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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The Best Relationship Medicine

The Best Relationship Medicine

By: Shanyn Olpin One night a few years ago, I was in a deep sleep when I began to feel the presence of someone else very close to my face. I opened my eyes to find my six year old daughter staring at me from about three inches away. Startled and a bit freaked out, I jumped up to find she had apparently been there for a while, wondering if she should wake me. “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” I took a deep breath and asked her what it was about. “There was a monster in my closet.” From here, I did exactly the wrong thing as you will soon see. I said, (more…)...
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Mindfulness Tips

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. (more…)...
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Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

By: Dr. Mike OlpinThe 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.1The 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. ...
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Do I Have Insomnia?

By: SMP StaffInsomnia is generally taking longer than 20-25 minutes to fall asleep which occurs more than three times a week. 1 According to Sleep Expert Michael J. Breus, PhD., at any given time, one third of the population will have trouble falling asleep, and ten percent of those have chronic insomnia.This means a myriad of extra health problems for many chronic non-sleepers, not to mention the frustration of not being able to fall asleep when you know you need it. (See Sleep - Frequently Asked Questions for more help and information on health problems associated with not getting a good night’s rest.)There are many things that may affect your ability to fall asleep including the amount of light you get in the day and the darkness of your room at night, (see Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep). For many, young children, teenagers, traveling, schedule changes, health issues or injuries, diet, and other factors may...
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Meditation – Wire Your Brain for Success?

[frame align="left"][/frame]Not only does meditation reduce stress, but it also improves your mind by helping you learn and remember new things. It also improves memory and the ability to focus - permanently. In other words, meditation can wire your brain for success - here’s how . . . While you meditate, your brain goes from the beta waves, which are the awake and alert brain waves, to the slower, more restful levels of brainwave activity called theta and delta waves. This is usually where the brain goes during deep sleep, dreaming, or deep hypnosis. This is also the time when the body undergoes its most restorative rest.1 While the brain is resting in these deeper rhythms, the body is at work. The immune system gets boosted and the body also repairs the damage done to it during the day, including healing cuts, bruises and internal problems that we may not even know about. This restorative state is also when the mind shuffles...
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Soft Drinks that Stress You Out

Soft Drinks that Stress You Out

By: SMP StaffWhen people are stressed they sometimes reach for a soft drink, but have you ever stopped to think, “What’s in this drink?” The answer might surprise you. It doesn’t matter if it is regular or diet. There are some things in all kinds of soft drinks that may stress you out. (more…)...
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Breathing Techniques Reduce Test Anxiety and Increase Performance

Breathing Techniques Reduce Test Anxiety and Increase Performance

[frame align="left"][/frame] Have you ever been disappointed with a test score because you knew you could have done better but were just so nervous you didn’t do your best? How about on a job interview, or when giving an important presentation? When we are anxious or nervous our breathing changes from deep diaphragmatic breaths to shallow chest breathing.  This kind of breathing restricts oxygen flow to the cells of the body and may cause drowsiness, irritability and even headaches. (more…)...
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The Dimensions of Health and Wellness

The Dimensions of Health and Wellness

By: Dr. Mike OlpinOn the first day of class every semester, I usually ask the students, “What is a healthy person?”Typically, I get answers like, someone who exercises, eats right, is thin, has good hygiene, gets enough sleep, doesn’t do drugs, has nice skin, is in shape, isn’t sick, is tan, isn’t overweight, someone who has lots of energy.Did you notice something about all of these responses?They all have to do with a person’s physical health. That is usually what people think of when they think of health, but there are other aspects to a healthy person. What else is a healthy person? (more…)...
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