Adults have a few problems, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Some three out of four doctor visits are stress-related. A doctor in Wisconsin told me that 90 percent of her patients have depleted adrenal glands, the result of the stress response pouring out adrenaline around the clock. American businesses squander $344 billion a year on stress-related costs, according to data from Middle Tennessee State
Tag: Stress Reduction
The other day I was at an acupuncture appointment and was struck by how good it felt to simply lie down on the table, to just stop and let my body relax. It made such a difference and the acupuncturist hadn’t even begun my session! Again and again, I’m amazed by our culture’s obsession with how much we can do, and how quickly we can get it all done. It’s not only stressing us out, but it’s affecting our health on every level. From heart disease and hypothyroidism to Type 2 diabetes and plain old fatigue, stress can play a huge role in disease.
More and more healthcare practitioners are encouraging patients to slow down, hit the “pause” button, or to have a little fun because these breaks are essential to good
Opening The Huffington Post to scenes of political confrontation, revolution, earthquakes and meltdowns, I watch with awe and compassion as our planet heaves and reels with transformation — masses of people demanding reform, while others stagger from the terrifying impact of natural disaster.
Whether it’s one’s own world crashing down or others’ lives falling apart, one feels vulnerable. Can strengthening our connection to the calm, unchanging depths of our being through meditation bring steadiness and resilience in the face of change?
As a meditation teacher, I find that people are often drawn to turning inward during periods of personal crisis, seeking to anchor themselves. It’s not uncommon for someone to come and learn meditation after receiving a devastating medical diagnosis, while going through a divorce, after losing their job or when just feeling overwhelmed by
The numbers are crawling. They are crawling slowly. Nonetheless, unemployment numbers are moving in the desired direction: down! My personal experience illustrates this, as I see clients and friends going back to work after being engaged in a job search for months — even years. Recently, a concern that I have been hearing a lot, as a result, is how to successfully transition back into a full-time, structured work schedule after not having one for so long.
Below, I’ve outlined some tips here on how to make this transition a graceful one:
Go To Bed
I’ve noticed people frequently develop erratic sleeping patterns when structure and schedule are fluid and
I recently finished coordinating the fifth NeuroLeadership Summit, which took place in Boston at the end of 2010. It was a tremendous experience to spend three days with a few hundred “positive change agents” from around the globe, people who are in charge of leadership development programs or who develop leaders themselves. (There’s an audio debrief on the event itself here and you can read about some of the sessions here.)
There were lots of amazing conversations, with research presented on important topics, like how to give feedback in line with how the brain changes, how to use technology to measure and improve leadership development programs, and how to design learning experiences that stick.
You can listen to the sessions and see slides of the full program: here. (The next event is in San Francisco,
How can I possibly slow down and enjoy inner peace when the world is filled with so much suffering and turmoil?” This is a question I hear often in meditation sessions. It seems as though a common belief is that one doesn’t deserve inner peace unless every aspect of the world at large is resolved in perfection.
But what if the way to outer peace — and even world peace — is through achieving inner peace?
Hypothetically, imagine there is a nation made up of individuals who are predominantly stressed out and kept in a constant state of fear by horrible events happening and being reported by a readily available media that never sleeps. What might happen to the people of that nation? Well, the nearly permanent state of fear will send their nervous systems into a constant state of “fight or flight.” Emotions and reason are paralyzed in favor of immediate survival. This stress response, when kept intact for prolonged periods of time, is destructive to the body and
Whether the ink from your divorce papers have recently dried or you have just decided to leave your spouse, you are about to embark on a new phase of your life. Usually, this is a tumultuous time marked by upheaval and depression. It doesn’t have to be, you can use it as an excuse to make yourself better! This is the perfect time to shed less attractive characteristics and discover all of the factors that make you wonderful. Chances are you are going through or have had a rough time, and it is now necessary to become a bit selfish and worry about you.
