Good Stress (The Other Kind of Stress)

By Uncategorized No Comments


Distress gets its share of headline news these days, yet there is another kind of stress worthy of attention: Eustress (also known as good stress). Renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow called this kind of stress “peak experiences” a spiritual moment where you feel like you are one with the world. Eustress is any kind of experience where you feel exhilarated, inspired and happy. A whole new field of psychology had emerged from this concept: Positive Psychology. It takes a look at what’s right with human behavior (rather than Freud’s stance of what’s wrong with it). If you’ve ever heard Julie Andrews sing, “Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” then you’ll begin to have the idea of what this is all about. To see a stunning sunset, embrace a close friend whom you haven’t seen in years, to eat a favorite meal, to listen to a song that brings back enchanting memories, to stand in the presences of nature’s finest wildlife (and capture it on film), to share an exceptional experience with friends… these are some examples of eustress, and frankly, by and large we don’t have enough of these. While distress may be a part of the human experience, it doesn’t have to be the WHOLE experience. Balance is the key which is why eustress is so important.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a list of what brings joy in your life: Those things that make you feel happy, warm the heart and bring a smile to your face. Post this list some place where you can see it daily (and add to it as well). Make it habit to engage in one “eustress moment” each day (even if it’s brief moment). You will find that by looking for “raindrops on roses” you will begin to attract more of these moments into your life and achieve the balance toward inner peace.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
As you many know, Disney has repackaged the BBC Planet Earth series into a major motion picture called earth. They plan to release another movie next April (on Earth Day) on life under the sea. Here is a link to the preview which in and of itself is inspiring.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/oceans/large.html

• Photo of the Day:
Speaking of eustress, I was up in Kalispell, MT last weekend filming more footage for Earth Songs, a documentary film I am making on the healing power of nature. I was lucky enough to film a mountain lion, a lynx and a bobcat (as well as few more wolves). At times I was so in awe that I almost forgot to take photos. This lynx stole my heart (check out the size of his paws!) Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”
—Helen Keller

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Stress and Disease Connection (Part 1)

By Uncategorized No Comments

The association between stress and disease is colossal! The current estimate, by several researchers (and energy healers), suggests that as much as 85% of disease and illness is not only associated with stress—there is a causal relationship! Everything from the common cold to cancer (not to mention the tension headache) has an association with stress. Given the current news of the swine flu outbreak all over the world, remembering the stress and disease connection is timely (with the economic stress of the world, perhaps this is not to be unexpected?) Stress physiology can be complicated yet if we were to reduce it down to some basic facts these would be the ones to know: Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is released from the adrenal gland (which sit atop your kidneys) and sets off a whole cascade of metabolic reactions for “fight or flight” also known as the stress response. We don’t know why, but prolonged Cortisol effects include destroying white blood cells, meaning that chronic stress negatively impacts one’s immune system. Interestingly, Cortisol is often given to recipients of organ transplants so their bodies won’t reject the new organ. Given the connection between stress and disease, it is incumbent upon us to take time each day to allow our bodies to return to homeostasis which is why relaxation techniques are so important. Regarding the flu situation here are a few other suggestions to maintain optimal health: 1) decrease your refined sugar intake, 2) increase natural sources of vitamin C, 3) get a good night’s sleep and 4) exercise regularly.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Time for daily relaxation is essential in this day and age of rapid change (and migrating germs). Just sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing each morning for about 5 minutes is a great start to a habit of relaxation techniques. Close your eyes and place all of your attention on your breathing. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breathing. For the next five minutes… think of nothing but inhaling and exhaling.

• Books Worth Noting:
Currently I am reading Gregg Braden’s book titled, Fractal Time, where he synthesizes much information about the year 2012 and what it means symbolically. Gregg pulls together many sources and gives the mystical date a very grounded approach (as does Daniel Pinchbeck in his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl).

• Photo of the Day:
A few summers ago I went on a 10 day wilderness kayak trip to the northwestern part of Vancouver Island (Brooks Penninsula). It was a remarkable trip on many levels including the eagles who came around during our smudging ceremonies. Her is one of my friends, Jack, taking time one morning to do his practice of meditation.

Speaking of friends… Dan Bretton… give me a call! Its been too long!

• Quote for the Day:
“Meditation… it’s not what you think.”
—Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

A Good Night’s Sleep

By Uncategorized One Comment


Even before the economic collapse last fall, people were having a tough time getting a good habitual night’s sleep. Various research studies indicate that perhaps as much as 60-65% of Americans are sleep deprived on a regular basis. Chronic Insomnia is a new epidemic hitting the country, some say with a vengence! Although there are many causes for insomnia (from jet lag to menopause) it is estimated that over half of all insomnia is the result of STRESS! Insomnia is such a problem that it not only affects work productivity and safety (such as driving), but ultimately one’s health. One of the biggest effects of NOT getting a good night’s sleep regularly is the impact on one’s immune system which is greatly compromised, thus laying the groundwork for many chronic health issues. One of the first aspects to consider when understanding a case of insomnia is what is known as “Sleep Hygiene:” When approaching your own sleep hygiene, it’s best to consider everything that affects the five senses (e.g., light, heat, noise and sleeping surface…such as linen and pillows, etc.). By and large, most people could use an upgrade in their sleep hygiene, including removing the television from the bedroom. The topic of insomnia is far more complex than a short blog can do justice to (which means we will revisit this topic again).

• Stress Tip for the Day:
The hormone melatonin is secreted in the evening hours as natural light diminishes and it is this hormone that is called the “sleep hormone” because it is responsible for ensuring a good night’s sleep. Eating carbohydrate rich food is known to increase Serotonin levels which will decrease melatonin levels, thus impacting your quality of sleep. One suggestion for a good night’s sleep is to consider NOT eating a late night snack. Currently, we don’t know the full effects of cell phone use (ELF’s) on the brain, but it is suggested that repeated cell phone use decrease melatonin production as well (FYI).

