A Message to People of Japan: How to Preserve Your Health

No one questions the terrible stress and anxiety of anyone in Japan today. We sympathize and want to help.
In stress, chemicals are released that elevate blood pressure, narrow blood vessels, and shunt glycogen from the brain. After days of strain, the wrong products build up in the body, and harmful changes can occur in the delicate organs of the body. The uncertainty of the future, when everything you own is now gone, certainly adds to the stress of the tsunami, the tremors and the radiation count.

No, I can’t take away these or the shortages you must endure,
but I can offer advice from my book, Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror. If you follow these actions, you can reduce the harm that your stress hormones are causing. In the months ahead, you owe it to your family to preserve your health. The healthier you can be, the more strength you will have for the tasks that face your country.

I make no suggestion to change your emotions. What I recommend is a way to reduce the physical effects that these emotions can cause.

Step one. Change your breathing. In tension, you breathe rapidly. When you count your breathing- count four on inspiring, and count six on expiring, you slow your breathing and you are in a relaxation state longer than the contraction state. That way, you send a message to your stress center that there is no stress here. That will reduce the compounds that your stress center is putting out.

Step two. When you are stressed, you squeeze your face, tighten your jaw, and tense your neck/shoulder for fight or flight. When you do the opposite, you send a no-stress message to your brain called the Limbic Center. If you look in the mirror and SEE your face relax, your jaw relax, and your shoulders relax, then you send a no-stress message. The no-stress message stops the flow of unwanted enzymes and compounds that narrow blood vessels.
Note: you don’t open your mouth: instead breathe in four and out six so that your jaw muscles relax, and the jaw opens because the muscles are so relaxed. The mirror feeds back to you information when you look really relaxed.

Step three. Recall a fun birthday party or event. Use your senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and feel. Hear the voices, see the decorations, taste the cake, recall the joy. This will produce the good body chemistry you enjoyed at the party. If you do this while you are relaxed you will make the body healthy.
The more time you spend on these steps, the better your health will be. You don’t help anyone by being sick from anxiety. Reducing your stress hormones will increase your immunity and strength.

No, this is not a time for jokes or laughing. But, when you smile, you produce the good products in your body.. You owe it to your family to watch/listen to funny and amusing TV and records. You do this knowing that the more you think funny, the healthier you will be. In the hospitals in the US, they provide one of two TV channels with only comedies because doctors and psychologists know that laughter is healthier for you.

Yes, we watch the news much of the time, as I am sure you do too. But each moment you spend on bad news, you narrow your blood vessels and harm your digestion. Try to limit your news watching time. I had a patient who got bad headaches every night about 7 PM. He would come home and watch the war news. I had him only watch comedies, and his headaches stopped.

In my book on stress there are various programs that persons follow to relieve the bad stress chemicals.

This is the actions program:
Action one: Breathe in slowly. Picture good energy coming into your body. Count one two three four.
Action two: Breathe out count one-six. Make your body relax as you exhale
Action three: Breathe in four and out six. As you exhale picture bad chemicals leaving your body.
Action four: Use a mirror. Spend a minute doing the measured breathing and see your face relax.
Action five: Spend a minute and see your jaw relax.
Action six: Spend a minute and see your shoulders relax.
Action seven: Recall a time when you had a fun trip or party. Use all your senses. Recall the fun/joy.
Acton eight : Lie down. Tense your toes, then relax them. Then your ankles, then you thighs. Keep going up your body till you have tensed and relaxed all you limbs and trunk, trunk, chest and head.
Action nine: This needs to be practiced until you master it.
Sit and raise your index finger over the table. Now take three measured breaths- in four and out six. After the third breath, let the finger drop. When it touches the desk, let that sound be a signal to be really relaxed. With practice you can repeat this action anywhere – even in front of a TV camera and be able to relax!
Action ten: Remember a movie where the person goes to a beautiful island. At the lovely vacation place you feel nice warm sun, you hear all kinds of birds, you get to taste all kinds of natural fruit growing there. At the lovely bathhouse you don a bathing gown and step into a warm bubbling pool. You feel the bubbles, taste the bitter mineral water, hear the bubbles, and smell the minerals in the water. The warm bubbling pool relaxes you fully.

Action ten is guided visualization. It is imagination, but you are using your five senses and you cause the brain to make good chemistry.

How does this work? The brain directs the good and bad chemicals. Sometimes a doctor gives the patient a pill and the joint swelling disappears, the pain goes away, and the joint is now as good as new. But, it turns out that this was a placebo, a sugar pill! Similarly, you can direct your brain to make the good chemicals.

By practicing action nine, you can help yourself relax for good sleep.

With so much stress around you today, you and most everyone is making stress chemicals. These are very bad for your health. In addition to taking blood from your heart to go to your muscles where it is not needed, these stress chemicals also lower your overall resistance to disease. Again, for your health’s sake, do the steps and actions so that your body will be stronger and healthier.

No one on earth can criticize you for feeling depressed. But, again, you need the good chemicals that your brain can make. What works best for you?
Writing about the good times.
Reviewing photographs/videos of past happy times.
Discussing good things with friends and family.
Listen to music you like, preferably with words. Ideal are Broadway Musicals or you’re equivalent. The words plus the music engages your brain favorably.
Perhaps you have the opportunity to have a kind of massage that you find relaxes you.
If computer games relax you, that is fine.
Any hobby, playing a musical instrument can help.
Good exercise helps the good circulation in your body.

Note: Even a short time break from the stresses around you helps your health.
Note: The more you repeat these steps and actions, the more you will make new nerve connections to make you healthier.

Whenever there are groups of persons, there may be one person who speaks continually of gloom and doom. Listening to that person can actually make you sick, so avoid them.

I am not saying you should not worry or feel sad or mourn your losses. I am saying that if you reduce the bad chemicals that constant stress causes, you can come out stronger and healthier and able to accomplish much more.

At a time like this it is also important to recall the positive things. Japan endured the 1924 Tokyo Earthquake and came back strong.
Japan endured the horrors of the 1944 war and came back to be a strong nation. In every way that war was much worse than today’s tragedy. Today you have every nation wanting to help you. You can be certain Japan will be strong again. By following these steps to fix your body chemistry, you will be there strong to help too.

I hope whoever reads this will pass it on to friends in Japan.

My best wishes go with you.
Murray Grossan, M.D.
Los Angeles, California.

Author's Bio: 

Murray Grossan, M.D. practice in Los Angeles
Author: Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror C 2010
join me on Facebook
web www.grossan.com