The following information is about causes and effects attitude can have on our bodies and minds:
You Are What You Think
What goes on in our minds affects our bodies either favorably or adversely. It's been scientifically proven that beliefs, thoughts and attitudes can alter hormones and neurotransmitter levels of the brain.
Carl Simonton and many other doctors are finding that people who have cancer have been weakened by emotional and mental as well as physical factors. He believes that a person's response to prolonged fear and frustration are major contributors to this weakening of the body's resistance to cancer and other diseases.
Dr. Simonton has a simple, common-sense philosophy. He believes that in order to be or get well, we must learn and be who we are without repressing ourselves, which leads to fear and frustration, which in turn can lead to disease, and early death. He suggests we relax as much as possible, through play, deep breathing, or physical exercise (if the person is capable of doing so). The goal is to become quiet and to feel comfortable and safe. The next step is to visualize and feel with ENTHUSIASM what you would think, do and say if perfectly healthy. The last important step is to take specific action, however small that might be.
To Stay Well - Stay Involved
Studies have suggested the importance of feeling a sense of purpose and belonging. People who are involved in a meaningful way tend to have a stronger immune system, which is the number one protection against disease and illness. It is vital to feel that you care and are being cared for - that YOU matter and are seen and heard by others. If you are presently isolated, freeing yourself from your self-made prison may not be easy - but it is simple. Get involved - it may save your life!
First of all, be willing to love others and have a sincere desire to contribute. Secondly, see and feel YOURSELF worthy of others love and recognition. It is not enough to feel. You must ACT!
You do not have to become a world famous orator to be recognized! Start small. See what you can do for yourself first. Perhaps short-term therapy and or joining a support group may give you the courage to inspire you to action. Sometimes reading the words of others who have accomplished the very thing you're aspiring to do can give you the "jump start" you need to get going. There are plenty of inspirational books in your local library - check one out. Then, reach out bit-by-bit by becoming involved in your community somehow. Joining in social or environmental group activities can be very supportive for some people.
Our bodies can tell us when we are doing, thinking or believing something incorrectly through discomfort, tension and illness. Some of the time, it's all three yelling at once! If only we would listen, we then could avoid costly down-time. Wouldn't be better to prevent than going this far? Fortunately, we CAN monitor and manage our internal feedback by altering our beliefs, thoughts, and acts. We can do this through education, releasing our repressed emotions (in a healthy way), positive reinforcement, quiet contemplation, relaxation, etc.
Positive thinking has been medically proven beneficial. So - take some time every day for doing whatever puts you in a positive, optimistic frame of mind. Also, your diet may be insufficient in the B vitamins. A lack of these "brain-feeding" nutrients can trigger depressive, negative episodes, according to research in orthomolecular medicine.
Even if we relaxed 5 minutes twice daily we could lower our heart rates and calm our minds sufficiently to at least relax our "worry muscles". By far, relaxation is the singlemost powerful prevention technique! There are many to choose from. One of the best ways to relax is Dr. Herbert Benson's. It can be found in his book: YOUR MAXIMUM MIND. Also see the Computer section for brief instruction on this invaluable technique.
Worry - Americans' Favorite Pastime!
Around 13 million Americans spend MOST of their day worrying! Now, that's a lot of worry. What a waste of our time and energy! Worry is based on fear of what "could" and "might" happen. And, what we worry about usually never occurs. But does that stop us from indulging in this useless habit? Absolutely not! We must actually enjoy it. After all, it's so familiar - just like an old friend. This is one friend we could do without! For those of us who really want to break this noxious habit, here are some suggestions:
1. Designate 20 - 30 minutes per day as your worry time. During this time, identify your specific concerns. Ask yourself quality questions, ones which you can answer constructively. You may actually solve problems, but at least, confronting your worries with organized, logical thinking may make even big problems seem smaller.
2. If you find yourself worrying outside your designated worry time, quickly throw yourself into a positive or constructive action as a replacement activity.
3. If you are worrying outside your worry time and can't seem to bury it in other activities, redirect your non-specific worrying into focusing on and finding SOLUTIONS!
