It IS a Wonderful Life, Indeed!

Here is wishing everyone a wonderful and blessed holiday season. We look forward to rejoining you next year!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Make it a wonderful life! Be grateful. Count your blessings… Take nothing for granted.
Please keep those who are less fortunate than you… and please keep all those in Newtown, CT in your prayers as well.

Photo For the Day: 
A still photo from one of my favorite movies, It’s  a Wonderful Life. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Happy Holidays Everyone!
The Stressfully Speaking blog will reappear after the new year!
Best wishes for a happy new year!

Eco-Therapy: The Healing Power of Nature


Scientists are warning of a second environmental disaster on the horizon (the first being global warming). A general sense of apathy and ignorance combined with our love affair with technology has created a huge disconnect with the natural world with a great many people, much to our detriment. This disconnect includes several aspects including not knowing where your food comes from to low levels of vitamin D (from exposure to sunshine). In Richard Louve’s best selling book, Last Child in the Woods, where he coins the term, Nature Deficit Disorder, one child is quoted as saying, “Why would I want to go outside? There are no electrical outlets out there.” Not long ago (before video games and smart phones) kids were told by their parents to go outside and play. Today, a whole generation, perhaps two, has no idea what this means. Simply stated: we have taken nature for granted, and this is the first step in losing this precious relationship. Moreover, it compromises our health of mind, body and spirit. Scientists are now discovering the importance of our bond with nature, from brain chemistry to the entrainment of earthly rhythms. While sages and wisdom keepers have always touted the benefits of the healing power of nature, a new term has entered the American Lexicon: Eco-therapy. As with all wisdom, it is important to go beyond the theory to the application (all puns intended).
Stress Tip for The Day:
Make a habit to get outside every day. Go for a morning or a noon day walk, regardless of the weather. Get to know nature through all the elements. Familiarize yourself with the phases of the moon, even the ocean tides if you live near the shore. Reacquaint yourself with your local wildlife. Study the rhythms and energies of the planet. Walk softly on the back of the planet. Mother Nature eagerly awaits your return home.
Links and Books of Note:
The December issue of Outside magazine has an excellent article about the healing power of nature. I highly recommend reading it. And If you haven’t read, Richard Louve’s book, Last Child in the Wilderness, I highly recommend this too. There is also this great documentary called Earth Songs… currently playing on PBS affiliates around the country.
Quotes of the Day:
We are part of the natural world, and it is part of us.” — Anonymous
Photograph of the Day
Today’s photo was taken on the north shore of Kauai during a beautiful sunset (no Photoshop was necessary to make it look this good).
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Ego and the Soul


For generations, wisdom keepers the world over have explained that within us are two halves, two equal partners (think of the Taoist symbol); the ego and the soul. In a perfect world, the ego is the bodyguard for the soul; it is the ego that trips the switch for fight or flight to protect the soul. In a perfect world, the ego and soul work together to navigate one’s life journey. As we all know, this is not a perfect world. When the ego steps outside this role of bodyguard (the fall from grace), the dance becomes a body slam and a control drama ensues.  The expression “control dramas” is code for stress, and there is no shortage of stress with a big ego.  In the Eastern culture, there is an expression to promote this balance between the ego and the soul; domesticate the ego.
Stress Tip for The Day:
How does one regain a sense of balance between ego and soul? How does one domesticate the ego? The words surrender, detach, and release come to mind. While there are many ways, the time-tested method is meditation; where one learns to not only observe one’s thoughts, but observe oneself observing one’s thoughts. (If you have ever said, “a year from now this will be funny,” then you have attempted to domesticate your ego). Carl Jung also gave some great advice: learn to embrace the shadow (your dark side) and bring light to it. The expression, Walking in balance, speaks to the nature of ego/soul balance. Make an effort today to walk in balance.
Links and Books of Note:
There are many books on the topic of ego/soul balance, including Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. There is also a great book called Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water.
Quotes of the Day:
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” — C. S. Lewis
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding ourselves.” — Carl G. Jung
Photograph of the Day
Today’s photo is a picture of Dunguaire Castle in County Galway, Ireland. Tower Castles such as this were built as a means of protection (much like the ego). 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Rejoice: The Sky is NOT Falling!


The other day I happened to listen to NPR’s Talk of the Nation show. On the air was a NASA scientist who has garnered much Youtube renown for his attempts to explain why the world is NOT coming to an end on 12-21-12. Over the past year he has done his best to dispel these stupid rumors of the world’s demise by rogue planets (Planet X), magnetic pole shifts, and other nonsense hyped by fear mongers—from Hollywood to Fox News, all milking the end of the Mayan Calendar as “apocalypse now.”  The events of Hurricane Sandy haven’t helped. Perhaps most disturbing (to me and him) were the emails this scientist received from people asking when they should euthanize their pets and what was the best day to commit suicide as to avoid Armageddon (seriously, I am not making this stuff up!) The bottom line is that the world is NOT coming to an end (just as an FYI, people have been predicting the end of the world for millennia, and they have all been proven wrong). Fear-mongering is a toxin to the human spirit. With all due respect to the new James Bond movie, I repeat, the sky is NOT falling.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Indeed, there is much fear in the world today, most of it unfounded, nearly all of it potentially immobilizing. One great technique used in stress management circles is called “stress inoculation,” a mindset where you metaphorically vaccinate your mind to negative thoughts and become immune to the fear-based thoughts of others.  This metaphorical vaccination is made up of sound wisdom, faith and confidence in yourself that indeed, you can overcome any adversity). So without being rude to anyone, make a habit of rising above the conversations of gloom and doom. Don’t contribute to the energy virus of fear-mongering. Spend time with people of optimism who walk the path of compassion and light heartedness, even humor. Find the humor (mostly absurdity) in the banal chitter-chatter of fear-based comments, then walk away without adding to it. Smile with the knowledge that you are always in good hands. Step outside today and look up in the sky, and appreciate the beauty wherever your eyes take you.
Links and Books of Note:
Here is the link to yesterday’s NPR’s show… enjoy!
http://www.npr.org/2012/11/26/165928588/as-dec-21-draws-nigh-the-facts-about-doomsday
Quotes of the Day:
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by wisdom.” —Bertrand Russell
Photograph of the Day
Today’s photo was taken last week while I was in Ireland. I got up early one morning to see the sunrise and caught an early morning rainbow over the Doonagore Castle tower outside of Doolin, County Clare. Rainbows are always a great sign of faith (and my group trip to Ireland next June is on, come hell or high water (or both). 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Of Hope and Dreams