• Links Worth Noting:
These two links were sent to me last week. They are from the TED.com website which features various luminaries in a 20 minute lecture format. This lecture highlights various aspects of new technology. If you are interested in seeing where things are going, take a peek:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfV4R4x2SK0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeRuce775bI

• Photo of the Day:
While there are many photos I could have used for this photo, I opted for a bedroom scene I shot while on vacation in St. Lucia (Jade Mountain). This place is paradise and from what I hear, everyone sleeps well while on vacation.

• Quote for the Day:

“Americans are the most entertained and least informed people on the planet”
—Robert F. Kenney JR

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Every Day is EARTH DAY

By Uncategorized One Comment


April 22 marks a special day in our earthly calendar; a day to renew our relationship with the planet. Earth day means many things to many people, but as we see the realization of a global village take effect, and projections that it would take 6-8 planet earths in natural resources for all her inhabitants to live like Americans (who as we all know consume 1/4 of the worlds resources), this year underscores the importance of sustainability. Sustainability is something we should all take to heart… and put into practice.

Naturalist M. J. Slim Hooey penned these words that were first puplished in the book, Earth Prayers (Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, Editors) as a reminder for all of Earth’s inhabitants:

I have come to terms with the future.
From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth.
Plant trees. Kill no living things.
Live in harmony with all creatures.
I will restore the earth where I am.

Use no more of its resources than I need.

And listen; listen to what it is telling me.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Step outside at dusk tonight with a blanket to observe the Milky Way and the constellations. Reacquaint yourself with the ocean tides and the phases of the moon. Memorize the cricket’s song, or the eagles’ cry and address the trees and flowers by their names. See yourself as part of the natural world, not separate from it. Inner peace abounds in nature. Allow it to abound in you as well.

• Links Worth Noting:
A friend sent this link to me in the hopes that I would share it with as many people as possible. Please take a look and read the message. It is one that I feel we all need to hear.
http://www.environmentmagazine.org/March-April%202009/Nisbet-full.html

• Photo of the Day:
This is one of the best photos of the planet earth I have seen. It was on a calendar from Deepak Chopra’s Center. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson, Environmentalist and author of Silent Spring

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Forgiveness

By Uncategorized No Comments


It’s hard to believe that the Columbine High School shootings took place ten years ago. At times it seems like it occured yesterday. That catastrophic event was the epitome of stress for scores of people across the state. During this past week, various NPR (local and national) programs have focused on the anniversary of this horrid event by talking to survivors (students, teachers, the principle) and family members of those who were killed. One recurring theme that came up in each interview was whether each person has come to a place of forgiveness with the killers. Forgiveness, under any circumstance, is a tremendous challenge to the heart (and ego), particularly when a loved one is killed. I have met many people in my life who have had a loved one taken from them, and in the course of these conversations forgiveness often comes up. Just as with these most recent interviews with Columbine High School survivors, many said that they had to learn to forgive the killers so they could move on with their lives. Forgiveness is not letting somebody off the hook, or condoning reckless behavior. Forgiveness is coming to terms with the situation, as horrible as it may be, and moving on with your life gracefully. While it may seem important (even necessary) to hang on to resentment (and many people do… as a form of control), when we hang on to anger (a form of unresolved stress), we give our power away. Forgiveness is one of many ways of reclaiming your power.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Extending forgiveness to someone doesn’t have to include a face to face contact. Forgiveness begins with an attitude of letting go of anger feelings and feelings of victimization and moving on. In essence, forgiveness is the act of opening a closed heart. Forgiveness is not the same thing as restitution. If you are waiting for an apology with your act of forgiveness, you may be waiting for a very long time. Is there someone whom you are carrying some ill-feelings toward (e.g., a grudge)? Now is the time to let go of this emotional baggage and lighten the load of your life journey. Now is the time to move on with your life.

• Books Worth Noting:
I am often asked, when giving talks on forgiveness, to recommend a few resources. Although there are many good books on the topic of forgiveness, my favorite book is by Fred Luskin, Forgive For Good. I highly recommend it!

• Photo of the Day:
This photo is an illustration that one of my college students drew in an art therapy session. She drew a picture of herself grieving. I learned later that day that she (along with 6 others in the class) was a survivor of the Columbine Shootings and this, she said, was a very cathartic way to relieve her stress.

• Quote for the Day:
“ He who angers you, conquers you.”
—Elizabeth Kenny

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Art of Gratitude

By Uncategorized 2 Comments


These times of economic stress may seem like a black cloud over one’s head, but in truth we always have much to be thankful for. A friend whose husband left her and her four children (for another woman) told me that at least she had her health and she was very grateful for that. Another friend called me last week to tell me she lost her job. While she was grieving the loss, she expressed her gratitude for a supportive group of friends and family. I have a dear friend named Mark, who, when I ask him how he’s doing, often replies, “ By American standards, fair. By world standards, quite excellent.” Perspective makes the art of gratitude a little easier. In times of loss (or unmet expectations) it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves. Don’t deny yourself this human experience, but after 5-10 minutes start giving thanks for all the things going right in your world. This shift in attitude can help redirect your life. So…can you breath? Good! There are many people who are on respirators. Can you walk? Excellent! I have two friends who are paraplegics who cannot. By giving thanks for the small things we begin to open our hearts and find our way back to balance.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Based on an exercise created by my friend Ilan Shamir, called “1,000 Things Went Right Today,” I often give people this exercise is my stress management seminars. Rather than asking for 1,000 I let them off easy and only ask for ten. Pull out a pad of paper and pen and start writing. If you come up with ten quickly, add another 20 items to your list. Then post it somewhere where you can see it regularly and remind yourself just how good you really have it.

