Friday, June 02, 2006

My favorite books

In a book I recently read, titled “Winning through Enlightenment” I came across one of the most profound and true statements I’ve ever seen. The author, Ron Smothermon M.D., says, “You are enlightened in direct proportion to the number of teachers you have in your life.” In other words, as we let others become our instructors, from whatever medium that come, we are able to live more freely.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with everyone my list of favorite books. I’ve been very fortunate to have read a large number of books that relate to our mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of life. And from these books I’ve learned a lot about what other great minds have thought about living well and happily.

Here is the list:

http://faculty.weber.edu/molpin/healthclasses/1110/greatbooks.html

If you have any personal favorites that we all should be aware of that aren’t on the list, please feel free to contribute yours.

Monday, May 29, 2006

off to a good start

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.

This first Blog looks directly at our thoughts and some things we can ask ourselves to help us prevent stress:

  1. Is the threat real? What is the perceived threat? What is the likelihood of this perceived threat actually happening? What is the chance of its occurrence? (Almost always the answer to this is that the threat is rarely going to hurt us.)
  2. Can I handle this? (Our past experience tells us that we can always handle things)
  3. Is the perceived threat one which I can do something about? Is it in my circle of concern or my circle of influence? (As one of my wise students once told me, “If you have control over it, there’s no need to worry about it. If you don’t have any control over it, you also don’t need to worry about it. There is nothing else. So why worry?)
  4. Can I think about this differently? There are hundreds of ways to interpret the situation differently. That is the wonderful thing about free will or our innate freedom to choose.
  5. Sometimes we forget these things and the stress response turns on. When that does, we need definite ways of turning it off. This involves relaxation exercises and coping skills.

All of these things will be treated as we explore this exciting field of study that relates directly to you and me.