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Stress: The Causes, Consequences and Cures
Is Your Anxiety Your Destiny?
The Foundation(s) of Health and Fitness
STRESS: THE CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES & CURES
(This is an article I wrote for Inner Realm magazine's Nov., 2018 edition)
With another year coming to a close and the holidays coming upon us quickly, you might think this is another article telling you how to cope with some of the stressors that will inevitably come up. And you are right, but I’m not going to rehash the traditional methods for reducing stress (i.e., exercising, meditation, deep breathing, etc.). As effective as these methods can be to relieve stress if you use them, you can read about these methods pretty much anywhere.
Instead, I am going to teach you a very quick, easy and effective alternative therapeutic method that will help you relax and start releasing your stress almost immediately. But first I want to clarify what stress is, where it actually comes from and how to not only relieve it in the short run but how to be able to release it for good, over time, in the long run.
Most of us know what it feels like when we get stressed, the feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, perhaps a bit of helplessness, causing anger, resentment, loss of focus, having racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, etc. And these symptoms may not apply to you specifically when you get stressed but they can be symptoms that others experience when they get stressed.
People can experience the same situation and yet each will react with their own set of unique symptoms. Furthermore, not everyone has the same stressors and some have a higher stress tolerance than others. This is why it’s so hard to get a consensus on a cohesive definition of stress that applies to everyone.
Most people think of stress as something that comes from outside of them, from their environment somehow. We say things like, “work is stressing me out”, “my kids are stressing me out”, or “my boss is stressing me out”, etc. We think that the other person or thing outside of us has to change for us not to get stressed. Is this true? In reality it is the opposite.
Richard Lazarus, a psychologist in the 1960’s, defined stress as: “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands (of a particular situation) exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize”. Therefore, stress occurs whenever we think we don’t have what it takes to meet the requirements or expectations of something that is being asked of us or we are asking of ourselves. So, we get “stressed out” when our insecurities or feelings of limitation make us think we can’t handle certain situations.
So, what causes us to have our individual insecurities and thoughts/feelings of limitation? What is it that determines our thinking of whether or not we have the “personal and social resources” that we need to fulfill the demands of a particular situation?
According to the Cognitive Behavioral (C.B.T.) equation for Behavior, Our Thoughts/Beliefs = Our Feelings = Our Behavior. So, positive thoughts/beliefs will end up in having positive feelings and positive, healthy behaviors, and negative thoughts/beliefs result in negative feelings and negative or dysfunctional behaviors.
Positive thoughts/beliefs come from positive experiences in life. If we have positive thoughts and beliefs we are more confident, trusting, have better relationships, and do better in life in general.
Negative thoughts/beliefs come from our negative experiences in life. If we have negative thoughts and beliefs we are less confident and have more insecurities, feel we have more limitations, are less trusting, have less satisfying relationships, and do poorer in life in general.
It is our adverse life experiences that are the root cause of our negative thoughts and beliefs causing our insecurities and feelings of limitation and, thus, our own individual stress.
Can we release our negative thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors? Can we let go of our insecurities and thoughts and feelings of limitation and reduce our stress levels over time? Can you become more relaxed, confident, happy, and secure with a greater sense of peace, joy and freedom by letting go of your negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings? Yes, you most definitely can, and you can find out how by visiting my websites (see my profile).
And now for the very quick, easy and effective alternative stress relief method I promised you. This method is called bilateral stimulation (tapping in this example) and is a core element of E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This exercise is particularly effective for those with any type of anxiety, but it is also very effective when used for any kind of stress in general.
So, let’s begin. One of the most comfortable ways to do this method is called the "butterfly hug". This is done by hugging yourself, with left hand on right upper arm (right bicep) and right hand on left upper arm (left bicep). Before you start, think of your stress. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest level of stress, how would you rate your current stress level? Then just start tapping alternately back and forth with your hands, left, right, left, right, etc. Simply repeat this process until you get a sense of feeling better, less anxious, calmer, more relaxed, a sense of letting go, until you get to the relaxation level that you desire. Then ask yourself again what the number of your stress level is now, to show you that your stress level has gone down.
A good way to relieve your stress at work is to tap your left foot, then your right foot, left, right, left, right, while your feet are under your desk or the conference table you’re meeting at because no one will notice that you are doing it.
WARNING: The purpose of this exercise is to help you relax and most people find it very relaxing. However, if, while tapping, you start to feel any uncomfortable feelings, stop tapping immediately and go back and try it again at a later time.
