Archive for October, 2006

Posted on Oct 16th, 2006

Stress. It has been described as America’s #1 health problem. Hard to imagine something that you can’t see, can’t feel and can’t even measure on any kind of scale as being so dangerous. In this article and the series that follows we’re going to cover the causes of stress, how to identify if you are under stress, what it does to the human body and treatments. In spite of the fact that this is the invisible killer, we know a lot about stress and how to keep it under control.

To start with, you can hardly pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio, watch TV or for that matter go out in the street without hearing about stress. It seems that there should be such a big to do about something that has been around since the beginning of time. Is stress more prevalent today? Is it more dangerous? Or is it simply that modern science has finally figured out that stress can kill you? Well, according to modern science, the answer is a big YES.

Unfortunately, stress is a part of life and something that can’t be avoided. To list the number of things that cause stress would take a book the size of a dictionary, but for this article we’ll list the most common causes of stress.

Probably the most common and severe form of stress is our jobs. Let’s face it, in order to live in this world we need to have money to at least buy the absolute necessities, like food and shelter. The only way to get that money is to go out and earn it, and that means getting a job. In the perfect world we would get a job doing something that we absolutely loved to do. But this isn’t a perfect world and many times we have to settle for a job simply because it’s available. That alone causes stress, doing something we really don’t want to do. Add to that a boss who maybe isn’t the nicest person in the world, bad working conditions and the realization that if you lose this job or quit you will be out on the street and hungry. If that isn’t enough to cause the kind of stress that can kill you then nothing is.

Then there is the stress of taking care of your home. Maybe you have several kids. Maybe they’re reaching college age and you’re wondering how you’re going to afford to get them into college. In the meantime you still have to clean the house, do the laundry, do the food shopping, pay the bills and if you’re really unlucky, have to balance that with a job because your spouse doesn’t make enough money to support the whole family.

Then there is the stress of everyday life. Dealing with rude people at the supermarket, motor vehicles, neighbors who play music too loud at night and don’t let you sleep, and the list goes on and on.

So how exactly to we identify when we under stress, at least enough considerable stress to do us harm? We’ll be answering that question in our next article.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress

Posted on Oct 16th, 2006

Deadlines at work, demanding bosses, bills to be paid at home, kids demanding for time and attention, changes in the environment, etc. AAARRRRGH. These are the realities of everyday living that people in an industrialized world have to constantly contend with, if these factors are not handled properly this will lead to stress.

Stress is the wear and tear the body experiences as people adjust to the ever-changing environment. It is relative to every individual. What may be considered as stressful to one person may not be true to another. Since stress factors are part of daily life, the goal is not to eliminate stress but to find the optimal level where the stress factors motivate the individual in continuing his/her life and not be overwhelmed. This is called stress management.

Life without these stress factors may lead to boredom, dejection and depression. On the other hand, excess of which may make one feel tied up in knots. So, how do we know that we are attaining the optimal stress level?

A clear indication that stress management has not been practiced or the optimal stress level has not been attained is the presence of related illness. Most sickness is due to unrelieved stress such as hypertension, dizziness, hyperacidity, etc. This indicates that stress must be reduced in daily living.

So, how does one really manage stress? Two things may be done. It may be done by either changing the source of stress or changing one’s reactions to it. As the cliché goes, it’s either we shape out or we shape up. In doing the former, it’s like totally quitting the status quo. It’s like giving up totally so that the stress factor that is present in life is totally eliminated. Some see this as chickening out or being yellow. However, this is also relative for the individual because if the stress factor already affects every aspect of the life of the individual, getting out of the situation completely may be the best option. This may also be considered a brave move. The second option takes a lot of courage and maturity. Being able to identify and practice appropriate reactions to stressful situations takes a lot of courage and wisdom. However, with determination and persistence, this can be achieved.

The best way to manage stress is to first become aware of the stressors and to observe individual’s emotion and physical reactions to them. Most often, people ignore the stress factors and just wish that they would go away. The stressor may be a person, a situation or an event. The individual must recognize that a stress factor is affecting his/her life and emotionally and physically he/she is reacting to it.

