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Monthly Archives

November 2011

The Physics of Stress?

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The word, “stress” comes to us from the field of physics. Coined over 100 years ago, it means enough force to bend or break an object. Apparently the word stuck. If you have ever felt stressed, then you know exactly what this word means. Stress is often described as a “perceived threat” and once you introduce the word “perceived,” you invoke the mind’s thought processes. For eons (and still to this day) the abstract concept of the mind is often compared to more tangible things. Hence words like stress from other disciplines, like physics, are often used to help make the abstract tangible.

Over the years, we have borrowed a few more terms from the field of physics, including the ideas of resonant thinking, dissonance, coherence and even the term entrainment. Over the past several decades, research into the mind has once again knocked on the door of physics, particularly quantum physics, to gain a better foothold of understanding about what stress is (negative energy). In the quest to understand the concept of energy, specifically healing energy, thoughts are recognized (by some) as energy. The HeartMath Institute has conducted several studies that look into the energy produced by both the head and the heart. When the two areas are in harmony with their energies, it is described as coherence. Simply stated, stress is the opposite of coherence.

Stress Tip for the Day:

How is your heart today? Can you feel its rhythms, not just it’s beat, but the frequencies of love and compassion? Or does fear closed the door to your heart? How is your head today? In addition to eavesdropping on the thoughts of your mind, can you feel the rhythms that your head is sending out? While we may not always feel our own mental rhythms, we can often feel others (as in, “the tension was so think you could cut it with a knife”). Today’s stress tip invites you to learn to become aware of the rhythms of both your head AND heart. Learn to discern if these rhythms are in synch (also known as harmony, or if there is a dissonance (negative vibrations). Anything less than a perfect harmony is detrimental to mind, body and spirit. To bring the heart and mind in synch begin by focusing on your breath.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

Here are a couple of links to HeartMath….enjoy

http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/nov1/hmath.htm

http://www.heartmath.org/

Even if you have seen the movie, What the BLEEP Do We Know, it’s always great to come back and preview it again. The scenes where the character realizes that her thoughts are amplified via water is perhaps one of the most important messages of the movie.

Quote for the Day:

“ Love is a vibration that ripples out over the waters of the universe.” —Anonymous.

Photo for the Day:

Anette and Christian (my friends from Copenhagen) came to visit this summer. Pictured here is Anette, posing for this photo in Rocky Mountain National Park. Thanks Anette. Takk!

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 the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Much to Be Thankful For…

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In the season of Thanksgiving, gratitude is a gift of conscious recognition that we have many blessings in our lives. Enjoy the day and be sure to tell those people in your life how much you appreciate them.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Spend some time in solitude on Thanksgiving Day and make a long list of those things you are grateful for. Don’t stop until you reach 500 things.

Links, Books and Movies worth Noting:

Research now shows that giving thanks and appreciation is good for your health.

Check out this link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2064543/Computerised-contact-lens-date-news-texts.html

and if you have the slightest bit of pity for how you life is going, please watch this video clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=aw-nt0eTb2w

Quote for the Day:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Photo for the Day:

The classic Norman Rockwell image of a Thanksgiving celebration. Enjoy! (By the way, one day while flying out of Bradly International Airport in Hartford, CT this year, I met a man who, several decades ago, modeled for Norman Rockwell in one of his now famous illustrations. This man even pulled out a copy of the illustration to show me. Needless to say, as a fan of Rockwell’s artwork, I was very grateful to have that 1 degree of separation… very cool.)

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 the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net


© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Death: A Good Day to Die?

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I had the chance to sit down with my Godmother a few weeks ago while in New England (my parents died several decades ago) and it wasn’t long before the subject of death came up (My Godmother tuned 85 last week). “Do you have a will,” she asked? It turns out, I do, but she confided in me that even her own two daughters don’t. They are not alone. The vast majority of Americans don’t, leaving the potential heirs and caregivers, but more likely the probate courts, to untangle the mess. The end result leaves everybody unhappy, angry and more stressed. Americans have a very sanitized exposure to death. Think about it! Death, they feel is very stressful, so they avoid nearly all aspects of it, particularly estate planning, wills and trusts. Avoidance, as we all know, can come back to bit us in the but. Ouch! While we cannot all have a graceful exit from this earthly existence, we can help give some peace of mind to our loved ones right after we depart by taking care of some details and putting our affairs in order. Start with a will/trust and living will (end of life care). Make everyday a good day to die by making everyday a good day to live.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Make a strategy this week to find a good estate/ trust lawyer and get things down on paper—legally. Often the cost is minimal (around $200). If you don’t do this, much of what you own may never get to the people you intended,instead, going to the state in which you live. If you have a will, be sure that those closest to you know where it is or have an extra copy. How does the expression go: Death comes like a thief in the night? Be sure to include information about end of life care (do you want to be on life support for years or die naturally?) Finally, as hard as it may be, bring these issues up with your loved ones (and the holidays might be the best time, if nothing else, it will certainly get everyone’s attention). Don’t be afraid of death, Stare it in the face (with a lawyer) and come out smiling…