There is a Cure
Yes, worry is curable. It's simply a misdirection of our imagination. It's also healthy concern gone awry. By learning to control our thinking we can put worry in its proper place and be cheerful instead of gloomy.
Worry can be seen as a result of inappropriately channeled energy. This way we can see it as a potentially powerful source of good. One remedy is to accept stressful situations as part of life and learn to handle them by redirecting the energy into productive channels. Another is to honestly search ourselves and see if we might be wanting to control others with our worry. Ultimately, we must let go of unhealthy "concern" for loved ones. We then may find that they do indeed have all the resources they need to meet their challenges and overcome problems. All the worry in the world will not help them to do that! When it comes down to it, we must learn to trust others abilities to handle their own lives - no matter how impossible their situation might appear to us. It might be wise to apply the same to ourselves and our situation. I once heard that help is the sunny side of control.
Financial worries are real enough and cause a large part of all human anxieties. One way to solve them - if we are already using our resources to the best advantage - is to act on Thoreau's words of wisdom: "Simplify, simplify." He learned that by paring his needs down to the minimum he was able to live life to its fullest extent. He was undistracted by cares brought on by striving to satisfy greedy desires.
Ask yourself, "How many THINGS can I do without?" Unless, of course you WANT to be one of those statistics that literally worries themselves to death seeking material possesions, thinking they will insulate themselves against the imagined hardships that may lie ahead. Remember, worry will never solve - it will only dis-solve. It will dissolve your strength - the very strength you will need to remedy the situation.
Much of worry is rooted in self-pity. Often this pity will try to hide behind a claim of being concerned for another. This is an attitude we must change quickly. It can drive us deeper and deeper into a vicious cycle of worry, depression and ultimately paralyze our ability to act. At this time it is essential to stop seeing ourselves at the center of existence. It is now time to come out of our cocoon of isolation.
Time to turn our thoughts and open our hearts to others and come to realize our true place as members of a family, local and the global community. One way to do this is to involve yourself in something you love doing. Be it through work or play. You can play the piano or paint. Your worries may then become insignificant and petty when immersed in the harmony of music and in the presence of art.
"It is not work that kills men," wrote Henry Ward Beecher. "It is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more on a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade."
Worry not only "muddies" your mind, it can also lead to chemical imbalances, depression and reduced mental alertness. An accumulation of worry can actually physically degenerate your brain. This can cause mental dullness and a gradual memory loss.
Also, numerous studies have proven that our immune system can be adversely affected by worry. The upshot of this is that positive thinking benefits and strengthens our immune system. The way we think can create wellness or "dis-ease."
In an experiment, cancer patients were shown photos of immune helper cells whose job is to overtake invading cells such as cancer. Upon learning that these helper cells existed and then, by visualizing them as internal allies they could exercise control in overcoming the disease, their number of "helper cells" actually doubled!
One child with a deadly tumor was taught to imagine his white blood cells gathering around the tumor - like snow falling on a rock. In a matter of months, the tumor disappeared.
In Gawler, Australia, a veterinarian had a similar story. He cured himself of a so-called fatal bone cancer. He later claimed, "The cry of anguish that creates disease is a cry for love...LOVE is the appropriate response, and it works 100% every time."
Feeling SELF-LOVE and that we are in charge of our lives will strengthen our immunity and can stop stress chemicals from climbing to destructive heights. Medical doctors and researchers have found that this attitude of love for "self" is what motivates a person to get well and stay well.
A loving attitude can heal or prevent serious conditions and diseases. It can also dramatically enhance your everyday health. It may even give you more days to live.
A man on the Big Island of Hawaii was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle. Seriously injured in one knee and an ankle, he refused an ambulance. He insisted on having his friends take care of him, instead. These faithful and loving friends brought him to a cabin in the forest where they fed him local fruits and other food, took care of his every need, kept him involved in conversation, and did a lot of listening. After a few weeks, he could walk again. He walked to the hospital and had x-rays taken. It turns out that his knee had been broken, and his ankle was crushed. They wanted to admit him for surgery, but, he refused and walked home. Within a few more weeks, he was completely healed. No evidence of his injury remained!
