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The art and gift of staying present

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 7:44 am

In America we hear a lot about stress. The hardships that America has gone under this century have shown an ever increasing amount of stress.

The grim statistics show us that stress causes disease and death. Emotionally, stress is wrapped up in constant fear and anger or frustration. We also know that stress can lead to emotional outbursts and break-ups in relationships and families.

In my lifetime I can say that I have had my fair share of stress. For years I’ve been driven by my dreams, aspirations and goals. At least once or twice a year it all catches up to me and I hit a wall. Once I hit this wall it affects my sleep and my energies. This then affects my quality of life. Sometimes I wonder what it is inside me that keeps me driven to do this? Is it ingrained in me like a vicious cycle?

These questions were really important to ask because I had a wake-up call a few years ago. I decided to do some hormone testing. At that time I had felt out of balance hormonally and was interested to see if anything was going on.

Sure enough the results came back with some imbalances. The shocking thing was that they said these results were due to a “long-standing stress.” Based on this type of stress it caused some hormonal imbalances with chronic states of cortisol (a stress hormone) overproduction. This overproduction led to cortisol levels not going down enough at night, which were responsible for diminished quality of sleep and leading to hypothyroidism. Well this explained a lot as to why I “felt off.”

The good news is that these doctors had solutions to help the problem using natural medicine. After a year of protocols I was able to do a re-evaluation and my hormones were more balanced.

The point I wanted to make was I was very surprised when they said I had “long-standing stress.” This actually made me concerned for my health and well being enough to make some changes. I sought healing in this area and looked within to find the answers. Why? Because over the years of studying the subject of healing I found the answer to the true essence of healing. True healing comes from the inside out. We can do many different things to help us heal from anything.

Chinese medicine has taught this for thousands of years. There is a wonderful quote from the Chinese medical ancient texts, called the Huang Di Ne Jing Su Wen. If we “extend our energies in many directions” this will then in turn directly affect not only our life span, but our quality of well being. In fact, now science is more and more starting to see the results of stress in studies of the mind and how it affects the body both consciously and unconsciously. These studies now prove that our thought life can change our very cells and truly do affect our health and well being.

Our biggest promise in life is that we will suffer and have trials and tribulations. What many of us don’t know is how to deal with stress and the hardships of life. One of those ways is to practice the art of staying present.

So how do we learn to stay present in a world where now more than ever there are so many distractions? It is actually pretty easy. Just shut everything off or step away from these distractions. Take an opportunity once a day to step outside in nature. Then sit and be still. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It is my belief that God’s creation is very healing and regenerative to our spirits. It is something that we need a boost of on a daily basis. This presence of stillness in our lives will lead us to a state of peace. Releasing those stressful thoughts in exchange for observation and a sense of calm will come over you.

In just the short time I have been doing this I have noticed a significant change in a reduction of my stress. I have also noticed more focus in my work. It is my belief that the practice of this, along with a decent amount of exercise each week, has reduced my stress levels.

I would encourage you to start practicing staying present on a regular basis and see if it makes a difference in your life. What do you have to lose? Hopefully, you will lose more stress and obtain a more abundant quality of life.

• Dawn Krueger-Sherin is an oriental medical practitioner in Ahwatukee Foothills. For questions, reach her at

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