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How nature and animals can reduce stress

I’m a huge pet and nature lover! Clients often come to me for Stress Management issues. I often suggest they spend time in nature, with a pet if they have one, or both. It’s nearly impossible to stay in your head, stressed out and miserable if you go for a long hike. Nature is so powerful that the elements will eventually cause the mind to release or let go! When was the last time you found yourself stressed out on a fishing boat? At some point, the mind lets go when exposed to beauty and the natural world, especially in copious amounts. So take a hike, go fishing or just hang with your beast the next time you are upset and see how the magic of nature and animals help!

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Choosing Psychotherapy instead of Drugs

An article in the Business section of the Sunday New York Times suggests that testosterone replacement therapy has become a marketing bonanza with sales of popular drugs like Androgel to treat “low-T” becoming blockbusters. The problem of course is that a lot of the trend is driven by profits and not necessarily effective research. Simple tests for low-T are so general that anyone stressed or depressed could fail them. For instance, do you have low energy or decreased libido? Many middle aged men might say yes when the underlying cause could be stress. Instead of using drugs with potentially harmful side effects like increased incidence of heart disease or cancer, psychotherapy or behavioral change is far safer and perhaps just as effective longer term. There simply isn’t enough research to keep up with all the marketing hype. Sound familiar? Money from drug sales often outcompetes the hard work of behavioral change. As always, sometimes drugs are necessary but many times they are simply profit centers for big business.

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I teach a lot of people to meditate. When a new client comes to see me all stressed out, I usually ask them at some point in our conversation if they know how to meditate. Some say yes, though very few have a daily practice. Many say they’ve thought about it or tried it just a few times. Although our culture is becoming more open to both meditation and mindfulness techniques, some people have never even considered meditation because they haven’t been exposed to it yet!

Some of the people who say they have tried to meditate and didn’t stick with it claim that their minds are too restless to meditate. I usually chuckle, throw my arms up in the air in an exaggerated fashion, and say, “this is why we learn to meditate! One major purpose of creating a daily practice is to learn how to calm the restless mind.” More often people turn to alcohol, weed, or other shortcuts to addressing excessive and intrusive thoughts.

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