MHK and New Technology are here to help.
Grab a pencil and spend a minute and circle all of the symptoms that you can relate to.
Symptoms of Stress:
Frequent headaches, jaw clenching, grinding teeth
Neck pain, back pain, muscle spasms
Lightheaded, dizzy, fainting
Cold or sweaty hands/feet
Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
Chest pain, heart palpitations
Poor sexual desire or performance
Excessive anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
Increase angry, frustration or hostility
Frequent, wild mood swings
Increased or decreased appetite
Insomnia, disturbing dreams
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Forgetful, disorganized or confused
Feeling overwhelmed or overloaded
Frequent crying or suicidal thoughts
Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
Overreaction to petty annoyances
Increased number of minor accidents
Reduced work efficiency
Constant tired, weakness or fatigue
Increase smoking, alcohol or drug use
Excessive gambling or impulse buying
Chronic stress can have a debilitating effect on a person’s mental and physical health. The American Institute of Stress notes that 75 to 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints (Rosch 1991). Stress affects all areas of the body and mind. It can contribute to the health of your hair, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal disturbances and skin disorders. It can compromise brain function, cause mouth sores as well as exacerbate cardiopulmonary disease and diminish the immune system. It can affect the reproductive system and there is growing evidence linking stress and cancer.
What is surprising or puzzling about stress, however, is that it isn’t the life events or circumstances we experience that cause the stress. But it is our reaction to them that creates the wear and tear on our bodies and minds. Our bodies and minds have interconnected pathways that produce changes throughout every system when we are stressed. This is part of the “fight or flight” response used when we are faced with some acute, life threatening attack. However, often our situation is more of a psychological threat than a real threat on our life. The activation of this response time and time again begins to break down our bodies and our minds and we experience a sense of disharmony. It has been suggested the experience that is most related to the sensation of stress is the perception of having little or no control.
In order to reduce stress we have been told to eat right, get plenty of sleep and find ways to “stop and smell the roses”. All of that is true and doing this on a regular basis will improve your ability to reduce and manage stress. Sometimes, the stress level can be so constant that we honestly believe it “isn’t that bad”. However, if you circle five or more of the items above, you are carrying around stress and that stress is affecting you. Learning to recognize the amount of stress you have in “real time” (at the moment) can go a long way to helping you manage it and reduce it. How can you do that? It’s done with your heart.
Most of us know our heart rate is used as a simple measure of our general health. We go to the doctor and he takes our pulse and measures our blood pressure. These are measures of the speed or pressure of the beating heart. However, emerging studies have linked the beat-to-beat heart rate variability (or heart rhythm patterns) with overall level of stress. It has been demonstrated when a person is “stressed” the heart rhythm pattern is jagged similar to the earthquake on a seismograph. But, when a person is in balance the pattern looks smooth with uniform waves. The significance of this is that when a person perceives a situation as stressful, their thoughts create emotions that immediately change the heart rhythm from smooth and uniform to jagged.
The Institute of HearthMath has developed technology that will monitor a person’s heart rhythms and will display them on a computer screen. This technology is then used to teach a person to be in balance more often and more consistently. This translates into overall reduced stress, but also improves the person’s general health. An individual is taught to recognize when they feel calm, peaceful and positive and they can see the effect it has on their heart rhythms in real time. It only takes a few sessions before a person has gained the ability to handle stress and return to a state of harmony quickly and easily.
Malec, Herring & Krause is offering this new technology to individuals in the community who want to improve their ability to deal with the stress in their lives. Through the use of the computer and the HeartMath technology, an individual can see their heart rhythm patterns and learn to return to a place of balance and harmony often within a few sessions.
Some of the conditions that have been improved through the use of the HeartMath system are:
Recurrent Abdominal Pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In addition to improving certain physical and psychological conditions, there are real life benefits as well.
Real Life Benefits
It can improve the ability to deal with daily activities. When the mind-body is in harmony, a person makes better decisions and deals with shifting priorities with more clarity.
A person can maintain better boundaries. Stress can make us feel overwhelmed and we can “forget” why we established certain boundaries (for example with our kids). Exhaustion caused by stress can reduce our efforts to use effective parenting strategies.
Because the mind is able to think about the direction and purpose of important goals, we can hold to our resolve when confronted with pressures or temptation. Goals such as eating mindfully can be lost when stress clouds our minds and puts us at risk of reverting back to unhealthy patterns.
Couples can communicate better and be more effective in dealing with problems when they are managing their stress on a regular basis.
Working under stress reduces effectiveness and diminishes our ability to think clearly. Meeting deadlines, complete projects or just keeping up with daily demands becomes easier when we aren’t also dealing with issues of procrastination and worry caused by stress.
[The 20th century poet and monk Thomas Merton, wrote, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” (1955) Learning to be in the moment or live in the now empowers you to have balance and rhythm.]
Malec, Herring & Krause invites you to call and make an appointment. Stop letting stress get in your way of having balance. For some information about our practice and others services, please visit our website at MalecHerringandKrause.com.