After which the next thing to do is to recognize what can be changed. The change may occur by avoiding or eliminating the stress factor completely as stated earlier or by reducing its intensity. This is done by managing the stress over a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly basis. If possible, it is best to try also to shorten exposure to stress. This may be done by taking a break, a sabbatical or a leave whatever possible so long as the individual avoids the physical premise where the stress is present. Another way is to devote time and energy to effect change by practicing goal setting and time management techniques.

The next stress management technique is by reducing the intensity of emotional reaction to stress. Simply said, to avoid worrying too much. The worriers most likely chicken out. Sometimes perception of the stress factor is exaggerated. It’s like making a mountain out of a mole. It is best to work at adopting moderate views. Positive thinkers achieve more than the negative thinkers.

By not worrying too much, the individual saves his body from possible physical illnesses. He is protecting his health to deteriorate due to lack of sleep and inappropriate food intake.

It is best to build physical reserves to be able to manage stress. The usual exercise is needed for cardiovascular fitness at least done three to four times a week. Live a healthy lifestyle because this will be the best armor in fighting the daily struggle of life.

Lastly, maintain your emotional reserves. The support from family and friends are still basic necessities in life.

Do not work out for a stress free life, work out to achieve and live a well stress managed life.

Jeff Dedrick

Are you a Mom who want’s to lose weight, have less stress, and look and feel better than you have in years?

Go to http://www.EMomsFitness.com for free tips and bonuses.

Posted on Oct 15th, 2006

In this article we’re going to try to answer the question of how you can tell if you’re under considerable stress.

Actually, recognizing that you’re under stress is very close to diagnosing the effects of stress on your body.

Fortunately, stress identification is pretty easy. Several red flags go up physically that are indications that your body is trying to tell you something.

Stress begins with the effects that it has on you emotionally and mentally. People who are under stress usually show early symptoms of anxiety. At first they may think they are just nervous about something and ignore it as being a one time or occasional thing, but then the anxiety becomes more frequent. They then become very irritable, maybe even short tempered. Gradually this anxiety leads, in many cases, to depression. Eventually the person under stress can’t even cope with everyday activities like going to work. Of course these symptoms can also be signs of other problems which is why a person needs to go to a medical professional for a checkup and tests to determine if they are simply suffering from stress or if there is something more serious going on.

From these beginnings stress then balloons into headaches, sometimes very severe migraines. If they go to a doctor for a regular exam where their blood pressure is taken they may more than likely find that their blood pressure is elevated. Again, there could be other factors here such as a family history of high blood pressure.

If this stress is allowed to continue untreated the next signs are chest pains and trouble breathing. The reason is because stress can eventually lead to heart disease. The reason for this is that stress causes irregular heart rhythms which lead to angina, and possible heart attacks or even stroke. The reason strokes are likely is because of the elevated blood pressure in persons with stress.

Other symptoms of stress are a sudden onset of gastrointestinal problems. The reason for this is because the brain and intestine share a very strong connection. They are both regulated by many of the same hormones in the body. If a normally healthy person has a sudden change in bowel habits there is a very good chance that this is caused by stress.

Also, most people under stress will begin to eat more. This is more psychological than anything else simply because, when we are under stress, or for that matter not happy with something going on in our lives, we will often turn to food because it makes us feel better. A normally skinny person who suddenly puts on a lot of weight is more likely than not eating more because they are under some kind of stress.

Stress will also lead to sexual problems, especially in men. Stress is probably one of the most common causes of non structural impotence in men, meaning men who don’t actually have anything wrong with them.

In our next article we are going to go over what can be done to help alleviate stress from a person’s life and if need be, treat it with medication.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress

Posted on Oct 15th, 2006

"We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." -unknown

Spontaneous Play

The phone company has been working in our neighborhood installing new cables. Two weeks ago, during part of an early morning installation, they hit a major power line and cut power and phone service to 600 homes. The repair crew estimated that it would take two days to restore the power and phone service. I was in the middle of several large business projects. Since I office at home, my first thought when this happened was, “what can I do without access to my computer and emails?" I caught myself before I went too far down this path and shifted my focus to "what was the opportunity in this situation?"

