Tuesday, Jan. 12th 2016

Stress

Nearly everyone I see in the clinic talks about stress.    Certainly the challenges of facing serious illness and dealing with chronic pain  can generate tremendous fear and anguish.  This stress has no socioeconomic borders.   Winning the billion dollar lotto won’t eliminate stress related to illness in fact, stress even overwhelms many people without health or financial problems.   It appears that humans are hardwired to seek out threats and to chase what we want so aggressively that we can’t escape the constant worry about our unresolved issues.    It is amazing how many people with chronic stress try to manage it with tobacco, alcohol, drugs and America’s favorite, food.    Those approaches don’t work.       I have been a student of stress and ways to combat it for a long time.   Much of it is for personal reasons but it is also important in the overall physical and emotional  “wellness ” we preach in the clinic.      I have two books going, one a gift,  and also one “great course” lecture series I’m finishing.  All address ways to understand how our minds work creating stress and how we can combat it.    The Great Course lecture series is Professor  Mark W. Muesse  “Practicing Mindfulness: Introduction to Meditation” .    Mindfulness Meditation with Buddhist philosophy  is a well studied form of meditation that has been popularized in the west by Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts who has also authored many books related to stress, pain and illness.   I’m really enjoying “The Guide to Stress Free Living” by Amit Sood M.D M.Sc. . from the Mayo Clinic.    He looks into brain research to better understand how our brains work and focuses on practicing gratitude, compassion and acceptance as ways to manage stress by in a very outward fashion.  While the book acknowledges and respects  religion and faith traditions that also promote these ideals, it is a secular approach anchored in science that makes his book accessible to nearly everyone.    Last night I started “10% Happier” (How I tamed the voice in my Head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works-A true story)  a New York times Bestseller by Dan Harris.   My wife gave it to me for Christmas….she knows me too well.      There is no shortage of resources out there, these are only a few.   I would encourage everyone to look into ways to manage stress in a healthy manner.  As Soot says; ” it will help you live a meaningful life, cultivate nurturing relationships and achieve your highest potential.”   Oh yeah,  it helps you manage pain as well.     RLM




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