

While waiting at Chicago’s O’Hare for the second leg of my flight home from Hartford to Denver, a customer representative walked and took her position at the ticket counter, dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween (by the way I saw United employees in Connecticut this morning also in costumes, they must have dressed in the dark before going to work). This is what I call going with the flow. I never got Dorothy’s real name, but she made everyone at the gate smile. Thanks Dorothy! Happy Halloween!

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) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Importance of Right and Left Brain Balance

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Since the death of Steve Jobs (and this week’s release of his biography), much attention has been placed on the mind, the personality, and the persona of a most remarkable man. Every interview, remembrance, and tribute includes the words “intuitive” and “perfectionist.” Many, if not all people, consider Jobs to be genius. But what exactly is a genius? Is it intellect? Is it wisdom? Is it foresight? Is it cerebral balance? While many of these post-mortem comments try to gain a better understanding of the myth behind the man, it’s quite obvious that Steve Jobs epitomized the balance of right (intuitive, imaginative, artistic) and left-brain (critical, perfectionism, logical) skills (a birthright given to everybody, but not practiced by many, which is why Steve Jobs seemed so rare). Casting aside the nature vs. nurture argument (Steve was adopted), it also becomes obvious that his right-brain influences did much to balance the left-brain imbalance of the American culture. Steve Jobs was many things indeed, but the epitome of cognitive balance is something we all should and can emulate.


Stress Management Tip for the Day

OK, let’s review: Right brain skills include (but are not limited to) intuition, conceptual thinking, imagination, spatial awareness, emotional thoughts, humor, and musical appreciation. Left-brain skills include rational, linear, judgmental, fact-finding, time-based thinking processes. Each hemisphere of thinking is essential to the whole. Moreover, right brain thinking styles are associated with relaxation, whereas left brain skill are used for survival (hence the fight or flight response). What do you do to cultivate your right brain skills? Pick one style and work on it today. If there is one thing Steve Job’s taught the world, is not to hide behind your own shadow. It’s no secret that the quality control factor with Apple was integrity, something we should all strive for. Consider living by the motto, “We go first class, or we don’t go at all.”


Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

From the sounds of things, the biography of Steve Jobs looks promising. Taking a peak at the mind of a genius can only help cultivate our own minds to travel in that direction. Here is a link to the Fresh Air interview with Terri Gross on Monday’s show, which includes a link to Terri’s interview with Steve Jobs himself back in 1996.


http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141653658/steve-jobs-a-computer-icon-on-life-death-and-apple


Quote for the Day:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs


Photo of the Day:

Normally I use my own photographs for this blog, but it was only fitting to have a photo of Steve Jobs for today’s blog entry, which I found on the web. Thanks to whomever took this photo…


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) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net


© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Mind Your Thoughts

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I was reminded of the beauty of the Hawaiian language during my trip to the Big Island of Hawaii where I spoke at the Healing Touch International Conference last week. We were all reminded by several speakers that in the Hawaiian culture, everything is regarded as energy, including words. Words can heal. Words can also damage another’s heart. I was reminded of the proverb that states that words are like arrows… once they leave your mouth, they cannot be retrieved. It takes work to be mindful of your thoughts as you speak. This is one reason why meditation is so helpful. It trains the mind to observe one’s thoughts. Rarely do we become mindful of our thoughts as we speak them. For many people, the filters that guard these words are gone, removed by ego. Mind your thoughts. Please choose your words carefully.


Stress Tip for the Day:

Be mindful of your thoughts today, particularly the ones that leave your lips. Be careful not to offer mixed messages as well. Speak kindly, and filter your thoughts before they leave your mouth. Let your words be feathers, not arrows today (and every day).


Quote for the Day:

“Thoughts are energy, they can kill or cure.” — Bernie Seigel, M.D.


Photo of the Day:

I just returned from my trip to Hawaii. I took this photo of a red water lily where I was staying on the Big Island. Many thoughts go through our heads, though few beautiful ones, like this lily. 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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net


© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Don’t Forget to Breathe!