Often what we label as problems are really opportunities. In the Chinese language the same character is used for both a crisis or problem and an opportunity. Another way of looking at this is different sides of the same coin. So when I "flipped" to the other side of the coin, I immediately saw this situation as an opportunity to play! It reminded me of the "snow days" we used to have in school; when we had an excuse not to go to school and instead we could play in the snow.

I really needed a break from the projects and with this spontaneous gift; I decided to fully enjoy myself. Instead of worrying about all the things I “should” be doing, I decided to listen to my heart. I took a long walk and then sat outside and finished a novel. I met a friend for a leisurely lunch and browsed stores that I had been wanting to explore. I purchased spontaneous gifts to surprise loved ones. By early evening the power was restored but not before I had experienced a wonderful, energizing day!

I learned two things from this day. The first was to quickly shift to see the opportunity in an apparent problem. The second was the benefit of spontaneous play. After the much needed break, I returned more creative and revitalized for my projects.

Where do you need a break in your life right now? Are there some opportunities disguised as problems? Look at something you are labeling as a problem right now. If you ‘flipped the coin’, what is the opportunity in the situation? Watch for the signs that your need a break: frustration, short-tempered, low energy, no motivation. What would happen to your outlook, creativity and energy if you had a day or hour to follow your heart? Think of something fun you would love to do if you had an unexpected break and then create one!

Vicki Miller Copyright July 2005

As a Life Transition Coach I work with clients to identify what’s most important to them and prioritize around these values. I help my clients identify and remove obstacles in the way and bring clarity and focus to their dreams. What is your dream? Are you undergoing a major transition and not clear where to turn? Call (972-306-4489) or email me, (coach.v.miller@stressmanagementarticles.com), to set up a complimentary, no obligation 30 minute coaching session. Download my FREE e-Book, 12 Fun Ways to Change Your Life, or sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.thrivingthroughchange.com

Posted on Oct 14th, 2006

In this last article in our series on stress we’re going to cover some of the ways that stress can be reduced.

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to start with a healthy diet. Medical research shows that a diet composed of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can greatly reduce stress because of the nutrients being supplied to your body and mind. Also avoiding such things as alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can greatly reduce stress.

Another great treatment for stress is lots of exercise. This serves two purposes. The exercise itself builds up the body which fights off stressful factors. Also, exercising is a great distraction in itself to get your mind off of the things that are bothering you, and in turn this reduces stress. A varied exercise routine is best because it prevents boredom. Maybe take an hour or two and divide up your time between treadmill, biking and weightlifting.

Other activities that are great for reducing stress are aerobics, swimming and yoga. Signing up for one of these classes is a great way to kill a couple of hours, get your mind off things and at the same time get your body into better shape.

Of course if you are terribly out of shape then you need to start slow. Maybe start with taking a 15 minute walk 3 days a week. Then work your way up to 30 minutes and eventually an hour. Then you can add yoga or aerobics to your routine, maybe starting one or the other for a half hour a week and then working your way up to maybe 20 minutes a day. Of course don’t start an exercise routine until you’ve checked with a doctor.

Besides exercise, another way to reduce stress is through activities that don’t take much physical exertion, but do take time and in the process take your mind off your problems for a while.

The best of these, if you can afford it, is to take a vacation. Go somewhere for a week or at least a few days just to get away from things. Places where they have many attractions like amusement parks or beaches, especially in the summer, are great. An associate of mine personally told me of a time when he was under such terrible stress that he was afraid he was going to have a nervous breakdown. After just one weekend at the beach he was a new person. Yes, vacations work wonders.

Another thing that’s important to do is reduce stress at work. If there is something about your job that is extremely stressful, take it up with human resources. Maybe they can find some ways to reduce the stress by changing your situation slightly.

Practice stress reduction techniques like deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation and massage therapy.

Finally, get yourself into a support group. Talking to other people who are also under great stress can be a great comfort. You know the old saying, misery loves company.

