Tag Archives: Stress

Less stress, more living series


stress cartoon

First off, if you haven’t already noticed, Huffington Post has a Less stress, more living series. Check it out.

Second, if you have an hour to spare and want to engage your intellect or dedicate some time to think about stress management in your life (and in our schools and in our hospitals), below is a thought-provoking discussion/debate on the topic to accompany your Saturday morning cup o’ joe/tea. (Just be sure not to multi-task and be mindful as you watch, right?) 🙂

The video is a forum brought to you from a partnership between Harvard School of Public Health and Huffington Post Living. Very cool. Here is the video link.

If you don’t have time and the thought of a 1-hr educational video stresses you out, here are some highlights to note from the conversation:

  • Stress is a big problem and every symptom and disease is amplified by stress.
  • Stress is not distributed equally to people in society. People of lower education and socioeconomic status are hit harder.
  • The medical system does not have a systematized process for dealing with stress in their patients and more and more people are affected by it.
  •  There are studies that show that doctors advise patients to do what they tend to do. If they like to exercise they advise patients to exercise, if they like to check their lipids, they advise their clients to check their lipids. Makes sense. One panelist said that we need more practitioners and doctors in the world who model and understand techniques and behaviors that promote healthy living and stress reduction. Until people begin to walk their talk, they will not be prepared or qualified to offer helpful advice or resources to their patients (as it pertains to stress).
  • Health coaches and yoga teachers are becoming popular – my personal plug 🙂 and will have a greater presence and role in the collective’s ability to navigate our health.
  • Some food for thought: What should mental health centers of the future look like? What should the portfolio of options look like?  As our collective stress will only continue to grow, we do not want to limit our delivery of the new model of care and should be open to the fact that there is no one prescription to address stress, there are many.

A story about stress & resiliency


waterA young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.

* * *

Reflection: How much stress do you carry? What would it feel like to let it go just for an evening? What’s holding you back from letting it go?

(Story courtesy of K. Guerkink)

Experiencing Winter’s Effects through Personal Illness


If you live in Minnesota, then you know what I mean when I say, “Winter, what winter?”

While many people could get used to the mildness of this year’s season, I know plenty of others who are actually a little disappointed that there wasn’t a big snowstorm to lock people inside for a few days.  Personally, I fall into the latter camp. I definitely enjoy seeing people, bundled up, walking down the middle of city streets to the grocery store, because roads are too icy for driving. Yes, I enjoy cancelling plans due to bad weather conditions. Call me weird, or call me Minnesotan, I don’t know. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I think we all can agree that winter offers an invaluable time for humans and animals to slow down, be with each other or without each other and really carve out time for rest and reflection.

Well the MN snowstorm never came this year, and people continue to speed down the roads by my house. I, too, have been in super-speed mode, and I was super-proud of it, too, until recently. Right as I checked my “to-dos” into “to-dones,” my body decided to create its own time and space for R & R through illness.  Already two times this winter I have been stopped dead in my tracks by bad colds (the ones that never seem to really go away), which is very unusual for me. Instead of the bitter and harsh winter influencing my behavior and setting me straight, my body reminds me that I still need to take time to slow down, reflect and let go of the parts of my life and myself that no longer work for me.

As I sit in recovery-mode, my emotions take me on quite a ride. From angry, to sad, to lonely to happy to grateful to confused to anxious–the list goes on, but now I have finally relaxed and realized that it’s okay be sick and it’s okay to let my body and self recover on their own schedule. It’s okay to do nothing. I can be patient. I can sit still. I can listen to and receive the messages my body sends me, and I can experience the transformative healing that occurs when one pays attention.

How is the mild, MN winter affecting your health?

Sometimes we fall ill to receive a greater message from ourselves. Can you think of a time you were sick and your body was trying to tell you something? Did you listen?

How can you listen to your body’s needs without falling into illness? 

Can illness be a good thing? Why or why not?