Perhaps what makes us different from all other animals on the planet is our ability to dream; To see an appealing fragment of the future, grab it, and bring it into the present, making it manifest through the alchemy of divine inspiration and human perspiration. Dreams just don’t happen, they take work; work through persistence, patience, wisdom, hope and faith. All of these aspects make humans different than other species too. What separates those who are happy from those who are not is the belief in oneself to make dreams come true. Those who manifest their dreams will tell you failure is part of their success, for no dream that comes easy is worthy of victory. Failure isn’t a sign of loss, stupidity or embarrassment; rather it is a stepping-stone to success, as so many people in Silicon Valley have taught us. Ask anyone who has ever creating anything of merit and they will tell you it first began as a dream. The combination of hope, faith persistence and effort is the road that makes dreams come true.
Stress Tip for The Day:
What dream sits on your doorstep? What wish do you harbor in your heart, that begs for the freedom of manifestation?  Wishes and dreams are seeds that await fertile soil.  That soil is your belief that you, indeed, can make it happen. Time to take action! Write down your dream/wish and set up a workable strategy to make it happen in the next 6-12 months. Persistence is paramount. So is will power. Belief in yourself is essential. And while hope is good, it’s not enough. As the saying goes, “hope makes a good snack, but a poor feast.” Good luck!
Links and Books of Note:
A friend posted this 4 min Youtube link on Facebook last night and I cannot wait for the whole movie to be finished… I hope you find it as inspiring as I did . Enjoy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ys_LESjGN8&feature=share
Quotes of the Day:
“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.” — John Lennon
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”— H. Jackson Browne
Photograph of the Day
The photograph today is not one image but a collection of hundreds…Today, I choose to display the cover of my new book, for it was a dream of mine to publish a coffee table photography book, titled A Beautiful World, and boy is it! (If interested, it’s now available at the store link my website: www.brianlukeseaward.net)
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Solitude

A speaker, named Susan Cain, at the now famous TED conference gave a stunning presentation on the plight of the introvert. Hidden among the many messages she shared with the audience was this: We each need time for solitude! Ideas, she said, need time to incubate, and this cannot happen in an environment of cacophony. Our world has become very noisy today, most notably digital noise, but let us not ignore the noise of perpetual conversation. Rarely are people ever alone! More rare is the time for self-reflection; time to sort out your thoughts, feelings and gain perspective on the direction of your life.  A stressed mind is a noisy mind. Solitude offers the chance to quite the mind; in essence, creating a “mental detox” from all the sensory stimulation and bombardment,not to mention ego chitter-chatter, that can derail even the sharpest of minds. It wasn’t that long ago that Sunday’s were considered to be a day of solitude. Stores were actually closed. Solitude has an essence of sacredness. Honor this. In our fast paced 24/7/365 world, solitude has become a rare commodity; one we would do well to invest in.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Take an honest look at your typical day and ask yourself how much time do you spend in complete solitude (no computer, no Ipod, no conversations, virtual or otherwise). Think healthy boundaries. If you meditate the answer is simple. Reading a book doesn’t count. Some people are afraid to be alone. They gain their energy from others, but solitude, whether you are an introvert or extravert, is as essential as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Make time for more solitude in your life. Find a place to sit alone and contemplate the quietness of the world.
Links and Books of Note:
Here is the link to the TED talk mentioned above:
http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
And here is the book the presenter has written on the topic. I highly recommend it.
http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352145
Quotes of the Day:
“I live in the solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” — Albert Einstein
“We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart… and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together… I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.” — Helen Hays, Actor
“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” —Henry David Thoreau
Photo of the Day
I am in County Donegal, Ireland on a business trip, relaxing at the Lough Eske Castle hotel. This is a photo of one of the many private living rooms, where this couch, not to mention the fire in the fireplace, begs for someone to enjoy the solitude…. which I did. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Genetically Modified Foods: The Danger of Frankenfoods