• Links Worth Noting:
I have been a fan of the movie, The Sound of Music ever since my Grandmother took me to see it decades ago. A friend who knows I love the movie sent me this link. This is really quite remarkable, definitely a feel good video and make sure to watch it all the way to the end (I am guessing most of the people learned this before but there seems to be a few people who picked up the moves rather quickly.

http://video.yahoo.com/network/100000089?v=4816051&l=100022574

• Photo of the Day:
I am very grateful that I had the chance to go to the island of St. Lucia (in the Caribbean) to do some filming for my upcoming movie, Earth Songs. Here is a photo of one of my favorite places on earth. Enjoy! By the way, I am also very grateful to all of you who read this blog (and even send email comments!). Thanks!
• 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

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Self-Esteem: The Backbone of Good Stress Management

By Uncategorized No Comments


It’s been said that when our self-esteem is high, problems simply roll off our backs. When self-esteem is low, we are a “bulls-eye target” for stress. Self-esteem has many definitions, mostly regarding how we value ourselves. Those who research the many aspects of self-esteem include these factors: Mentors (people whom we look up to), Uniqueness (things that we feel make us special and unique), Empowerment (things we feel we have control of), Social Support (friends and family) and Calculated Risk Taking. As a rule, people tend to focus on what they feel are their negative aspects rather than those things they having going for them. While this ego-bashing behavior is normal (on occasion) its neither normal nor healthy on a regular basis and only lays the groundwork for a black cloud of stress over your head. Part of boosting your self-esteem requires to put your eggs (talents) in many baskets so if/when you have a bad day, you don’t have a scrambled mess. Where there is stress, there is ego right behind it, usually exaggerating the negative. Boosting self-esteem to combat stress begins with the practice of “domesticating the ego” so you don’t have poop all over the place. Remember… you are not just your job, your paycheck or your mortgage payment. Like a diamond, you are a multi-faceted human being.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a list of 10 things that make you feel unique and special. Start with the physical aspects but then move into the less tangible but very important inner resources (e.g. sense of humor, sense of adventure, etc.). If you are having a hard time coming up with ten, ask a few friends to contribute to your list. Then post the list where you can see it every day… to remind you of your highest potential.

• Links Worth Noting:
Speaking of Self-Esteem, this link came to me today and I am so delighted to share it with you.
This is a reminder NOT to judge a book by its cover, nor a person by their looks. We are all so talented is so many ways. In a world were we seem to worship people for their looks (with facelifts and breast enlargements, etc), this woman is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. Look at the smile on Simon’s face as she is singing. UNREAL! This made my day, and I hope it makes your too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk&feature=related

• Photo of the Day:
This is a photo I took up in Rocky Mountain National Park of a high self-esteem moment. Enjoy!

• Quote for the Day:
“Be Yourself! Everybody else is taken!”
—Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Myth of Multitasking

By Uncategorized One Comment


Man crashes commuter train while text-messaging a friend. Woman kills little girl riding her bike while talking on cell phone driving. Teen crashing car while text-messaging. These facts are rather startling and they underscore the myth of multitasking. Research is very clear that mind cannot do more than one or two things at a time and do them well, yet despite the facts (and mounting death toll) people have to find out for themselves the hard way. Technology may save us time in accomplishing tasks yet it is very deceiving in making us believe that we can do several things at once (and do them well). Not only does this lead to more hyper behavior (some people say Type A behavior), but the quality of work done never surpasses that which is done when the mind is focused on just one thing at a time. In fact, its often of lesser quality. When asked, people often say they multitask to save time (often commenting that there is never enough time to get things done anyway). Talking on your cell phone while reading emails may seem benign. Killing someone with a car is another matter entirely. Don’t create more stress in your life by complicating it with technology. Stay mindful of all that you do.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Train you mind to focus on one task at a time today (even if it drives you crazing). This is also called mindfulness! If your reading emails, just read emails. If you’re on the phone, place all of your concentration there. Stay in the moment and stay focused on one thing at a time.

• Links Worth Noting:
My good friend and photographer Elan Sunstar has collaborated with two authors in a new book project about the youth of aging. The photographs on this link are very inspiring as I am sure the book is too. Enjoy!
http://www.sunstarphoto.com/Development/youthinga.html

• Photo of the Day:
A friend (thanks Michele) posed for a photo of multitasking to be used in the Managing Stress (6E) PowerPoint series.

• Quote for the Day:
“I’m an old man now, and I have known a great many problems in my life…most of which never happened.”
—Mark Twain

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Circadian Rhythms: Time To Reset Your Body Clock!

By Uncategorized No Comments


It would stand to reason that living on a planet that takes approximately 24 hours to spin around its axis, our bodies would adapt to this planetary/solar clock. In fact, scientists have a name for this wonderful adaptation: Circadian rhythms. Our bodies, in fact, do operate on a 24+ hour clock and research shows that health is optimized when we live our lives in accordance to these rhythms. By not doing so we tend to add another layer of stress to our bodies laying the seeds for potential illness and health issues. Eating each meal at about the same time each day, going to sleep and getting up at about the same time each day (even weekends) and exercising at about the same time each day all contribute to optimal health with our circadian rhythms. It may even promote longevity. Circadian rhythms are thought to play an essential role in quality sleep. Its also known that certain times of the day are better for chemotherapy treatment due to these natural rhythms. In a stress-filled world, it is easy to get off schedule with our eating habits. Sleep patterns are also greatly affected by stress as well. It is important to remember our connection to the natural world and that whether we like it or not, we are directly connected to it. When we honor this connection it can only help enhance our quality of health.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a mental note as the times of day you eat your meals. If you are 30 mins off from what you deem as your normal eating times off this might suggest a closer look at how this affects your circadian rhythms. Note the same with your sleep cycles. One way you can tell if you are “regular” with these cycles is to note time approximate time of day for your bowel movements (a strong indicator of circadian rhythms regarding your GI track physiology).

• Books Worth Noting:
One of my favorite books of all time is the classic, The Cosmic Serpent, by Jeremy Narby. It’s a look into the art and science of our DNA. Narby began his explorations by his research into ethno-botany and the study of ayahuasca during his trips to the Amazon Basis.

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken out in Death Valley a few years back. I was attending a photography workshop and one night we decided to try to shoot the movement (rotation) of the earth by pointing the cameras toward the north star (Polaris).

• Quote for the Day:
“ Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”
—Lily Tomlin

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Good Vibrations!

