Stress Relief - An Industry For Self Inflicted Stress
Stress is a big business in Western society. We live what we regard as hectic lives, that prime us with stress. That stress, to those who recognise its presence, requires relief. We are competitive beyond true need, and that too pumps more stress into us. We live lives that are devoid of spirituality, and that allows stress to infiltrate deeply into our daily existence, often to roam uncontrolled throughout our minds and bodies.
In our material world, it is no wonder that stress relief has become big business. Suffering stress has become habitual in Western society. Mostly, it is self imposed, a fabrication of the modern Western way of life. By and large, much of the stress experienced in Europe, North America, and Australia, is self imposed. There are signs too that in other rich countries, such as Japan and South Korea, the same thing is happening.
Almost 5 years ago I left England to live in the Philippines. My time here has taught me a lot about stress and its existence in England and other Western countries. My learning has come at three different levels:
1. Personal Stress Relief
I recall with total clarity my first visit to the Philippines, and especially my first visit to Palawan, where I have now settled. I remember the wonderful feeling I had, of being alive, in tune with myself, and totally stress free. Like many in England, I had lived for many years in a zombie like existence, trying to earn money, and working for other people. Often commuting long distances and for many hours, I had gradually lost my sense of existence as an individual. Some relief to that had come when I was able to start my own business with my ex-wife, and then to move to a beautiful location on the south coast. That relief did not last long, as divorce and all its ramifications brought a resurgence of stress.
When I arrived in Palawan, in the second part of a three week stay in the Philippines, that had all gone. Making a decision to come and live here permanently was easy, and it was done with complete clarity and full awareness. Talk about instant stress relief.
2. Stress In Perspective - Genuine Stress Of The Truly Poor
Stress has been around, no doubt, since early man lived in caves. The stress of survival. That is what true stress, or rather justified stress, is about. The need to survive, to hunt for a meal, to defend against attack.
Most families in the Philippines are very poor. I mean, really poor, not what we in England regard as poor. A poor person in England would seem very rich to many Filipinos. Most Filipino families live in housing conditions that would not be considered fit for a garden shed in England. While starvation is not generally an issue, malnutrition is widespread. Many families do not know from day to day if they will have enough food. If anyone in the family is ill, many will not be able to pay doctors fees or hospital fees. That is a basis for justified stress.
There is genuine scope for stress here in the Philippines, and of course it does exist. Unlike in England, though, it is not usually self inflicted at an individual level. Most people still manage to be hospitable, to smile, and to give thanks for what they do have. The generosity of the poor always impresses me. It is a humbling experience to witness.
Living here has made me feel guilty for my own country that it is riddled with stress, and that stress relief is such big business. The stress back home in England was unnecessary, and born out of greed, materialism, and a complete focus on self. I am grateful to the Filipinos for helping me to put that into perspective.
3. Spirituality In Stress Relief
Here in the Philippines, the people as a rule have open hearts. They are by nature spiritual, as are many Asian cultures. Many Westerners would dismiss such open heartedness as naive, primitive, innocence, and ignorance. It is those Westerners, though, who are living through ignorance. Ignorance of themselves and what their humanity is capable of.
I have come to believe, from observation in both England and the Philippines, that through allowing your spirituality to flow naturally, stress is reduced. Exploring spiritual avenues aids perspective in one's own life. Spiritual avenues are a major source of stress relief, partially by the positive reaction they can bring within an individual's life, and partially by filling gaps in an individual's existence that would otherwise be flooded by negative thoughts, and thus by self inflicted stress.
Much of the Western stress, I believe, comes from a disassociation from a substantial part of our own humanity. Western life has become based on a minimal part of the human character, a tiny proportion of the scope of the human brain.
In other words, Western life has become full of emptiness. Much of the self inflicted stress stems from that void.
Roy Thomsitt is the owner and part author of http://www.routes-to-self-improvement.com
How Stressed-Out Are YOU?
Are you feeling stressed out? Too many things to do, too little time? One more thing added to the To-Do list and you feel like you'll explode?
Stress Causing People to ?Super Size?
