What is stress?

According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all health problems are related to stress. The constant pressure associated with living in a fast-paced world has created an environment where nearly everyone is suffering from excessive stress.

Stress is any change in your world that evokes some reaction from you. If you're a neatness nut, having 10 people staying in your house for a long weekend could be incredibly stressful; but if you don't mind chaos and clutter, then let the fun begin. Stress arises when you perceive a situation as threatening. For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry that traffic will make you late.Change, illness, injury or career and lifestyle changes, are common causes of stress, however, it's the pressure and tension we feel in response to the little everyday hassles - like rush hour traffic, waiting in line, and too many emails - that do the most damage.

The stress response of the body is meant to protect and support us. To maintain stability or homeostasis, the body is constantly adjusting to its surroundings. When a physical or mental event threatens this equilibrium, we react to it. This process is often referred to as the "fight or flight response." We prepare for physical action in order to confront or flee a threat.

Stress is often misunderstood. We look at outside events as the source of stress, but in fact stress is really caused by our emotional reactions to events. The stress we experience in todays world often goes unnoticed. Many people have simply adapted to stress in an unhealthy way, resigned to thinking its just the way it is.

Unfortunately unmanaged stress has created a pandemic of lowgrade anxiety and depression.

It is not possible to live without any stress. We can, however, learn ways to handle the stress of daily life efficiently, and to manage our reactions to stress and minimize its negative impact.

How does stress affect health?

Your emotional and physical reactions to stress are partly determined by the sensitivity of your sympathetic nervous system. This system produces the "fight or flight" reaction in response to stress and excitement, speeding up and heightening the pulse rate, respiration, muscle tension, glandular function, and circulation of the blood. If you have recurrent anxiety symptoms, either major or minor lifestyle and emotional upsets may cause an overreaction of your sympathetic system. If you have an especially stressful life, your sympathetic nervous system may always be poised to react to a crisis, putting you in a state of constant tension. In this mode, you tend to react to small stresses the same way you would react to real emergencies. The energy that accumulates in the body to meet this "emergency" must be discharged in order to bring your body back into balance. Repeated episodes of the fight or flight reaction deplete your energy reserves and, if they continue, cause a downward spiral that can lead to emotional burnout and eventually complete exhaustion. You can break this spiral only by learning to manage stress in a way that protects and even increases your energy level.

Are you stressed? Find out by taking the test below.

Answer these twenty questions: Yes or No.

1. Do you frequently try to do everything yourself?

2. Do you frequently blow up easily?

3. Do you frequently seek unrealistic goals?

4. Do you frequently fail to see the humor in situations others find funny?

5. Do you frequently get easily irritated?

6. Do you frequently make a "big deal" of everything?

7. Do you frequently complain that you are disorganized?

8. Do you frequently neglect exercise?

9. Do you frequently get too little rest?

10. Do you frequently get angry when you are kept waiting?

11. Do you frequently put things off until later?

12. Do you frequently think there is only one right way to do something?

13. Do you frequently fail to build relaxation into every day?

14. Do you frequently race through the day?

15. Do you frequently feel unable to cope with all you have to do.

If you have more then 8 "YES", watch out!

What can I do about it?

If you feel that you are suffering from stress, try to identify the aspects of your life that are causing it. Sometimes you may not be able to change or avoid them, but at other times simple lifestyle adjustments can make all the difference. Recognizing your specific triggers is one of the first steps in the process of stress management. Common causes of stress include work, family, health concerns, unrealistic expectations, cynical and negative attitudes (thinking that things are always going to go badly or end badly), sudden traumatic events, etc. It's not the events or situations that do the harm; it's how you feel about them that determines whether you become stressed or not.

Emotions, or feelings, have a powerfull impact on the human body. Positive emotions like appreciation, care, and love not only feel good, they promote health, performance and well being. When you learn how to intentionally shift to a positive emotion, heart rhythms immediately change and this creates a favorable cascade of neural, hormonal and biochemical events that benefit the entire body.

The VitalScan Stress-Reliever is designed to help you learn how to change your emotional state and heart rhythms to reduce your stress levels and revitalize your entire body. The stress-reducing effects are both immediate and long lasting.

