Thoughts on “Wellness Approach to Stress”

  • This DVD came about because we have thought for many years (as we are recovering from chronic stress overload), that this topic is so needed in our society.  The level of stress that we accept as normal is actually crushingly high and leading to degenerative states in our bodies.  We are in desperate need of redefining what it means to be well!

 

  • This DVD (“Wellness Approach to Stress“) is power packed with information.  It is information dense.  You may want to only watch one segment at a time so that you can absorb the information and concepts – and make decisions about how you can change your lifestyle to maximize your wellness!

 

  • The more I think about Peter’s approach using the Four Essentials for Life, the more I appreciate it.  He provides a framework for approaching any situation affecting our health – in this case, the situation is stress and how to alleviate it’s affects in our lives.  From watching the DVD, I was able to affect my personal experience of stress positively and easily (read my blog post Stressed?).

 

  • Peter discusses ways we are actually creating stress in our lives through our daily choices.  Usually, this comes from things we think are helping us actually decrease our stress.  Argh! Self-sabotage!  Rather than helping ourselves, we end up hurting ourselves. (Thankfully, he does provide alternatives.)

 

  • Peter also discusses simple interventions that can help alleviate underlying stressors.  I was going to say “easy interventions,” but since behavior modification is seldom easy for us, I’ll stick with simple.  We just need to do them, realizing that by doing these simple things we can have PROFOUND positive impact on our lives over time.  And, I’ve found that when the underlying stressors have been lessened or are gone, the daily stressors that crop up on me don’t overwhelm me!

 

  • Unexpectedly, we have recommended the DVD to people just for the Food section.  People often ask us how to go about changing their diets to support their health.  This DVD is an excellent resource for the basics.  These are the first steps!

 

  • Peter gave a similar presentation while speaking in Australia. :)

Stressed?

I just finished an intensely scheduled period in my calendar.  I was very busy!  I could tell that I was experiencing physiological stress – my breathing, heart rate, sleep, thoughts were starting to be affected.  I was definitely feeling overwhelmed!

Then it occurred to me, “We just published a DVD on ‘Wellness Approach to Stress.’ I know what to do here.”  Sometimes, I just need a reminder….

In the DVD, Peter considers Stress from the perspective of his “Four Essentials for Life.” I decided to pick one thing from each of the four essentials that I could do to help myself during this packed-schedule-time.

Food:    I could already tell that I was being tempted to shortcut on my normal diet because I was so busy.  I was being tempted to order out. Especially since I knew that we would be eating out for two meals during the most busy days and, from past experience, we know that our immune systems suffer after that, I decided absolutely not to eat out before then – thereby, hopefully, avoiding a major immune system crash in the whole family.  This meant that I had to take time to plan ahead for meals for the family or they had to get used to the idea of eating sandwiches.  We both compromised during that week.

Water:  Again, I could tell that I wasn’t drinking enough water just because hours of activity would go by without me paying attention.  So, I made a rule that every time I passed the kitchen, I would drink at least some water – and I would take a water bottle with me in the car. (I drink a lot of water during red lights.)

Air:         For this Essential for Life, I had two strategies. 1) If I felt overwhelmed, I would remind myself to take a deep breath.  It is amazing how quickly that changes my internal perception of the situation – both thoughts and feelings. 2) When I did sit down (I had the advantage of having to sit down to nurse a baby frequently during the day.), I would consciously take a series of deep breaths, focusing on exhaling as much old, stale, stressed air out as possible and then inhaling as much clean, fresh, vital air in as possible.  I would do at least 5 breaths.  Again, it amazes me how fast this changes my physiology and outlook!

Love:     I realized that I do not have time for the luxury of stress.  Stress eats up a lot of time and energy!  Whenever I found myself ruminating on how stressed I was, or something that didn’t work out right, or an obstacle or interruption, I would intentionally shift my thoughts.  How? Say a prayer. Say an affirmation.  Express gratitude or appreciation. Breathe.

Thankfully, we made it through that intensely scheduled time – without me getting sick (actually none in the family got sick!) and were able to recuperate with an unscheduled weekend.

Healthy Eating?

Last week, I had the great pleasure to talk with some fellow moms about healthy eating.  Since then, I have desired to blog about it and my brain has been working through several issues.   Finally, I have time to sit down and write them, so here are some thoughts.

It is always my desire to teach truth.  I came away from the class worried that important information hadn’t been conveyed in an efficient manner.  Eating healthy is such a broad topic!  However, my main point was what to avoid – the zero tolerance list.

Making it to FOOD

Is this enough information on eating healthy?  As I reflected on our lives and experiences, I realized that this is the MINIMUM for eating healthy.  AND, this brings our diet into the FOOD category.