Listening is a form of love. Dr. Candace Pert, in her research with cancer patients, found that REALLY hearing what they had to say made the difference. In three cancer wards the entire staff were trained to just listen to their patients - nothing else. The recovery rate in those wards was three times higher than it was in any other ward.
On the other hand, not feeling loved, listened to, or appreciated, can cause toxic stress hormones to flow through our bodies and brains. High readings of these chemicals can lead to cholesterol build-up and heart problems, and can lower the antibody activity that protects us against tumors and foreign invaders. Also, a sense of helplessness and isolation, can depress our immune system and decrease our energy level and resistance to illness. Feeling a need to dominate and control others creates stress, which can later adversely affect the immune system. It has also been scientifically implied that a hostile, cynical, distrusting attitude could contribute to hardening of the arteries and coronary disease.
Often, your lifestyle can seem to trap you in a high-stress situation. Remember - you got yourself into it, and you can get yourself out of it! The choice is yours. Always consider your options. For instance, selling products which you do not believe in can be profitable financially, but very costly in other ways. In this situation, your stress level can soar while your self-esteem can plummet to basement level. If it is selling or marketing you enjoy and are very skilled in, look around for other products you would be proud to represent.
If you aren't happy with what you do, you owe it to yourself to look in another direction. Expand your horizons. What would you like to be doing? What do you do best? What interests you? What would your dream career "look like?" If you had a choice - which you do - what is you true heart's desire? What do you really want? Consider taking the courses you may need to gain experience in your new field. Perhaps you can pursue an apprenticeship or start a home-based business in your spare time.
A high-stress component in the lives of many workers is commuting. Most of us would rather stay home, avoiding the rush hour, inclement weather and the confines our our automobiles. Wouldn't it be great if we could stay at home?
Home-business looks promising for now and in the future according to trend analysts John Naisbett, Faith Popcorn, the Small Business Administration and others. They are reporting on trends that spell SUCCESS for the small business person involved in fitness, natural health, environmental products, network marketing, and personal growth.
One trend is called cacooning, in which people stay at home more, doing their shopping from catalogs rather than spending time trying to find a parking space at the mall. Another is information handling. With the vast numbers of people now on earth, there is a tremendous market for handling information about and for those people. Home computers are great tools for developing information bases, catalogs, and servicing mail-order business. All of this is easy to start compared to many other businesses such as retail stores. What is Network Marketing?
This newly emerging, $15 billion dollar industry is one of the fastest climbing industries in the world today. It is the ultimate free enterprise system. It was designed for the individual with equal opportunity for all individuals. Unlike the old MLM - there are no middle-men to eat up your profit. Also, you do not have to have a garage full of product. In fact, you don't keep ANY stock on hand - much more convenient and economical.
You can start with little or nothing. Some network companies start you with a $25.00 distributor's kit which gives you everything you need to launch a successful be-your-own-boss business. Many Network Marketers become distributors simply for the privilege of buying products for their own use at a sizable savings - usually around 30 percent. By becoming a distributor, the customer has the opportunity to become a seller as well as a wholesale consumer. The distributor buys the product from the company at a wholesale discount and in turn, sells it at retail cost. The difference is your profit. Because it is based on sharing - not selling, it's a low-stress, fun way to generate some extra income. It may also become a way to leave the job you no longer like.
Many of today's successful Network Marketing products are green products, ones which are environmentally reasonable and health related. This is important to today's conscientious consumers. One product that fits this category perfectly is an all-natural food which actually seems to help you think more clearly and have a healthier, happier life.
Steps Toward Stress Relief
Some people handle stress very well. At other times, these same people find peace of mind nearly impossible to obtain. Often times, we let strong, reactive emotions get the best of us. Relaxing is very useful. However, it is just a temporary "fix." Whereas management of your thoughts and emotions will help you to stop overreacting and face adversity rationally.
There are varied cause of stress. It could be environmental, personal or work related. The way you interact with family, friends, and co-workers also contribute. Most importantly, the way you feel about yourself may be increasing your stress level more than you realize. Low self-esteem can influence you to perceive things differently than if you had a healthy, balanced view of "self."
Our degree of stress is contingent on how we are perceiving and judging the event or situation. What could be a very stressful situation for one could be a laughable matter to another. It is very individual.