Stress Causing People to "Super Size"by Georgianna Donadio D.C., M.Sc., Ph.D. It is currently reported that two out of three adults is either overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to climb. As a result, statistics demonstrate that a significant portion of our population is being diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Even more shocking is that we are experiencing these conditions at earlier ages than previously reported. It is not unusual today, to hear about a young person in their 20's diagnosed with mature onset diabetes, normally developed during middle-age. On May 7, 2004, a controversial and award-winning movie aimed at exploring the obesity epidemic hit theatres. In "Super Size Me", a tongue-in-cheek look at the legal, financial and physical costs of our hunger for fast food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the horrors of school lunch programs, declining health education and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight. As a centerpiece of the film, Spurlock puts his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald's for 30 days following three rules:1) Eat only what is available over the counter2) No supersizing unless offered3) Consume every item on the menu at least onceIn the end, Spurlock has a weight gain of 24 pounds and experiences harrowing visits to the doctor. The issues that are explored in "Super Size Me" beg the question, what has changed in our environment to cause this obesity problem to reach epidemic proportions? Furthermore, what is causing people to overeat as we do? A groundbreaking study, reported in 2003 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants. In particular, portion sizes for salty and sugary foods, essentially, "comfort foods" experienced the most dramatic portion size increases. For example, the USDA's recommended serving size for a cookie is half an ounce, while the average cookie sold in restaurants was found to be 700% larger. The by-products of our affluent American society, envied by many around the world, have a definite dark side, our obesity rate, for starters. In a culture where more is better and disposable income is abundant, when it comes to eating we have developed a "more food, more conveniently and more often" attitude. Stress: A Pre-Cursor to Obesity Certainly, no one forces us to eat more than our body needs, so what is driving this "hunger" for more? Over the last two decades, almost proportionally to the dramatic increase of food consumed and chronic disease diagnoses, the amount of stress in our society and on each of us individually has increased significantly. Stress is the term medical researcher Hans Selye, M.D., PhD, gave to the experience our bodies go through when we have to adjust or adapt to the various changes our bodies experience during the course of the day. While many of us think of stress in relationship to emotional states, many other factors can exert an equally detrimental effect on our bodies as well. When we do not get enough sleep or rest, work or exercise too much, nutritional status, have an infection, have allergies, injuries or trauma, undergo dental or surgical procedures, have emotional upsets, or deal with any aspect of reproductive function such a pregnancy, menopause, etc., our bodies must chemically and neurologically adapt in order to survive. Part of this adaptation process relies heavily on the nutrition that is available for the kidney's adrenal glands to produce the adaptive hormones. It is often this aspect of stress that can lead to overeating, and what's more, overeating the types of foods that cause unhealthy weight gain. How it works Thanks to the work of M.I.T. Professor Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called Serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain. Serotonin along with other neurotransmitters, are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-sooth" by behaviors that lead to the increase of Serotonin. Overeating of carbohydrate and fatty-rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, etc. significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are also attempts to self-sooth and increase Serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially acceptable and as easily available as over eating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating. In addition, our bodies need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and minerals, skyrocket when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or do not appropriately supplement these nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demands for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing. For a period of time, foods that comfort, sooth or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of Serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves, yet again. Then, we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrate and fatty rich foods until we feel better. This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload. As a result, it is no wonder that within the last year, low-carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans or 20 million people are currently on a low-carb diet. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over consumption of carbohydrates, therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. The real issue, however, is how long can we reduce are carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place? Causes of Stress Prior to the early 1970's, the majority of family units were structured as a one wage earner household where the male worked and the female stayed at home, taking care of the house and family. Driven largely by social and socio-economic factors, all of that has changed. Now, the overwhelming majority of families include both parents working and we find ourselves on a treadmill of more work, more responsibilities, more demands and non-stop scheduling that has many of us in a state of physical and, at times, emotional exhaustion. Added to the mix is our competitive culture, which often leads to isolation or a "them against us" thinking. Isolation of this nature causes additional "hidden" stress. A Hindu Vendata truth is that "the whole world is one family". It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness; separating oneself from the awareness that as members of the human family, we are one living organism. The drama created by a "one-up" or "one-down" dynamic, that we find in competitive societies, can lead to the exhaustion and the psychosocial behavioral issues which can contribute to overeating. Understanding Exhaustion and its' Effect on Obesity The tipping point at which our bodies can no longer compensate or adapt from the stress it is under, is based in large part on the threshold of nutritional competency and the state of integrity of our nervous system. When our central nervous system, which governs every cell in our body and makes life possible, is not working efficiently, we have a decrease in bodily function and the ability to adapt to the world we live in. Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, CFS, are rampant in our culture today and growing at an alarming rate because of the over stimulation and increased demands placed on our nervous systems. Add to this inadequate nutrition and a decreased ability of our bodies to digest and absorb properly because of the stress, and we see the foundation of the epidemic of chronic diseases being currently reported. What is so shocking for us, as Americans, is that while we live in one of the most affluent societies ever to exist on earth and have one of the most technologically advanced medical systems we are raked at approximately twenty-sixth in the world health Olympics. This is not the failure of our medical system, but in fact, the failure to live in our bodies mindfully and respectfully, taking time for rest, proper nutrition, reflection, intimacy with self and others and serving the common good of society. It is this imbalance that leads us to chronic stress, which leads to physical and, if you will, spiritual exhaustion that is producing the levels of chronic diseases and the rampant obesity we see today. Self-Esteem and Health We have an innate understanding of how we need to choose to live to be healthy.Yet, adages about health i.e., "early to be, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise", are often ignored in place of our instant gratification or immediate comfort.Physical labor has taken a back seat to "mind work", and today we work harder than ever before to have the money to buy a membership to a gym or spa so we can do the physical exercise we need to be healthy and attractive. However, rarely do we actually have the time to go to the gym we pay membership fees to. Statistically, the average gym membership is used for the first 4 ? 6 weeks after signing up and then falls off dramatically. Workout facilities count on this phenomenon when planning their recruitment and enrollment numbers. Likewise, diet plans and weight loss centers know that 90% or more of their customers will continue to have body weight issues, in spite of their best efforts to re-direct to a different way of eating. Why? The Oprah Syndrome One of the most powerful, successful people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a brilliant example of the "super size" syndrome in our culture. With every possible service, care and expert available to her, Oprah has continued to struggle with significant weight gain and loss for many years. In 2001, a chart published in a popular magazine, documents her weight gain and loss over the previous 20 years. Even during the height of her popularity and professional success, her body weight rose to dangerously elevated levels. The reasons most of us give for not taking care of ourselves include; not having enough time to shop for or cook the right foods; not being sure what's best for our body type; not enough money for domestic help so we can exercise, meditate or relax; stress over money and achieving success. Oprah is an individual who has more than enough money and success to eliminate all those concerns, yet in spite of that she still does not consistently maintain a proper body weight. Driven by personal history and ambition, Oprah offers a perfect example of the potential outcome of Serotonin driven self-soothing, which invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem and the serotonin connection, it becomes quite clear that what is at the core of our "super sizing" is not solved by the "diet of the month" or the next "how to" bestseller. Rather, an examination of our personal worldview, our ego state, our treatment and regard for nature and for others, what we value, what we believe in, how much we consume and how much we accumulate. When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produce balance rather than extremes, that debunk the thinking that "more is better", we then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from the fast food menu. In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world's resources, we have come to accept excess as a way of life and a standard to subscribe to. In the 1980's, Robin Leach's television show, "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous", tainted our appetites for a standard of over consumption that has brought us to where we are today ? obese and chronically diseased. Take a Tip from the Gurus Eastern philosophies offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Quite opposite from our "in your face" attitude of self-manifestation, Eastern wisdom invites us to ponder, "how much do I really need; to do; to have; to eat; to own; to control; to be content with my life; and what is the role of gratitude in my life?" Shouldn't having a calm, well functioning nervous system, the source of all life in the body, be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what we want with the latest diet craze or vitamin pills available? Change the Question It may be time to change the questions we not only ask ourselves, but the questions we are asked as consumers. Maybe, if when making his fast food purchases, Morgan Spurlock was asked the question "super size or down size, sir?" the choices he might have made could have resulted in significant weight loss rather than weight gain, but then Spurlock would not have a movie to make, or the millions that will be realized from it.