The long and short term objectives are the following;
1) Normalize your life
2) Regain self-confidence
3) Re-Discover yourself (who you
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, a time of celebration. Whether we consider ourselves religious or not is not relevant; we collectively seem to enjoy this time. There is a sense of common goal: a goal to cherish and spend this time with the ones we love or care for, and a goal to do something that we enjoy. But many of us find ourselves stressed during this time, and the question is why and how we overcome that.
One of the reasons may be that we get surrounded in the shopping and the material aspects of the Christmas break too much, and we lose the real meaning of it. In other words, we may disconnect from its intention, an intention that seems to be more based on connection, self-refection, rejuvenation and detoxification (mentally and physically).
Now let’s go through a number of tips for both reducing stress and doing some self-reflection during this period.
Tips for reducing stress:
Prioritize you goals for the holidays, and spend reasonable time on each depending on what is on the top of your hierarchy of goals. Write down your list to help you visualize it and act on it.
Reevaluate what it means to love someone or show them that you love them. Is it really measured with the “things,” or is there something more to it? Find a balance between the two and take it from there.
How much is too much? And what can you do to stop yourself when you feel like you are going over your limits?
What does this holiday mean to you, and what habits do you have around it that you need to change?
Is it a material or a spiritual time of the year for you, and how can you evaluate the two and find a balance between them?
How can you use this time and the collective positive energy that surrounds it to detoxify your mind and body of the many toxins that are around us these days?
How can you focus on the spirit of this time and let go of the unnecessary distractions?
What type of irrational thinking patterns like “should” and “must” are adding to your stress? And how can you replace these with more logical and practical ones that are relevant to your life style?
Focus on the care of the soul. How are you shaping and molding your life to make sure you are taking care of your soul’s growth and needs?
At the end, remember to check yourself, be open to healthy playfulness and humor, find a healthy lifestyle that works for you, and surround yourself with positive and caring people.
And finally, remember these tips:
Being able to learn from life’s lessons and accepting and processing them for growth is something that is rooted in wisdom. Wisdom is a great gift, and if one learns to get deep into it, it can take an inspiration into creativity and give the person the ability to heal any form of insecurity and loss. When we learn to heal, we can open the door to growth and the joyful sensations that come with it.
Take a moment in this busy life. Think about any issues you may have. Try to look at things in a fresh way. The world is expanding, and so could you. The more you grow, the more you can keep up with this ever-expanding world. Is it an issue that is a normal part of life’s ups and downs, or is it a self-created one? To be able to see the difference needs wisdom.
Use your innate wisdom to turn a tragedy into a lesson. This is what love means, and an unconditional love is the ability to connect to everything, what you see as positive and what you see as negative. True love is unconditional, and it is able to connect regardless. When we learn to connect with the negative, we can release or minimize its damages
Earn your innately designed wisdom.
Learn to let go of the need to control everything at all times, and find a balance when you need to swim with the flow instead of trying to resist and control it. It is healthy to learn when to go with the flow rather than resisting it.
Let go of your irrational fears, and evaluate them to see how they are affecting your life and how they are creating what you are fearful of.
Find ways in which you are fighting yourself, and try not be block your own path.
Find a balance between winning and surrender. Surrender, sometimes, could be a positive thing if wisdom is involved.
Find ways to respond rather than react, and give yourself time to think.
Roya R. Rad, M.A., Psy.D. is the founder of Self Knowledge Base & Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to public education.
Life in the 21st century can certainly derail our longevity plans! Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, too little physical activity, unhappiness and daily stress are five major rapid-aging culprits that wreak havoc on our health and shorten our lifespan. Follow these tips to boost your longevity and stop those crow’s feet from creeping up on you too soon:
1) Don’t Worry, Be Happy
A smile a day can zap those wrinkles away! Did you know that it takes more muscles to create a frown than it does a smile? When was the last time you laughed so hard that you hunched over from a bellyache? Watch a comedy, tell a joke or have a fun game night with your friends. Several studies demonstrate how laughter can reduce inflammation and blood pressure, boost immunity and even burn calories. A study conducted in Vanderbilt University measured the amount of 50 calories burned in just 10 to 15 minutes of laughter. Turn that frown upside down and smile your way to health!
