Archive for August, 2006

Posted on Aug 16th, 2006

We need to think of stress as our personal fuel supply. This means that, like a car, we need to fuel our body with positive energy. How we fill up our "car" with this positive energy is crucial to our wellbeing.

Stress is really about balance. Life is full of challenges. These challenges can either be dealt with by us in a strong, balanced, relaxed way or we can allow them to overpower us and have an adverse effect on our lives.

Think of a set of old fashioned scales. One side has your coping life skills and on the side, where you would put the weights, are your life challenges/stressors.

If your life skills are healthy, then you can achieve a balance and the challenges, even if in the short term are really quite severe, can be dealt with by you. If your life skills are not as strong as they need to be, and the life challenges are too powerful, then you will experience stress controlling your life.

Over the last 4 years I have had to deal with bereavement, house move, debt, dreadful relationships with children and unemployment - to name but a few.

During this time of extreme angst I had some stressful reactions to my life challenges. These included a few heart palpitations, a bit of nervy tummy for a few days and the odd panic attack. But I was able to deal with them!Considering the pressures I was under I really was quite proud of myself. When I think of how many years I took to try to find out how to deal with stress in my life I really felt I had cracked it!!

I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant. Because I feel I have achieved something, I tend to get a bit passionate about controlling our lives and making them far more pleasurable.

Stress can be controlled, providing we have the appropriate life skills

So, if it was possible for me what did I do?

Firstly, I dealt with the main stressor that was having the most effect on my life. I accepted that change was necessary, and changed my job. That took a large amount of stress from my life. Amazingly enough my life didn’t crumble without my job, incidently I had been in this job for 21 years -so quite a lifestyle change!

The new job was totally different and didn’t really challenge me, however it paid me and allowed me to live, but without encroaching on what I was trying to sort out in my head.

During this time I took up exercise again. Although I was quite fit because of walking the dog, I decided that I would take up power walking again. The advantage of exercise in dealing with stress is that as bad stress causes you to produce bad chemicals in what is called the Flight or Fight response, your body becomes ready for action. If you have a drink and slump down on the sofa, you are not dealing with these chemicals. They will stay in your body until the next stress surge, and eventually start to build up.

Brisk walking disperses the chemicals, and so your body and mind become less toxic. Exercise can also help you mentally. As you choose your route, which will hopefully include some interesting scenery, with practise you should start to clear your mind of your latest stressors. Even walking around a London park will involve some lovely scenes - even if it’s only the odd squirrel or pigeon!

The last part of this mini stress plan involves relaxation. If you can find a good way to relax both your body and your mind you will find that if a wobbly moment looks like kicking in, you should be able to gain control over the situation or perception of stress because you can relax your mind.

A very easy but effective way to start relaxing is to take a warm, relaxing bath. This may sound too simple - a bath is she kidding?

We all (hopefully) take baths regularly but this is a special time for you. You are saying to everyone else in your house that this is your special time and you must not be disturbed! Light some scented candles, lavender is great for relaxation, and lie in the soothing suds, breathing with long relaxing breaths and try to empty your mind.

A word of warning: Make sure you don’t relax too much and ask someone to listen out for you - you don’t want to slip under the water!

So this is a very simple insight into stress and what you can do. Stress affects us all differently, but we all need to deal with it so that we are in control of it.

I hope these tips have helped you. I will be adding more articles soon.

My article is just a small example of some of the helpful tips I share with you on my website. The site is based on my own experience of stress and how these tips have worked for me. If you would like to learn more info please link on my site http://www.stress-anxieties-solutions.com I look forward to you visiting the site and hopefully picking up some great tips. My plans for the future are for many of us to share our experiences and tips we have found work for us. By sharing our experiences I really believe we can help one another to move our lives out of the stress zones and into a more healthy and happy life. Why not visit now? http://www.stress-anxieties-solutions.com

Posted on Aug 16th, 2006

In order to understand stress better, it is a good idea to understand that there are different stress levels. These levels vary in the form of stress they take and they can often provide an indication of how to treat the stress. Furthermore, there are tests available that can help people understand their own, particular brand of stress and, with this knowledge, they can also understand themselves better. Then, with this information, a complete stress management method can be constructed. So, when you examine your own stress, keep these stress levels in mind so that you can come to grips with yourself and learn the proper methods for keeping your mind balanced.

These stress levels were found and characterized by Dr. Hans Selye and Dr. Richard Earle of the Canadian Institute of Stress. Thus, the names and types are theirs.