These are just some of the natural things you can do to relieve stress without medication. You should see significant improvement by using the above suggestions.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress

Posted on Oct 14th, 2006

At what age does the benefit of play cease? Child development experts agree that play is very important in the learning and emotional development of all children. But do we ever grow out of a need for play? I answer with an emphatic no. All the benefits of play continue into adulthood. Would you like to enjoy the following benefits daily?

- Experience fun and joy

- Further develop skills such as reading, problem solving, and strength & flexibility

- Work through emotions and develop values and ethics

- Improve your feelings of self-worth

- Better understanding of the world around you

- Develop social skills and deeper relationships

That’s just a short list of what experts say children gain when they play. Humanity has robed itself of humanity when play is removed from our lives. As we age we continue to learn and grow. In some ways we are always children. Exploration and discovery should not end when we become adults. If anything, play should become more exciting and expansive.

Let me apply this to the work world. If you take a little time to play with your tools and explore what they can do, you will find yourself becoming more efficient and skilled with them. The quality of your work will increase because you’ve been honoring recess and allowing your sub-conscious mind to get involved in the problem solving. Your job will continue to excite you because you will always be finding something new.

In addition, play is a stress relief. If you keep a bow constantly strung up, it will lose it’s spring and cease to function. If you continue to tighten the stings on an instrument, they will eventually break and there will be no more music. Playing allows you to loosen the strings and maintain your flexibility. Without play, we can become so focused on one thing that we sacrifice all other possibilities. Concentrate too hard on a single tree trunk long enough and not only will you miss the forest, you’ll miss the approaching forest fire!

Take a little time and have some fun today. It will not matter what you accomplish in life, if in the end you never enjoyed it.

Dare to Soar with Carolyn Frances,
Life Coach & Spiritual Guide,
http://www.ClaimingGreatness.cc

Posted on Oct 13th, 2006

After all, it’s already there and stress is not the sort of thing that is dealt with so easily. Stress tends to consume our consciousness, resulting in fatigue, depression, loss of concentration and in some situations can even cause memory problems. In cases like this, it looks like the brain is completely covered up in the mess called stress that there is no room for anything else. Thus, in order to stay alert, conscious and clear headed, it is vital that you develop a strategy for dealing with stress.

As with every other condition or illness, the best cure by far, is prevention. So also, the best method for handling stress is definitely to prevent it from consuming us, in the first place. The best way to achieve this is to learn to concentrate on the present, on what we are doing rather than being worried about what needs to be done. By focusing your mind, for instance on what you are doing you can avoid the anxiety that comes with worrying about how you are going to handle the jobs left to be done. This is quite simple. Living in every moment and allowing each moment and situation to move you forward, will definitely help in keeping your stress level at bay. However, when you step back and look at the big picture and think to yourself, "How the heck am I going to get all this done?" you will not be helping yourself. Instead of working to get things done, you will instead be thinking about how you will never get it done and you will create your own, self-fulfilling prophecy! This, needless to say, is bad. Concentrate on what you are doing and the work will take care of itself.

"Do, everyday, All that can be done that day And do each act in an efficient manner" Wallace Wattles

Now, what if you couldn’t prevent stress from overwhelming you. Now you are completely wrapped up in stress it’s too late to start sermonizing about prevention. What you need now is relief, how do you get it?

The best thing you can do in such a situation is to just walk away. Get away from everything bothering you and let life stay still for a couple of moments. Forget about everything and think about something completely different for that glorious moment. Think about how to make a decent sandwich, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and watch the fluid fill the cup. Take a look outside the window and watch the people, cars or ducks go by. Just notice something else and concentrate on that. By doing this, you will be able to clear your mind of stress and worry instead about something entirely mundane that is not a source of stress at all.

Give no anxious thoughts to possible disasters, obstacles, panics or unfavorable combinations of circumstances. There is time enough to meet such things when they present themselves.