2) Move It or Lose It
Start your day with some exercise to kick your endorphins and metabolism up a notch or two! The best way to keep yourself active is to engage in activities that make you happy. Are you a yoga fan, or do your prefer to shimmy and shake your way to a lean physique? Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of daily activity to pump your heart with oxygen, strengthen and tone your body, and reduce your risk for disease. For every pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 35 to 50 calories each day, which can add up to 18,000 calories lost each year!
3) Eat Well to Live Well
We have all heard the old adage “you are what you eat,” but do we follow it? Our bodies thrive on the nutrients we provide it, so in order to maintain our youth, vitality and energy we must feed our bodies whole foods. Temptations like added sugars, fried foods, alcohol and a host of other processed foods abound. To add years to your life, don’t cave to these cravings, and instead consume antioxidant-rich fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and heart-healthy fats. Here’s a trick: in general, the less ingredients a product has, the better it is for you; stick to the whole foods you find around the perimeter of your food market. Try roasting some sweet potatoes for an added punch of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Steam folate-rich kale with a spritz of lemon juice for a phytochemical punch. Proper nutrition is essential for disease prevention, so eat that apple a day to keep the pills away.
4) Be a Sleeping Beauty
The average adult requires anywhere between six to nine hours of sound sleep every night in order to replenish and repair the body from the previous day’s stress. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, impaired cognitive function, increased stress and an overall poor quality of life. Try limiting caffeine intake to the early morning hours, as it can last up to eight hours in the body. Turn off computers and phones and sleep in a dark room to prevent distractions. You may also try drinking a calming cup of chamomile tea an hour before bed to increase relaxation. Sweet dreams.
5) Get Stress-less!
One of the greatest factors of rapid aging is stress. However, when the body undergoes chronic emotional stress, it invites multiple diseases. It is important to find some time during the day to relieve our bodies of unwanted negativity. To foster tranquility, take at least five to 10 quiet minutes during the day to close your eyes and breathe slowly. Give yourself some time to do the activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, talking with a friend, walking in nature or dancing. Music therapy can also enhance your emotional well-being and reduce anxiety. In a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, patients with chronic pain who listened to music on headphones for one hour each day reported less pain and depression, as well as a sense of more control. Whether you’re a Mozart or Madonna fan, turn up the radio and shake off the stress.
May you live long, live strong and live happy!
This Blogger’s Books from
Second Spring: Dr. Mao’s Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age
by Maoshing Ni
Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100
by Dr. Maoshing Ni
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Pressed for time? Always. But what does that really mean, and how can we experience the inexorable movement of time without a sense of relentless pressure and stress? One effective approach is to pause and take a conscious breath.
Schools compress time. Seriously. If you work in education, you know what I mean. First there are the bells, ringing out loud to mark the schedule or resounding silently in the mind as we attend to plans.
School bells wait for no one. It doesn’t matter if students are engrossed in learning or teachers are in the midst of facilitating one of those precious “ah ha” moments. Time passes and everything moves.
It’s easy to forget that the experience of time is within us. We come to believe that time is really there, outside us, pressing in. But this is confusion, because the experience of time is subjective even as the clock ticks objectively. A little shift in understanding can make all the difference, and help you see how the compression of time also provides a route beyond the constraints of time.
Once you realize that the school schedule has a life of its own and progresses without fail, you can focus on finding some freedom within it. Class starts and stops, breaks begin and end, meetings commence and adjourn. That’s reality, and there’s no need to fight it or worry or even rejoice. It just is.