When scientists first spliced a gene of a founder fish into the DNA of a vine tomato in an effort to avoid frost damage, many in the food industry marveled at the new age of food production. Many environmentalists and nutritionists shuddered in horror, and for good reason. The world’s food supply took a dangerous turn down the road of science fiction.  The problem became headline news when the herbicide, Roundup, was spliced into the DNA of corn. So strong was the toxic effect that EPA (not the FDA) soon ruled that this brand of corn was no longer a food, but a toxic herbicide. A nationwide recall of corn products from Taco shells to corn flakes, ensued. Nutrition and health experts have noted a serious increase in food allergies since the introduction of “frankenfoods.” Equally frightening, some medical experts are suggesting that GMO’d food may be the cause of a growing number of cases of Morgellon’s diseases (see link below). When the body consumes a foreign substance that it deems hazardous, it takes steps to get rid of it (e.g., sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, skin) etc.) Other substances  of questionable origin are often stored in adipose tissue, leading to long term problems. The human body has had eons to understand its nutrition environment, until recently however. GMO’s are often recognized as unnatural and in many cases, unhealthy. The bottom line is GMO’s are stress to your body’s health. Avoid them at all costs.
Stress Tip for The Day:
It may seem hard to tell what foods are genetically manipulated these days because the big food corporations (e.g., Monsanto) have lobbied hard (and won) to have food labels NOT tell you what’s exactly in them (estimates suggest that as many as 60-70% of grocerystore items are GMO’d. Your best bet for healthy foods are organic foods. Organic foods, while more expensive than conventionally grown foods are not only free of petrochemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides, they (as much as possible) do not contain genetically (cross species) manipulation. As a side note,  unless you are certain of what you’re eating I would avoid all corn and soy products altogether.
Links and Books of Note:
First and foremost, food is an economic and political issue, not a health issue. You may have heard that a 2012 California ballot measure to label all GMO’s was defeated due t mega millions of campaign dollars pumped in from many well know food corporations including…
Here are a few links of interest… enjoy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food
http://www.naturalnews.com/023004.html
http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-and-morgellons-disease/8464
Quote of the Day:
 “An ecosystem, you can always intervene and change something in it, but 
there’s no way of knowing
 what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect the 
environment. We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the
 genetically modified organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don’t get
 one rude shock after another.”
—Professor Richard Lewontin, Professor of Genetics, Harvard University
Photo of the Day
Last week, on the way home from Poland, I paid a visit to my good friends Bernhard and Anne Kindelbacher in Frankfurt, Germany. Over the weekend they took me to a local farmer’s market. Knowing the inherent danger of frankenfoods, Germany, like all of Europe, does not allow GMO’d food products for sale. We should be so lucky here.
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep, but….


As I quickly scanned through my recent copy of the Smithsonian magazine, I was intrigued by an X-ray photograph of a woman’s foot with metal pins. As it turns out, she, and countless other women are now having the ends of their toes amputated so they can fit their feet into smaller stiletto heels—all for the look of beauty. A similar article in TIME magazine spoke of American’s new love affair with Botox, all for the love of looking young and beautiful. In the same issue of Smithsonian was an article about Abraham Lincoln. Abe may have been a masterful politician, but conventional wisdom suggests that he never would win an election today. Abe didn’t have the look, in fact, far from it! It’s no secret that Americans (male and female) are obsessed with youth and beauty; welcome to the age of hyper-narcissism. Sadly, a news report several weeks ago cited a study that revealed that both men and women who are considered “good looking” by others tend to earn a higher salary than these less fortunate, plain looking human beings. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the obsession with one’s looks is nothing less than shallow. Let’s be honest here: To be beautiful or handsome physically, but ugly in character only negates one’s physical appearance. Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes straight to the bone.
Stress Tip for The Day:
One of my friends has a young daughter who, by all accounts, is stunning. Well aware that she might one day be caught up in the cultural obsession with one’s looks, both mother and father repeat a mantra to her several times a day: Beauty is as beauty does. It’s a mantra we should all whisper to ourselves daily. How much time do you spend on your inner beauty? If the answer is less than your outward appearance it’s time to examine your priorities. Do you harbor ugly thoughts and feelings (toward yourself or others)? Do you engage is selfless acts of altruism? It’s time to work on your inner splendor, to reveal the dynamic beauty of your soul. When all is said and done, this is the only thing that matters.
Links and Books of Note:
I would like to request that everyone watch the video in this link called  model to billboard, just to see what goes on behind the myth making of the modeling industry… (and it’s not just women I am talking about). Priceless.
http://angela-michelle.hubpages.com/hub/Are-Men-Really-This-Shallow
Quotes of the Day:
“The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy.” — Yves St. Laurent
“There is no better cosmetic for beauty than true happiness.” — Maria Mitchell
Photo of the Day
If you are looking for beauty, look no further than nature. There is plenty there, including the likes of this sunflower… 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and The Upside of Routines


Your body craves routines. It really likes it when you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the same time every day (even on weekends when you could sleep in.) It likes it when you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time too. It even likes it when you exercise the same time every day. Your body runs on a 24+ hour clock; that’s right, we are creatures of the sun, like most everything else on the planet. In scientific terms this is called “circadian rhythms.” People who live with set routines each day (specifically with regard to physical well-being) are known to live longer (and healthier) than those people who live their life like in a ricochet fashion.  Twice a year, our body clock gets thrown out of whack (day light saving time) and more if you fly in different time zones (I am writing this blog today from Poland), but your body bounces back when you stick to a routine. Routines can seem rather boring a times, but the truth of the matter is they are extremely healthy. Living like a stress ball, ricocheting off of walls, is quite stressful to the body… and anything but healthy.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Do you have a set routine or is your life all over the map with regard to sleep, eating and exercise habits? Day light savings time is a good time to hunker down with some consistent routines. Honor your body’s clockwork by setting some good healthy boundaries regarding the time you eat your meals, the time you go to sleep (and get 7-8 hours) and the time you incorporate daily exercise, even if it’s just walking 20 minutes. Your body will thank you for this attention, and people will remark how you look much younger. Really!
Links and Books of Note:
Here are some links about the topic of circadian rhythms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm
http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.htm
Quotes of the Day:
Note: I couldn’t find any great quotes on today’s subject, but these came up when I googled quotes on circadian rhythms. Enjoy:
“We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.” —W. A. Auden
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which one’s to keep.”— Scott Adams
“Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.” —George Carlin
Photo of the Day
We continue to have some great sunsets over the Rocky Mountains. This photo was taken last week….. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Why Do People Lie? A Question of Trust