By Uncategorized No Comments


A stress study conducted by the Mitchum Deodorant company years ago found that more people site “listing to music” as their premier way to relax more so than any other technique and although this study was done a while ago, one can assume with the recent introduction of the Ipod to the world culture that things have only increased in this direction. Why is music thought to be so influential on mind, body and spirit? One reason attributed to music has to do with the actual vibrations that we soak in through our entire body (not just the ears). The term is called “entrainment” and it comes to us from the field of physics: The ability of an object to adapt to nearby sympathetic frequencies. One thing researchers have learned about music is that for it to REALLY be relaxing, its best NOT to have lyrics (words begin to involve the left hemisphere of the brain, the side that is really good with perpetuating the stress response). Taste also accounts for a great deal with regard to “how relaxing is the music.” Jazz, new age, and classical are the primary examples of instrumental music which promotes relaxation but it’s best to explore what you like best. Time and time again, classical music scores very high when aspects of heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension are looked at. Perhaps Mozart and Beethoven were really on to something. Go check ‘em out.

Stress Tip for the Day: Stop everything for a moment and simply listen to a favorite instrumental song—completely uninterrupted. Allow your body to float down the river of music and relax—completely. (If you cannot do it now, try this when you get home from work.)

• Website Links Worth Noting:
Well over a year ago, author (and bright star on the planet), Elan Sunstar invited me to contribute a short chapter to his new book, SMILE! The book has just come off the press. The other day “Sun” interviewed me for a little promotional piece for his book. This link will take you there:
http://www.smilesbook.com/smile%20interviews/Smile!_BrianLukeSeaward.mp3

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken at the Vermont Mozart Festival several years ago, hosted at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. I’ll never forget that when the orchestra played Mozart’s Concerto in C minor, birds came out of the woods and hovered over the stage for the entire song. It was magic. CD’s and Ipods are great, but nothing beats live music.

• Quote for the Day:
“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”
—Maria von Trapp

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Come On Out and Play!

By Uncategorized 3 Comments


The Puritan Ethic has a very strong grip of the American culture, well after it was brought over from England centuries ago. “Worth =Work” may not appear on bumper stickers, but a great many people live by this expression. To place all of your self-worth and self-esteem in your job or career is nothing less than insanity. You are not just your job or your pay check. While we all have to pay the mortgage, balance is the key to life. Experts in the field of Leisure Studies see an alarming decrease in the time spent in leisure pursuits for adults. Many people claim to have neither the time or energy to engage in recreational pleasures after work or on the weekends, yet these same people put in way more than 40 hours per week at work. While it’s true that a job does support one’s purpose in life, a meaningful life of just work can become toxic when things go bad at the office. Healthy boundaries are essential. Play, no mater what form it takes, is the balance to work. In the words of Jackson H. Brown (author of Life’s Little Instruction Book), “No one ever said on their deathbed, I wish I spent more time at the office.” It’s time to place a stake in the heart of the Puritan Work Ethic and declare some play time in your life!

Stress Tip for the Day:
Play isn’t just for school kids with recess. Play (non work time) is essential for everyone. Take a look at your schedule this week and ask yourself where is there time to allocate one hour (more if you can) of scheduled play. Calling a friend (to come out and play) is also a great idea! Then make this a part of every week!

• Website Links Worth Noting:
This website offers a fresh new look on Complimentary Healing and appears to have a DVD with a trailer to watch. Enjoy!
http://www.thelivingmatrixmovie.com/

• Photo of the Day:
Dolphins are the masters of play. This photo was taken at SeaWorld in Florida several years ago. This dolphin came out of nowhere to appear right in front of me face to face. I put my camera down, gave the dolphin a hug and then took his photo.

• Quote for the Day:
“Never pass up the opportunity to sell your cow for some magic beans.”
—Tom Robbins

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Respond, Don’t React!

By Uncategorized One Comment


Respond, don’t react is a useful mantra (a living reminder) I teach at the start of my stress management classes. Under stress we tend to be in some level of survival mode. The primary two emotions under stress are anger (fight) and fear (flight). While these emotions may be beneficial for short-term survival from physical stress, they can cause BIG problems for long-term implications. Many reactions made under the pitch of anger, fear or both often necessitate a fair amount of “clean-up” afterwards (e.g., saying something we regret). While it may seem natural to “react” to stress at the time, a prudent approach is always best. In these times of economic uncertainty “responses” to stress are surely needed. Responding is a skill (like golf or swimming). Practice will serve you well.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated about something that didn’t go as planned, step outside of yourself (also called “ego detachment”) to form an appropriate response, rather than possibly regretting a reaction you made in haste. Keep working on this until it becomes second nature: The benefits are immeasurable. Respond, don’t react.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
http://www.awakeningearth.com/writing-mainmenu-82/living-universe

• Highly Recommended Book Worth Reading:
A good friend of mine (thanks Llyn) put me in touch with one of her friends who happened to be in Boulder last night for an event. We sat down over dinner before he gave an evening presentation based on his best selling books, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of The United States. John Perkins writes extremely well and his story is one that may interest you. I found it fascinating. Perhaps most fascinating is his interest in shamanism (learned in Ecuador when he nearly died as a Peace Corp voluteer, was healed and the repayment was, you guessed it: learn to become a shaman). He “came out” as and EHM after 9/11 and is now one of the biggest advocates for sustainable living.

• Photo of the Day:
I just returned from a trip to St. Lucia where I happened to be very lucky to catch this photo of a humming bird that is looking directly at me, suspended in mid air. I call this guy the “Jedi Ninja humming bird.” On second thought, he could have been flirting with me with his forhead colors.

• Quote for the Day:

“If you get angry, count to ten. If you get really angry, count to 100.”
—Thomas Jefferson

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Water: The Source of Life!

