God comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we can comfort those in any affliction with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

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Stress: Get Over It!

Dr. Joel Robertson

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Making the Most of Life When You Can't Change Your Stress

Everyone experiences stress in life. Many live with it constantly. Stress management has changed from reducing stress to handling more of it without negative consequences.

If you are working, married, have children, not working, not married, or don't have children -- you have stress. It is part of life.

There are a couple of ways to better handle stress. First, attaining realistic expectations of your work, family, others, etc. will help a great deal in handling stress. Second, understanding the biochemical effects of stress on your body will help you minimize its harmful consequences. This article will focus on the biochemical aspect.

Let's define stress from a biochemical standpoint: Stress is a biochemical response to perceived conflict resulting in a change of thought and reactions mediated by brain chemicals. Long-term stress creates altered perceptions that negatively affect performance and may cause medical complications.

In simple terms, when we get stressed, our brain chemicals change, causing us to think differently. These changes may cause medical consequences like high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.

Stress affects biochemistry or brain chemicals in three major ways depending on your unique personality and biochemical makeup. Read the symptoms of each and see if one fits you more closely than the others.


Loss of energy
Negative thinking
Loss of concentration
Internalize frustration


Loss of listening skills
Scattered thoughts
Blame others for issues
Loss of sleep

COMBINATION STRESS indicates a majority of symptoms from both categories. Now that you know whether you are a low serotonin/satiation-stressed person, a high dopamine/arousal-stressed person, or a combination of low serotonin and high dopamine or combination-stressed person, you can tailor methods to alter those brain chemicals, helping you think more clearly and rebound from stressful situations more quickly.

1. Avoid red meat and caffeine, increase pasta and complex carbohydrates and add a complex carbohydrate snack in the evening. A complex carbohydrate snack could include crackers, pretzels or a bit of bread a couple hours after your evening meal.
2. 5-HTP (5 Hydroxy-L-Tryptophan) will help increase serotonin levels. St. John's Wort may be helpful, but avoid it if you have or develop anxiety. Both are available over the Internet or at health food stores.
3. Develop quiet time, at least 20 minutes a day. Prayer, meditation, reading, and other similar activities help to increase serotonin. If you exercise, still add the quiet time. Daily exercise is beneficial for you, but don't overdo it.
4. Develop a lifestyle that allows you to talk and share with friends or family.
5. Look for self-reflective experiences. Build on forgiveness and trust. Move from heart, to head, to action.

1. Minimize the use of animal protein, eliminate caffeine and increase soy consumption. Avoid nuts and seeds.
2. Avoid St. John's Wort and those nutritional supplements with high levels of amino acids.
3. Consider Vitamin E 800 IU daily.
4. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
5. Exercise every other day, not daily. Avoid competitive sports when you are very stressed.
6. Develop a lifestyle where you can do things with friends and family. Sitting and talking may be stressful after a while, but doing things with others can be rewarding, such as bike riding or going for a walk.
7. Look for learning experiences. Build on letting go and going with the flow of life. Move from head, to heart, to action.

1. Minimize the use of animal protein, eliminate caffeine, increase soy consumption, and add a complex carbohydrate snack in the evening. Avoid nuts and seeds.
2. Avoid John's Wort and nutritional supplements with high levels of amino acids. Consider taking 5-HTP.
3. Consider Vitamin E 800 IU daily.
4. Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
5. Exercise at least three times weekly. Exercise that causes your heart rate to increase is best when you feel anxious. Quiet times are best when you are feeling low. Hobbies may be substituted for quiet times.
6. Develop a lifestyle where you can do things with others while talking and relating, such as going for a walk or bike riding.
7. Look for learning and self-reflective experiences.

These tips are focused on increasing depleted chemicals or counteracting excessive chemicals in the brain that can negatively affect your health and performance. Of course, follow your doctor's orders for diet and exercise levels or specifics.

For more information about brain chemistry or enhancing performance, visit our Web site at: http://wellness.robertsoninstitute.org/ or contact us at: info@robertsoninstitute.org.

Dr. Joel C. Robertson is an internationally known clinician, publisher, lecturer, and consultant to the psychiatric and chemical dependency fields, major corporations, and professional athletes. Over the past 20 years, Robertson has worked with more than 14,000 people seeking to improve their health or change their lifestyles.

His major research has been in the development of models, evaluation systems, and enhancement plans that will help people or corporations maximize their health and improve their productivity based upon brain chemistry technology. Robertson is the director of the Robertson Research Institute in Saginaw, Michigan. He is the author of several books and tapes, including Peak Performance Living, Natural Prozac, the Help Yourself series, and Kids Don't Want to Use Drugs: Or Drink, or Overeat, or Smoke.

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