If things are going well, the prescribed period frames the experience. If things are decomposing into chaos, well, whatever is happening will morph. The past passes, the future looms, and the present remains a continuous moment of awareness. And once you realize this basic observation and accept it, you’ll have a lot more energy for everything else.
Mindfulness practice helps us redefine our relationship with time. It’s about being right here, right now. Try it? Pause. Take a breath. Place all your attention on that breath. Grow your awareness of the breath. It’s the most basic indication of being alive. The more you notice your own capacity for awareness, in this moment, the more alert you’ll become as you live.
Breath is the process of life. It also offers a tool to help us experience life beyond biology. Here’s what I mean:
During your next commute to school, especially if you’re feeling rushed, pause and take a conscious breath. Notice where you are physically, and then notice your inner experience. You’re here. Right now. Nowhere else. In this very moment, with this awareness, you’ll see that time is keeping pace with you.
As your students pour into class tomorrow, bringing their frenetic energy into the space, pause and take a conscious breath. Notice their energy, and your own. See what’s happening around you, and attend to what’s happening in you. Find your center. Feel your feelings. Take another breath. Focus your attention. Teach.
While proctoring a test, attend to your expectations and emotions, pause and take a conscious breath. Is anyone nervous? Your students? You? What’s their energy like? And yours? What happens when you switch your focus to your breath and calm your mind? Try it, and see. Then notice what happens to their energy, too.
In the midst of resolving a conflict among students, pause and take a conscious breath. Have emotions hijacked your students? How about you? Is the intense mental processing taking you nowhere? If so, switch you attention from feeling to breathing, just for a few seconds, and then return your focus to what’s happening around you. By the clock, only a little time will pass, but experientially you’ll see that time opens up. And in the space of that time, the energy may shift, and the situation may begin to diffuse.
Mindfulness is not a panacea. It’s a practice. And with practice, mindfulness helps us calm our minds and open our hearts. With mindfulness, we can cultivate greater compassion and empathy, kindness and generosity. Mindfulness and morality go hand in hand — in fact, mindfulness without compassion lacks ethical orientation.
As you develop mindfulness, you’re likely to feel less reactive, less pressured, less driven by time. You’re also more likely to see clearly when the objective demands of your schedule are simply too much. If so, it’s time to change the structure of your day and remix your responsibilities.
The point is living mindfully within a sane reality. Mindfulness can’t make an insane schedule, bearable, but it will make the insanity noticeable and cue you to respond constructively.
Feeling pressured by the clock, the day, your job, you life? Take a conscious breath, and pause. Look inside, and look around. You’ll know where you as you move into what’s next. You’ll be in time.
This Blogger’s Books from
EveryBody : Preventing HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Revised Edition
by Deborah Schoeberlein
Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything
by Suki Sheth
It all started when my book agent had the brilliant idea for me to write an online course on stress management.
“Great company, good return on investment,” she claimed.
I had recently moved from the hustle-bustle life of New York City to the serenity of the Napa Valley of California. What better place to write a course about managing stress? I was meditating every morning, practicing my yoga regularly and enjoying long walks in the wine country–a perfect moment to expound on the benefits of reducing chronic stress in one’s life.
I jumped through the first line up of hurdles–the initial application process, the course proposal and acceptance letter without much irritation. Then there was the telephone interview, the background check, and the professional references. Okay, I understand they want honest, reliable authors. Next was the request for a sample chapter and the review process. Now it begins to get onerous but I try to hang in there. With each additional step of the process, I felt my blood pressure rising. Every step closer seemed to add two more criteria to be met. Just when I began to wonder if the pressure of meeting all the arbitrary deadlines was not good for my mellow psyche, the editor revealed that the reward for getting this far into the acceptance process was to take a 12-lesson online course to prepare their authors to write the online course they already approved and reviewed. Now my patience and desire for this assignment really began to wane and my annoyance with the process was palpable.
