Sunday, September 28, 2008

Health Lesson #6 (Stress)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2008 05:21 PM

One good way to reduce stress is to go be around nature.
Another way to reduce stress is to hang out with cats. Look at her. No worries in the world.

Lesson #6
(From Hippocrates and books) STRESS

What a treat for all of you. My flight out of Houston was delayed and I missed my connection in Charlotte. I spent from 2:50pm to midnight in planes or in the airport and I am only in Charlotte so far. (when I wrote this. Now I am home and I have had a good nap) I got 5 hours of sleep and I am back in the airport and I fly out at 7:55 to finally go home. These past days at the airport were not miserable. Instead they were a huge opportunity for me to write two really good lessons on stress (how fitting) and the mind body connection. If I was home already I would have tons of distractions stopping me from writing so much. Time to get those self help books out and start watching some Oprah episodes. Let’s do some soul searching and look within at our true, inner selves.

This mind/body/stress lesson had to be broken into two. They are both related to each other so in a couple days (while this is still fresh, I’ll post the other stuff. Stress will be first, since I have been thinking about it so much the last couple days. It has been hard practicing what I preach. It was a good time to be focusing on this stuff so much.

First, 6 quick traveling tips from Shannon:
1. ALWAYS bring one extra outfit to wear (no matter how short the trip)
2. ALWAYS bring your cell phone charger (no matter how short the trip)
3. Try to avoid the last flight of the day because if there is a delay – you’re screwed
4. Get lots of sleep before you travel to avoid headaches
5. Keep a positive attitude and take a lot of long slow deep breaths
6. If someone conveniently got on the plane early and “accidentally” sat in your window seat, have them move so you don’t sit in the aisle the whole flight, regretting being so nice.

Stress management:
Stress is how we interpret things (situations)
Stress is a form of energy and it is up to us to identify it as good or bad.
Most of us experience stress as a negative limiting factor in our lives. We blame stress for our inability to perform. We look for a way out of stress rather than seeing it as a vital tool to help shape our lives.

Most people also complain and victimize ourselves. We blame parents, coworkers, work, and friends for what we consider our personal problems. We often deny the opportunity to resolve our challenges and blame outside circumstances therefore making ourselves victims. Every individual is solely responsible for all the stress and resulting unhappiness in their life. Stress is a state of mind and not an external factor. Once we can accept the full individual responsibility, we can become sufficiently conscious functional to accept and implement changes that we must make in our lives to reduce stress and realize our capacity to love.

Our ability to identify and manage stress is crucial to our physical and mental health. Emotional toxins that cause stress are anger, fear, guilt, shame and grief. These emotions cause stress and sometimes these emotions are caused by stress.

Stressors can come from
Physical challenges – diagnosis of an illness. The connection between stress and illness like Coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue, cancer, arthritis, and digestive problems are well documented. You can also over exert yourself and cause physical stress.
From mental or emotional sources – relationship problems, extended family relationships, job challenges, social support problems
Past traumatic events – majority of people who have undergone a traumatic event in the past still carry that stress in their body and in their tissue. Loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or divorce or break up are all past traumas that are usually hard for people to cope with and let go of.