Type 1 - The Speed Freak

This stress level is characterized by an incessant need to be giving 110% at all times. They are often perfectionists, they tend to speak quickly, and they are very impatient. Generally, Speed Freaks have learned that it is necessary to work hard in order to succeed, so they figure that, if they are working hard all the time, they are certain to succeed. This, of course, is not necessarily the case, since running full-bore all the time will only lead to stress over minor issues.

Speed Freaks need to learn how to relax and they need to clarify their goals so that they will work hard on things that really matter, while relaxing while they are working on more mundane tasks. By doing this, they can get up to speed when they need to put in the effort and conserve energy the rest of the time.

Type 2 - The Worry Wart

The Worry Wart stress level is characterized by an inability to stop thoughts, but an equal inability to put thoughts into action. They tend to overanalyze things to the point that they paralyze themselves. Thus, they simply end up spinning their wheels as they get nowhere. True to the name, Worry Warts tend to spend a lot of their time worrying and this only leaves them even more incapable of action.

Worry Warts need to think very specifically about the problems they are facing, write down every possible thing that can go wrong, then think about just how likely these events are. Then, once everything is treated with a philosophical distance, the worry will decrease and the Worry Wart can move on toward their goals.

Type 3 - The Drifter

Drifters are people who keep so many options open that they are incapable of actually developing any skills in depth. Instead of focusing their energies on specific life goals, they end up putting effort into a variety of tasks so that none of them every really get done. Thus, their hours are spent productively, but their hours rarely produce anything concrete. In fact, they create a paradox of complete freedom in which they are trapped by their own inability to use that freedom effectively.

Drifters need to clarity their life goals, focus on things that make them feel worthwhile, and try to build up a life that is open to more than just work. Then, once they have a place to direct their efforts, they can shed all the excess nonsense that they surround themselves with.

Type 4 - The Loner

This stress level is recognizable by the fact that Loners are unable to create meaningful relationships with others. This is due to the fact that they generally work alone, so that do not receive much feedback from others. Thus, rather than building relationships that can help support them, they tend to crawl into a shell and keep other people outside of it. Thus, as they avoid shared experiences with others, they become incapable of finding out what they enjoy and who they enjoy doing it with.

Loners should attempt to clarify their own values, then work to build relationships with people who share those values, which in turn gives Loners a way to move toward their goals. This will give them both a purpose and a support structure that can help them succeed in that purpose.

Type 5 - Basket Cases

This stress level is very dangerous, as Basket Cases are creating their own energy crises. Instead of caring for themselves, they tend to be achy, depressed, and they often decide that activities are simply too much effort. They are often in poor health and their own malaise and depression makes it hard to do anything about it.

Basket Cases need to start eating right in order to start the healing process. Then, after a few weeks, they should start exercising. Then, once they have a little more energy, they need to learn how to conserve energy by taking breaks during work and not overextending themselves.

Type 6 - Cliff Walkers

Cliff Walkers are people who are at risk for destroying their health. They tend to look worn, they often smoke, eat badly, drink too much, and rarely exercise. However, they usually figure that nothing bad will ever really come out of their bad habits, so they cause themselves even more damage. Thus, they tend to have problems maintaining their energy.

The treatment for Cliff Walkers is the same as that for Basket Cases. Eat right, then start an exercise program, then learn to conserve energy so that they are not constantly worn out.

By understanding stress levels, people can not only learn more about themselves, they can also learn how to succeed. Then, once a person’s particular type of stress is treated correctly, the very portions of the personality that were once a burden can become a boon. Thus, learning about stress levels can actually help people achieve their goals.

Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton

LowerYourStress.com: for everything to do with stress. Get a free ebook to help with your stress levels: http://www.loweryourstress.com/stress-book.html

Posted on Aug 15th, 2006

It’s a fact; the average person does not know how to manage or reduce their stress in the bedroom. The place where everyone spends an average of 33% of their life, there are two major things that can be done that will help you manage the stress in your life. These two things include Preparations for Bed and The Bed you Sleep On. Stress levels can be reduced significantly by following the basic guidelines listed below.

Preparations for bed can be translated into routine. Used as an adjective, routine is an event that occurs at fixed times or at predictable intervals. If your get a good solid sleep with an average length of R.E.M sleep at night, when you wake in the morning, you feel revived and alert for your tasks ahead of you. In order to achieve this every night, there needs to be a routine.

Bed time routines should start about 2 hours before you go to bed. The bed routine should include a wind down period where you do nothing but relax to get your mind off of all the stressed items in your day. Some options for your wind down period could include some light chores around the house, reading a book, watching a comedy on TV, or taking a bath.

