Understanding Fear and Stress

Every turn you fear is empty air dressed to look like jagged hell.
—Richard Bach

FEAR AND stress are very similar. They oftentimes feel the same. If we truly understand fear and get a clear picture of what is happening when we feel fear, we can oftentimes dispense with the need to fear things at all. We can make the fear disappear!

In class, when we begin our focus on fear, I start with this ominous sounding question: “Why do you think you are here?” I don’t mean to ask the students why they are here in this building on this particular day. I ask them why they feel they are alive and what they are here to do. What is their purpose for living and being? They commonly respond with answers like these:

Do You Have the Winter Blues, or is it SAD?

Many of us dread the coming of winter, the darkness, the cold, the increased risk of getting the flu. About 10 to 20 percent of the American population suffers from what is commonly referred to as the “winter blues.”

A smaller percentage, from about 4 to 6%, suffers from a more extreme form of the winter blues called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD is a type of seasonal depression that shows up most of the time in late fall and lasts through the winter months, although there is a rare form that shows up in a smaller number of people in the late spring and lasts through the summer. In winter version of this disorder people suffer symptoms of depression including;

Mindfulness Tips

“Wherever you go, there you are.”
-Jon Kabat Zinn

Mindfulness has been used successfully to help people reduce pain, lose weight, enhance memory and cognitive function, develop healthier relationships, and perform better in athletic events.

In a study of menopausal women, those who took a mindfulness class reported being less bothered by hot flashes. They had better sleep, lower stress and anxiety levels, and a higher quality of life.

Wow, for being such an easy thing to do, mindfulness packs a powerful punch.  But what is it anyway?

Basically, mindfulness is experiencing the present moment – not worrying about the future, or fretting about the past. Mindfulness is being fully present in the now.

Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet

[quote style=”1″]That which you resist, tends to persist – and gets bigger.[/quote]

Ever noticed that the longer you battle a craving, the stronger it gets? Suddenly, the thought of a satisfying piece of chocolate becomes the uncontrollable urge to eat the whole bag.

A recent study showed this result when they asked three groups of female college students to think about chocolate, avoid thinking about chocolate, or think about whatever they wanted. Guess who ended up eating the most chocolate? Yep, it was the group that tried to avoid thinking about it.1 [frame align=”right”][/frame]

Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

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The human wake and sleep cycle is naturally regulated by the bright light of day and the darkness of night. When the light of day first hits the retina and stimulates a nerve pathway to the hypothalamus, it sets off a chain reaction that sends messages to other parts of the brain that help us feel more awake, like raising body temperature and increasing hormones like cortisol.1

The body also decreases the production of other hormones like melatonin which is both a hormone and an antioxidant.2  Melatonin, sometimes referred to as the “Dracula of Hormones,” is made by your pineal gland which is inactive during the day, but is turned on when the sun goes down and darkness occurs.1 Melatonin production helps us to fall asleep and to stay asleep during the night.