meditating Stressed Out  Got To Stop It Now: Quick Fix?

In a previous blog I spoke about how some essential oils can be of help when you want to stop the stress, and make a positive change intentionally so that you don’t get so stressed all the time. I think too many turn to tranquillizers and sleeping pills, too often ending up dependent on the drugs that don’t work as well after awhile. Some say they need them just to “be normal”. Side effects can be a problem. Sometimes there are personality changes. Sometimes impaired cognitive or motor function. Or depression. The underlying cause has not changed. Such drugs may help for the short-term, but it’s not usually a great solution for the long run.

There are other things you can do to help. I’ve talked about a healthy diet and eating habits, exercise, enough good water, enjoying the sunshine, temperance, fresh air, rest, and trust in God. A positive outlook, loving yourself, friendships, purpose, gratitude, forgiveness – all these things can be stress reducers, while the opposite can be stress producers.

I think it is virtually impossible to consciously will yourself to stop the stress. I try and sometimes I can catch myself and stop it, but not as a rule. When I am too tired, in pain or take on more than I can do because I couldn’t say no, or skip meals or eat fast food on the run, or not listen to my body, I will guaranteed be stressed. And I get stuck in it, irritable, drained of energy, can’t think. So I try not to go there but still do sometimes. Please know that kind of stress can be very harmful to your health.

So today I’ll just talk about a couple quick fixes that may, if they become a habit, help you in the long run too. One simple way I found to break the stress cycle, if I will just do it, is to just stop, put my hand over my heart, like I’m pledging allegiance to myself. I feel my heart beating and my chest moving as I breathe – it reminds me that I am loved, I don’t have to worry about doing these things – it’s all done for me –and I feel grateful and calm.

Another is a simple breathing exercise that I can do anytime, and actually anywhere – on the spot. You can check it out at Go to Self Care. The first thing is Soft Belly Breathing, by James Gordon MD, Center for Mind Body Medicine. There is a 7 minute video demonstration that you can see and do. Anytime I want to stop the stress, I’ll do it. Just 5 breaths is so effective. Scientifically this stimulates the vagus nerve, and can reverse or stop the negative effects of stress. Dr Mark Hyman explains it well in his book, The Ultramind Solution. I recommend it. The level of the stress hormone cortisol goes down. The level of BDNF, brain derived neurotropic factor goes up – helps repair brain cells and connections for better brain function and mood. Plus BDNF helps regenerate the body too.

I love taking lavender baths at bedtime. Very relaxing and therapeutic. Calming and just right to make me drop right off to sleep. Just remember to stir the lavender oil just before you sit in the tub. If you really have trouble sleeping try Dr Hyman’s Ultra bath – hot water with 10 drops of lavender, which lowers cortisol, 2 cups Epsom salts, and ½ cup baking soda. The magnesium relaxes the nervous system and muscles and is absorbed by the skin, and the baking soda, he uses for alkaline balancing.

To your good health, Dr Joan (James Gordon, M.D., Center for Mind-Body Medicine)
The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, M.D., Scribner, NY, NY, 2009,


drjoan A Hero’s Journey – Dr. Joan Barice – Advocate for “Love Never Fails”

A Hero’s Journey – Dr. Joan Barice – Advocate for “Love Never Fails”

By: Judith Mercado

Imagine being desperately ill but so poor you have to wait for hours, penned up with others like cattle, while you await medical attention. When it is finally your turn, you are treated by a harried physician whose first choice likely would not be employment in such a clinic. It is hard to hold on to hope and dignity under such circumstances. Alas, the poor and the victimized often find themselves in such a predicament.

Dr. Joan Barice found this situation intolerable, though not because she was a patient or one of those harried doctors. She simply felt strongly that treating patients with dignity and respect is conducive to health. She took seriously her motto of “Love Never Fails” and decided to transform one such clinic into one in which patients had specific appointments and also enjoyed treatment by the area’s best doctors. This achievement would be remarkable all on its own, but it is only one of many such accomplishments from one of the most amazing women I have ever met.

Service to others through healing and love has been the unifying principle of Dr. Barice’s life. As a graduate of Stanford Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, she could have chosen a life of ease. Instead, she has dedicated herself to caring for the poor, the elderly, and those afflicted by addiction and HIV.

Dr Barice Dec 2007 A Hero’s Journey – Dr. Joan Barice – Advocate for “Love Never Fails”

Faced with her enthusiastic demeanor, one would not guess that she suffers from chronic, sometimes disabling, pain. Graced by her gentle spirit, one would not know that this intrepid woman has made 250 skydives and survived a plane crash in the arctic wilderness. Always motivated to keep learning, she lived in China for a year, studying qigong and acupuncture.