Dealing with stress tips:
External changes - One of the best ways to deal with stress is to have the courage to change some of the things in our lives that cause us that stress. Change an unhealthy diet, change a habit, change a job or even change a partner if necessary.
Internal changes – Another way to cope is to change our reaction to stress. Here comes my driving example again. If you get stuck in traffic, look for possibilities to interpret the experience in a positive way. Now you have time to call someone you need to talk to, or you can use the time to really listen to some good music, or just take the time to relax by simply paying attention to all the sights around. Or, think that the traffic is fate and there is a larger reason as to why you should arrive to your destination later.
Prepare for the future – Try to be prepared for future events that might cause stress. Plan your future finances and give yourself at least 10 minutes buffer time for every appointment, meeting, flight etc...(also bring extra clothes, and a cell phone charger when you travel)
Exercises helpful for stress management:
Breathe – long slow diaphragmatic breathing. Get your breath moving slowly and all the way deep down to your lower abdomen. Anytime I feel some stressful feelings coming on, I stop and take three long cleansing breaths and I always feel better.
Meditation – Start with the breathing and then pay attention to your thoughts. Become aware of your thoughts and then let go. Refocus on your breath. If you like, you can repeat a phrase (your mantra) to redirect your attention when you are distracted.
Mindfulness – Learn to enjoy being in the present. “The secret to health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, not to worry about the future, nor anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly” (Buddha) Practice of mindfulness involves 1. Letting go of thought of how the present moment should be different 2. Focusing on the present. I have a ton of quotes from many intelligent, well respected individuals in history, but here is one from a slightly different character “LIVE IN THE NOW!!!” Garth Algar from the Wayne’s World movie.
Changing our thoughts – Reinterpret the events. Reframe events “The harder you fall the higher you bounce” Nice way to think about it huh? We are constantly faced by great opportunities that are disguised as problems.
Practice optimism – Yes, it does require practice for most people. “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty” (Winston Churchill) Start writing a “Gratitude journal” – at least 5 items every day. Keep your mind focused on good things and you will gradually become a more optomistic person.
(For item 4 and 5 I will reference the Oprah story again. One episode, she revealed a little about the corruption behind the meat industry and how meat is not really healthy for humans to eat. The meat company went after her in a huge drawn out lawsuit that she explained to be the most difficult event in her life to mentally get through next to being abused as a child. So, she found Dr Phil to be her psychiatrist through it all. Then she had him on her show and look what happened from there on out. It opened up the whole new level of the psychology/self help aspect of her show. She was on Dr Phil’s 100th episode and she said that at the time she didn’t realize it, but that whole lawsuit was the start of something much bigger. You never know what “horrible” event in your life might be just the beginning of something much much bigger and better. Try to think of things that way.
Slowing down – There is no use in running if we aren’t on the right road. Are you on the right road????
Keep life in perspective – Rule #1 don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2 it’s all small stuff. Always keep in mind what REALLY matters. “He who is richest is content with the least” (Socrates)
Improve your lifestyle – Get good sleep, exercise, avoid caffeine, alcohol or drugs. Take care of your physical self (mind-body, body-mind)
Improving your communication – See things from other’s point of view. Actively listen, you don’t always have to be right. Reframing allows you to listen to comments in a constructive, instead of a defensive manner.
Manage anger and frustration – Another Buddha quote “Holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal with the intend on throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned” Another quote: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Honesty - Holding in secrets, telling lies or witholding the truth all come with their own emotional baggage. These can cause their own stress. And the truth shall set you free.
All self actualized genuine leaders share the singular trait that is charisma. The key to charisma is self-esteem and self-love. Here is a two step process that promotes enhanced self esteem:
Create a notebook into which you write exclusively about your developing self-esteem. Every evening write seven positive things you did during the day. Do it right before you sleep so good thoughts follow you into sleep. (it can be something as simple as took time to relax, or was patient with someone you usually don’t have patience for)
Every three months (or every month) set aside 30 minutes to read the collection of positive ideas that you have written.
Over time you will become what you write. You will see yourself in a more positive light and make decisions that reflect your enhanced attitude about yourself. Love replaces negativity. Abundance and sharing replace poverty and isolation. When it is dedicated to achieving greatness, the human spirit has infinite resources at its disposal. Stress is one of these resources being an important indicator of how we are maintaining our balance from day to day. If we do this then we are making stress work in our favor. Now we're talking.
Mind/body will be the next lesson soon

Lots of love and stress free living
Shannon : )
I cannot stress it enough. WATCH THE SECRET and try to apply it to your life


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  2. You really hit it on the head with tips for dealing with stress and anxiety. Check out my story of how I learned to apply these principles at Hippocrates Health Institute plus much more. My life is amazing now.


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