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April is Stress Awareness Month

StressIsn’t it crazy that we actually have a “National Stress Awareness Month”? Guess that shows a lot of people are dealing with some sort of stress in their worlds.

What is stress?

How do we best define it when it is so different for everyone? What can we do to reduce the effects of it so our bodies don’t go into reaction? And what can we do to actually have a sense of control so stress doesn’t seem to be running the show?

I’ll give you some historical background about how stress came to be recognized as a “condition” in our country. Then, I’ll share some easy-to-use self-help acupressure energy tips for changing how we can transform stress from a negative to positive. Transforming stress is a bit different from how Western medicine suggests we can manage it!  And, when we get to that place of management, we truly are partners with our bodies.

Stress Awareness Month

It has been held every April since 1992. Sponsored by The Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to:

  • inform people about the dangers of stress
  • successful coping strategies
  • harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.

Medical Definition of Stress

In a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response.

The state of mental or emotional strain or tension from adverse or very demanding circumstances can be so recognizable that others notice. We even hear comments like “he’s obviously under a lot of stress” and “she really needs to figure out how to manage her stress.”

Stress can cause or influence the course of many medical conditions. These include psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety.  Medical problems can encompass poor healing, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and many others. We now have “stress management” recognized as an effective treatment for many medical conditions.

To read more about stress and how the Western medical world defines it, go to

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20104.

Transforming Stress

Articles that include tools for self-assessment, resources, and programs, can be found on the website for The American Institute of Stress. The organization is all about awareness, education, and collaboration.

Go to https://www.stress.org/what-is-stress/.

Stress as a Project

Personally, I like to look at “stress” as a “project that can be transformed.” The term stress was coined by Hans Selye in 1936. He defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.  If we look at stress as “the rate of wear and tear on the body,” it makes sense that increased stress can actually accelerate the aging process.

And who wants that? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather walk around in a body that does not have major reactions to stressful situations. All of the experimental and clinical research confirms that the sense of having little or no control is always distressful, and that’s what stress is all about.

Energy Tips to Manage and Transform Stress

Here are my self-help acupressure energy tips that you can use to manage stress. They will allow you to be a partner with your own body.  Because stress can take the breath away and cause us to wait with bated breath, follow along to learn how you can have full expansive breath. You’ll be way ahead of stress and its ability to affect you.

To help let go of stress, open up breath, release tension and increase vitality:

1. Hold upper arms by folding arms across the chest

2. Right hand — cup sternum directly below the collarbone

     Left hand — hold fingers in a vertical pattern on your tummy

3. Right hand — hold the base of the right front ribcage

     Left hand — hold fingers on the right chest below the collarbone

4. Gently cup thumbs

More than an Ounce of Prevention

The Daily Clean Your House Flow helps you stay in balance and get in front of stress. Doing the  Daily Clean Your House Flow prepares your body for what you’re going to ask it to do now and for what might come at it (even major stressful traumatic events). Do the Daily Clean Your House Flow at least once a day. It will create a strong foundation for you to be able to be the best partner you can be with your body. I have been doing it daily for more than 20 years, as have many of my clients, friends, and family. This one practice is the best antidote to stress and you can do it anywhere, anytime. The more you do it, the better you will feel.

Do your part to Make Stress Awareness Month Obsolete

Share this post about the Daily Clean Your House Flow with the people you care about through your social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’ll be glad you did your part to lower the stress in the world.

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2017 Calls for Patience

Topaz shows patience as she watches the birdies.

Patience

Now doesn’t that sound like a different way to approach a new year? Determining your goals and objectives and figuring out your timeline is still a big part of the picture. But what I have discovered is that if you don’t include patience in the equation most of what you want to happen gets lost in the shuffle.

Topaz is the epitome of patience

Learning Patience

My beautiful kitty Topaz has been giving me a lesson in getting and keeping patience as part of my daily practice. Topaz will pounce upon the windowsill to wait for the birds to land on the feeder. She knows that there actually is no way that she can get to the birds, but it’s all about the eye candy. As soon as the birds are at the feeder, she will chirp at them, get a bit excited and then either lie down and just look or decide that she’s gotten her fix and go on to other escapades.
When I watch Topaz, I see that her goal is “be in the moment and enjoy what’s right in front of me.” Then it’s all about “be patient and see what happens.”
And that is where I see the correlation. I have lots of ideas for new projects, especially for my animated video program, for new books and workshops. To get each of those ideas into a step-by-step plan that are realistic could be pretty overwhelming. What I’ve discovered is that to be ahead of the game I need to let go of effort, be in the moment, do what I can in that moment, find the fun, and be patient – especially with ME! The key is to allow time to be my friend, see what happens and then to remember to take the some time to celebrate the successes.

Energy Tips to Enhance Patience

I find that doing the following easy-to-do energy tips can get me into the space of ease and patience:

  1. Fold your arms across your chest and gently touch your upper arms.
    This pose will connect with your breath and allows for ease of the whole system.You have now completed the first step of the Daily Clean Your House Flow!
  1. With one hand cup your sternum directly below your collarbone.
    With your other hand hold your fingertips in a vertical pattern on your tummy.This pose connects with breath, with the release of tension, and with allowing for ease and being in the moment.
  1. With one hand cup the base of your skull.
    With your other hand cup your forehead.Feel the letting go of mind chatter, of the “to do list” and the new space of clarity and focus and ease.
  2. Hold your fingertips on the outside of your knees.
    This helps re-pattern old ways and brings on the patience that was eluding you.

Add Patience to Your Daily Practice

Watch for signs of an impressive and prosperous New Year as you add in patience to your daily practice.

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A Dragon Eats the Moon

Red DragonI’ve been watching the moon get eaten by the dragon! It’s truly a ‘blood moon’ as it has turned from a bright glowing sphere to a burned red color. The ancient Chinese believed that solar eclipses occur when a legendary celestial dragon devours the Sun. They also believed that this dragon attacks the moon during lunar eclipses.
Well, I can see why they had a tradition to bang drums and pots and make loud noise during eclipses to frighten that dragon away. They must have been totally freaked when such a big orb in the sky became “nothing.” Just minutes ago, I experienced a change that was magical. The sky had been glorious with the stars shining bright and the moon changing colors and shape. And then the sky turned pitch black and the night sounds became silent. Even the stars went into hiding – they don’t have the same sparkle.
In October 2014 we know what is happening. We even have websites and Wikipedia to give us all sorts of information in the moment. But 2000 years ago, and even 200 years ago, the eclipse would bring fear and a sense of foreboding because they thought something bad was transpiring. Today, I’m not tempted to beat the pots and pans. Rather, I am in awe that such magic can be happening and that I’m awake to experience it. I am in awe of the quiet. There is no sound. Even the owls have gone to silence. There is no movement. I can’t see my hand in front of my face.
No more than twenty minutes have passed, and it’s not quite as dark now as the moon starts showing a sliver of light. That light allows me to see that the moon is still red, but it won’t be for long. And the sky is just a bit lighter as the stars shine a bit brighter. The dragon is almost gone, and I didn’t have to bang any pots or fire any cannons to chase it away.
I am blessed to experience magic.

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