"You will find that every difficulty carries with it The wherewithal for its overcoming" Wallace Wattles

Meditation is another important weapon to handle stress. When you are stressed you could push it out with a quick round of meditation. This could be done by just sitting down, closing your eyes, and concentrating for a moment on your breathing. Take a deep breath and notice the air coming into your lungs. Then push all that air out and feel it wafting through your nose or mouth. With a few of these deep breaths, you can quickly clear your mind of its concerns and start with a clean slate. Then, once you open your eyes, you will feel very refreshed. If this doesn’t work at first, then do it again and see if it makes a difference. Obviously, it takes some practice to master this quick method of meditation, but many people find quick relief from stress by performing this simple breathing exercise. Just keep trying it and, eventually, you will master this technique of dealing with stress.

Regular exercise and sound sleep are two efficient weapons that can also be used to attack stress. Keeping your body in shape does wonders for the body and mind. Exercise fills your body with hormones that are necessary for the body to relax. These hormones persist longer in the body after the exercise and can help you stave off stress. The more you exercise the farther stress is from you.

Poor sleeping habits also cloud the mind with fatigue, which makes us always tired during the day and easily knocked down by stress. Dealing with stress requires you to maintain a solid eight hours of sleep daily. You would do well to avoid alcohol and caffeine at bed times so that you could have a sound sleep and you will always wake up better the next day

Dealing with stress is not difficult, but it does take practice. No one has ever mastered any skill in a short period of time and dealing with stress is no different. Just be sure to exercise, get plenty of sleep, learn to concentrate and, if need be, meditate so that you can either keep stress away or deal with it when it arrives. Then, once you have mastered these methods and techniques of dealing with stress, you will feel better, be more effective and you will be much happier every day.

"It is not the number of things You do but the efficiency of each separate action." Wallace Wattles

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress

Posted on Oct 13th, 2006

Seventy-five percent of all our problems – both emotional and physical problems – come from the same source. If you could identify that source, would you want to eliminate it?

For most people, the answer is obvious. Unfortunately, few people are able to identify the core of their problems. And those who do typically don’t know the steps to take to alleviate their challenges.

So what is the course of most of our problems? It is stress. That’s right; stress is the source of 75 percent of all our problems and a major epidemic in people’s lives. Finding ways to control stress is vital, because if your don’t control stress, it will control you.

What Exactly Is Stress?

The concept of stress isn’t new to anyone. But few people truly know what stress is. Physical stress is the depletion of the body’s resources by illness or exhaustion. The most devastating stress, however, is psychological and emotional stress. There are many sources of emotional stress: family problems, social obligations, life changes, work, decision making, phobias, etc.

Emotional stress is powerful and debilitating because it takes away any sense of control we have over our lives. And this feeling of control over our environment and our self is one of our most basic human needs. If it isn’t met, emotional or physical illness can result. For example, a number of studies directly link stress and heart disease.

The only wan to combat stress and stay healthy is to create a complete physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium within the body. Although we used to believe that the mind and body are two separate entities, we now know that all facets of our being are interconnected. Everything that happens to your body and your mind affects your health and stress level in some way. Every thought you have, every feeling and emotion you experience affects your longevity. That is why you must take a total body approach to eliminate stress and balance your life.

Physical And Emotional Stress Relief

If you want to reduce your stress level and live a happier and healthier life, use the physical and emotional stress relief techniques outlined below.

Physical Relief

· Say No

The pressure to perform in today’s world is intense. As a result, people work long hours and take on much more than they can bear. They juggle multiple roles throughout the day and sacrifice sleep or personal time just so they can get everything done. Saying “no” to a demand is out of the question, resulting in increased stress, both at work and at home.

Unfortunately, for most people, saying “no” to another’s request is a challenge. They are anxious to please others, so they put their own needs aside. They fail to realize that no one can be on call 24 hours a day, and that we all need some personal time to rest and rejuvenate.

The next time someone demands more than you can give, remember that you have to take care of yourself first. You simply can’t handle everything. Say “no” gracefully while respecting the other person and letting him or her know that you care. While you may feel some initial guilt for denying the request that feeling will quickly pass and your stress level diminishes.

· Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body helps you take control of your stress

because you become aware of the signals your body gives you regarding comfort and discomfort. Once you’re attuned to what your body is telling you, you can learn which events trigger stress and which events reduce it. Your body talks to you everyday. How often do you listen?

The most common warning of too much stress is a condition called angina. Angina consists of chest pain or tightness in the neck, arms, jaw, and upper back that is the result of a reduced blood supply to the heart. Other indicators of excessive emotional stress are arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat.

In order to listen to your body, you must become responsible for your health and your stress. Having trust in your doctors or in medical tests is now enough. The real solution lies with you and with your own awareness and responsibility for your health. This responsibility may involve doing some things that are difficult for you, such as changing your diet, stopping smoking, learning to control emotions, etc. Whatever change is necessary for you, your body will tell you. You need only to listen.

Physical Relief

· Communicate With Your Heart

Your heart has an important job, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day. This merits the heart receiving your attention. To reduce emotional stress your heart needs encouragement, appreciation, and love.

Start your heart talk, your communication with your heart, by placing your right hand over the left side of your chest. Become aware of your heartbeat. Stay in that position for a few moments. Soon you’ll notice that the heating sensation becomes less forceful. It is as if your heart knows that you’re in touch with it. With your hand still over your chest ask your heart to help you be peaceful. Ask your heart to create an emotional shield that protects you from whatever the world around you may be fighting with.

Within your heart is an infinite intelligence that is sensitive to your needs. So pose a question to your heart or discuss a problem that’s causing you stress. Your heart will reciprocate with the proper answer. By doing this, you are telling your creative mind to quiet down so you can uncover new solutions to your problems. The more you become aware of your heart and what it tells you to do, the less stress you will experience. You will achieve a sense of peace and calmness knowing that you are doing what is best for you.

· Clear Out the Past Clutter

Just as you do a spring cleaning of your house, you should also do a spring cleaning of your heart to wipe away the old memories and messages that are causing you stress. This is important, because the way we fell from moment to moment, the way we behave, and the actions we take are all conditioned to how we feel inside.

Negative feelings that we harbor from our past – feelings of loneliness, feelings of low self-worth, feelings of sadness, worry, and fear – cause a great deal of emotional stress in our adult lives. It’s similar to carrying a weight on your back. The weight becomes heavier and heavier. You eventually have to walk bent over because the weight is excessive, but you are still not willing to let it go. As you clear out the chatter, you let go of the weight; you regain a sense of peace and are able to walk upright again.

To discover the past chatter that’s causing you stress, think back over your life and identify the most painful experience you have had – the one you thought you needed to hide from the world. What was that mistake or event? What message did the event trigger in your mind? Acknowledge the event, forgive yourself for it, and then release it and the accompanying stress from your heart.

Stress-Free Today

If you want to eliminate 75 percent of your physical and emotional problems, you must first reduce the stress you feel in your life. By practicing the self-communication strategies explained above, you can take the steps to talk yourself out of daily stress. When you do, you’ll gain a sense of balance and inner peace that enables you to accomplish more, enjoy life, and live your dreams.

Bruno Cortis, M.D., is a cardiologist with a major interest in Spirituality and Health. He authored two books, The Spiritual Heart and also Heart & Soul. He is a member of NSA, Illinois Chapter and he delivers speeches and seminars across North America.

You can visit Dr. Cortis at http://www.BrunoCortis.com or e-mail him at DrCortis@stressmanagementarticles.com. His telephone number is 708-366-0117.

Posted on Oct 12th, 2006

Intuition was a wonderful gift. It was also an awful curse. By instantly recognizing patterns, intuition was nature’s vital tool for survival. Life ceaselessly faced a train of unlimited choices and, often, baffling problems. These demanded instant decisions. An animal could not remain undecided, whether to drink water, or to eat grass. Should it be aggressive and fight, run away, or relax and accept the situation? It was intuition, which interpreted events to trigger emotions. Anger made them aggressive. Fear made them retreat. And familiarity supported relaxation. Each emotion eliminated groups of thoughts. If fighting was the option, amicable thoughts did not fit. If the decision was to cut and run, it was useless to marshal one’s militant strengths. The intuitive process eliminated mental activity, which did not fit the chosen course of action. Sadly, this elimination process was also the biggest weakness of the system.

