All Stress Begins with our Thoughts

All Stress Begins with our Thoughts

By: Dr. Mike Olpin All stress begins with a thought. It isn’t what’s happening “out there” that initiates the stress response. It’s how we interpret what’s happening “out there” that causes us to become stressed or not. We call this a perception of a threat. If we think this situation will lead to some kind of pain (emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical), we turn on the stress response automatically to prepare for the potential pain. The potential pain is what we call a “threat.” Prevention of stress, then, is best done by focusing on our thoughts, by changing how we think about those things we think are threatening. (more…)...
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Life Can Be Simple

By: Dr. Mike Olpin Life really is quite simple:  Focus on the moments; learn from our past, and do things today that will benefit our future.  So, I ask you: What are you doing this very moment to honor these three things? Do you feel like you can focus on each moment, being present and mindful?  Have you allowed yourself to heal and grow from your past (even from just a minute ago)?  And, are you actively preparing yourself to have a better tomorrow? Life really is that simple. If life is so simple, why do we tend to make it so complicated? … As I was contemplating this, I was reminded of some basic philosophies and behaviors that can bring us back to simplicity (if we choose it). In my training to become a yoga instructor, we spent an entire weekend discussing Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, which describes eight ways that we can live a meaningful and purposeful life (1)– including mindfulness, meditation,...
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Too Old for Yoga? Nope

Too Old for Yoga? Nope

By: Shanyn Olpin Do you know anyone who is suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, curvature of the spine, depression, stress, or just not being able to reach down and tie their shoes? In a study done by The American Journal of Public Health, Yoga was found to help those who were in their 60’s who suffered from “dowager’s hump” (excessive curvature of the spine). (more…)...
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Panic Attacks vs. Stress

Recently, I received an email from a participant of a recent workshop. Her question to me is first, followed by my answer: Hi Dr. Olpin, I really enjoyed the presentation you gave a few weeks ago. I had a couple of questions that I was not comfortable asking in a group setting and I thought I would see if yo u could answer them for me. For the past 20 years or so I have suffered from acute panic attacks.Some are triggered by stress and situations, but sometimes they can wake me out of a sound sleep for no apparent reason.  Sometimes they will make me physically ill and leave me exhausted for days. Over the last year or so they have gotten worse and more frequent. I have also have more constant generalized anxiety. It has really affected my life and limited the things I am able to do.  My question is do you think panic disorder can be controlled the same...
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A letter to a stressed out student who returned from an LDS mission

I wrote this letter recently to a student who told me he was struggling with stress while serving as a missionary for the LDS church. This was my reply: It's interesting that you wanted to know about missionary stress. I'm actually writing a book/workbook for a mission in Michigan who wanted some help for their missionaries. And I also have a son who is in Santiago, Chile, on his mission, and is experiencing some stressful times. The reason I say this is just to let you know that what you're going through isn't unusual, nor is it unique to you.  (more…)...
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The Best Medication for a Stress Headache? Meditation

By: Dr. Mike OlpinIt’s true; the best medication for a stress headache seems to be meditation.In a new study from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, people who meditated for just 20 minutes a day saw their pain tolerance rise in 4 days. Volunteers learned an ultra-easy technique called mindfulness meditation that teaches you to focus on your breath and stay in the present moment, not worry about what's ahead. Researchers tested the volunteers' pain thresholds with mild electric shocks and found that shocks considered "high pain" before meditating felt mild afterward. Volunteers who didn't learn the meditation had unchanged responses to the shocks. (No, we can't imagine why anyone volunteered for this, though we're grateful that they did.)1This is great news because about 30%-80% of the adult U.S. population suffer from an occasional tension, or stress headache. Approximately 3% of those suffer from chronic daily tension headaches. Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as...
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Do this to Reduce Teen Sports Injury Risk by 68%!

Do this to Reduce Teen Sports Injury Risk by 68%!

By: SMP StaffAdolescent athletes in all sports, levels, and abilities have one thing in common. They hate being injured! They also hate it when they don’t perform as well as they know they can. The good news is by doing this one simple thing, you can improve performance mentally and physically, and reduce the risk of injuries by 68%. (more…)...
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Understanding Fear and Stress

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: (more…)...
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Do You Have the Winter Blues, or is it SAD?

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; (more…)...
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