Join Ross Lawford and Anne Simmonds for six
Monday noonhours when you will learn about and experience the release
of stress. In Ross's sessions, explore the underlying causes of stress
and their effects on your physical body, and then learn new strategies
and ways of thinking to reduce your vulnerability to stress and its many
side-effects. In Anne's sessions, learn a variety of simple self-care
practices for balancing and healing your Body Mind and Spirit. In these
gentle practices, you will have the time to listen and care for your body-self
so that the negative effect of stress is reduced and your Spirit is enhanced.
Rev. Dr. Anne Simmonds, a former nurse and chaplain, is currently half-time
Minister - Pastoral Care at Rosedale United Church. She is a Spiritual
counsellor, educator and facilitator. She has recently completed a year-long
training in Body-Mind-Spirit Practices. You can reach Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. G. Ross Lawford, a former university professor and business executive,
helps people individually and in workplaces in their quest for fuller,
healthier, and more meaningful professional and personal lives. He is
author of The Quest for Authentic Power: Getting Past Manipulation, Control,
and Self-Limiting Beliefs. You can reach Ross at email@example.com.
6 Mondays, April 28, May 5, 12, 26, June 2, and 9
12:15pm to 1:15pm
Church of the Redeemer, northeast corner of Bloor St. and Avenue Rd.,
downstairs in the Board Room.
$45 for the series or $10 per session.
Please register by Wednesday, April 23. Send a cheque payable to Church
of the Redeemer to Centre for Spirituality at Work, Box 100, 162 Spruce
St., Toronto, M5A 2J5, or pay at the first session.
C-O-P-E advice a useful tool for living with uncertainty You can reduce
war-related stress Simple acts tame complex feelings
DR. MARK D. GILBERT
SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO STAR
Do you secretly struggle with your reactions to the threat of terrorism
war but don't want to admit you're feeling anxious and vulnerable? Take
heart; you're not alone.
There is an underlying tension we all experience - one way or another.
Up-to-the second television reports on terrorism, nuclear threats and
crisis in Iraq make many people feel suspended in a heightened state of
alert. The mental stress from these threats may be new to many Canadians,
but it is real.
Perhaps you cope by ignoring it. Or, you express your fears indirectly,
through anger and physical symptoms, or by throwing yourself into your
work or by engaging in heated political debates. These coping mechanisms
are common, but not necessarily healthy.
There are constructive ways to manage this stress, summed up in the
The C stands for calm and connected. Chronic anxiety inhibits the
immune system, heightens cardiovascular risk and increases pain. Calming
your mind and body will go a long way to preventing symptoms such as
insomnia, irritability, headaches, fatigue, hypertension, increased drug
alcohol use, and change in appetite. Relaxation techniques that are easily
learned and take only minutes to implement can help, if practised daily.
Reach out to friends, family and associates. When life is uncertain and
difficult, they often provide a network for giving and receiving strength.
Comfort can come from the listening and reassurance we can give each
Another proven way to find connection is through faith. Those who live
believing they are connected to a higher being or force through which
life's experiences become meaningful, good or bad, have better health
greater happiness and longevity. Spirituality - finding meaningful
connection outside yourself in a non-judgmental way - is an important
coping mechanism in difficult times. The O stands for optimistic and
objective. When you feel distressed, be aware of your thought process.
How you think about yourself and the world around you determines your
emotional state. By choosing a belief system that includes optimism, hope
and purpose, you will feel better and stay healthier. Optimism is our
connection with the future, and a key to spiritual faith.
Be objective. We are all in this together. Throughout history, people
survived devastation and prevailed. Remember that most people are
good-willed and caring, and that you can best help to rid our world of
by reaching out to others and believing in a positive outcome. The P
stands for participate and be pro-active. Take up a hobby, watch a funny
movie, listen to your favourite music or get involved in a sporting activity.
Interact with others. You will also feel more in control and better about
yourself by being pro-active in contributing to your community in a
charitable way. E stands for emote and empower. It is a common
misconception that the outward expression of emotion is a sign of
weakness. Studies show that open and honest identification and expression
of emotion in a supportive environment leads to better healing. Share
feelings appropriately with someone you trust.
Empower yourself to meet the challenges of changing times by taking care
of your health. Eat nutritiously, exercise regularly, get enough sleep.
breaks in your work. If you're not coping well, counselling, with or without
medication, may be effective. Consult your family doctor, the College
Physicians, or a psychological association for a referral to a clinician
in treating stress-related disorders.
It may feel like we're entering into a future of great uncertainty. But
future has never been certain for any of us - it just feels that way more
now. In the past, it is deep love for one another that has seen us through.
The answers to the future and our safety ultimately lie beyond our
knowledge. Rachel Naomi Remen may have put it best when she wrote,
"Perhaps living well is not about pursuing the answers in life. Living
about pursuing unanswerable questions in good company."
We all live with uncertainty. But you can find your own way into the eye
the hurricane by learning the tools to COPE.
Dr. Mark Gilbert is a Toronto psychiatrist and co-director of
Mind-Body Medicine Canada, the first integrated, holistic mind-body
medical clinic in Canada.