Simply stated, people lie out of fear (stress) often in a state of panic. Sometimes they lie because of frustration, but mostly out of fear. In either case, stress-prone lying is inappropriate behavior. At the highest levels, it’s unethical…and immoral. At best lying is a form of insecurity. When lying is done as an act of deceit (for personal/selfish gain), it’s despicable. And while everyone has lied at some point in their lives, it doesn’t make it right. The repercussions of lying undermine everyone’s level of trust. When trust is lost, it is extremely hard to regain one’s confidence. No one likes being lied to. Lies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from white lies (an effort to honor a sense of confidentiality) to big fat whoppers; those are the worst, because they tend to put stress on others.  People who make a habit out of lying are called pathological liers and stress governs their lives. Plain and simple, lying is a distortion of reality. Plain and simple, lying is wrong.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Make a habit of placing a filter over your mouth before you speak. Ask yourself if you are distorting reality (yours and others).  Do your lies hurt others? Equally important, are the words that leave your lips a short term effort to appease your level of stress?  As the metaphor goes, lies become an inescapable web. As the saying goes, “the truth will set you free.”  Opt for the truth every time. Take time to honor the concept of honesty. It IS the best policy.
Links and Books of Note:
M. Scott Peck has a wonderful book called, People of the Lie. I highly recommend it.
Quotes of the Day:
“It’s better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” — George Washington

“Tell the truth, it’s easier to remember.”—Mark Twain
Photo of the Day
With an abundance of examples of lies in the news today, I decided to play it safe with a photo from my trip to Tuscany, Italy, the home of the renowned fable Pinocchio and let you read between the lines.
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Atonement; Making Amends


I heard a story on NPR’s Fresh Air last week based on an article in the New Yorker, titled, Atonement. It involved a story of a US Marine who shot and killed several innocent people caught in an ambush in Iraq. Learning the survivors of the incident had moved to California, not far from where he lived, he made an effort to contact and eventually meet the surviving members to make amends. Making amends begins with an apology to others, but includes an apology to yourself. More than just seeking forgiveness, making amends is an exercise in seeking inner peace. Making amends is one of the hallmarks of the AA program, and in fact, a hallmark of most addiction and recovery programs. Atonement is also the hallmark of a great many religions. As one of my Jewish friends described to me, “Atonement is returning to the SOURCE… at-one-ment., but you can only do this once you have cleansed through the shower of forgiveness.”
Stress Tip for The Day:
Is there someone whom you need to make amends? Now is the time. One of the best ways to start the process is to write a letter (even if you never mail it). Peace on earth first begins with making peace with yourself. Even if the person with whom you wish to reach out to is out of reach, begin with a letter and trust that the message will be delivered heart to heart. Life is short. The time is now. Time to enter the shower of forgiveness.
Links and Books of Note:
Here is the link to the Fresh Air interview…
http://www.npr.org/2012/10/23/163472609/iraq-vet-seeks-atonement-for-early-war-tragedy
PS. Last night I went to see the movie Cloud Atlas. It’s about the topic of reincarnation, with a subtext that until we work toward resolutions, we keep spinning our wheels on the wheel of life. I highly recommend the movie!
Quotes of the Day:
“I want to try making things right because picking up the pieces is way better than leaving them the way they are.”— Simone Elkeless
“Making amends with some people just for the sake of it is a sign of maturity.” — Anonymous
Photo of the Day:
Today’s photo of the day was taken in Death Valley. I took this photo in the early morning light, reflected in the stillness of dawn.  It seems to fit the theme of today’s blog. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Spiritual But Not Religious? You’re not Alone…


A news brief last week cited a recent poll highlighting the fact that over 30 percent (nearly one-third) of Americans claim no affiliation to an organized religion.  While some experts find this alarming, others who dig deeper into the facts find (as I have talking to many college students) that many of these people claim ‘they are very spiritual, but not religious.’ The topic of human spirituality is colossal (and complex). Wisdom keepers will explain that cornerstone of human spirituality is comprised of relationships, values and a meaningful purpose in life, all of which can not only become stressors, but shake the very foundations of our lives. Under the black cloud of stress, many people begin to look for answers, often times beyond the confines of their own backyard. Experts call this a “spiritual hunger.” As the saying goes, “spiritual hunger leads to spiritual exploration.”Today, many religions are under fire for a great many reasons (fill in the blank here _________) but one thing they serve well is a sense of community. There are those who say the spiritual path cannot be measured. It surely cannot be measured in miles or years and certainly not in possessions, though God knows, people try. Others say the spiritual path is between 12-14 inches… the distance from your head to your heart.
Stress Tip for The Day:
You can be spiritual, yet not religious and you can be religious, but not spiritual. And of course you can be both. Regardless of what comprises your belief system what matters most is being true to yourself and strive to reach your highest potential. When the ego eclipses the light of the soul, spiritual growth is stunted. What feeds your spirit? For some it’s getting back to nature. For others it is serving the less fortunate. For everyone it is the realization that we are part of something oh so much bigger than ourselves. We are seemingly insignificant, yet essential to the divine universe. Take time today to realize your connection to the divine, whatever you conceive this to be.
Links and Books of Note:
There are many great books on the topic of spiritual growth: Here are some of my favorites:
1.    The Four Agreements (Ruiz)
2.     Care of the Soul (Moore)
3.    The Road Less Traveled (Peck)
4.    Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water (Seaward)
5. Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart (Seaward)
And I highly recommend viewing the new documentary, Finding Joe (on the topic of The Hero’s Journey.)
Quotes of the Day:
“The purpose in life is to bring light in the darkness of mere being.” — Carl G. Jung
Photo of the Day
Nature is considered by many to stir the soul (it stirs mine). The sunsets in Colorado this past week have been nothing less than spectacular (it was hard to select THE best image for today’s blog) but this one caught my eye… 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Personal Power: Don’t Give It Away