Each emotion set off a focused drive seeking solutions. Anger, fear, or friendliness triggered competing drives. Intuition focused each drive by eliminating views that did not fit its compulsive focus. Anger eliminated amicable memories. Fear lost sight of fighting strengths. As any situation evolved, the emotional strengths of these partisan drives varied. Opposing emotions competed for control. Intuition acted in the emotional center, the limbic system, to select the most powerful emotion, which then ruled. If it was anger, it pulled the trigger. When the choice was made, the process inhibited competing drives, with contrary feelings. Opposing views were largely lost to consciousness.

Across species, fear dictated an escape drive, which sought safety. A deer bounded away. A bird took flight. A fish swam off. While the activities of running, flying and swimming differed, it was the drive, which achieved the objective of escaping. Each drive evaluated experience and the environment. Escape was hardly possible by heading into the predator. Getting away demanded evaluation of many escape routes, including slipping into a safe sanctuary, inaccessible to the predator. Like the underside of a rock. Drives involved a search of multiple contexts to uncover the right answer. While intuitive drives usually delivered the answer instantly, some drives failed to uncover solutions.

Modern life offered few speedy answers. Senior positions had added problems. The higher the position, more the solutions needed for the myriad problems faced by a venture. Intuition, driven by emotions, was the creative force, which delivered answers. Hidden from view, drives constantly sought solutions. While one problem was consciously evaluated, subconscious drives continued search processes to solve other issues. Since, anger, fear or jealousy powered such searches, they often sought to achieve conflicting objectives. These hidden emotions troubled the mind, creating distressing internal conflicts. Sadly, this was the negative face of intuition, standing in the way of achieving peace of mind.

Conflicting viewpoints surged in the subconscious. How could they be integrated? In a harsh and unforgiving world, how could a multitude of clashing drives be graciously focused? How could the mind be stilled? Across the ages, many solutions were offered to focus the mind and still conflicts. Meditation, chanting and breathing routines were found to be beneficial. But, those practices treated the symptom, not the problem. The long term solution was to quiet the internal battles of these competing drives. All knowledge and experience lived within. These same drives were powerful search processes, which could delve deep, to deliver answers. Unique new insights and solutions waited to be discovered.

Drives provided windows into the mind. It was a drive, which assisted in the preparation of a simple shopping list. It searched memory and current context to deliver, line by line, a list of all the items you needed to buy. By contextually searching the mind, drives could be made to play a valuable, creative role. When particularly burdened by a problem, drives could draw out a list of one’s deepest concerns. With its sort facility, a spreadsheet could be used to list and comprehend the turmoils of the mind.

The routine could begin by listing, line by line, different aspects of a problem, as it came to mind. Each, a short entry in a single cell of the spread sheet. It may have just begun with, say, "Feel awful" and gone on down. That was the first thought. Many conflicting emotions surged in the background. Each line would sum up a single feeling and its concern. It could be “Negative departmental report” Or, it could be just a hunch. “David will support me.” The worst fears were noted down. “Mortgage payments.” And the common sense thoughts. “This too will pass.”

Writing a list was a calming process. The questioning drive helped still the mind. Differing viewpoints were noted down. These views would arrive in conspicuous sequence. Each entry brought one viewpoint into consciousness – into the general view of isolated and competing drives. Sensible viewpoints would normally have been eliminated from view by angry emotions. Typically, about 60 odd entries would empty the mind of every related thought. Entering opposing viewpoints usually brought balance. The inquiry process stilled background turmoil. The most critical part of this process came next.

A label was entered for each line in an adjacent cell on the spreadsheet. “Fear,” “Opportunity”, or even “Unlikely” could be the labels. With every aspect already considered, it was easier to label an entry. Each label fitted a few more entries. The picture slowly cleared. Underground fears surfaced. Solutions emerged. The closing of one door usually opened another. Those 60 entries would fit a dozen or so categories. A "sort" of the labels column would arrange similar ones together, in alphabetic order. Listing similarly labeled ideas together would bring clarity. They became groups of consistent, allied thoughts. The sorted spreadsheet list integrated the mind.

