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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stress: What the Mind Possesses the Body Expresses

I found this article online and love the title!!! Enjoy!
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Stress: What the Mind Possesses the Body Expresses

Stress is the underlying cause of 85% of visits to the doctor and includes Fibromyalgia, Headaches, and other Chronic Pain syndromes. If this is so and the research shows it to be true then why do we not recognize these stressors? How is it that we let stress create such problems in our lives? These questions are being studied more than ever before as is noted in the latest issues of Time, News Week, US News and World Report, National Geographic and a host of other weekly and monthly magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine.

If we understand that the underlying cause of stress is a mind body connection response to our thoughts and our bodies response to those thoughts then it makes since. Florence Nightingale, in her book Notes on Nursing written in 1859 stated that volumes are now written on the connection of the mind and the body. Even then she declared that if we help the patents to vary their thoughts we help them get better.

So why is the Medical Community so slow in connecting the two. Good Question and not so hard when you think of our fast paced world and how easy and routine it is for a physician to write a prescription to calm our nerves.

As humans we experience daily stress totally different than say a rabbit in the wild. A rabbit while leisurely feeding will respond with all its senses with any sign of danger. However, unlike humans the rabbit will relax and go on feeding as soon as the signs of danger pass. It has no thoughts of what just occurred, or what might occur or what could have occurred.
When humans sense danger we also go on the alert. Our heart rate faster, our blood pressure higher, our blood diverted to our arms and legs so that we can fight or get the heck out of Dodge. On the other hand, we humans unlike the rabbit tend to proceed to worry about the “What Ifs.” What if the danger comes back? What if it isn’t gone and I just I think it is gone?

When the “What Ifs” set in we are beyond the protecting intentions of the stress response and become distressed. We take a thought and turn it into worry, which creates high blood pressure, fast pulse, etc.

Read the following and then try the exercise: Close your eyes take a deep breathe and pretend or imagine that you are in your kitchen. Look around the kitchen and listen for the hum of the refrigerator. Walk over to the refrigerator. Did you hear your footsteps? Now open the door of the refrigerator? Feel the cool air as it flows out.

You notice a bright yellow lemon and you reach in and take it out. Pay attention to the size, color, temperature, and texture of the lemon as you hold it in your hand.

Now take the lemon over to where you would normally cut up fruits or vegetables. Take out your favorite knife and slice through the lemon. Watch the lemon juice as it oozes out onto the cutting area. Now pick up one half of the lemon and smell the scent of the lemon.

Now open your mouth and take a bite of the lemon. Taste the lemon juice as it passes across your teeth onto your tongue. Taste the tangy tart taste of the lemon as you feel it in your jaw. Go ahead and notice and then swallow the extra saliva in your mouth.

If you are like most who try this exercise then you may have noticed a little sour taste with some discomfort in your jaw and/or extra saliva in your mouth. What you created with just your thought was a physiological, biochemical response in your body – yes, just from a though – So the old saying “We are what we think we are is true.” Therefore, change your negative thoughts to positive thoughts and experience the changes in you.

How do I know if I am stressed?

If you are finger tapping, compulsively eating, biting your nails, having repetitive thoughts you might be stressed. If you have increased your smoking, drinking or drug use you might be stressed. If you are absent or being late for work then you might be stressed.

Prolonged stress can result in heart disease, food cravings, insomnia, depression, PMS, obesity arthritis, diabetes, and multiple other conditions that are a direct result of uncontrolled stress.

The most stressful jobs:
1. Teaching
2. Nursing
3. Management
4. Other professionals
5. Social workers
6. Road transport
7. Police and prison officers

On an average workday, an estimated one million workers do not make it to work due to stress. “Health and Executive Magazine,” claims 6.5 million sick days are being taken every year as a result of stress.

Stress Reduction

Stress affects blood pressure, sleep habits, nervousness, and confusion. Whenever our bodies are stressed – whether the stress is real or imagined – our brains respond as if it is real. Stress, by the way, can come in many forms: an impending deadline, an inability to complete work tasks, or even a verbal lashing from another person. The body’s response is the same regardless of what causes the stress.

Ten Ways to Cut Down on Stress
1. Talk it out. Get support from family and friends.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Avoid false guilt.
4. Set realistic goals and priorities.
5. Avoid perfectionism.
6. Keep a sense of humor.
7. Hang loose. Set aside idle time to relax every day.
8. Live by the calendar, not the stopwatch.
9. Avoid over indulging in drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
10. Think positively

Taking time out of a busy schedule to relax is very important. Everyone experiences relaxation differently so the key is to relax as best you can. The ability to relax is enhanced by finding a quiet place, creating positive self talk, listening to soft music, day dreaming, or taking a walk.

Try this simple breathing technique to relax and decrease stress. Blow your stomach out like blowing up a balloon. This will drop the diaphragm down and automatically create a deep breath. More oxygen is able to enter into the two lower lobes of the lungs, which has more blood vessels to carry oxygen to the cells.


Exercise is the most widely recommended form of treatment for relieving the effects of stress and depression. It increases endorphin release (the bodies natural morphine) along with melatonin (natural sleeping pill) and serotonin (natural Prozac) production, and helps level out blood glucose. Exercise helps us sleep better which also decreases stress.

Think Stress Control

Skipping breakfast is a bad idea.

Starting your day on an empty stomach results in DECREASED ATTENTION and POOR PERFORMANCE. Even if your breakfast consists of something sweet or fatty, which is common, it can still help you get a better start on your workday. It is also true that breakfast eaters are leaner, have lower blood pressure, eat less throughout the day, and are in better health than those who skip the most important meal of the day.

In Conclusion

Stress responds well to meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Self-Hypnosis Exercise, a walk in nature, soft music, get 6-8 hours of sleep and a proper diet with the right vitamin and mineral supplements greatly decreases stress and enhance wellness.

(Copyright 2005 by M. Ron Eslinger)
About the Author: Michael R. “Ron” Eslinger, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired is a Board Certified Hypnotherapist, Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Hypnotherapy Instructor and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. He has served as Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Assistant Department Head for Administration Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA. and is the Past President, Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists. He is Owner/Director of Healthy Visions Wellness Center in Oak Ridge, TN USA. For more information regarding hypnosis as an adjunct therapy, Ron Eslinger can be reached at The Healthy Visions Wellness Center. Go online to for more information.
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