stress management

Physical Exercise: The Great Neutralizer

By cardiovascular exercise, stress management No Comments

Fact: Physical exercise is stress! Specifically, exercise is the manifestation of the stress response. Metabolically speaking, aerobic exercise is the flight response, whereas anaerobic exercise is similar to the fight response. Just as the heart races during a crisis and blood pressure increases dramatically with personal chaos, the same physical response occurs during jogging, walking, swimming and most other modes of exercise. The good news is that once the exercise session has ended, the body’s response is to return to homeostasis (also called the parasympathetic response or parasympathetic rebound). Conversely, when people are chronically stressed, the body rarely returns to a resting state which then sets the stage for disease and illness. To use an apt metaphor, exercise is like a homeopathic remedy, where “like cures like.” Here is one more vote for starting or maintaining a regular exercise program: Physical exercise flushes out the stress hormones (e.g., cortisol, aldosterone, thyroxine, vasopressin, etc.) rather than having this toxic stress cocktail linger in your body for days on end wreaking havoc on your body. By now you know the routine: Intensity (75% of max heart rate), frequency (#’s of times per week—the magic # is 3) and duration (# of minutes per exercise session—the magic number is 30). This famous recipe for fitness is ideal, but if your life seems too complicated, I have this suggestion: Just get out side and move! 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. Walking is highly underrated and it’s a great mode of exercise to flush out the stress hormones. Morning and evening walks are ideal! There is enough research on the merits of cardiovascular exercise to build a road to the moon! The fitness boom of the ‘70s has come and gone, but the importance of exercise had only increased. Physical exercise isn’t the fountain of youth, but it’s the next best thing!

• Stress Tip for the Day:
For many people physical exercise may seem like a luxury (certainly the time to exercise may seem like it), but more than ever it’s a necessity. Exercise is considered “good stress.” If you don’t have a formal exercise program, now is the time to start. Start slow but steady! If you think you don’t have time, you need it even more.

• Links Worth Noting:
The world is in a very precarious position, but there are many people who are working at a conscious level to steer humanity in the right direction (versus off a cliff where this train seems to be headed). This link was passed along to me and I thought it was worth sharing:

• Photo of the Day:
Many thanks to Kristin Weiner, a friend and colleague, who obliged my request one day at the pool, while doing our respective workouts, to take a few photos of her great swimming style. Thanks Kristin!

• Quote for the Day:
“That birds fly overhead, this you cannot stop. That birds make a nest in your hair, this you can prevent.”
—Chinese Proverb

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

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.


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!

• 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