We are also very sensitive to our physical surroundings. Too much heat or cold, improper light (fluorescent lighting has been known to cause headaches and irritability), noise and toxins in the carpeting and building materials greatly effect us. Crowded, badly organized offices lacking storage space can be stressful. Even colors, furniture styles or materials can alter moods. Too many stresses at once can pull you down. To get up again ask yourself these questions:
1. Search yourself for causes. List everything you can think that you are perceiving to be anxiety-provoking.
2. Sort out the issues. Look at them separately. One at a time. Otherwise you will go into overwhelm and not do anything.
3. Decide what you can and cannot control. Some things, especially people are out of your realm of control. You may need to change your attitude. Or you might try looking at the situation, circumstance or issue from a different angle.
4. Get your priorities straight. Then, design a step-by-step plan to reach your goal(s). Be sure that your goals are realistic, short-term, and within your reach.
5. Come up with at least three steps that you can take today to accomplish your primary goal.
Some Simple Stress Reducers:
1. Invest in a good, firm mattress. Do you know that you'll spend nearly 220,000 hours of your life in bed? That's one-third of your life. Sleep better, and you will not only alleviate stress, you will live better. Quality sleep** is necessary to feel alert and relaxed. You'll also be a little more pleasant in the morning if you've had a good night's sleep! Here's some more tips on how to catch all the z's you need:
* Don't nap during the day. This will decrease the quality of your nighttime sleep.
* Stop taking in caffeine in all forms after lunch.
* Create a peaceful, clean and comfortable atmosphere in your bedroom.
* Keep worry out of the bedroom - this is supposed to be your place of rest - your haven.
* Have a regular bedtime routine.
* Read or do some repetitive activity. Keep the T.V. and radio off.
* Take a long, hot bath before sleepytime. A bath soothes and unwinds a tense body and mind.
* Picture monotonous images and count them - this may bore you to sleep!
2. Have a massage. If you feel uncomfortable about going to a stranger, ask a friend or family member rub your neck, shoulders and feet. I have yet to see statistics of the medical value of massages, however, I do know that they are therapeutic. Use fragrant oil. Aromas can relax your mind and body.
3. Begin a new hobby. It is very soothing to busy your hands with something that has nothing to do with work. Find a few hobbies that fit your finances and enjoy them thoroughly! You could, I'm sure find pleasure in many free activities, also. How about bird watching or watching your fish swim around in the tank, talking to your bird or cuddling with your pet or...
4. Do a simple relaxation technique - choose one of the many from this disk - or do the following when uptight: Relax your shoulders and your eyebrows. If you remember to relax just these two areas, you'll be well on your way to being you relaxed natural self under all conditions. Mental tensions land in your shoulders and eyebrows areas first. In the beginning you'll have to remind yourself freqently. After awhile the relaxation response will automatically kick in. Here's what to do: While driving, ever time you come to red light or stop sign or traffic jam, check you shoulders and eyebrows. If tense, do some face and shoulder scrunches. First, breathe deeply in and raise you shoulders to your ears while tightening the muscles there and hold for 3 seconds. Then, release rapidly with a long exhale and sigh. Now while breathing deeply, tense your forehead, paying attention to the eyebrows, hold for 3 seconds. Repeat three or more times until relief is felt. While you're at the office or out and about, observe the point between other's eyebrows. Is it all wrinkled up tight? This can cue you into relaxing your's if needed.
5. Breathe 3-4 deep breaths at regular intervals at least three times a day.
6. Exercise and eat healthy foods. One day a week, eat only vegetables and fruit. Be sure everything is fresh, raw and if possible, organic. If you must, eat some protein. Cooked whole grains like brown rice or millet would be wise choices. Whole grain toast or crackers would be fine, too. Many ave found that chopping up veggies for salad and the extra chewing from the fruits and vegetables seems to somehow soothe and reduce their stress levels.
7. PLAY! Nothing can relax your mind like having fun and being silly. Make up a list of twelve things you can do that cost five dollars or less (or zero). Choose one or more everyday. (My husband enjoys buying jigsaw puzzles at garage sales for 25 cents or a dollar, then putting them together to see if they have all their pieces.)