Just as she has tested the boundaries of her personal life, she has also been on the forefront of advancing the integration of safe and effective alternative healing therapies with those of conventional medicine. She has done this in clinical settings, in the academic and research arenas, as well as with her professional associations. For her accomplishments, she received the Certificate of Merit, the highest honor given by the Florida Medical Association for contributions to the health of the community and physicians.

The list of Dr. Barice’s achievements is indeed extensive. In this post, I highlight only a few. At the clinic mentioned above, Dr. Barice was instrumental not only in recruiting the highest quality doctors but also in offering education for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes management et al.

Another instance where she made a difference in people’s lives, this time across the economic spectrum, was through her role in getting addiction recognized as a disease to be treated in parity with other illnesses. Her successful activism at the state level eventually led to a similar shift at the national level. This has meant, among other things, that people seeking treatment for addiction could be covered by health insurance.

Dr. Barice’s own experience with disabling pain and the helplessness it engendered brought home for her the connection between the mind and the body. In Dr. Barice’s words, “A lot of things we don’t know about, but the importance of the mind/body connection is profound. Thinking can make you sick, and thinking can make you well.”

Her personal involvement with chronic pain has led her to test the limits and the possibilities both of mainstream medicine and of the so-called alternative healing therapies. She believes in accessing the best of both approaches to health care. For treatment of her pain, for example, she has undergone surgery but has also used alternative therapies such as acupuncture, essential oils, and nutritional supplements. Today, she lectures to medical students about the integration of mainstream and alternative therapies.

A discussion of Dr. Barice would be incomplete without also touching on another factor she considers significant for health—the spiritual component. Her strong faith is critical in helping her navigate the challenge of chronic pain. In her treatment of others, Dr. Barice, a devout Catholic, takes very seriously Jesus’ assertion, “What you do for the least among you, you do for me.” Nor would the discussion be complete without her insistence on giving credit to the many who helped and mentored her along the way.

I celebrate Dr. Joan Barice for her unflagging dedication to improving the wellbeing of so many in need. I honor her commitment to integrating the best of conventional and alternative therapies. I am pleased that someone of her caliber champions recognition of the role that mind and spirit play in health. For all this, as well as for her unstinting bravery and strength of character, she meets the definition of a hero. For her willingness to journey down paths less traveled in her search for greater truths, she is deserving of mention in a blog which celebrates pilgrim souls.


Get The Word Out To Save Your Life: Stroke Signs And Symptoms

November 20, 2013

Tweet Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability among adults in the United States. On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Are you at risk? Do you know the warning signs? Would you know what to do? How can you reduce […]

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Two Question About Essential Oils: My Answers

October 19, 2013

Tweet I am fortunate to have been introduced to Dr Daniel Penoel through my friend Denise. He is a respected clinician, educator, researcher and wonderful human being with three decades of experience in Aromatic Medicine. We communicated on the internet, and he was generous and gracious, helping me by reading and commenting on a talk […]

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Ingesting Essential Oils

October 12, 2013

Tweet I was asked to write this by someone just getting started with essential oils who wanted to know about using them by mouth. Lots of people do use them this way. It can be confusing especially if you start reading books or articles that say never take oils by mouth. Others recommend they be […]

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Aromatherapy And Other Natural Sleep Remedies: A Safer Alternative

October 3, 2013

Tweet Do you have trouble sleeping at night? We all do sometimes, but chronic sleep deprivation can not only make us tired, but make us sick. It stresses and takes a toll on our mind and our body. It can make us irritable, distracted, depressed, fat; and can contribute to heart disease, aches and pains, […]

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“Ear Infections: Treat All Kids” (with antibiotics)

September 17, 2013

Tweet The title of the article above got my attention, it was a well written review, by Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer for MedPage Today(1) about a research article published on 9/2/13 (2) that recommended doctors treat all kids under 2 years of age who had acute otitis media with antibiotics. That’s a lot of kids […]

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My Favorite Toothpaste And Why It Is The Best

September 9, 2013

Tweet I want to tell you how much I like my Thieves toothpaste and mouthwash. They have gone above and beyond my expectations. They have essential oils in them that help keep your teeth and your smile healthy. And now there’s a new formulation of the toothpaste called Thieves Aromabright toothpaste that is even better. […]

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Acute Back Pain: What You Need To Know About Pain Medicines

August 27, 2013

Tweet If your back goes out – if you have injured it, and you are in serious pain, you are going to need to take time to rest and heal. It’s not the only thing but you are going to need adequate pain relief. Your doctor likely will give you strong enough pain medication to […]

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Natural Therapies For Alzheimers Disease

August 19, 2013

Tweet Just because Alzheimer’s has been deemed “incurable” doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to improve quality of life, possibly reverse some symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Physicians prescribe drugs that are of some benefit for improving short term memory, though they do not stop the disease progression.  There is […]

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