How does it work?

Your body is out of sync when you're stressed. Typical negative emotions that we feel when we're stressed (like nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, anxiety and worry) increase the disorder in the heart's rhythms and in the nervous system. In contrast, positive emotions (like joy, appreciation, care and kindness) create harmony in the heart's rhythms and the nervous system. Other bodily systems sync up to this rhythm which scientists call coherence. Coherence leads to more mental clarity, creativity and better problem solving abilities and that's why it's easier to find solutions and better ways of handling the stressful situation and, feel better.

Emotions are reflected in the beat-to-beat changes in the heart's rhythms. This is called heart rate variability, or HRV. The analysis of HRV is a powerful, noninvasive way to measure nervous system dynamics. In new clinical research HRV is identified as a key indicator of preventable stress and it shows a relationship to a wide range of health problems.

The VitalScan Stress Reliever uses advanced technology to provide an interactive tool to use in your daily life to create new levels of coherence and to reduce the effects of stress. This complete system consists of an easy-to-use finger sensor and software that displays your heart rhythms (HRV),[ offers games, a tutorial and much more.] The VitalScan Stress Reliever has been specially designed to teach you how to bring your emotions, mind and body into greater coherence.

With the VitalScan Stress Reliever you can:

- learn a simple, easy way to interrupt the stress response and quickly reduce the impact stress has on your health, performance, and overall well being.

- see your heart rhythm patterns in real time on the computer screen.

- see the changes in your heart rhythm (HRV) patterns.

- By correlating the patterns on the screen with a calm internal feeling, you learn to find and maintain physiological coherence. You learn self-control of emotions, which helps reduce the symptoms of stress. Seeing your heart rhythms and a coherence score in real time can accelerate your progress.

- You learn how to quickly change your reactions to stress, increase your energy and improve your overall health and well-being.

- Regular use of the VitalScan Stress Reliever has resulted in significant stress reduction benefits by people with ADD/ADHD, anger, anxiety and panic disorders, arrythmias, asthma, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders, hypertension, and sleep disorders. Many people recovering from an illness do experience a considerable amount of stress in the form of worry, anxiety, boredom and dealing with change. The VitalScan Stress Reliever can help because it teaches you how to synchronize your nervous system while at the same time learning how to regulate your emotions. This reduces a lot of unnecessary stress, which promotes healing.

- Children have stress too and the VitalScan Stress Reliever can help them learn how to better manage their emotions.

Using VitalScan Stress Reliever for 15 to 30 minuets a day will help you create a more calm and balanced state of being and can become an important part of overcoming the stress, associated with disease or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Question: Whats different about the VitalScan Stress-Reliever? approach?
Answer: With VitalScan Stress Reliever you address the causes of stress, negative emotions and nervous system chaos. Most stress management programs and products deal with the effects. Their approaches (diets, exercising, relaxation techniques, etc) can help but are most often applied after the factto get over stress not to prevent it. The VitalScan Stress Reliever helps you re-train your mind and body to respond differently to potentially stressful situations. It is already being used successfully by different people working in different fields and its based on solid scientific research.

2. Question: Some people think stress is good because it motivates us. Is that true?
Answer:Though not always enjoyable, stress is actually a necessary part of our daily lives. Stress is defined as anything that stimulates you to act, think, or react. Whatever the source of your stress, stress is something that is necessary in order to force us to accomplish certain tasks. Without stress, our bodies wouldnt react at all, even in times of extreme danger. In order to manage your stress appropriately, it is necessary to understand the difference between good stress and bad stress.
Stress can be a motivator, up to a point. Without challenges we wouldnt grow, learn new things or reach beyond our limits and comfort zones. But bad forms of stress do not help us to achieve goals or tasks, but instead actually inhibit our ability to function on a daily basis. Bad stress occurs when too much stress begins to build up around us. Once the body feels that there is too much stress, it will begin to break down, causing symptoms like perspiration, anxiety, headaches, and rapid breathing. This kind of stress can take a huge toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Studies have clearly shown that at a certain pointlong before most people realize itstress begins to diminish our performance and negatively impact our health. Statistics clearly show that chronic stressnot the everyday stress associated with motivating us to meet a challengehas become highly prevalent throughout the world, especially in Western industrialized nations. Its damaging the lives of hundreds of millions of people, taking a heavy toll on society as a whole.