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The typical person breathes 14-16 times per minute. When stressed, this number can double, unless the stressed-out person is a breath-holder and forgets to exhale (this really happens, and tends to increase blood pressure and heart rate: the stress response). In a relaxed state, you can breathe comfortably 3-4 times per minute, with slow comfortably deep breaths. Americans tend to be thoracic breathers (with their upper chest) but the most relaxing way to breath is from the abdominal area (with the diaphragm). This is how you sleep at night, from the belly.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Breathing (abdominal breathing) is the easiest technique to promote relaxation. So…take time today for a few deep sighs (deep breaths.) If you have the time, sit quietly 5-10 minutes and do nothing but focusing on slow deep breathing.. your body will thank you.

Quote for the Day:

“There are over 40 different ways to breathe.” —Ancient Chinese proverb


Photo of the Day:

I am in Hawaii right now… doing some work with the returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan (the Wounded Warrior Program; a program for soldiers with PTSD and TBI). This trip is not a vacation, but I did manage to catch a beautiful sunset the other night. 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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Weekend in The Berkshires: Kripalu Retreat Center

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This is a quick note to say hi to my friends and colleagues in the New England area. I write to announce a workshop I have been invited to facilitate at the Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center in Lennox, MA the last weekend in Oct. (28th-30th). They have also asked to host a screening of my documentary, Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature.

The theme of the workshop is based on my best selling book, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water: Reflections on Stress and Human Spirituality. This workshop will include some timeless insights, many soul-searching exercises, guided meditations and essential take-home life management skills for optimal health and well-being in these stressful times. Kripalu has even secured some CE’s as well. We would love to see you there if your schedule allows.


Links Worth Noting:

The following links will provide more information to contact the good people at Kripalu:

http://www.kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/RSHS-111/

http://www.kripalu.org/presenter/V0006748/brian_luke_seaward

Quote for the Day:

“Stress offers the opportunity for spiritual growth… when we take the time to learn from the situation.” —Brian Luke Seaward

Photo of the Day:

This full moon photo was taken two days ago in my back yard…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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net


© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Wall Street Jitters, Main Street Stress

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Money, or the lack of it, has been a stressor for a great many people for a great many eons. Money may make the world go round, but the lack of it can be devastating. The current economic situation, from Greece to Italy to Wall Street, echoes of greed, more greed, corruption and stress, with more stress to come, as more banks, according to experts, begin to fall like dominos. Stress management teaches people to live in the present moment, yet financial wellness insists that we keep an eye on the future with our savings and investments to ensure a greater sense of comfort with the future present moment. A new study has come out to show that after a certain point (about $75,000) more money doesn’t create happiness. Conversely, it seems to create more stress, in the form of greed, fear, even anger. Most people pay banks to hold their money, and end up hemorrhaging money left and right with service fees, etc.. It doesn’t have to be this way. Think credit unions! Be smart with your money. Make it work for you. Vote with your checkbook and caveat emptor!

Stress Tip for The Day:

A conversation among several social luminaries made an interesting monetary suggestion several months ago and it’s a good one. Open up a checking and savings account with your local credit union and transfer your money out of the corporate banking system into your own local neighborhood. As more and more corporate banks begin to charge a host of new fees (e.g., the use of your own debit card, banking online fees, etc.), having control of your own money is your best option. It may seem like a hassle transferring your funds from one bank to another, but a few hours of your time today will be a good investment down the road (particularly as Big banks create more havoc from Wall Street to Main Street. By the way, Credit Unions also provide mortgages and car loans, and with interest rates decreasing, it is a good time to consider refinancing your loans. Healthy boundaries with your money and spending habits are essential to effective stress management. Starting paying attention to your finances today.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

Here are some links to the Huffington Post blog about Banks and Credit Unions…. Please educate yourself…and please consider watching the documentary, The Inside Job, about the banking scandal.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/move-your-money-a-new-yea_b_406022.html?ref=move-your-money


http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-garibaldi-frick/turn-banks-into-credit-un_b_161513.html


Quote for the Day:

“In the credit unions, individuals combine together to form an organization which they themselves control and operate.” — Karl S. Little


“Where’s that money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison! That’s what it means! One of us is going to jail… well, it’s not gonna be me!” — George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life


Photo of the Day:

I had hoped to take a photo of some Euros before I turned them back in after my trip to Tuscany, but I forgot. When this cartoon arrived in my in box, I knew it was too good not to share.