But again my agent assured me that the company was legit and the upfront grunt work and hassle was worth the trouble. As I began to force myself through the mandatory “Boot Camp” course I realized it should have been more aptly named, “How to dumb down interesting and useful information.”
Did I mention the assignments? The list of objectives, lesson by lesson breakdown, sample test questions, descriptions of pictures and graphics, additional online resources and the list goes on and on. I was definitely feeling frustrated and stressed at about this point in the process. Was writing this course good for my newfound harmony with the world? I was not convinced. I do understand the need for some level of uniformity in the courses but the cookie-cutter format they demanded left no room for creativity or writing enjoyment.
Although I did score 100 percent on all the lesson quizzes and 97 percent on the final exam, I was heavily criticized for not writing all my test questions to end with a question mark. A rebel at heart, I even wrote 100 words less on one of the lesson assignments. The fact that I was already an experienced health practitioner and writer made the tediousness of the process even more unbearable. This was a job for a technician, not anyone with passion for their topic. The possible financial reward hovering out there in the distant future was clearly not enough to sacrifice my day to day happiness. Despite my suspicion that they may still use much of my original submitted material, I decided in the end, that writing a stress management course for this company wasn’t worth the stress!
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Growing up in Los Angeles, I’ve become accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle — complete with constant smog, traffic clusters and an underlying yearning for fame. It’s sunny in November, constantly packed with clumps of eager tourists taking photographs of street signs, and driving by a movie set on the way to Starbucks isn’t out of the ordinary. These quirks make city life unique, adding new dimensions to the eclectic metropolises of freeways and titanic buildings many call home.
But I do think that every “city person” needs a taste of the country to balance out their hectic, anxiety-prone days. A hike among the birches and a nice dose of fresh air can do wonders for the stressed workaholic. Somehow being atop an immense mountain with no wireless connection and only endless fields of wildflowers in sight offers a deep relaxation very rarely discovered throughout day to day life.
But of course, it can be impossible to take a weekend off — let alone a few hours. Trust me, I’m not advocating you hop on the next plane and head straight to the nearest lake or river. Tickets are excruciatingly expensive, responsibilities too crucial to be neglected. And even though a therapeutic rejuvenation sounds tempting, you keep telling yourself that you can’t “escape” your problems. But if you’re nodding your head to that last part, you’ve misunderstood my intent. Of course we can’t avoid life’s challenges and difficulties. What I’m saying is that we all could interject a little bit of pure enlightenment into our lives, as an homage to the nature-neglected part of our souls.
So how does one manage to procure to this feat? It all begins with little choices worth taking advantage of. Going to the gym? Instead try taking a jog through a park or practicing yoga in the shade. Fill your abode with fresh life in the form of spring roses, tulips, even a Siamese fighting fish can send off a higher vibration. Whenever possible, create invigorating rituals for yourself to replenish and rejuvenate the remnants of a discordant day. A bath with Eucalyptus oils and scented candles, for example. Even spritzing your pillows with a lavender mist can do wonders for the sinuses. Your alarm clock? Switch it’s angry beep to a soothing piano concerto or violin sonata. Plant a vegetable garden. Open your windows. Change your computer’s screensaver to a tranquil forest.
You see, all these modifications truly add up over time to lift your mood and soothe your conscience. This way you’ll be able to maintain a sense of bucolic-industrial balance until the time eventually comes around where you can take a drive to Yosemite, visit a tropical destination or have a picnic one Saturday afternoon.
Personally, I think that blissful tidbits of spontaneity are what keep me going when days get tough. Even if something seems too minute to matter, you’ll never be able to predict its affect on you once coupled with other little pick-me-ups. Because although we try to ignore it, the world will inadvertently become more and more jarring on our nerves. Populations are increasing, pollution is worsening — sometimes it all seems to coalesce into a bothersome, omnipresent cacophony. So take those five minutes in the morning to center yourself, or that brisk walk before dusk. Because if something uplifts and inspires you in any way, it truly is worth it.