After your wind down period, you should move into the other activities for getting ready for bed. These include last minute things like locking the house, getting into your bedroom attire, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and whatever else you do before bed. Getting at least 6 hours of sleep is also essential.

The bed you sleep on is a very large part of getting the stress reduction that you require to ensure a good nights rest. It does not matter if your bed is new or old, if the bed is not comfortable through the night, it should be replaced or adjusted. Causes of an uncomfortable bed may lead to back problems. It is important to consider if the bed is too hard, this could force your spine to bend in ways that is intended, leaving you with a headache or stress in the morning. A ‘pillow topper’ is an easy solution to soften it up. Of course the flip side to being too hard is being too soft, this can also be a problem because then your spine will go limp to the mattress or ‘waterbed’, therefore not providing any support.

Developing a routine which works best for you to help stress reduction may be the hardest part but once you have it, then rest assured you will wake up feeling stress relieved.

Ryan Neumann has online information and buyers guide websites that help consumers make wiser choices when shoping online. This particular website can be visited at http://www.beds-tempurpedic-foam-mattresses.com/tempurpedic.html.

Posted on Aug 15th, 2006

Raise your hand if you have ever been rejected by anyone, for anything, at any time. C’mon, be honest.

When I ask this question in seminars, nearly all the people raise their hand, except for those select few who never raise their hand in public no matter what the question.

The bottom line is this:

Every one of us has felt the sting of rejection at some time in our lives. And although rejection can and does hurt, there is an important distinction to be made. Most of the people I have worked with have a more difficult time with the fear of rejection than the rejection itself.

From the teen-age boy who hangs up the phone when the girl answers (did that more than once myself) to the adult afraid to ask for a raise, the fear of rejection stops many people from doing what they want.

When it comes to rejection or the fear of rejection, it’s just like many other challenges in life: It’s not what happens to you that matters as much as what you do about it. With rejection, we have the choice to either let it define us or refine us. Let’s take a closer look at each of these two options.

How we let rejection define us

Believe that FEAR stands for Forget Everything And Run. Most people get rejected once and give up.

Believe that the rejection reflects the sum total of your worth as a person.

After being rejected, never take a risk again.

Play the rejection over and over again in your mind. This helps keep it fresh.

Have a large and ongoing pity party, even though you’re the only invited guest.

Take a tip from Rabbit in “Winnie the Pooh'’ and think: “Why does this always happen to me? Why, oh why, oh why?'’

Practice being afraid to ask.

Believe that everyone knows you were rejected and is looking at you and talking about you.

Get stuck. Stay focused on the rejection and never worry about moving forward.

How to use rejection to refine you

Believe that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Realize that most of what you worry about (false evidence) does not happen.

Take a tip from the world of sales: Studies show that most sales are made not on the first contact, but on the fourth, fifth or sixth contact. Keep swinging.

Keep in mind that just because someone says “no'’ right now, does not necessarily mean the person will say “no'’ in the future. That might happen, and then again, it might not. Ask again.

Learn from the rejection. Focus on how to ask more skillfully, asking the right questions, asking the right person, etc.

Practice the QTIP response to rejection. According to stress management expert Tim O’Brien, QTIP stands for Quit Taking It Personally.

And now, my favorite response to rejection: How would you like a nice four-letter word to use whenever you are rejected?

The next time you’re rejected, say loudly to yourself: NEXT!

The power of NEXT! is that it allows you to put the rejection behind you and focus on your present and future goals.

Remember, everyone has been rejected. It’s a big club. Whether rejection defines us or refines us is our choice. Which will it be for you?

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Aug 14th, 2006

Know someone who is stressed out? Make them an anti-stress bag. It will bring a smile to their face and be a reminder that things are not as bad as they may seem!

They are easy to make! Use small baggies to put the following items in:

- clothespin
- marble
- penny
- paperclip
- eraser
- elastic
- heart (can be cut out from paper)
- quote card (can be handwritten.) We use the following quote on our cards: "When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go. Catherine Pulsifer" They are many quotes about stress, you do not neccessarily have to use this one.

Once you have all the items in the bag seal the bag and attach a card with the following note on it:

Clothespin - to remind you to hang it up. Keep a balance between your work and your play.

Marble - to remind you that the world rolls on; don’t live in the past, move on.

Penny - so that you will never be broke.

Paperclip - to help you keep things together.

Eraser - to rub out those mistakes which we all make.