Spiritual luminaries the world-over have a common message: You are a beautiful soul. As much as we hear this message we tend to forget it, ignore it, or simply don’t believe it. Our personal power, often described as our personal energy (some say our self-esteem), is dynamic, but like a leak in a canoe that takes in lots of water, we continually hemorrhage our power giving it away to others (all kinds of people from physicians and professional athletes to movie stars and politicians).  Here is an example: Last week’s cover story of Newsweek: Heaven is Real: A Doctor’s story. To be honest, if we need a Harvard physician to confirm our spiritual beliefs about heaven we are all in trouble. Personal power is greatly diminished when we give our power freely to others (many of whom don’t even want it). While it is nice, and sometimes necessary to seek validation of your thoughts and perceptions, giving your power away is never a good idea. It only degrades your self-esteem and robs you of your personal power. Time to take back your power and keep it.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Time to take inventory of where you might have leaked your personal energy. Do you give your power away to other people (spouses, sports teams, friends,  or colleagues). Take an honest look to see if you have knowingly or more likely unknowingly, given your power away. Giving your power away happens in many ways, from repeatedly “dropping names” to being all too consumed with the lives of others rather than living your own life.  Taking back your power includes building your self-esteem, seeing your own true worth and knowing that you, being yourself, is essential to the integrity of humanity. As the expression goes, “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”  So take back your power today… and keep it. Remember the wisdom of the sages: You are a beautiful soul. Let light shine through your heart each and every day.
Links and Books of Note:
Here are a few links with more information on the topic of preventing the loss of personal power:
http://www.yourtango.com/experts/virginia-clark/stop-giving-away-your-power-relationships-expert
http://whatislovedrcookerly.com/999/healthy-self-love-and-not-giving-your-power-away/
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2010/02/how-you-give-your-power-away/
Quotes of the Day:
“You are perfect. The only time you are not perfect is when you compare yourself to others.” — Rose Pere
Photo of the Day
The fall colors in Colorado are amazing this time of year. This photo was taken near Aspen, Colorado; mountain peaks called the Maroon Bells. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Fifty Shades of Earl Grey: The Art of Tea


Get your mind out of the gutter. OK! Now that I have your attention, can we talk about tea? Of all the many, if not countless ways to relax, one should not forget to include sipping a nice cup of hot tea. There is an art to preparing tea. It takes time to heat/boil the water (never use a microwave to do this!) There is a message here.  Slow down. It takes time for the essential oils which carry the flavors of the tea to seep into and diffuse into the water. There is a message here as well. Slow down. One doesn’t guzzle tea. One sips tea… slowly. Once again, there is a message here. Slow down. The art of tea is the art of slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Slowing down. Now there is a novel concept in this fast pace world we live in! When done right, the art of tea is almost sensuous. Of course, we have all heard about the benefits of green tea (antioxidants that fight free radicals), white tea (with less caffeine) and herbal teas (with some great natural flavors), but the real secret to great tea isn’t just in the tea bag. It’s the quality of water. Soft water has many salts, whereas hard water has many minerals both of which can greatly affect the taste.
Stress Tip for The Day: Tea drinkers will confide that any time of day is a great time to relax, but early mornings and late in the evening (we recommend herbal teas without caffeine, after 6:00 p.m.) My preference is Early Grey after breakfast, but I drink licorice herbal tea at the start of my day to meditate. If you don’t have a water filter in your kitchen, this would be a great time to look into one, as fresh water makes for much better tea. Also the best tea is made from the freshest herb (those with essential oils. Essential oils are destroyed by light and heat, so consider throwing away any old tea bags and start fresh. Finally, take the hint and slow down today with a cup of tea. Master the art of tea…. The art of slowing down.
Links and Books of Note:
You may have heard about all the tea in China, but the Japanese have a wonderful way to celebrate life through tea as well. Here is a link to learn more. Enjoy!
http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/02/06/mastering-the-art-of-tea/
Quotes of the Day:
“Where there is tea, there is hope.”—Author Pinero
“Tea to the British is really a picnic indoors.” —Alice Walker
“I can never find a tea cup big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C.S. Lewis.
Photo of the Day
This summer while on a group tour to Ireland, a few of us sat down for a cup of tea at the Ashford Castle. Simply marvelous, indeed!
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

With Malice Toward None

 