Stress-less Air Travel:
8. If you fly often, help to prevent jet lag by changing your bedtime three nights before you fly. If traveling east, go to sleep one hour earlier for each time zone you'll be crossing. If traveling west, go to bed one hour later for each zone crossed. Eat protein-rich foods for breakfast and lunch three days prior to leaving. Eat lots of carbohydrates for dinner. The next day, eat fruit, broth-based soups, vegetables, salads and dry whole-grain toast and crackers. The third day, eat the same as on the first day. (Consult with your health practitioner on this and any diet matter.) It's best to avoid all caffeine. Many different sodas and chocolate contain caffeine. At least, limit your intake of coffee, tea, and some sodas between 3:00 and 5:00 P.M. all three days. Also, eat less sugar. When you arrive, eat a protein-rich breakfast and lunch, and a high carbohydrate dinner. While flying, avoid sleeping pills, alcohol, caffeine and salt. Drink plenty of water and juices to avoid dehydration as the air inside a jet is very drying. If you arrive during the day, spend some time outside. Attempt to get as many hours of daylight as the number of crossed time zones. NOTE: Taking extra B and C vitamins may reduce jet lag symptoms, also.
9. Share your feelings with a spouse, romantic partner or friend.
10. Focus on the positive.
11. Look forward to the time when life will be easier.
12. Take action when you can.
13. Channel stressed, anxious energy into something constructive.
14. To smooth rough edges, put on some music like Pachelbel's "Cannon in D," Bach's "Air on the G String," Haydyn's "Cello Concerto in C," and Debussy's "Claire de Lune." Or other music that has a regular beat - no pitch extremes and and overall harmonious feel to it.
15. Learn to laugh.
16. Take time out each day for you! Find ways to stretch your time. Listen to books-on-tape while driving, bring a book and a writing pad and pen so you can read and write while waiting in line or for an appointment. Enlist the help of roommates, friends or family members to help you with the not-so-fun chores.
17. Be gentle with yourself. Cultivate love and compassion for "self."
18. Learn to be your own best friend. Stop putting yourself down. Relax your grip. Loosen up! Accept compliments and praise graciously. And most of all, go easy on yourself.
19. Happiness begins within you. It is up to you to create your own happiness. It's one of the best stress antidotes around!
20. Take more interest in YOUR OWN needs. You'll have much more to give when you do. And, you'll do it without resentment.
21. For those of you with SAD (seasonal Affective Disorder), stay outside as much as possible, especially during the morning, keep your curtains open and look outside often. When its cloudy, turn on bright lights. Consider taking your vacation in the winter. get out a lot during the winter. Go to the movies, the theater, art shows, visit friends, anything to get out. Exposing yourself daily to full-spectrum fluorescent light (find these at your local discount or garden supply store), which is a lot like sunlight, can help cure SAD.
22. Look outside yourself - care about others.
23. Straighten out your priorities.
24. Give yourself plenty of time - don't pressure yourself.
25. Be creative - write, express yourself in some way!
26. Complete a task that gives you satisfaction.
27. Compliment and praise yourself.
28. Take a candlelight bubble bath. Or, put a few drops of your favorite fragrance or therapeutic oil such as lavender or rose where you'll notice it.
29. Cuddle and stroke your pet. Studies prove that doing this lowers blood pressure and reduces stress, anxiety and depression. It also alleviates loneliness.
30. Do what you can for yourself and do it NOW! Quit putting your life off. If you don't live it, who will?
31. Stop fooling yourself that you are or can be perfect!
32. Give up being a victim and feeling that you have no choice.
33. Learn to accept mistakes as just mistakes, not proof that you are a horrible person that can't do anything right.
34. Keep events in perspective. Distance yourself between what actually "happens" and your emotional reaction to it.
35. Stop raising frustrations to the crisis level. Most of them are irritations - treat them that way and you'll find that even the grayest days will take on a rosier hue! My husband used to get very upset if his computer printer paper jammed - now he simply unjams it and continues without comment or concern.
36. Take a walk to where children are playing and laughing. Catch their spirit of wonder and adventure.
37. Use positive self-talk on a daily basis. Visualize - feel and see the happy, whole, prosperous, etc. you.
38. Instead of saying "I'm so tired," say, "I'm relaxed after a very busy day." Say, " I know what I'm going to do," instead of, "Why don't they do something about it?"