Stress Management and Mastery: 5 Tips for Positive Anger Management
A grandfather, whose grandson came to him angry at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said,
Stress Relief for Busy Business People - 11 Easy Ways
Make stress less of an issue for you in your work and life, by trying out one or more of these ideas - the list is not exhaustive! Seek out more and share!
Putting Your Life in Perspective
Do you often overreact to situations? Are you a constant worrier? Do you look at the glass as always half empty?
Alleviate Stress Without Pills!
We all have it; we live with it daily: stress. As America's #1 health problem, surveys, reports and studies have been done concerning this epidemic. Meditation, massages and reading are some of the many ways for you to alleviate stress levels. Doctors hand out pills; insurance rates go up; you pay to learn meditation, to talk to a therapist or for a massage therapist to give you a massage. Day after day, week after week . . . this is a never-ending cycle. The fact is you need to, and can, control your stress simply and cost effectively.
Stress Relief Through Charity
One of the best ways to relieve yourself from the stresses in life is by giving to others. When you help others it takes the focus off of you and your problems and shifts the focus to the needs of others. Helping others brings about change in the community and a peace to you and someone in need. Below are 10 ways to volunteer and give the gift of yourself to others:
Stress Management and Creating Balance
The World Health Organization calls stress "the health epidemic of the 21st century." Stress resulting in illness is the causative factor underlying more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor, medical doctors suggest. What is stress? We all talk about it but what does 'stress' mean and how does it affect our bodies?
Planning Stress Management
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.
Control Stress with High Morale
When Army leaders fail to control battlefield stress, they lose as many soldiers to combat stress as they do to enemy bullets. Even when they are well trained, these soldiers are more likely to collapse in the face of great stress.
Stress Management and Mastery: Frustration or Fascination
"Learn how to turn frustration into fascination. You will learn more being fascinated by life than you will by being frustrated by it." _Jim Rohn
Stress Managment: 5 Things to Clean Out of Your Mental Closet
How To Cut Down On College Stress
Probably the least appreciated form of stress is college stress. This is mostly due to the fact that adults simply see a lot of college students sitting on their rear ends playing video games and drinking, instead of seeing students who are under pressure to succeed all the time. In addition to classes, homework, research, reading, paper writing and problem solving, there are now the problems of how the heck to pay for college and whether there will be any jobs waiting after graduation. Thus, with all these forms of college stress weighing students down, it is no wonder that things tend to get ugly when they "blow off steam".
Stress Managment and Mastery: How to Beat Too Many Hats Syndrome
"One day I'm a mother, One day I'm a lover, What am I supposed to do? Workin' for a livin' All because I'm driven ... Why do I have to wear So many things on my head?"
Breathe Out Negativity And Stress!
If you have never tried combining your breathing exerciseswith the use of colours I highly recommend you begin.
Be Yourself And Zap Stress!
Ask a hundred different people how to deal with stress and you'll probably get the same amount of different answers....
FEAR: How to Defeat the Monster
What is the greatest fear of man? Is it death? Pain? Poverty? Physical ailments? Loneliness? Surveys tell us that the number one fear among modern people is public speaking, of all things!
Stress Management: How to Avoid the Ruts and Holes of Life
Have you ever noticed how we keep falling into the same holes and ruts in life? We know something doesn't work and yet we keep doing the same things over and over again.
Treat Your Anxiety Disorder Effectively
If you find symptoms of anxiety disorder in any of your near and dear ones then the best way is to visit your physician as soon as possible. Only your Physician can detect that whether these symptoms are due to anxiety or any other medical condition. The symptoms of Anxiety Disorder like restlessness, loss of sleep, loss of hunger, over-impulsive nature, losing temper easily, etc. are some of the symptoms which can detect the mental disease of anxiety disorder. After you come to know for sure from your physician that you are really suffering from anxiety then the next important step is to visit a mental health care professional.
Keeping You Stress Free!
We function at our best when we are free from stress, relaxed, confident and focused. Feeling the adrenalin flow and achieving a deadline by the skin of our teeth may be exhilarating in the short term but as a way of life can be detrimental to both health and happiness. Stress has a habit of creeping up on us very slowly. At first it may just show itself in low-level irritation and then possibly some sleepless nights and eventually a feeling of being out of control, time off work and, if unchecked, some form of serious illness.
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