Have you noticed how “stressed” people are today?  Anger and frustrations seem to be on the rise. When people carry this anger in their persona, it acts like a virus. Others who are upset with minor things quickly become vulnerable to the anger virus. With egos in defense, the “anger virus” can become a communicable disease. In the role of observer, I have noticed that angry people are quick to lash out at others (mostly verbally, including a lot of sarcasm) when expectations are not met (remember: every anger episode is the result of unmet expectations). A closer examination often reveals that while people can be clueless, selfish, and possibly rude, rarely are they malicious. Translation: the reasons for your anger are often unjustified. Don’t take things personally.
Stress Tip for the Day
How often do you get angry per day? Estimates suggest the average person demonstrates some form of anger (from impatience and guilt to rage and hostility) 15-20 times per day.  While the feelings of anger may be valid, often the reasons for loosing it are not. Take a moment to step outside yourself and ask WHY are you angry? Try to look at the situation from someone else’s perspective. Try to gather a bit more information. Most likely you will end up offering an apology, particularly when you realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. Finally, remember that while anger is a healthy emotion (it’s a survival emotion), holding it in isn’t healthy. Take a deep breath and let go of your anger. Don’t take things personally.
Links, Books and/or Movies Worth Noting:
One book I highly recommend for everyone’s personal library is Harriet Lerner’s, The Dance of Anger. Another book worth noting is Ruth King’s Healing Rage.
Quote for the Day:
“He who angers you, conquers you.”—Elizabeth Kenny
Photo For the Day
While walking the streets of Venice a few weeks ago, I observed a street vendor show frustration with the weather as she covered her artwork with plastic and ducked for cover to make a phone call. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Stress of Politics & The Politics of Stress


As we enter the countdown round of Double Jeopardy: The 2012 elections, take a deep breath and consider taking a political fast: Turn off the TV, radio and Internet news for a 24-48 hour period (longer if you can). Political marketers and spin-masters have learned long ago that both fear and anger (negative campaigning and soundbytes) sell. What you may not know is that (unless you meditate) your primary instincts of fight or flight rule your behavior), making you most susceptible to this nonsense. Simply stated, you walk around all day more anger and more anxious. NOT GOOD! Having just returned from a group trip abroad (the Spirit of Italy Tour), I instituted a few ground rules the first day, including no political conversations about our national elections (everyone joyously agreed). As the expression goes, “opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone’s got one. ” No one needs any negativity on vacation (at least that kind). I am delighted to report that everyone happily complied the entire duration of the trip. But you don’t need to leave the country to make your own ground rules (also known as healthy boundaries). Fasting promotes the health of the human spirit.
Stress Tip for the Day
Take a fast from the news, negative ads and political rhetoric for a 24-48 hour period; longer if you can. Stay educated on the issues, but stay clear of the negativity. Consider implementing some healthy boundaries with your intake of news. Renowned physician, Andy Weil, even suggests NOT to watch TV while eating, as it tends to impact the even flow of your digestion.Through it all, learn to rise above the fray!
Links, Books and/or Movies of Note
What are you going to do with all of that free time on your hands by not watching television? Pick up a good book. Here is a recommendation. OPEN, by Andre Agassi. Here is another: Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward. And I highly recommend the movie, Brother Son, Sister Moon (about the life of St. Francis)
Quote of the Day
“Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful harvest.” — Ovid
Photo of the Day
While in Tuscany, Italy last week, our tour group took a side trip to Assisi, the famed town of St. Francis. Assisi is recognized as an international City of Peace, as expressed in the first line of St. Francis’s most famous prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Eat a Variety of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables!


By and large, Americans don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Not only do fruits and veggies contain a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, they also contain fiber (roughage). Moreover, fresh (and let’s include organic) fruits and veggies contain countless other ingredients including antioxidants and bioflavinoids (both of which help fight cancer and give a boost to the immune system). Specifically, antioxidants destroy free radicals (and free radicals, an oxygen molecule with an aberrant electron, are known to destroy cell membranes, RNA, DNA and cell mitochondria—Not Good!) Colon cancer is quite prevalent in the USA (suggested to be the second most common form of cancer). The daily intake of fiber is suggested to be 30-40 grams. Most Americans consume less than 10 grams per day. Fiber acts like a broom to clean the gastro-intestinal track, most notably, the colon. Toxins that don’t get swept out can cause problems (e.g. colon cancer). Whenever possible opt for organic produce which contains markedly less petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides). So… do like your mother suggested and eat a variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
Stress Tip for the Day:
You may have heard a lot about the raw food diet these days. While the jury is still out on eating exclusively raw (uncooked) foods) this much we do know: heat is known to destroy vitamins. Moreover, plopping veggies in water to cook leaches the vitamins and minerals out into the water, which then gets thrown away. Steaming veggies is the best approach). Regardless of how you cook veggies, the real message here is to consume a variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
I would highly recommend reading Michael Polan’s book, In Defense of Food. Polan gained deserved recognition for his best selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is also a good read.
Quote for the Day:
“When in doubt, eat dark green leafy vegetables.” — Anonymous
“When you realize all of the petrochemicals on our foods, saying grace before a meal takes on a whole new meaning.” — Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
I had a chance to roam the fresh food markets in both Florence and Venice this week; quiet the sensory experience, and a photographer’s delight.  Rumor has that Moldovia had the best Veggies in the world, but I for one LOVED what I ate in Florence and Venice. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Coming Home: Drop the Story and Declare Victory


There are some people who get stuck in the retelling of their own life story. They are the ones who repeatedly remind anyone who will listen how bad (stressful) their life is. These stories are punctuated with a recapitulation of horrible events and much suffering. By repeating the worse chapters in their lives over and over again, they become a caricature of a victim. They wear the label of a victim on our forehead. Renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell reminds us that in every good story (and there are many bad ones) has three parts: 1) the departure (mild stress), 2) the initiation (lots of stress) and 3) the return home (resolution and celebration). The story of the prodigal son is a great example of the Hero’s Journey. So is the story of Pinocchio. The story of the victim is a bad story, yet it is a common one. Each of us in not only a character in our own life story, we are the author as well.
Stress Tip for the Day:
How do you turn a bad story into a good story? You can begin by dropping the label of victim; in essence, drop the story (the ball and chain of victimization) and head home. Coming home is a metaphor for returning to homeostasis or inner peace. So today, make a habit of eavesdropping on the conversations you share with people. Are you the victim or the victor? Do you see validation for your stress, but turn that validation into a whirlpool of anger/anxiety and dive in? Drop the story and come on home. Its time to celebrate the best parts of life, and there are many of them to celebrate. Come on home!
Links and Books Worth Noting:
 Here is a link on the topic of victimization;
http://joy2meu.com/Empowerment.html