By Uncategorized No Comments


The climate I live in is classified as a “semi-arid desert.” It’s very dry! Just under a mile above sea level, the air is thin and people, mostly visitors, begin to show signs of “Mountain Sickness” (e.g. headaches, fatigue, dizziness, etc.) even before they even head up into the mountains. We have an expression here: “If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” Whether you live up in the mountains or down at sea level, a great many people today are walking around “dehydrated” which, in no uncertain terms, is a stress to the body. In our heavily caffeinated society, its good to remind yourself that caffeine acts as a diuretic, often urging the body to deplete the essential nutrient of water through urine elimination. Stress will do this too! The combination compounds the situation. Not only does dehydration tend to make one feel more fatigued, it places stress on the body’s physiological systems to perform under pressure. One consequence of persistent dehydration is kidney stones. Water, you see, helps to clear the body of toxins and waste products that indeed need to be eliminated. The “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water” rule is a good start with, but the actual amount is very dependent on one’s body weight. The real indication of your level of hydration is the color of your urine. Optimal hydration offers “near clear urine.” Consistently dark urine suggests potential health problems. Drinking too much water is problematic too. Balance is the key. If you have listened to the news much these days, you might have noticed that water is a hot topic: Shortages, unregulated bottled water issues, pharmaceutical toxins as well as plethora of agricultural run-off that finds it’s way into our tap water. UGH! Bottom line: It’s always a good idea to drink filtered water and enough to stay properly hydrated.

• Stress Tip for the Day: Make a mental note to pay attention to the color of your urine for the next several days and check to see how your hydration levels are. Consider drinking water at meals rather than sodas and cut back on beverages that contain caffeine.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
Greg Bradden and colleagues at the Institute of Heart Math have started an organization called the global coherence. In a nutshell, it’s about a mind shift needed by people to help make this a better world. Pleas check out this link and if so inspired join.
http://www.glcoherence.org/

Highly Recommended Book Worth Reading:
I have been a fan of Jane Goodall for several decades and I was ecstatic to read her best selling book, Reason for Hope. Not only is it an autobiography, but in it she offers hope for our world situation today. It is one of my all time favorite books and in these stressful times, I HIGHLY recommend it.

• Photo of the Day:
One of my best friends, Dan Hickin (Hi Dan!) is a nature enthusiast like me. On a visit to Ohio a few years ago he took me to the National Park by his house and we went for a hike to his favorite waterfall. It’s a beautiful waterfall.

• Quote for the Day:

“Depart not from the path from which fate has you assigned.”
— Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Importance of Dreams in Resolving Stress

By Uncategorized No Comments


In this day and age, its surprising how little attention we pay to the power and wisdom of the unconscious mind. Experts remind us that about 85% of our behaviors are driven by the unconscious mind. With that much influence you might think that we would pay a little more attention to this wealth of information and influence. Unlike the conscious mind, the unconscious mind (which is in full operation 24/7) speaks in the language of colors, symbols, stories, metaphors and dreams, with dreams being perhaps the best means of communication. While we sleep it is thought we have about 3-4 dream periods (usually during REM). During this time, the unconscious mind does its best to “problem solve” by giving insights to personal situations, problems and issues. The insights are often “coded” and rarely a literal interpretation. While Freud said that dreams conceal various aspects of our personality, Jung argued that dreams don’t conceal, they REVEAL these aspects. We just need to be bi-lingual with dream language. Jung spent nearly his life work teaching us how to do this but as with much wisdom, it often gets forgotten with contemporary distrations. Learning the language of the unconscious mind takes work, but the payoff is always rewarding. Both Freud and Jung studied dreams long before the invention and prolific use of television AND its influence on our minds. It’s fair to say that these images (from violence, sex, etc) as well as those by movies have an effect that has yet to be fully accounted for. Nor has the impact on these shows toward personal levels of stress been fully researched. But you don’t need to be Freud or Jung to know that surely what we take in through the media definitely affects profoundly us at an unconscious level. Recurring dreams are a means for the unconscious mind to get your attention to work on the resolution of a specific issue. Jung was of the opinion that we could do this through lucid dreaming (visualization) to consciously finish/ resolve the dream with a happy ending. In doing so, you then send a message to the unconscious mind to continue this resolution process and reduce this latent stress. The message here is not to ignore your dreams; they may offer insights to help you reduce stress! So pay attention to your dreams, they may be your best means to help resolve stress.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider keeping a pad of paper and pen by your bed to jot down some/any notes you might have about dreams (or dream fragments) from the night before. Writing them down often helps remember more of them. Also by reminding yourself as you place head to pillow that you wish to remember your dreams you plant a seed in the unconscious mind to do so.

• Website Links Worth Noting:
A group in California has embarked on a wonderful idea: to conduct inspiring lectures from some of our world’s most insightful luminaries. The website is called:

http://www.ted.com/

and it contains many great talks. One talk I feel compared to share is by Al Gore whose message is important for all of us to heed.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/al_gore_on_averting_climate_crisis.html

• Photo of the Day:
This is a photo composite I created (with the help of Photoshop expert, Mark S. Johnson (www.marksjohnsonphotoraphy.com ). Although it was made to convey a sense of practicing mental imagery, it also conveys a sense of remembering your dreams.

• Quote for the Day:

“ Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
— Helen Keller

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Did Someone Say, “ Mental Health Day?”

By Uncategorized No Comments


Having a routine offers stability in a typically frenetic day. Routines offer structure so we don’t feel like we are adrift in the open sea of life. As children we rely on routines for emotional, even physical stability. Even pets crave routines! As our lives tend to get more complicated, having a routine adds a bit of normalcy to a hectic day. This is one reason why exercise and meditation are thought to be so beneficial; they offer structure and often balance each day to a busy life. As great as routines are, however, at times they can feel like a rut. Predictability is nice, but so too, is a change of pace every now and then, which is why we need periodic vacations. While its not always practical to up and leave for the beach or the mountains weeks on end, taking an occasional mental health day is highly recommended. In Colorado where I live, these days go by another name (for those who ski). Its called a “powder day,” and for a host of reasons you will commonly see people who will take a day off from work during the week and head up into the mountains (I also call this “Mountain Therapy”!) In the days of old (like 30 years ago) Sundays, a day of rest, were our mental health days. Today people (unless your Amish) rarely rest on Sundays. That day is now relegated to catching up on the past six days of running around like a crazy person. Living in a 24/7 world may seem to have its advantages yet the long-term implications greatly affect one’s health. Health! Mental health! Mental Health Day! Consider it an investment into your life.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Without lying (calling in sick) create a way that you can take a mental health day for yourself. If not a whole day, perhaps a few hours in the course of a day. Schedule a massage. Take a walk along the nearest beach or park. Do something for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.