Quote Card - to read on days when you feel overwhelmed.

Elastic - to remind you of your capabilities; don’t get stuck in a rut; stretch yourself!

Heart - to remind you that someone cares about YOU!!!

A simple but effective bag, easy to make, and inexpensive!! They make great stocking stuffers at Christmas. They also sell well at craft shows!

For more inspiration visit Inspirational Quotes 4 U http://www.inspirationalquotes4u.com/ where you will find inspirational quotes to inspire and motive you. Sorted by subject and by author. Plus a quote for each day of your week.

Posted on Aug 14th, 2006

One of my favorite stories about change is the story called “The Room of 10,000 Monsters.'’

In this room, all your worst fears, anxieties and nightmares are played out in front of you as if they were real. You walk in and close the door behind you. There is no handle on the inside of the door. The only door with a handle is across the room.

If you can walk across the room and reach the door, you will reach Nirvana. You have to go by yourself, and you get only two pieces of advice:

The first is no matter what you see, hear or feel, remember that it’s not real, it’s just taken from your own imagination. That’s good advice, but if your biggest fear is of heights and you see yourself on the edge of a 20-story building, you’re not likely to get anywhere.

The second piece of advice is that no matter what you see, hear or feel, keep your feet moving, and you will get to the other side.

The moral of the story:

Even in the face of rejection, keep your feet moving!

When you are tuned into the station KYFM - Keep Your Feet Moving(TM) you won’t get stuck in fear, you keep making progress no matter what.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Aug 13th, 2006

I was recently discussing the subject of anxiety, stress, and sleep problems with a couple of my friends. All three of us had struggled with these issues and had experienced nervous breakdowns, stress leaves from work, anxiety medication and/or sleeping pills.

Today we are all living without medication, and have found our own unique ways of successfully dealing with stress and anxiety.

Our conversation made me think of how different each of us is. My friends and I all discovered methods to reduce stress and anxiety, and all three of us ultimately found success using a different routine. This shouldn’t be too surprising, seeing that my friends and I all have different occupations, hobbies, family situations, body types, fitness levels, personalities, etc. Some found that intense physical exertion was helpful, where others found success with lighter aerobic exercise. Meditation and aromatherapy was seen by some as a cure, and to others as boring and pointless.

Unfortunately, the literature on stress and sleep disorders generally offers the same advice for everyone, and rarely points out that there are no blanket remedies. If you don’t realize that stress and sleep remedies are individualistic, and may work better for some than for others, you may cause yourself a lot of frustration and (ironically) stress.

I’ve found most of the stress and sleep disorder remedy advice I’ve read on websites and in books to be helpful. At the same time, people should realize that only a small number of these tips may actually work for them.

My advice would be to try a variety of exercises and methods for sleep and anxiety. If you find something works, stick with it, but if it is not helping, move on and try something else. Don’t get frustrated if the first few methods you try don’t work for you. Remember, you are unique, and many of the stress and sleep tips you find may not be for you. Keep on searching and trying different methods, you’ll eventually come across a system that will work for you.

Mark Altman is the webmaster of http://www.soundsleeping.com - relaxing music. Come and take part in the sleep and relaxation discussion, or just enjoy the free relaxing music.

Posted on Aug 13th, 2006

1. Take a relaxing bath. Add music, candles and a glass of your favourite drink: beer, tea, hot chocolate, wine or even champagne. Close the door and forget about everything else for an hour or so. This helps to increase levels of calmness and the calmer we feel, the less likely we are to get stressed out or depressed.

2. Comedy night: get in your favourite nibbles: chips, tortillas, salsa, crackers, cheese, pizza, chocolate, cookies, ice cream etc. Crack open a bottle of wine or pour yourself a beer or two and spend a full evening watching your favourite funny films or comedians. Laughter raises our spirits and is a great antidote to the stresses and trials of modern living.

3. Get out of the firing line: Take off for some peace and quiet for a day or better still a weekend or a week. Take a journal, relax and gather your thoughts. When we’re under pressure or struggling to cope with a major situation or event in life, seeing solutions to our problems can be really difficult. Distance from problems can bring clarity and relieve tension. I love going to the coast when I feel like this and it always, without fail, helps me to calm down and find solutions. I don’t know why but there’s something really soothing about being near the ocean. Being near water, come to think of it.