Quote for the Day:
“Come down off the cross. Someone needs the firewood for heating their home.” —Anonymous.
Photo for the Day:
As I write this blog entry, I am in the region of Tuscany, Italy, where the endearing story of Pinocchio was created.  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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Using Your Life Gifts


One of the most profound questions you can ever ask yourself is this: Why am I here? The question begs to know what is our purpose in life. Perhaps the cornerstone of one’s life purpose is to express your special talent(s). That unique ability that allows you to make the world a better place and bring joy to your heart as well. Is it your sense of humor? Your sense of creativity (and if so, demonstrated how?). Renowned mythologist called this “following your bliss.” Anyone who has ever watched the myriad of talent shows knows that there are many people with some amazing talent (and not just singing). What is a wasted life? Luminaries will tell you it is someone who fails to use their unique gift to make the world a better place. Apathy, laziness and stress can derail one’s efforts. As the expression goes, it’s a combination of inspiration and perspiration. Talents and gifts don’t necessarily translate into cash or fame. They do, however, allow you to reach your highest potential and that after all is what we are all here for.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Using your unique gift is another way of being your authentic self; also known as living your truth. While many people say they cannot do this because their lives are too stressed, perhaps a better way to look at this is that stress becomes magnified when we fail to use our unique gifts. So… what are your gifts? Make a strategy today to express yourself at your highest potential (whatever that might be) to make the world a better place. Allow your spirit to fly and your soul to shine bright today.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
One of my favorite singers is Eva Cassidy. Eva is someone who never gave up on her gift, despite the fact that she could never get a recording contract. Ironically, after her death, her music has sold millions, reaching a level of fame that escaped her in life (somewhere here there is a message: do what you love and follow your bliss anyway).
Here is a link of Eva Cassidy singing The Tennessee Waltz. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1TD-7k52y4&feature=share
Quote for the Day:
“Your life is God’s gift to you. How you choose to life your life, is your gift to God.” — Anonymous.
Photo for the Day:
While walking down the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, I saw this artist sharing his talented gifts make the world a better place (for everyone walking by.) 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Distractions on the Spiritual Path


The human experience has often been described as a journey, some call it a “spiritual journey;” an evolution of consciousness. It could be said that this evolution of consciousness is one in which one moves from a motivation of fear toward a motivation of love and compassion. Like any hike from point A to B, there are hills and valleys, just as there are obstructions or roadblocks.  Least we forget there are also distractions; things that pull off the path. In simplest terms, distractions begin as attractions. While we all know the merits of stopping to smell the roses, yet pulling off the side of the road indefinitely becomes toxic to the human spirit. In simple terms distractions become addictive behaviors or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Experts suggest that the newest addiction to hit the culture are now known as “screen addictions;” the addiction to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, texting, Google, and countless other web activities. In Freudian terms, distractions are one big ego fest.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Time to take stock of your life for a moment: Being completely honest with yourself, ask yourself what are some distractions in your life? If you cannon come up with an answer, ask a friend or family member to help identify one for you. Here is a hint: start with your habits with TV watching, Internet use, Facebook updates, or video games. If this side of your life looks clean, examine your eating habits (is food a means to soothe your feelings… with comfort foods?) Honoring the concept of “Healthy boundaries” scale back on one activity/behavior (e.g., computer use, sugar consumption) today (with the hopes to make this reduction a new habit.  Rather than feeding your addiction, try fasting it today. Make a serious effort to move from fear to compassion. End the ego fest!
Links and Books Worth Noting:
Here is a nice on-line article on the topic of distractions.
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/08/01/distraction-a-serious-problem-of-modern-life/
The books, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water and Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart offer some great insights into the aspects of distractions.
Quote for the Day:
“Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.” — Saul Bellow
 “Distractions begin as attractions.” — Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
While I have many photos to use that will steal your attention, this image posted on Facebook seemed to be the most appropriate. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

Unplugged: The Sound of Silence

Think about it. When is the last time you sat in complete silence?  The world is a very noisy place today. From television and radio to Ipods and Pandora selections (and a million other electrical sounds) we are rarely in the presence of a quiet environment. The word used to describe loud noise is “cacophony” and since the invention of the electrical outlet, the air has become filled with all kinds of noises. Truth be told, a walk in nature has its share of noises too, mostly birds and perhaps some frogs and let us not forget the wind or the claps of thunder. Yet nature has its quiet times too. Electronic environments do not. All of this high tech world noise tends to have an ever-increasing negative impact on your nervous system, which, at times, craves quiet solitude, also known as homeostasis. Periods of quiet are good for the brain. These same periods are also good for the heart and soul.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Some people are afraid of silence. They turn the TV or radio as the first thing they do when they walk into their house. Some even fall asleep with the TV or radio on. Silence is your friend, learn to make it so. If you have never sat in silence for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch, this may feel weird, but give it a try today. Become aware of the level of noise in your life you are one step closer to achieving inner peace. Learn to find comfort in moments of silence. And when you can learn to silence the ego for these moments you are living the art of silence. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
Here is an article from Psychology Today on the  Power of Silence:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/authentic-engagement/201201/the-power-silence
Here is another article on the Power of Silence: Enjoy!
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4074/10-Ways-to-Embrace-the-Power-of-Silence.html
Quote for the Day:
“I have begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn form it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.” — Chaim Potok, author, The Chosen
 