• Website Link Worth Noting:
I have a friend named Sun who periodically emails me the most wonderful weblinks. This one comes to us from the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), a wonderful organization whose mission is to help raise consciousness and make this a better world. This link is called one minute shifts. There are several to choose from. Enjoy!

http://oneminuteshift.com/

• Photo of the Day
I took a mental health myself yesterday (a powder day skiing in Winter Park). It was a great day in the mountains, and I was not alone in my efforts to maintain my mental health. I took this photo of others who had the same idea. Join the club and make this a habit for yourself as well.

• Joke of the Day

A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver’s license.
First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test.
The optician showed him a card with the letters
‘C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.’
‘Can you read this?’ the optician asked.
‘Read it?’ the Polish guy replied, ‘I know the guy.’

• Quote for the Day:

“ In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Time to Tickle the Funny Bone

By Uncategorized One Comment


There is nothing funny about being laid off, losing half of your retirement in the stock market or having your whole world crumble beneath your feet, but if you talk to anybody who’s been through hell (and kept going), you will learn that having a sense of humor is a crucial aspect to effectively coping with stress. In stress management circles, it’s called “humor therapy” or comic relief. Freud called humor one of the best defense mechanisms because it decreases pain AND increases pleasure. Boy do we need some humor in these rapidly changing times. Have you ever said to yourself during a really bad moment, “A year from now, this will be funny, but right now, it’s not funny!” Well… don’t wait a whole year; you might forget to cash in. Laugh now! Stressful episodes, no matter how intense or prolonged, typically include a period of grieving (which is only natural). Humor helps ease the pain of stress and gets you back on the road to your highest potential. In Viktor Frankl’s classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he describes the horrible ordeal of surviving in Auschwitz the notorious Holocaust concentration death camp. Even under the worst of all possible conditions, he said people could find things to bring a smile to their face. We would do well to learn from Frankl. There are many kinds of humor; from self-parody to irony to satire, double entrendres, puns, even bathroom humor, but the one kind of humor that doesn’t reduce stress is sarcasm (which literally means “to tear flesh”). Sarcasm is a latent form of anger and it would be best to minimize or abandon this style all together. So start your day by putting a smile on your face and see if you can reach what some people say is the quota of 15 laughs per day. Start with the photo up top.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider starting a “Tickler Notebook”: a collection of funny jokes, jpgs, birthday cards, Dave Barry columns—anything that brings a smile to your face and warms your heart. If you start looking for one funny thing a day, the truth is that you will find many things to laugh at, even in the worst of times. Having this notebook to refer to when you are down in the dumps is a great humor Rx.
Another suggestion is to listen to NPR’s Car Talk show (usually on weekends) with Click and Clack. (This show masquerades as a car talk show, but it’s really a high brow comedy show and one of the best programs on the radio (not bad car advice either).

• Website Link Worth Noting:
Dewitt Jones is a phenomenal nature photographer and he has a website that’s for anybody who wants to see the world in a new (better) way.
Please explore his website and see how you feel afterwards. Most likely you will be ready to conquer the world. Enjoy
http://www.celebratetraining.com/

• Photo of the Day
This photo was sent to me by a friend who knows I love funny things. Given that Colorado is a semi-arid part of the country where forest fire danger is high here too, we might be seeing these kinds of signs as well. I don’t know who created this but thank you for sharing your sense of humor.

• Quote for the Day:
“I’m and old man and I have know a great many problems, most of which never
happened. ”
—Mark Twain

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

Friends in Need: The Buffer Theory

By Uncategorized No Comments


There are many effective coping techniques for stress, but one that surfaces time and time again is the one called social support networks (known more commonly to you and me as “friends.”) In this day and age of rapid change and upheaval, its a good coping technique to fall back on. Research shows that people who have solid friendships tend to weather the storms of stress better than those who have a poor social network, or feel isolated. It would stand to reason, being that by and large, people are often called, the social animal. Perhaps John Donne said it best, “No man is an island.” In sociology circles, having a strong circle of friends is known as “The buffer theory.” The logic is that friends tend to buffer you from the harshest effects of stress and soften the blow if/when you get knocked over. It should be noted that friends are not people who always take your side in conflicts, nor are they “yes’ men to all of your ideas. Friends act as sounding boards, conversation partners, exercise comrades and people who simply show up because you need a shoulder (real or metaphorical) to cry on. The classic study on support groups was conducted with women with breast cancer decades ago and holds as true to day as it did when the data was collected and anylized. Those who were involved with a strong social support network far outlived their counterparts without the buffer of friends and family. The authors of the best selling book, Megatrends suggested that as we become more reliant on technology the importance of friends will only grow. As a rule people who spend more time with a keyboard and computer screen tend to have less “real time” with other humans—at a cost. While social support networking on the Internet is a great way to connect virtually, nothing can replace face-to -face human contact.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider calling up a friend this week and invite them to go for an afternoon walk or a cup of tea, OR, invite some friends over for a weekend potluck dinner party. Since friends tend to come in and out of our lives these days (e.g., relocation, death, new jobs, etc.) consider striking up a new friendship with someone at work or even your neighborhood and invite them to join you for lunch or tea. As the saying goes, “You can never have enough true friends.”