Links, Books and Movies worth Noting:

There are many online services for last wills and trusts. Check them out thoroughly… seek the advice of people in the know. Not all states validate online wills, so do your homework.

http://www.alllaw.com/forms/wills_and_trusts

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wills-trusts-estates

Quote for the Day:

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” — Anonymous

Photo for the Day:

My Godmother, Pat O’Connor, who at age 85 is one of the most wonderful people I know. Very loving, great sense of humor and a beautiful soul. Thanks, Pat!

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 the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Of Character, Integrity and Stress

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Like so many people, I was aghast at the news out of Penn State last week. The whole ugly travesty is a classic case study in stress and character (how NOT to act in the face of stress!) How can anyone think they can protect a reputation by sacrificing integrity is inconceivable (isn’t integrity the foundation of one’s reputation?), yet it seems to happen all too often. Ungrounded, stress (anger, fear or more likely both) will certainly cloud one’s thinking, distort one’s level of rational thinking, and ultimately hijack one character. In the face of stressful events, we always have a choice; the path of the coward, or the path of the hero. The path of the hero is not an easy one, the path of the coward is easy (but ultimately, no less stressful). Character, it is said, is how you act, when no one else is around. Integrity is an inner resource that we all have, the question is, do we exercise it? By not doing so, it atrophies. The triumph of the human spirit only rises when integrity is the foundation of one’s character.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Exercise your muscle of integrity today. Do some soul searching today to shed light on any behaviors that need recalibrating, out of fear-based thinking redirected toward acts of compassion. Make it habit to find your voice and speak out against injustice, if nothing more, than by example. Let your actions speak to the integrity of your character. As Gandhi once said, “My life is my message.” Be a good message!

Links, Movies and Books worth Noting:

If you haven’t seen the documentary, Inside Job, please rent it. It will not only explain the whole financial mess, but it too, is a case study of lack of integrity (and sadly, these people are still walking the streets.)

Quote for the Day:

“The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.” — Dear Abby (Abigail Van Burren)

Photo for the Day:

There is much ugliness in the world today, yet there is much beauty as well. The search for and pleasure of beauty isn’t a denial of the ugliness, it merely helps keep it in perspective. I took this photo while flying over the Italian Alps on my way to Tuscany this fall. 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) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Try On Some Rose Colored Glasses Today

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When the Pollyanna character was introduced into the American Culture, she was THE personification of optimism during the Great Depression. With a little sophistication and perhaps cynicism of the 60’s, the name “Pollyanna” became synonymous with the expressions “out of touch with reality” and “denial.” The metaphor of rose-colored glasses, however, isn’t a denial of reality. Rather, it is a desire to see the good in a bad situation…and move on. In a time of the “Entitlement Generation” (which includes practically all Americans), the norm has become to bitch, moan and whine about everything, thus claiming victimization—garnering sympathy (more likely apathy) from others. So where is Pollyanna in all of this? Great question!

Today as the great recession continues, it’s time to put on the rose-colored glasses. Focusing on the negativity only draws more negativity to you. As the expression goes, “what you think about expands.” When you hear people bitching what you are really hearing is grieving. And while grieving is normal, and even healthy a times, prolonged grieving is not normal and it is certainly not healthy. Research shows that people who are pessimistic about life have a suppressed immune system, whereas those who practice optimism have a healthy immune system. Rose-colored glasses are a metaphor for optimism, something which appears in short supply today, but very much needed.