39. Since your brain tells your body how to act, think the most uplifting thoughts you can imagine.
40. Cut down on fatiguing activities.
41. Give yourself time to contemplate.
42. Smile and share it.
43. Play with your grandkids.
44. Play with your kids.
45. Spend happy times with loved ones.
46. Listen to your body.
47. Think happy, upbeat thoughts.
48. Be in the present moment.
49. Enjoy recreation instead of just pursuing it as if it were something to accomplish.
50. While "indulging" in leisure time, practice not thinking about getting back to your job or project.
51. Refrain from filling your off-work hours with a second addiction like too much food, wine or too much T.V. or exercise.
52. Stop pushing!!
Saying No Can Prevent Stress
By learning how to say no you can save yourself a lot of discomfort and the fatigue of doing too much. Here are a few friendly and reasonable ways to say no:
* Put it on an impersonal basis.
* Make it clear that you'd like to say yes.
* Show that you have given the request serious consideration.
* Say no by helping the person say no to her-himself.
* Say no by showing that the request isn't reasonable.
* Say no in the kindest, warmest way you can.
Here is a simple, yet powerful relaxation technique given to me by Dr. Paul Bray of Jacksonville, Oregon:
Just before falling asleep at night, tell yourself precisely how you want to sleep and how you want to feel when you wake up in the morning. For example: "I will have a restful, sound sleep tonight, all stress and tension will melt away. I am now relaxed and I will wake up refreshed and energized." Yes, it is that simple! If done with a strong intention, it works every time. for a variation, ask for what you want (if you don't know what that is, ask your subconscious to reveal your true wants and desires to you, and ask to have the answer upon awakening. It may take 3 or 4 nights of asking before the answer surfaces.) what your life purpose is, etc. Put your subconscious to work. You may get some answers!
Years ago a man recommended that people tell themselves 20 times per day, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better." Many people reported fantastic results!
Everyone knows that laughter brings a short-term feeling of well-being. The ancient Greeks believed laughter was an essential part of the healing process. Research has recently proven that laughter also has a powerful long-term effect. Not only is it a great way to lift your spirits, but it can also increase blood circulation, stimulate digestion, lower blood pressure and prompt the brain to release endorphins and other compounds that reduce pain and give you a feeling of well-being. It can educate us by showing us basic truths about life and our society and help us to release our repressed emotions. Having a good laugh can heal, relax and renew us. Laughing and having a sense of humor are probably the most powerful antidotes to fear and stress in existence. It distracts your attention, changes your attitude and outlook on life. It relaxes tensions and soothes nerves. It may even keep your immune and cardiovascular systems strong.
Life seems to require laughter. Otherwise, we find ourselves drowning in our own seriousness. Incorporate good-natured humor in business meetings, memos and conversation. Humor helps to develop trust, sell ideas and strengthen relationships. It's important to keep humor upbeat and positive. Cynical laughter is counterproductive. Let it be celebratory - not derogatory. Of course, there are some situations that are not suitable for laughter. Put a laugh in your belly whenever possible - and it's possible more often than you think!
Besides - it's easier to smile than to frown. It only takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Laughter can help you not react to minor irritations. There is always a funny angle. Find the humor in your plight. Laughter will also relax tense muscles. There is mounting evidence that laughter helps people cope with serious illness. Studies also show that humor is equally powerful in the prevention of disease. So laugh your fears and anxieties away today!
Dr. Norman Cousins* was suffering from progressive paralysis. He literally laughed himself to health! He checked into a hotel room, and watched Candid Camera and Marx Brother's videos. His doctor visited daily and administered massive doses of vitamin C. Within two weeks, his "irreversible" and progressive collagen disease had substantially improved! Later, he went on to realize total health. To learn more about Dr. Cousins' pioneering work, read his ANATOMY OF AN ILLNESS.
*Dr. Norman Cousins died several years ago.
If you would like to laugh more, see "The Comedy Generator," called "Comedy" on the main menu. This is a very entertaining and easy-to-use program which will help you laugh your way to better health!