1. What was your prime motivation and inspiration for creating your book "Stress Relief For Men?"
Men die sooner and live sicker than women. Recent research shows that for the top 15 leading causes of death (except for Alzheimer’s) men die at higher rates than women. We also know that stress is implicated in 80% of illness—everything from heart disease and cancer to accidents and depression. Finally, the emerging fields of energy medicine and energy psychology show that energy healing practices can reduce the effects of chronic stress and can save lives. I wanted to bring together my 40 plus years’ experience working with men’s health with the latest science from energy healing to create a book that would help millions of men and their families.
2. Could you tell us about the revolutionary tools of energy healing you discuss in your book?
The Encyclopedia of Energy Medicine by Linnie Thomas lists nearly 70 energy healing practices. I chose to focus on four that I knew were effective, the most scientifically sound, the easiest to learn and practice, and that would appeal to men and their families. These include the following:
Earthing (grounding). Earthing reconnects us to the healing energy fields of the earth and combats inflammation that is at the root of many illnesses.
Heart coherence. When we’re stressed the rhythm of the heart beats faster and slower in a jagged pattern. With heart coherence the pattern becomes a smooth wave and the heart, brain, and spirit come into balance. It’s quick, easy, and works effectively to reduce stress anytime, anywhere.
Attachment love. The new science of love demonstrates that dependence, far from being a problem in adult relationships, is actually necessary for healthy love to flourish. I call attachment love the “energy essence” of a good relationship that will last through time. A great relationship may be the best stress reliever in the world.
Emotional Freedom techniques (EFT or Tapping) is like acupuncture without needles. Using gentle tapping we allow energy to flow through our system and change the way the brain deals with stress. It even allows us to release old trauma that often contributes to our present stresses.
3. What are some challenges men face when it comes to life and the stresses that come along with it?
Clearly both men and women are under a great deal of stress these days. In fact the whole world is becoming stressed-out. But men have unique stresses. For instance, men are more negatively impacted by job loss than women. When men become depressed, it is more likely to lead to suicide. The suicide rate for males is 2-18 times higher than it is for females, and increases with age. In Stress Relief for Men we address other issues that face men today including irritability and anger, chronic pain, Andropause (male menopause), and sexual dysfunction.
4. How does sex fit into stress with men? When it comes to most men it is often used as an outlet.
Men often use sex to relieve stress. The increase in pornography is one indicator of the stress we are seeing in society. But when men are stressed, their relationships are also stressed, and men can lose sexual desire and have problems with erections. For many men, sex is a way to connect emotionally with a partner. One of the greatest contributors to stress, and perhaps the greatest killer of men, is loneliness. As men age, they lose connection with friends, and unlike women, often don’t develop new friendships. For many men, their only friend may be their wife or partner. If the relationship is stressed, they may feel totally isolated and alone.
5. What are your thoughts on drugs when it comes to stress? I personally think pills of any sort would just cause more trouble health wise than they are worth.
“Pharmacological stress-relief” is big business. For instance, the number of Americans taking antidepressant drugs doubled in the decade from 1996 to 2005, from 13.5 million to 27 million. Today an astonishing one in ten people in the United States, including millions of children, is on one or more of these medications. Drugs for anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. are also big sellers. I’m not opposed to medications for those that need them, but I’m much more interested in getting at the underlying causes of stress, rather than just relieving symptoms. One of the benefits of energy medicine is its ability to address stress at its core.
6. Could you go into some specific tools to help men relieve stress?
I sometimes picture the 4 energy healing tools of grounding, heart coherence, attachment love, and EFT as the Swiss army knife of stress relief. Like the original army knife, it is simple, it has four tools in one easy to carry package, and is there when you need it. We can get grounded by taking our shoes off or wearing special grounded shoes. We can get our heart into coherence with unique meditation exercises. We can revitalize our love lives with attachment love practices, and we can tap our stress away with EFT.
7. This is a wild card question. What would you like to share from your book with our readers that they might find beneficial?
Here’s a quick coherence technique developed by researchers at the Institute of Heart Math in Boulder Creek, California. Put your attention on your heart. Place your hand over your heart to focus your attention and energy. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart region. While breathing normally, picture a scene from your life when you felt great peace, love, or gratitude. Continue to hold that memory while you breathe. You will find this simple technique is highly effective in reducing stress. Take it with you wherever you go and use it often. Stress is part of life and so everyone should carry their Swiss army knife of stress relief wherever they go.
8. What are you up to next book wise and any links you'd like to share with us or projects? Thanks.
Research from Randolph Nesse, M.D. and colleagues at University of Michigan has found that if we could reduce the death rate for males to the same level as the death rate for females we could save the lives of 375,000 males a year in the U.S. alone. Dr. Nesse concludes, "If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer."
One of the best ways to save men’s lives is to reduce the stress. At MenAlive we are dedicated and committed to helping men and the people who love them. Come visit us at www.MenAlive.com and subscribe to our free newsletter.