Stress Tip for the Day:

If you wear rose-colored glasses, keep em on. But if you regularly see the glass as half empty (I am mixing metaphors here, but stay with the concept) it’s time to change your eyeglass prescription, and eyeglasses. Today, please make an effort to look for the good in things as well as people. Rather than playing the devil’s advocate, today play the “angel’s advocate.” Look for the good it everything. Once you find the good in something or someone (and there is always good in everything, every situation and everyone) send love from your heart as an expression of gratitude.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

Martin Seligman has created a branch of modern psychology called Positive Psychology. Here is a link based on his book, Learned Optimism.

http://www.shearonforschools.com/learned_optimism.htm

Quote for the Day:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.” — Helen Keller

“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.” —Robert Brault

Photo for the Day:

While I normally like to use my own photographs, I found this (free) image on the Internet and just new it was perfect for this blog entry. 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) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Friday Morning Humor Therapy

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Once again we will skip the theory and move to the application… have a great day and a stress-free weekend.

JOKE: A Wall Street executive was fed up with his job and the lack of integrity with his company, so he sold off all of his belongings and decided to join a monastery. During his interview he was told it was a “silent order” and could only speak one sentence at the end of each year during his meeting with the Monsignor. When he agreed, he was admitted to the order of the silent monk.

From the first day he was the model monk, saying the most prayers, singing the Gregorian chants beautiful like Frank Sinatra and earning the most money for the Abby with his jams and jellies. At the end of his first year, the Monsignor called him in his office and said, “Monk John, you have one sentence to say, what is it?”

Monk John said, “The beds are lumpy.” Then went back to the chapel to say more prayers.

The next year, Monk John was equally pious and again was the model monk. At the end of the second year, the Monsignor called him into his office and and said, Brother John, you have one sentence to say what is it?”

“The food is lousy,” Monk John replied. He then left the Monsignor’s office and practiced his Gregorian chants.

At the end of the third year, again he was called into the Monsignor’s office for his yearly review.

“Monk John,” the monsignor said, “you are a model monk in the silent order, what do you have to say for yourself.”

“I quit,” said Monk John, to which the Monsignor said,

“Quite frankly it doesn’t surprise me, you have done nothing but complain since you’ve been here.”

Stress Tip for the Day: The word humor means fluid or moisture. Humor is a metaphor for going with the flow, particularly with things we cannot control. As we approach the holiday season, remember to take yourself lightly, and try to find the humor in all things. It’s there, you just have to remind yourself to laugh.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:

If you haven’t seen this link of Laurel & Hardy dancing to Santana’s Oy Comma Va, you should… it will surely bring a smile to your face. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkZGg0qNdCc&noredirect=1

• Quote for the Day:

“Did you ever wonder why hemorrhoids are called hemorrhoids and not asteroids?” —George Carlin

• Photo of the Day:

Speaking of Wall Street, in honor of those trying to wake up America to the corruption of corporate America, today’s photo was passed along to me as an email and was just to precious not to share. While I surely support the 99% (of which I am a part), we all have to learn to take ourselves lightly.

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

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Solitude

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It was with amazement that I sat at an airport restaurant a few weeks ago and overheard an hour-long conversation in which the man sitting next to me gave a play-byplay overview of a baseball game on television. My first thought was he was chatting with a close friend. My second thought was that he was afraid of being alone. It has been noted that living in this high tech age that we are, it is seldom that we are ever alone. Whether it be texting, talking on the phone, posting (and reading) Facebook blurbs, or Skyping someone, technology has created a way to always be connected, every waking minute. While this may sound good, it has deprived us of the opportunity for quality alone time, Solitude; time to sit and contemplate our thoughts (and feelings) unencumbered by interruptions. The question begs to be asked, at what point does all this “connection” become a distraction? The fear of loneliness (directly tied to the fear of abandonment) is a very real fear. Yet the answer to loneliness isn’t necessarily constant companionship, real or virtual. The answer is learning to become comfortable with yourself at all times, alone and in the company of family and friends. Moments of solitude are a basic human right.

Stress Tip for the Day:

A common theme in holistic stress management is the concept of healthy boundaries; appropriate behavior. Take some time to review your relationship with technology. Are you a serial Facebook updater? Have your thumb muscles grown in size from all that texting? Do you leave your blue-tooth headset on even when you are not talking on the cell phone? Do you know how to be alone, without interruption (digital or otherwise) and feel comfortable with being alone? Consider taking a digital fast and spend some quality time getting to know you (your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs) and see if there needs to be any fine-tuning in this self-relationship. Discover and cultivate the lost art of solitude!

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

The best book I have seen on solitude is by Anthony Storr, called Solitude; A Return to Self. I highly recommend it.

Quote for the Day:

“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself.” — Thomas Browne

Photo of the Day:

While in Hawaii recently I had the chance to see some stunning sunsets. In trying to find the best vantage point I was careful not to disturb others who had staked out their spot of solitude. 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.