4. Increase calmness and feel great by indulging in massage. Share a massage with your partner – create a relaxing atmosphere by softening the lights and have oils and towels to hand. Lavender oil is particularly relaxing. Or, treat yourself to a massage from a professional masseur or masseuse. For a really invigorating massage, visit a Turkish baths if you’re fortunate enough to have one nearby. Massage is very relaxing and increases intimacy between lovers. It’s one huge stress buster as well but be warned, it’s addictive! Not a bad thing to be addicted to though, and it will do you no end of good.

5. Spend a week without watching any television. Television can fill your mind with negativity, bombard you with image manipulation via commercials and give you a distorted view of reality by showing you everything that’s bad about the world. Famines, disasters, murders, violence, war – the list is endless – and news programmes and soap operas are full of such events. So give your mind a break from this assault on your senses. Abandon the television for a week and do something more rewarding instead: Read a book, listen to music, socialize, workout, go for a walk or try your hand at something new. If you need to hear the news, listen to a radio news bulletin once a day. But try and avoid them for one week, replace them with something more life enhancing and see how you feel.

The above ideas are very simple to implement but they are also very effective in helping to relieve stress and tension. Give them a try and watch your mood levels rise!

Until next time.

Looking to beat stress, anxiety or depression QUICKLY? "Conquering Stress" reveals the powerful, effective secrets so you can beat these illnesses once and for all DRUG FREE! Click Here==>http://www.conqueringstress.com

Posted on Aug 12th, 2006

Well, well, well. There you are, again. Hunched over your computer staring at the screen. Begin to relax your shoulders. Is that better? Just think about your back. Think about your hands as they are poised over the keyboard or clutching the mouse. Lean back. Now, take a few gentle, deep breaths and begin to feel all the tension melting from your shoulders, back muscles and hands. That’s right, that’s perfect.

Why do we get into such tense states, and how amazing is it that a few simple words can change awareness, allowing freedom from unconscious stress? Many of us are joined at the hips, or at least our finger tips, to computers. There are times we look like Neanderthals, not Homo Sapiens. Some of us are road warriors, constantly racing out the door to catch the next plane,train or bus to the next appointment, meeting or deadline. Perhaps we’re trapped in the office, staring at walls, yearning for fresh air and sunlight. Our spirits, minds and bodies may be jumbled up, stuck at multiple levels of discomfort. When we hoard discomfort for any length of time it can translate, on a deep cellular level, into dis-ease.

For years my back was aching. I was 50, walking like I was 80. Finally, an x-ray revealed that I had 3 bulging disks, one lumbar, one thoracic, and one cervical. The pain was unrelenting. I began looking for ways to relieve this pain, holistic ways that would support not only my back, but my desire to avoid the usual inventory of pain medications around which allopathic medicine gravitates. My saving “grace” in this instance turned out to be a quite graceful Tai Chi and QiGong Master Teacher named Lily Cohen. The saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.” And I was ready. I was going to the chiropractor 3 times a week to stay even with the pain that was now traveling down the sciatic nerve into my right hip and leg. Discomfort was becoming disabling and I was determined to stop the cascading effect that could turn into a permanent disability.

I ran across a video of Cohen’s and within a week of beginning her easy exercises I knew something had changed. The pain had become a dull ache. Three weeks later my chiropractor remarked that the muscle in my back was strengthening. Truly, I hadn’t expected such results in so little time. All I had done, five days a week in really short segments, was to put Lily’s tape into my VCR, stand in one place and follow her instructions, sort of. You see, Lily is from Israel and she was speaking Hebrew! However, I wasn’t daunted by the language barrier focusing all my attention on her movements. They were simple, supple, elegant, relaxing, and quite different from the usual rah-rah, sis-boom-bah, energetic exercises that I’d tried before. And, this was no teenie-bopper in a leotard, which, I must say, was a relief all in itself. She was a woman “of a certain age” just like me. Ok, she was much more fit than I, in a strong yet feminine way, and that information made its way into my unconscious mind and gave me hope for success in my personal journey to fitness, awareness and wellness.

Since that epiphany seven years ago I have been virtually pain free. If something in my body begins to nag, I have the tools to stop it in its tracks. I even have a recent body scan that supports my new flexibility showing that the bulging disks have retreated into normal alignment. Healed! I have found something that can relieve my physical, mental and spiritual body from unnecessary stress and perhaps save me from years of ongoing disease. You see, it wasn’t just my back that was affected. Since we are multi-dimensional, holographic bodies, anything that stresses one part affects the whole – the body, mind and the spirit.

I’m sharing my personal journey with you for a purpose, and lest you think that I’m writing about a singular event in one woman’s journey please allow me to present a few media reports about stress:

According to a CNN report: “Stress can send the immune system into a tizzy, triggering the pituitary gland to release a hormone called ACTH (adreno-cortoci-trophic hormone). ACTH then stimulates the adrenal gland to release another hormone called cortisol, which attaches itself to the immune system’s disease-fighting cells. With a load of cortisol on its back, an immune cell has a harder time doing its job.”

So, one can imagine that if we don’t have solutions to our stressors we could be carrying around a lot more than we know.

The report goes on to say: “Longer-term stresses like a divorce or a remembered traumatic event can do a number on the body’s ability to fight off infection. Keeping it alive in your mind allows stress to do battle with a person’s immune system.”

Many clinical studies that support the reality that even things we have stored in our memory, if not released, can cause a decline in our general health. We know it as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Or, if we have chronic pain, as I did, the effect is continuous stress at all levels.

A report from WebMD: “Think your job may be killing you? You may be right. New research from Finland shows that work stress can double your risk of dying of heart disease.”

And this from CNN’s Kathy Slobogin: “The headline is that nearly half of U.S. workers feel overworked or overwhelmed.”

You knew that, didn’t you?

So, where are the stress solutions for small spaces? The short answer is in your mind. And in my case in making up my mind to de-stress, dis-solve and de-compress my slipped disks. As a Trainer and Master Practitioner of NLP, I have found that solutions for stress are of my own making, as are my perceptions of the stressors and how quickly I release and clear them. It was a blessing for me to find the “secrets” of Tai Chi and QiGong integrated in Lily Cohen’s exercises. As they healed me I was touched on a spiritual, mental and physical level. The solutions are out there/in there. Go ahead; find easy, effortless solutions that allow the tall oaks deep inside to become willows in the winds of change.

©2005 Lynda Wells All Rights Reserved

Lynda Wells is a Trainer/Master Practitioner of NLP, Time Line Therapy™, Clinical Hypnotherapy and is Co-founder of The Way To Wellness™.

http://thewaytowellness.com
mail: infor@stressmanagementarticles.com

Posted on Aug 12th, 2006

It has long been suggested that “music soothes the savage beast.” But is this true? And if it is, does this have any implication where humans are concerned? The answer, apparently, is yes. To illustrate this, researchers point to the different physiological changes that take place within the human body in response to different sounds and noises. A loud noise that shatters the silence sets the human heart racing and stimulates a rush of adrenaline that prepares you for flight. In contrast a soft, soothing sound helps us to relax.

Music therapy has, in fact, been around for thousands of years. Nearly four thousand years ago the Hebrew Scriptures recorded that the boy who would later become King David was hired by his predecessor to play the harp to calm King Saul when he would go into a rage. Likewise, the use of music therapy is found in the writings of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome.

More recently, scientists have been studying the effects of music therapy and have documented changes in respiratory rates, blood pressure, and pulse in response to musical stimuli. Likewise, researchers in the realm of music therapy have found that the use of music therapy can be effective in areas as diverse as IQ and recovery rates, pain management and weight loss.

Some object that this sounds too good to be true. How can music therapy change something like pain management? Researchers tell us that the reason music therapy works is based on how we hear. Sound is little more than vibrations in the air that are picked up by the inner ear and transferred to the brain which is a key component in your nervous system and controls the functions of the body and the brain responds to the stimuli that it is given.

In light of this, music therapy can and often is used in a wide variety of applications. One common application for music therapy is in working with autistic individuals because research has found that music can help autistic children to express themselves. Likewise, music therapy has been found to help individuals with physical disabilities to develop better motor skills.

With music therapy, individuals with high levels of anxiety can be helped to express suppressed emotions thereby discharging anger, or enabling the individual to express the joy they would not otherwise be able to express. Likewise, research has found that music therapy can help lower the anxiety levels of hospital patients who find themselves facing frightening prospects and in an unfamiliar environment. Furthermore, music therapy has been found to help medical professionals with pain management such that they have been able to reduce pain medication by as much as one half by helping to stimulate the production of the body’s own pain killers, called endorphins.

Music therapy can come is a wide variety of forms. In some cases it’s as simple as having the individual listen to particular music. In other cases music therapy requires a more interactive approach, having the individual respond to the music either in dance or using some other form of expression. But in its many forms, music therapy has often been found to be beneficial.

Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music courses for adults. His book-CD-DVD course titled "How To Add Runs & Fills To Your Piano Playing!" is used by pianists around the world. He is the author of the popular free 101-week online e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 61,200 current subscribers.

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