Isolated drives were forced into the open and a balanced view emerged. Viewed together, “Unlikely” put a label on needless worries. The less likely outcomes could be ignored. The inevitable ones had to be accepted. That left you with the actions you could take. “Opportunities” formed the basis for a future plan. The rest of the list just climbed off your chest. Another threatening issue would have been acknowledged, accepted and foreseen. The spreadsheet evaluation balanced the mind and stilled hidden anxieties and conflicts. Lifted burdens. Anger and fear, love and altruism cooperated to search for solutions which met all the concerns of the mind. With the power of intuition, an integrated mind became the most creative force in the world.

Abraham Thomas is the author of The Intuitive Algorithm, a book, which suggests that intuition is a pattern recognition algorithm. This leads to an understanding of the powerful forces that control your mind. The ebook version is available at http://www.intuition.co.in The book may be purchased only in India. The website, provides a free movie and a walk through to explain the ideas.

Posted on Oct 12th, 2006

Among the hardest parts of living in the modern world is stress and anxiety. With worries about work, the environment, the economy, natural disasters, terrorism, and the general state of the world, it seems that there is no end to the number of things to worry about. Though we cannot control many of these things, they still weigh on our minds and cause us stress and anxiety. However, despite these concerns, we should try to avoid stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety are, at their hearts, mental problems. They are conditions in which the mind is racing and constantly circling around certain concerns. The concerns may be seemingly mundane, but the concerns keep recurring until they push out all the other thoughts in the brain and create their own towering mass of worry. And this tower is, in itself self-propagating simply because stress and anxiety tend to create themselves because stress and anxiety cause the mind to condition itself to stress and anxiety.

There is research to suggest that the mind gets used to stress and anxiety and, once it is conditioned, it will quickly return to stress and anxiety. In fact, there is some evidence that shows that stress conditioning may actually begin when we are too young to do anything about it. Children who face a great deal of stress will find their minds altered such that they will quickly return to a state of stress at the slightest provocation. It is almost as though the mind misses the state of stress and anxiety and wants to return to it once it has found the state.

Unfortunately, this creates serious problems not only for the mind, but also the body. Stress and anxiety put a great many demands on the human body. It causes headaches, high blood pressure, ulcers, sleep problems, immune system deficiencies and can even swell the joints, which can cause severe problems with conditions such as arthritis. As well, stress and anxiety can result in depression, memory problems, and even alcohol and drug abuse for those who suffer from stress and anxiety regularly. Thus, stress and anxiety are not merely problems of the mind, but they are problems of the mind that can cause problems in the body. The mind does, in surprising ways, control the body. And a mind that is overly taxed can lead to a body that is overly taxed.

Thus, you must understand that you can also control your mind. Stress and anxiety do not need to take over your mind. In fact, you can control how your mind responds to the problems that arise in life.

Remember that you can decide not to be stressed. You do not have to be anxious. You can change your mind and let things slide away. Yes, there are many things in this world to worry about. However, worrying about them will not change many aspects of the modern world. Constantly thinking about work, the environment, the economy, or politics will not change them. Instead, resolve to change things that you can change and do not worry about what you cannot control.

The thing to keep in mind is a sense of perspective. Yes, work is stressful, but do you need to worry about being attacked by a lion when you leave the office? When you go shopping for groceries, do you need to think about whether there will be a pack of marauding barbarians in the produce section? Hopefully, the answer is, "No." Thus, you do not have the same concerns as our forebears and you should keep that in mind. Life is pretty safe these days and the so-called "Age of Stress" is entirely of our own creation. We are stressed about things that we decide to be stressed about. And the things that we are stressed about really aren’t that important in the long-run scheme of things.

Stress and anxiety are, seemingly, enough to worry about on their own. So don’t fall into the trap of keeping them going. Keep life in perspective, keep yourself on an even keel and remember that you can control your own mind. If you can manage to do that, stress and anxiety to not need to take over your life.

Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton

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

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