Photo for the Day:
Today’s image is a photo I took while on vacation in Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a magical place with beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The only sound is the gentle ocean surf, and even that is quiet. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Your Mouth: Good Dental Hygiene

Last week I had my teeth cleaned and with the retirement of my dentist, I had quite the conversation with my new dental hygienist.  Here is what I learned: Your mouth contains over 400 bacteria, most of which are used in the initial digestion of foods, but some that are just trouble makers (stress).  Best to remove these. Brushing and flossing not only remove food and the beginnings of plaque buildup, they also remove unwanted bacteria. Gargle and rinse! You should brush and floss your teeth twice a-day, but people who are stressed often skip brushing due to time constraints. Not good! Chewing gum isn’t not a good substitute for not brushing. Coffee and tea stain your teeth. Unless you know how to use a toothbrush properly, an electric brush is easier on your gums (gum tissue recedes with the aging process, but is accelerated with pour (rapid) brushing). Most surgeons (particularly cardiologists) won’t operate on patients until they have good dental work done first due to all the germs that can quickly migrate from the mouth via the capillaries to the heart. Stress (in the form of anger) can also result in TMJ (teeth grinding) which will ultimately result in bone loss. Not Good! A night guard may help the symptoms of TMJ, but not the cause.  I am happy to report a clean bill of health with my teeth. As I walked out I saw a poster that said, “Ignore your teeth and they will go away.” Good advice!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Good dental hygiene is essential, not just for your teeth, but for your overall health. Brush often (twice daily) and slowly. Brushing doesn’t remove all food particles, which why you need to floss as well. Avoiding (minimizing) sugar is always ideal as sugar and teeth enamel are not good friends. Sugar also can suppress the immune system. Remember, a smile is one of the best gifts you can give anyone.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
The following article from the Mayo Clinic provides some more information on this topic: Enjoy:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001
Quote for the Day:
“Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond.”  —Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote
Photo for the Day:
While in Hawaii in August last month I was able to photograph a rare (endangered) monk seal on the beach near my hotel in Oahu. I took many photos but his yawn  revealing his teeth was the most appropriate for this blog today. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Organic Food Choices: Eat for a Healthy Immune System

An article just published by researchers at Stanford University looked at the benefits of eating organic foods. Their results concluded there really is no benefit. This came as a bit of a surprise to the researchers.  Others too! Commentators on NPR this morning had an interesting take on this. The meta-analysis looked at studies two years in length. Most chronic diseases (including cancer) caused by the bio-accumulation of toxic petrochemicals (used in fertilizers and pesticides) take years if not decades to manifest.  I am reminded of the sage wisdom that states, “Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean your healthy.” For foods to be labeled organic, a few things need to be followed through: first, the soil has to be clean of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a three-year period. Secondly, foods cannot be grown with these chemicals. Thirdly foods cannot contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Commentators on NPR stated that one benefit the study failed to look at was that farmers who don’t use these chemicals also don’t have this toxic runoff into streams and lakes, where we tend to get our water supply.
Stress Tip for the Day:
The benefit of eating organic is not a daily exercise so much as it is a choice in the quality of your life; choosing to make healthy choices. The quality of food you eat is an investment in your health. Indeed, organic foods ARE more expensive,  mostly because the farmers who grow organic foods are not subsidized by governmental loans. What they didn’t say in this study was that the increased bio-accumulation of chemical toxins will compromise your immune system. So if nothing more, eating organic helps to promote a healthy immune system. Remember this advice too: error on the side of caution.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here a link which looks at the Stanford Study:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120904/us-med-healthbeat-organic-question/
Quote for the Day:

“Organic foods are richer in nutrients. This means they improve satiety and naturally help to regulate body weight. Plants produce antioxidants to protect themselves from pest, like insects, and to withstand harsh winters. When they are treated with chemicals such as pesticides, they don’t need to produce as much of their own natural defenses so the levels are lower.” — Cynthia Sass
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo was taken at my local Farmer’s Market where these farmers grow their crops organically, mostly because the people where I live demand better quality food. 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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

Enjoy the Rest of This Summer! See you In September!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Once again I will be on holiday the month of August and will return with new blog entries after Labor Day. I am leaving today to work with the US Army in a series of Stress Management Instructor workshops. After this and an event in California, I will be taking a rest and relaxation vacation and hopefully will have lots of new photos to go along with the new blog entries as well. Have a great rest of the summer and honor the concept of healthy boundaries! Take time for yourself.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Take time to relax, meditation and eat well! See you in September.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Dear Friends,
A good friend of mine, Sergio Lopez (a former Olympic athlete and now Olympic Swim Coach) posted this video on Youtube of Michael Phelps taking his victory lap around the pool side after receiving his lifetime achievement award. Sweet! and most likely you didn’t/won’t see this on TV. Congrats to Michael, Thanks to Sergio (you rock), and enjoy the rest of the Olympics….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQm2MvkkRLw&feature=share
Quotes for the Day:
“Enjoy the rest of the summer!” —Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
In honor of Michael Phelp’s tremendous success as the most victorious Olympic athlete ever, we honor his achievements, congratulate him and wish him well on his new ventures. Photo courtesy of the Internet. Thanks!
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 12 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 newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.