• Website Link Worth Noting:
Cancer has become all too common these days and despite the gains made in Western medicine, this disease still sends chills up the spine of anyone who hears this prognosis. A friend of mine, who was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago started a website business called www.cancergifts.com When the cancer returned, she sold the business to a beautiful soul named Tricia who has taken over the reins masterfully. If you know of someone who has come down with cancer and are looking for away to offer support consider visiting this website for ideas.
www.cancergifts.com

Photo of the Day:
Twice a year I host a potluck and house concert at my place. As someone who tends to be on the road a lot, it’s a great way for me to reconnect with good friends and family and offer some first class entertainment (e.g., Celtic music, jazz, folk music), not to mention some great food, my friends can cook really well. This photo is of my friends, Jessie Burns/fiddle (of the group Gaelic Thunder) Adam Agee/fiddle and Jon Souza/guitar and banjo brought the house down last year. Everyone is awaiting their return to the next potluck party.

• Quote for the Day:

“A true friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
— Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

Food As A Stress Pacifier?

By Uncategorized No Comments


For ten years I taught a course titled, Nutrition, Health and Performance at the University of Colorado-Boulder. I had studied nutrition in graduate school, but boy, did I really learn about this topic when I actually taught it. As a result, even though I thought I was eating rather well, this new focus caused me to take a new look at my eating habits. Regarding stress and nutrition, here are some interesting facts to ponder:
• During periods of chronic stress, we tend to deplete vital nutrients necessary for optimal living, primarily the water soluble vitamins (C and B-Complex) as well as many minerals, all of which are used for energy metabolism (fight or flight).
• During periods of chronic stress, people tend to eat “comfort foods” (junk foods, fast foods, and processed foods which are high in processed sugar, fats (and trans fats), salt. While these may taste good, they are called “empty calories” because they don’t replace the essential nutrients lost in the course of chronic stress. The opposite of empty calories is nutrient dense food. Think a Twinkie vs. an apple.
• During periods of chronic stress people tend to consume foods that actually trigger the stress response (trigger the release of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine). These include processed sugar, processed flour, and caffeine. Once should note that salt, also found in these kinds of foods, tends to increase water retention, leading to elevated blood pressure levels. If you are prone for hypertension, this is NOT good.
• A fourth factor to consider is that while the food supply in America is plentiful, it is also laden with toxic chemicals that should never be allowed in food (As we have learned with the last administration, the FDA is in the pockets of corporate America who is into making profits, not creating health). Herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers (many of which are petroleum-based have synthetic estrogens associated with breast cancer) are not only on the foods; they are IN The foods we eat, with the exception of organics. When you add to this mix antibiotics and hormones in non-organic meats, the immune system becomes overwhelmed (suppressed) and this leads to a whole host of health-related problems.
Given the alarming rise of chronic diseases and their association with stress, paying more attention to our eating habits is essential, particularly in times of stress (personal or otherwise). Moderation is the key! Changing eating behaviors is challenging at best, but not impossible. What I often told my students was this” “Eat one meal a day for your immune system.”

• Stress Tip for the Day: It has been reported by a few nutrition experts that sugar tends to suppress the immune system. Our food supply is loaded with processed sugar including high fructose corn syrup (sugar in fresh fruits is fine). Consider dramatically decreasing your consumption of foods containing processed sugar for the next week. In essence, become more conscious of what you are eating, and particularly where it comes from.

• Website Link Worth Noting:
This website link is called Wisdom Book, a collection of short interviews with the likes of several world luminaries (e.g. Robert Redford, Jane Goodall). It is very inspiring.
http://wisdombook.org/

Photo of the Day:
This bowl of organic fresh strawberries was as delicious as it looks. Remember its always best to shop organic when possible.

• Quote for the Day:

“Sixty percent of all cancers could be eliminated if people ate a better diet.”
—The American Cancer Society

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

These Days of Sensory Bombardment

By Uncategorized One Comment


Never in the history of humanity are people being bombarded with so much information… and advertising from every direction of technology. Some estimates suggest that on average we are exposed to as much as 3,000+ advertisements per day. Bits and bytes of information zooming into our brains through the eyes, ears, skin (and nose?) are estimated to be in the tens of thousands per minute. It wasn’t long ago that people had a choice of three TV stations to watch, and each house had just one phone number. Those days seem like ancient history now. Experts suggest that all of this media and wonderful technology that is so accessible is simply overloading our brains with a cacophony of information. As a result many people are showing signs of impatience, rudeness, irritability, poor attention span and poor sleep (insomnia); in other words: STRESS! It has long been known in stress management circles that sensory bombardment leads to eventual “burnout” with many of the same symptoms listed above. Not only does one begin to process all of this sensory information poorly, but at some level it, triggers the stress response to heighten your awareness, thus elevating the threshold of excitement. What this means is that it becomes harder and harder to relax—and have your body return to a sense of homeostasis. The end result could be one or several manifestations of chronic disease or illness, ranging from headaches to something much worse. Life is WAY too short for this. Remember technology is here to serve us. We are not supposed to be slaves to it.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider giving yourself one hour a day free from technology and media— all which begs for your attention. This includes not using an IPOD while exercising. Give your mind a chance to deprogram from the sensory bombardment that is ever so pervasive in the American (if not global) culture. For those of you having problems sleeping at night, its very likely you will see a difference.

• On The Shelf: Book Recommendations:
A friend of mine mentioned a new book on the market called Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D. This book is the newest in the wave of books on the field of Positive Psychology and definitely worth reading.
A colleague of mine, Ron Frederick, has written a new book titled, Living Like You Mean It: Using the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want, which I also highly recommend.

Photo of the Day
This is a photo supporting the idea of taking time each day to unplug from technology and enjoy the simple things in life, in this case … a walk on the beach!