3. Question: When using the VitalScan Stress Reliever how will I know its working?
Answer: When youre stressed, your body is out of synch. Typical negative emotions we feel when stressed, like anger, frustration, anxiety and worry lead to increased disorder in the hearts rhythms and in the nervous system and we can certainly feel that. In contrast, positive emotions create harmony in the hearts rhythm and the nervous system and when that happens its easy to tell the difference. As you learn how to become more coherent youll feel better right away. You can feel the stress going away, being replaced with a more calm and clear state.

How and When to Use the VitalScan Stress Reliever

It works on almost any PC computer and it's easy to install[ - the Quick Start Guide, Help Menu and comprehensive, multi-media Tutorial make it easy to understand and use]. It's as simple as placing your index finger on the sensor, opening the program and clicking the Start button with your cursor. It is suggested that you use it for 15 to 30 minutes a day in one or two sessions.You can use it :

* at the office - when you need a break, before or after meetings, or before engaging in a task that requires extra mental clarity and creativity.

* during air or train travel to reduce travel stress

* before going to bed to release the stress has built up during your day, or use it in the morning to help set the tone for the day.

* it's a great way to >get back>fast into balance after an especially stressful episode

You can observe your changing heart rhythms, play one of the games and you can also save your session for review later and compare sessions to track your progress.

There are so many uses for the VitalScan Stress Reliever you will be certain to find applications that are right for you and your lifestyle.

Glossary of Terms

Stress Pressure, strain, or a sense of inner turmoil resulting from our perception and reactions to events or conditions. A state of negative emotional arousal, usually associated with feelings of discomfort or anxiety that we attribute to our circumstances or situation.

Emotion A strong feeling. Emotions include any of the various complex reactions with both mental and physical manifestationsexamples include love, joy, sorrow, and anger. Emotional energy is neutral, attaching itself to positive or negative thoughts to create emotions.

Emotional Management The degree of ability one has to consciously control emotional responses.

Coherence Logical connectedness, internal order, or harmony among the components of a system. This term can also refer to the tendency toward increased order in the informational content of a system or in the information flow between systems. In physics, two or more waveforms that are phaselocked together (so that their energy is constructive) are described as coherent. Coherence can also be attributed to a single waveform, in which case it denotes an ordered or constructive distribution of power content.

Recently, there has been a growing scientific interest in coherence in living systems. When a system is coherent, virtually no energy is wasted, because of the internal synchronization among the parts. In organizations, increased coherence enables the emergence of new levels of creativity, cooperation, productivity, and quality at all levels.

Cardiac Coherence A mode of cardiac function in which the hearts rhythmic and electrical output is highly ordered. VitalScan research has shown that the positive emotions such as love, care, and appreciation increase coherence in the hearts rhythmic beating patterns. During states of cardiac coherence, brain wave patterns have been shown to entrain with heart rate variability patterns; in addition, nervous system balance and immune function are enhanced. Overall, the body functions with increased harmony and efficiency.

Heart Intelligence A term coined to express the concept of the heart as an intelligent system with the power to bring both the emotional and mental systems into balance and coherence.]

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) The normally occurring beat-to-beat changes in heart rate. Analysis of HRV is an important tool used to assess the function and balance of the autonomic nervous system. HRV is considered a key indicator of aging, cardiac health, and overall well-being.

Core Heart Feelings Psychological qualities commonly associated with the heart. These qualities represent some of the most beneficial and productive human values and traits. There are many core heart feelings, including love, compassion, nonjudgment, courage, patience, forgiveness, appreciation, and care.

Perception The act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses; the way in which an individual views a situation or event. How we perceive an event or an issue underlies how we think, feel, and react to that event or issue. Our level of awareness determines both our initial perception of an event and our ability to extract meaning from the available data.

Research is showing that when the minds logic and intellect are harmoniously integrated with the hearts intuitive intelligence, our perception of situations often changes significantly, offering wider perspective and new possibilities.

Additional VitalScan Resources

VitalScan Stress Reliever is a registered trademark of Medeia.