In Peter’s talk “Introduction to the Four Essentials for Life,” (Listen now!) he discusses the power of Food, Water, Air, and Love as not only essentials for life, but also tools for healing.  From the 4 Essentials perspective, Food is actually a relatively inefficient tool for healing.

However, eating toxic food is an extremely efficient tool to poison the body.  If we are adding toxins through “food,” our bodies have to use resources to DEAL WITH the toxins.  This diverts precious resources from healing.  And, what if we don’t have enough resources to deal with all of the toxic onslaught? Where do the toxins go? How do they eventually leave our body?

What’s the TRUTH?

During the class, the ladies expressed, in different forms, their frustration at the overwhelming and conflicting messages we receive about food in our culture.  How do we make the best decisions for our families while standing in the grocery store aisles, while reading the latest article or watching the latest documentary, or while perusing recipes to make our weekly menu?  How can we tell when the information is propaganda and when it’s true?

This relates to one of our principles (discussed in “Essential Oils for Your Family”): Be a Super Sleuth!  We have to know our bodies.  We have to be aware of subtle changes in our bodies and in our family members’ bodies and behavior.  We have to investigate possible causes for these changes if they occur “out of the blue,” or we have to look for the effects after we’ve introduced a new change.

When we are Super Sleuths, it doesn’t matter if such and such diet or product worked for someone else.  It matters if it works for us.  Super Sleuthing can be a learned skill, so don’t worry if you aren’t a Super Sleuth, yet.  Just start paying attention.  One way I learned to pay attention to my body is through what Peter calls conscious breathing which he discusses in “Introduction to the Four Essentials for Life.”

Diets as TOOLS

So, what is the RIGHT DIET?  Vegetarian, Vegan, Plant-Based, Raw, Macrobiotic, High Protein, Zone, Gluten-Free, No Grain, Paleo… Is there one?  My belief is that there is not one diet that is best for every person in every time in their lives.  Our personal experience is that we’ve used diets to cleanse, to build, to support, to maintain, for pregnancy, for recovery, for busy schedules and slower times. We’ve avoided a variety of foods (meat, dairy, wheat, soy, grains, cooked…) for a variety of reasons, including just to see how it worked for us.  The main point is that once we’re dealing with FOOD (instead of poison), we can use food as a TOOL.  What do you want to accomplish with your diet? Is your current diet accomplishing it?  If not, what will you change?  And, what will you pay attention to as a Super Sleuth?

Be not afraid.  Make a change and pay attention.  Be consistent, then evaluate.  Repeat.

Hot Fudge Cake

Here’s one of my favorite cake recipes.  In general, we endeavor to reduce our sugar intake (in any form).  And, we still have birthday cakes.  This particular recipe makes it’s own icing.  This is a benefit not only for reducing the preparation time, but also because icing can be tricky if there are different dietary restrictions to deal with and varied levels of healthy eating.  This “Hot Fudge Cake” recipe utilizes whole grain flour*, non-refined sugar, and is vegan.  And, believe it or not, it passes the potluck test: most people will actually eat the serving they are given at parties and potlucks (rather than leaving it on the plate).

We’ve used this cake at family birthday parties. The adults tend to request it, but it has also been a “swamp” cake at a Shrek birthday party and for a no-theme-please-tween party.

A healthier alternative for cake.

Notes: The main recipe is for a 9×11 inch pan.  I’ve added a column to increase it to fit a 10×13 inch pan.  When spreading the batter in the pan, the batter will be thick, pasty.

* Young Living now offers Einkorn Flour (flour from non-hybridized wheat). We have switched to using that, and it works well with this recipe.

Healthy Eating: What to Avoid

The beginning of eating healthy is to “Stop the Poison!”  We can spend a great deal of time, money, and willpower to eat more fruits and veggies and other healthy habits, but sabotage our efforts by eating  toxins — even if it’s only “every once in a while.”

These are substances to eliminate… zero tolerance!

  • Transfats or Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  • Refined Sugar (includes sugar and high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Chemical Additives — artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, dough conditioners, etc.
  • MSG
  • White Flour

Here are some links to web articles that explain

“Children’s Diseases Linked to Chemicals are on the Rise” on Mercola.com

“Scientists Unlock How Trans Fats Harm Your Arteries” on Mercola.com

“Eliminate This One Ingredient and Watch Your Health Soar” on Mercola.com

“Artificial Sweeteners — More Dangerous Than You Ever Imagined” on Mercola.com

“What’s In That?  How Food Affects Your Behavior” on Mercola.com

“Simple Ways to Shed Pounds and Decrease Tiredness – Stop Eating This” on Mercola.com

[Note: I've included articles from Mercola.com.  I trust Dr. Mercola and his site.  We've found consistently good information on there, though the style of the site tends to be more dramatic than ours.]