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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Mind-Body-Spirit Healing

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It is pretty well understood that emotional stress can wreak havoc on the body, precipitating everything from the common cold to cancer. What is less well understood, but equally fascinating, is how our thoughts, feelings and the triumphant human spirit can positively affect our physical health. The words “health” and “healing” are derived from the words “whole” and “holy.” Simply stated, healing means to come to a place of inner peace. From a physiological perspective, the word, “homeostasis” is used to describe a sense of relaxation (i.e., a low resting heart rate and blood pressure readings, etc.). The western world places great emphasis on the body, and the western medical model advocated either drugs or surgery when symptoms of disease or illness reveal themselves. Mind-body-spirit healing takes a different approach: using positive coping strategies such as forgiveness (the word remission translates as forgiveness), humor, creativity, meditation, mental imagery, music and prayer, to name a few, to direct us back to balance. Studies reveal an amazing set of neuropeptides released under a positive mindset. The immune system also responds favorably to happiness and joy. Knowing this, we should all make an effort to unite the healing powers of mind, body and spirit to promote our highest potential.

Stress Tip for The Day:

Negative thoughts can feed on themselves and perpetuate more negative thoughts. What is the antidote? Try shifting your attention to those things that you are grateful for, things you really appreciate in life. An attitude of gratitude isn’t a denial of bad situations or circumstances, it’s a means to balance your scale of emotions and bring yourself back to a place of inner peace. Like any skill, it may take some practice, but with practice it will open your mind to a new perspective that you are not a passive victim in a cruel world. Rather positive thoughts and emotions, even briefly shed light in to our lives, and light is a profound metaphor for inner peace. Make a list of all the things you are truly grateful for. After this, make a list of all those things that bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart. Your body will surly thank you.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

There are scores of books on the topic of mind-body-spirit healing, but I would like to share some movies as well:

1. The Living Matrix

2. What the Bleep Do We Know?

Quote for the Day:

“There is no separation between mind and body or spirit from emotions. It is all one beautiful, dynamic package.” — Brian Luke Seaward

Photo of the Day:

Singer/songwriter Dan Sebranek returned to the 13th Mountain Mind-Body-Spirit healing retreat in Vail last weekend performing a most memorable concert of ballads, jazz, folk and blues. Thanks Dan…. See you in the Emerald Isle for our Spirit of Ireland: A Healing Journey next summer!

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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Tribute: Thank You Steve Jobs

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There is not much more I can say that hasn’t already been said, but like so many others, I too wish to express my gratitude. I am forever indebted to the creators of the Apple Computer (not to mention the Ipod, and Ipad), from which I wrote over 12 books and made the documentary, Earth Songs. Thank you, Steve Jobs. You will be greatly missed.

Quote for the Day:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be 
trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. 
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and

intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

—Steve Jobs.


Photo of the Day:

A graphic from the web in tribute to Steve Jobs.

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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and the Slow Food Movement

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Have you heard of the slow food movement? It was created in 1986 by Italian journalist Carlo Petrini (in disgust of the opening of McDonalds in Rome). His creation was put forth as an option to the fast food mentality that swept the world a few decades ago. The premise of the Slow Food Movement , quite big in the US now, has three tiers: First, the food must be of the highest quality, (e.g., organic, not GMO’d or processed to death and unrecognizable from the natural ingredients of which it came.) Second, the food must be grown sustainably? (i.e., many foods are produced in unsustainable ways including monoculture approaches, food transportation, and the use of petrochemicals as fertilizers.) Third, the food must be harvested in a fair-trade manner (i.e., the people who work the fields must be paid an humane/living wage). The Slow Food Movement is also based on the concept of actually “cooking” the food with love (vs. nuking it in a microwave or eating it out of a cardboard box)… and eating each meal, each bite, fully conscious of the tastes, the smells, the presentation,—everything it took to make one fully appreciate the gift of each meal. Today, most people inhale their food, barely having it touch the tongue’s taste buds, nor conscious of where it came or how it got from the field to the fork.