• Quote for the Day:

“If you want fast acting relief… try slowing down.”
—Lily Tomlin

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

Two Brains are Best With Stress

By Uncategorized No Comments


Split-brain research is so well known, the concepts of right-brain and left-brain thinking can practically be found on the back of cereal boxes today. Here is what you don’t hear that often about right brain (the intuitive, imaginative side) and left-brain (the analytical, rational side) t hought processing. The left-brain is more active during times of stress. The left-brain functions (e.g., judgment, time awareness, verbal acuity, linear thought processing, etc.), are essential for survival, hence t hey are the cornerstones to fight or flight. The right brain skills are more easily engaged during times of relaxation. Balance is the key! It has been said that American is a “left-brained country” in which the left brain skills are encouraged, even honored more so than the right brain skills (just ask any starving artist!). America is also a very stressed country (e.g., record numbers of people on anti-depressants, obesity issues, suicides and of course the every looming economic meltdown are just some examples). With all of this in mind, it stands to reason that it would be in our best interest to balance the hemispheres of thought by taking time to exercise the right brain for cognitive balance (and peace of mind). There are many ways to do this, but meditation is a great place to start. Sitting quietly (with no interruptions) and simply focusing on your breathing each morning for about 5 minutes is a great way to work toward this balance. Remember, in the end, we need both hemispheres of the brain working optimally (and together) to navigate this journey called life.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
To augment the right side of your brain or balance your cerebral hemispheres, consider using your non-dominant hand for everyday functions. Examples (pick one) might include moving the computer mouse to the left side of your keypad, brush your teeth with the other hand, or switch the use of your fork or spoon from the dominant to the non-dominant hand. Keep in mind that the first few days with this behavior will seem VERY awkward, but with some persistence it will soon become second nature. You may not notice the cognitive process becoming balanced immediately; this too will take a few days too. Be persistent, the benefits will help you immeasurably.

• Noteworthy Website Link:

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: This website link, with MANY pictures, was sent to me by a friend over a year ago. I find the concept and content fascinating. The artist has added a few more images since I first saw this. Hope you do too.

http://www.chrisjordan.com/current_set2.php?id=7

Photo of the Day:
Sunsets can be a magical part of the day. As we shift into Daylight Savings Time our body’s internal clock take a few days to adjust. This adjustment is always a little quicker/smoother when we spend an adequate amount of time in natural sunlight, which is why I chose this photo today. Enjoy.

• Quote for the Day:

“There are no great things, only small things with great love.”
—Mother Theresa

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E).

Shoes, Feet and the Art of Happiness

By Uncategorized No Comments



This time of economic meltdown gives one pause for thought about how we have lived (before the meltdown) and how we need to change our behaviors in this rapidly changing world. Many experts are blaming this fiscal mess on greed, and not just with the banking industry. There is enough greed to spread around everywhere and everyone. I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently where the caption read: “I have one of everything, I just don’t have it in every color.” Yes, the caption is funny, but very likely based on some element of truth. While the economic situation can be viewed as stressful, particularly if money is tight, we can try to see the bigger picture (a stress technique called reframing). This period serves as a great time to reflect on our stress-prone behaviors regarding our own fiscal management and start to make some corrections as we chart our course from here on out. Years ago I came across an autobiography by Robin Lee Graham titled, The Dove. It’s the story of a 16-year old who sailed around the world solo. One quote I remember vividly from his book was this: “It’s not how much we need to get buy, but how little we need.” Gandhi said it this way: “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.” If your happiness is based on material possessions, then now might be a great time to start focusing on those priceless intangible things that also provide happiness. Perspective helps too. Another quote, I think from the depression, says: “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.” If you get a chance to pick up The Dove, its a great read and given these times we are in, its helps put things about material posessions in perspective. Not to mention true happiness!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Take inventory of what you do have and give thanks. Its hard to be down in the dumps when you are showing gratitude. Try this: Make a list of ten things that you are grateful for in your life. If you can’t think of ten things, start with the fact that you can breathe. If you can think of more than ten, go for it, then past this list some place where you can see it daily.

• Photo of the Day
This photo of the Napali Coast was taken by me on a cruise around the Hawaii Islands last year. The sailboat gives the rugged coast the scale to really appreciate its full beauty.

• Quote for the Day:

“It’s not how much you need to get by, but how little you need to get by.”
— Robin Lee Graham

Welcome!

By balance, inner peace, stress management One Comment


Hi and welcome to “Stressfully Speaking,” a regular blog column on the topic of stress, stress management, balance and achieving inner peace in these turbulent times we are living in. There is no doubt we are living in stressful times, and despite the fact that every generation says that theirs was an age filled with stress and turmoil, never before have so many changes come our way so rapidly as this time we are living (and this was BEFORE the economic meltdown). This blog will offer some ageless wisdom, timeless insights, inspirations and personal reflections as we navigate these troubled times together. Please take to heart what you like and disregard the rest. My hope is that this content inspires you and helps you achieve a sense of peace to mind, body and spirit. In doing so, helps you to enhance your optimal wellbeing. Stress, it has been said is the equal opportunity destroyer, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking the time to be fully conscious about our thoughts, perceptions and actions we can rise to our highest potential, and this after all, is what life is all about.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Take a News Fast by limiting your television (and perhaps all media) news to 10 minutes a day, preferably in the afternoon so as not to start your day on a bad note. Most news today is fear-based, following the well-known news motto, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Negative news adds to the critical mass of negative stimuli we encounter in our personal world and can push us into a spiral of negative thinking without even knowing it. If there is something really important to know about, trust that someone will tell you.

• Noteworthy Website Link:
A Shift in Consciousness:
Last week, a dear friend sent me a link to a new movie trailer, a documentary on the coming shift in consciousness (see below). There has been a strong current of consciousness swelling over the past decade or so regarding the delicate balance of human nature and mother nature, war and peace, cultural, humanitarian and environmental responsibility and many, many other issues. As a member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) for the past 16 years, these are the issues we discuss at annual conferences, journal articles and small group meetings. The basic premise is that we need to shift (and raise) the focus of consciousness if we are going to survive as a species on this planet. The preview of this movie gives a taste of this shift and I highly recommend that when the movie comes to a theater near you, you bring a few friends to see it and then take some time to discuss the concepts among friends to help raise consciousness for all. One person can make a difference and many people can change the world!

http://theshiftmovie.com/thankyou.html

• Photo of the Day:
The photo at the top of this page was taken (by me) at the end of the Nualolo Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawai.

• Quote for the Day:

”Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
— Plato