Stress Management

relax Feeling like there are too many pressures and demands on you?  Are you losing sleep because you’re worrying about issues in your life?  You’re not alone, everyone experiences stress at times.  Unfortunately stress is a fact of life.  Stress can be helpful at certain times, but also at the same time to much stress can damage your health.   Here are some fun facts where stress is helpful.

  • When you feel threatened, upset or in danger the body’s defenses kick into high gear to fight for your life or freeze and not move;
  • It helps you stay focused, energetic and alert;
  • It gives you extra strength to defend yourself;
  • It helps you to rise to challenges;
  • It sharpens your concentration; and
  • It makes you happy.

Now here are some facts where stress can damage your health.

  • Cognitive Symptoms (memory problems, poor judgment, constant worrying, anxious or racing thoughts).
  • Emotional Symptoms (moodiness, irritability, agitation, depression, and isolation).
  • Physical Symptoms (aches, diarrhea, nausea, chest pain, rapid heart beat, loss of sex drive).
  • Behavioral Symptoms (eating to much or not at all, sleeping to much or not at all, procrastination, mail biting, pacing).

Common causes of stress:

  • Life changes;
  • Work or school;
  • Relationships;
  • Financial issues;
  • Family;
  • Worrying or negativity;

Situations and pressures of our daily life can cause stress.  Stress can be brought on by our exhausting work schedule, kid’s activities, family or everyday demands.  We think of stress as being negative, but it can also be positive things that cause stress such as planning a wedding, buying a house going to school, anything that puts a lot of demands on you.

We are all different and “too much” stress differs from person to person.  Your ability to handle stress depends on many factors, your health, exercise, attitude and outlook, ability to deal with emotions.  Because of the widespread damage stress can cause to your overall health, it’s important to know how much you can handle.  Some people are able to roll with the punches, while others crumble on far smaller frustrations.  Some people seem to thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.

To manage your stress you have to start identifying the source of stress in your life.  Sometimes that is not as easy as it sounds.  Your true sources of stress aren’t always that obvious and easy to overlook.  You may think that your stress is caused by your job deadlines when in reality it might be caused by your procrastination to meet the deadline.

Smoking, drinking, overeating, pills, procrastinating, withdrawing from people, physical violence, constantly doing things to keep you busy are temporary coping mechanisms that temporarily reduce stress but cause more damage than good.

If these are your methods for coping with stress you are just contributing to your health and emotions.  It’s time to make a change and find healthier options.  There are many ways to manage stress, but they all require change.  Until you accept responsibility for the role you are creating your stress level will remain outside your control.  You can either change the situation or change your reaction.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies.  Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.  Try positive self-talk every day.  You can do this while in the car, at your desk, or before you go to bed.  Need some help try these positive statements:

  • “I’ve got this.”
  • “I can get help if I need it.”
  • “We can work it out.”
  • “I won’t let this problem get me down.”
  • “Things could be worse.”
  • “I’m human, and we all make mistakes.”
  • “Someday I’ll laugh about this.”
  • “I can deal with this situation.”

Remember positive self-talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that is causing you stress.  When stress makes you feel bad, try doing something that gives you pleasure, even if it is only for a short period of time.  Joy is a natural way to fight off stress.  Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if it is only for a short period of time.

For more information about how to handle stress visit my website here.  For more information visit my website:

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at: or visit her website at:


Emotional Imbalances

emotionalRecent discoveries on how the brain works have shed important new light on the role a wide variety of natural chemicals play in manufacturing normal thought patterns, feelings, self-awareness and perceptions.  Emotional imbalances occur when a person is not coping with life.  Whether it is stress, anger, depression, or feelings of negativity. It is important to balance these emotions to prevent further problems.  There are several treatment for emotional imbalances.  These includes exercise, meditation, creative expression, relaxation, herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture, Ayurveda, aromatherapy, reflexology, counseling, and homeopathy.

The Seven Emotions

The seven basic emotions related to organ function are anger, joy, worry, dreamy, fear, sadness, and fright.  Each organ has a corresponding emotion.  If there is an imbalance with the emotion it can affect the organ’s function.  For example, prolonged anger can lead to an imbalance in the liver.  The liver imbalances can produce symptoms of anger, often leading to a self-perpetuating cycle.