With the fact that most food travels up to 1,500 miles in the US before being consumed, the Slow Food Movement invites people to shop locally (also known as the 100 mile diet), eat seasonally grown food (i.e., strawberries, available in stores nearly year round, are a summer fruit). The slow food movement began out of a concern that people were not cultivating a healthy relationship with food. Rather, most people have a nutritional relationship with convenience, to the detriment of their health. The Slow Food Movement is an effort to help people return to center with nutrition and eating behaviors. The Slow Food Movement; a relaxed way to eat. Bon Appetito!

Stress Tip for The Day:

What is your relationship with the food you eat? Do you cook your own meals? More specifically, do you cook the majority of your meals or are they prepared/processed elsewhere and heated up in your home, or simply eating out of a cardboard box? (by the way, did you know that the most common utensil in a restaurant kitchen in a pair of sissors to cut plastic bags containing processed food?) When you buy food in the grocery story, is it packaged (then cooked) in plastic? Do you have any idea where the food you buy actually comes from (how far away is it grown and how far does it travel?) The association between stress and disease includes the fact that our food is typically laden with petrochemicals that can and will cause harm to the body. How sustainable are your eating behaviors, from field/farm to fork? The the buyer beware! Please…take time to slow down and enjoy each bit of each meal you consume. You are worth it!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

For more on this topic please consider viewing this links:

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


http://kingsriverlife.com/07/16/what-is-the-slow-food-movement/


http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20080319/revenge-of-the-slow


Quote for the Day:

“People in Slow Food understand that food is an environmental issue.“‑ Michael Pollan, author, In Defense of Food


Photo of the Day:

While in Tuscany last week, we ate dinner one night at Roberto’s Bistro, near the town of Pienza. Roberto is a big advocate of the slow food movement (these tomatoes were not picked by slave labor he told us) and the meal he prepared for us was nothing less than excellent. Here is a photo of our first course. Thanks, Roberto! 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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Friends in Need: Support Groups as a Stress Buffer

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There is a theory in stress management called the “buffer theory.” It states that when we have a strong group of friends to support us in tough times, these friendships “buffer” us from taking a metaphorical
hard fall. Stress management techniques, you say? Meditation is great (and necessary). Exercise is practically mandatory (to flush the stress hormones). Humor (comic relief) is a must, but a small group of close friends are essential to cope with stress, and the research bears this
out, from breast cancer support groups to book clubs and golf outings. We are not talking Facebook friends here. There is a growing concern that technology and social media has widened the gap between people to form strong interpersonal relationships (friendships). Being close virtually is not the same thing as sitting together and baring your soul, sharing your problems without filters, and sharing common values. With real friends, you have eye contact, hugs, the sound of laughter and occasionally, even tears. Real friends call you up on the phone and take you to lunch. Real friends know your faults and love you still the same. Friends in need are friends indeed!

Stress Tip for The Day:
Takeinventory of your “real” friends today. You cannot have solid friendships with 500 Facebook or Linkedin contacts. It’s just not possible. A support group typically consists of 2-4 really close
friends and usually these people are outside of your family, yet people you see in person frequently. Make a list of your friends. Perhaps even update the list. Are there people who have moved down the list because they “just aren’t there for you anymore). Our support groups are always in flux too. People come, people go. Sadly, some friend die). What do you do replenish your support group? Consider making some friends, by meeting some new people with similar interests and professional goals. Call up a friend and go for a walk … or a movie or a cup of herbal tea. Finally, tell your friends how much you appreciate them. We are on this earth for a very short time, don’t take anyone for granted.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
If you were to Google the term support groups, you will see there is one listed for every interest, every disease, and every addiction known to man. Rather than pull a couple and list them here, I though I would just mention (again) the importance of friends and getting out and meeting some new people (book clubs, professional conferences, theme trips (like the Eat, Walk, Meditate: Care for the Caregiver trip to Tuscany we just completed).

Quote for the Day:
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” —Leo Buscaglia

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” —George Washington

Photo of the Day:
How can you go on a 10-day trip to Tuscany with some great people and not make new friends? We did! We are back from the Tuscany trip (what a trip!) and I think it is safe to say that each of us has a more solid support group. One day while staying the town of Pienza, some gals discovered a leathercraft store and each bought friendship bracelet. The idea was shared amongst the group and by the trip’s end we all joined in with this special bond (symbol) of friendship from the trip). 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, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.