IS YOUR ANXIETY
An article I wrote for the Dec., 2018 edition of the Inner Realm Magazine
This question refers to the long held medical-model belief that anxiety, depression and other mental or emotional conditions are the result of “flawed” genes. This belief suggests that in order to live any kind of “normal” life people are doomed to have to take medication for the rest of their lives to “manage” the condition. These beliefs are so culturally embedded that we do not question them. And from these beliefs the obvious assumption arises that there is no hope to overcome and/or release these conditions once and for all. Well, I’m here to tell you that now there is hope… you can release these conditions! The old assumption that your condition is your Destiny is just not true anymore as you will understand more as you read this article.
To make this clearer we have to go back to the old Nature vs. Nurture argument which is an age old debate that involves the question of whether human behavior is determined by our genes or our environments throughout our lives. The medical model has long ago put forth the idea that it is our genes and our genetic inheritance that determines our destiny in terms of physical, mental and emotional outcomes. The Psychology model has always believed that even though genes may play a part, it is mainly a person’s mental and emotional environment throughout their lives that is actually the deciding factor for human behavior.
Up to this point in time the Medical Model’s view of this issue has dominated mainly because there was no proof to the contrary. Well, that has changed. There is new scientific evidence (a great deal actually supplied by the Medical Model) that is causing the Nature vs. Nurture paradigm to shift towards a new paradigm that is emphasizing that it is indeed our environments that are the major determining factors influencing our behaviors, and thus, our lives.
Two major studies over the last twenty years, both beginning in the ‘90’s, are shifting the paradigm of Nature over Nurture to a new paradigm of Nurture over Nature. One of these major studies was carried out by the Medical Model and was called The Genome Project. This study started in 1990 and was completed in 2003. The reason why this study is so important is because, (as told by Dr. Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist that was on the cutting-edge of these studies back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s) not one of the original hypotheses of the Genome Project was proven to be true.
As a matter of fact, a major finding of the Genome Project was that it is not the gene that controls life, but the interactions in the environment of the gene that turn the characteristics of the gene on and off. This discovery was incidental to the emergence of the field of Epigenetics, which refers to the surface of the gene and not the gene itself as the main determinant of which way the genetic material is directed. Dr. Lipton states “Epigenetics reveals that we are not victims of our genes…”. So the essence of what has been discovered is that it is not our genes that are the main determinant of our mental, emotional, and physical destinies. It is the environment of our genes.
Another study, started around the same time, is called the Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACEs). It has been going on since 1995 and will continue throughout the lifetimes of all of the participants, collecting important data on each subject until their deaths. It focuses on how toxic stress and negative conditioning on a mental/emotional while growing up negatively affects every aspect of our behavior later in our lives, including conditions such as anxiety, depression, etc. This stress from our earlier lives also negatively affects our self-esteem,
spousal and social relationships, our financial situation, and can cause chronic illness and disease, even early death. And, if you might think such a study in relation to toxic stress would be representative of the lower classes, the participants of this study are 17,000 Kaiser-Permanente employees who all have average or above intelligence and have jobs earning average or above incomes putting them in the middle to upper class.
This study also concludes that it is our environment that is the main determinant of human behavior. So, as we grow up, we are not only negatively affected by our physical environments (in the food we eat, the air we breathe, etc.) but it is our mental and emotional environments that influence our lives the most. The conditioning we undergo as children, whether negative or positive, greatly influence how we think, feel and behave throughout our lives. If we had positive experiences, we end up with positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. If we had negative experiences we ended up with negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors which then influence every aspect of our lives if gone unchecked.
Notice I said “if gone unchecked”. We now know that our adverse childhood experiences cause our negative thoughts/beliefs, feelings and behaviors. These negative thoughts and feelings then create our anxiety, worry, fear, depression, anger, guilt, shame, and even some of our physical pain, etc. And since this negativity came from our environment growing up and not our genes, we can now reverse this process by using new, effective, cutting-edge therapeutic methods to release the traumatic memories that caused these conditions and let them go once and for all.
Yet another paradigm is shifting .With the new research on the functioning of the brain, much more effective treatment methods are now available. Instead of just medication or Cognitive Behavioral talk Therapy (or a combination of the two), these newer, more effective therapies can actually interact with the deeper parts of the brain and release the traumatic memories, thoughts and feelings that are “stuck”, something that traditional talk therapy cannot do. Some of these more effective treatments (i.e., E.M.D.R., Brainspotting, E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique), etc., are listed on my website (please see my profile).
So, anxiety, or depression, or other mental/emotional conditions are not your destiny. They were “given to you” by your adverse childhood experiences and they can be “taken away” by the new, more effective therapeutic methods that are now available to us. Good luck on your journey!
THE FOUNDATION(S) of
HEALTH AND FITNESS
(This is an article I wrote for Inner Realm magazine's Jan., 2019 edition)
When thinking or talking about health and fitness, we are usually referring to one’s physical health and fitness, going to the gym, eating right, getting enough sleep, etc. And, yes, all of these things are very important for our health and wellness but, as important as they are, when we think of health and fitness in this rather singular way I believe we are doing a disservice to the meaning of true health and fitness and all those who aspire to but don’t get out there to exercise.
Even though most people are fully aware that exercise is good for them in more ways than one, less than a quarter of Americans are getting enough exercise, based on federal standards. Only 22.9% of U.S. adults from 18 to 64 met 2008 guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise between 2010 and 2015, according to a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention study completed in the past year.
So why is it that more of us don’t exercise? To try to answer this question, I’d like to draw your attention to the Emotional Guidance Scale I have provided. It’s a scale that shows a range of the emotions we experience at one time or another. Some of us experience emotions in the upper areas of this scale much of the time, some dwell mostly in the bottom areas and still others experience some of both at different times in their lives. Where do you fall on this scale most of the time?
I haven’t been able to find any research on the topic but I would imagine that most of the people that are out there exercising on a regular basis are experiencing more of the emotions in the upper levels of this Emotional Guidance Scale. And, those who are less motivated to exercise would be in the middle to lower range of these emotions.
So why would I think this? A quick, simple test. Think about it. When you think of those feelings listed in the upper half of this scale, how do you feel? Light or heavy? And, when you think of the feelings on the bottom half of this scale, how do you feel? Light or heavy? Which feelings would make you more likely to exercise? Exactly, if you feel lighter, more energetic, and feel good about yourself, you’re much more likely to exercise.
On the other hand, if you’re feeling heavy, overwhelmed, exhausted from all the negative feelings you’re holding onto you’re more likely to want to be more sedentary, reaching for the “best” thing to make you feel better in the moment such as eating, smoking, drinking, and/or watching TV or some other such diversion to distract yourself from your anxiety and/or depression, etc.
True health and fitness starts in our earlier years. Whether we go in a positive or negative direction in relation to our personal health and fitness is largely
determined by our early childhood experiences. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACEs) is an ongoing study that started more than 20 years ago and continues today. This study focuses on how the stress (our Adverse Childhood Experiences) in our childhoods negatively affects every aspect of our lives throughout our life cycles if gone unchecked. This includes our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, our self-esteem and self-worth, our career decisions and our financial situations, our relationships, etc. It can also cause chronic illness and disease and, even, early death.
So our Foundation(s) of true health and fitness are the result of our childhood experiences. If we have more positive experiences in our childhoods then we are going to have more positive thoughts/beliefs, feelings and behaviors and end up in the upper levels of the Emotional Guidance Scale. If we have more negative childhood experiences we will be less happy, less energized, less motivated to take care of ourselves and end up spending more time in the bottom half of this scale.
So, is there a way out of this predicament? Can we get out of the lower half of this scale? Can we let go of our anxiety, depression, etc. that is holding us back from enjoying life? Well, you may recall that I earlier stated that these negative conditions will continue to affect us throughout our life cycles if gone unchecked. If you do nothing about them then they will remain the same or get worse. If you want to improve your placement on the scale then you can let go of the negative thoughts and feelings keeping you in the lower half of this scale. And, the more negativity you let go of the higher you will go up on this scale and the happier, more energized and the better you will feel about yourself thereby improving your performance in every aspect of you life.
Since your anxiety, depression, insecurities, etc. were “given” to you by your environments when you were younger you can now release those conditions, especially with the help of new, cutting-edge Alternative therapeutic methods that have come into existence in the last number of years. These methods will help you release your anxiety, depression or another other condition created by your Adverse Childhood Experiences.
My therapy Practice is called “Accelerated Healing Solutions” because I use methods that will help you get better quicker and much more effectively than talk therapy. Some of the methods I use are E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Brainspotting, E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique), W.H.E.E. Therapy (a combination of E.M.D.R. and E.F.T.), Parts Therapy, etc. These methods interact with the deeper parts of the brain where the traumatic material causing your negative thoughts/beliefs and feelings are “stuck”. These methods Release this material and Release the condition that was also created by your negative thoughts/beliefs (i.e., anxiety, worry, fear, panic, depression, anger, etc.) For more information on these methods please see my profile and go to my website.
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