It is important to remember that it is normal to experience the full range of emotions.  It is only when a particular emotion is experienced over a period of time or with intensity that it becomes a source of imbalance.  It is obviously important for a person with severe emotional problems to get professional help from a trained psychotherapist.  But even in these cases, therapy is more effective when the corresponding organ imbalance is rectified.  Acupuncture is especially effective in treating disorders of emotions.  Even when it is not completely effective in treating a physical ailment, it almost always brings about a state of emotional peacefulness.


Anger is associated with the liver.  By its nature, anger causes qi to rise in the liver, which leads to our face turning red, our eyes.  It causes headaches and dizziness.  This matches the pattern of liver fire rising.  Anger can also cause liver qi to “attack the spleen,” which causes indigestion, diarrhea and lack of appetite.  Especially if you argue while eating.

In a more long-term view, suppressed anger or frustration often causes liver qi to become stagnant; this might can result depression or menstrual disorders.  It is interesting to note that people who take herbs to release stagnant liver qi often experience bouts of anger as the stagnation is relieved.  The anger will pass as the condition clears.  Similarly, anger and irritability are often the determining factor in diagnosing liver qi stagnation.  Many people are relieved to know that their rage has a physiologic basis.  It is essential to avoid drinking coffee when treating anger-related liver disorders, as coffee heats the liver and greatly intensifies the condition.


The emotion of joy is connected with the heart.  A disorder related to joy may sound perplexing, since most people want as much joy in their life as possible.  The disorders associated with this emotion are not caused by happiness; rather from too much excitement or stimulation.  Or sudden good news that comes as a shock to the system.

When evaluating stress levels, psychologists look at all sources of stress, both positive and negative.  Clearly the death of a love one or a job loss is a source of stress. However, a marriage proposal, a job promotion or a marriage is a happy occasion.  These are also a source of stress.  A person who is constantly on the go, partying, and living a life of excess can eventually develop heart imbalances, palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia.  A person with heart imbalances may also exhibit emotional symptoms, since the heart is the seat of the spirit.  You may see this person chattering happily to himself with outbursts of laughter.

Such behavior results from the heart organ’s inability to provide a stable resting place.  This type of imbalance is treated with acupuncture along the heart meridian.  Herbal treatments consist of formulas that nourish heart blood or yin.  If heart fire disturbs the spirit, herbs that clear heat from the heart are used.


Worry is a very common emotion in our stress-filled society, worry can deplete the energy of the spleen.  This can lead to chronic fatigues and digestive disturbances.  A weakened spleen cannot efficiently turn food into qi, and the lungs are unable to extract qi from air efficiently.  A person who worries too much “carries the weight of the world on his/her shoulders,” is a good description of how a person feels when her weak spleen leads to dampness.  Treatment for this would include herbs that strengthen the spleen, allowing a person the energy to deal with life’s problems.


Too much thinking or obsessing about a topic can also deplete the spleen, causing a stagnation of the qi.  A person with this condition may exhibit such symptoms as poor appetite, forgetting to eat, or bloating after eating.  In time, the person may develop a pale complexion from a deficiency of spleen qi.  This eventually affects the heart, causing the person to dream about the same subjects at night.  Students are often affected by this imbalance; the standard treatment is the use of herbs.


Sadness or grief affects the lungs, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, crying, or depression.  Treatment for this condition involves acupuncture along the lung and kidney meridians.  Often, herbal formulas are used that tonify the qi of the lungs.


The emotion of fear is related to the kidneys.  This can be seen when extreme fear causes a person to urinate or in children it can manifest into bed-wetting, which psychologists have linked to insecurity and anxiety.  Over time long-term anxiety can deplete the kidneys of qi, eventually leading to chronic weakness.  Treatment involves tonifying the kidneys with tonics.


Shock is especially debilitating to the kidneys and heart.  The “fight or run” reaction causes an excessive release of adrenaline that sits on top of the kidneys.  This In turn causes the heart to respond with palpitations and anxiety.  Chronic stress from shock can be very debilitating to the entire system, causing a wide range of problems.  Severe shock can have a long-term effect on the heart, as is evident in victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Treatment for shock involves psychotherapy, herbs that calm the spirit and nourish the heart and kidneys, and regular acupuncture treatments.

For example, a balance of work and play is good for your mental and emotional self.  If you have too much of one or the other it creates problems in your work and your personal life.  So you need to ask yourself how balanced your life is.  If you find yourself out of balance, I suggest you begin to fix it before it takes a toll on your mind and body.

It is time to find balance in your life so you can start living a healthier life.  For more information visit my website:

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at: or visit her website at: