ML: Could you just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you help people?
EB: Since 1978, I have been teaching a unique self-regulatory process that I’ve developed that works so well that I offer a money-back guarantee of satisfaction. Virtually anyone who does the one month process will be empowered after just five sessions to be able to effectively (and measurably) unwind well and de-stress on command.
I have been a pioneer in this field and have earned an international reputation for the quality and effectiveness of my work. I have taught self-regulation to people of all ages and backgrounds, in many Fortune 500 companies, governments and associations all over Canada and around the world.
I have worked with astronauts, physicians (I’m a consultant to the Ontario Medical Association’s Physicians Health Program), psychologists, clergy, as well as to ordinary people desiring to gain a handle on their stress-related conditions like anxiety, insomnia, headaches, hypertension, pain, asthma and more. I have done two television series Well Being and Beyond Stress that ran on TVOntario for more than a dozen years and my stand alone instructional relaxation/meditation CDs are international best sellers.
When people get involved with my training they learn through experience (not theory) how to achieve exceptionally deep relaxation on their own. They directly discover a surprising range of health and performance benefits that naturally result when people take time out of their busy-ness to properly release their body minds from the on-going strain commonly referred to as “stress”.
ML: In your free audio on your website you encourage people to breathe with their stomach rather from their lungs, why is this?
EB: Diaphragmatic (or abdominal, or tummy) breathing is the naturally relaxed way to breathe. Just observe infants or toddlers and you will see that are breathing into their tummies. I instruct people to deliberately breathe like a child and regain their birthright to be relaxed. They discover that when they breathe as if they are relaxed, they become relaxed. This intervention literally and measurably changes the internal chemistry of the body and is one the most accessible and powerful ways to relax almost anywhere.
ML: With the current state of the economy what kinds of tips and strategies would you suggest to help people cope with any internal stresses that they may be having?
I believe that people really appreciate knowing that they have a medically defined and measurable anti-stress mechanism hardwired into their nervous system (the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system) and that it can be turned on by simple breathing, muscle relaxation and mind focusing techniques. We call the mechanism “the relaxation response”.
If people evoke the relaxation response a few times a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time, they quickly learn that it is like a safety valve that prevents stress from continually building until it initially leads to symptoms like insomnia, headaches, eczema, allergic reactions, “the blues”, heartburn, etc and then, down the road, to more serious conditions like heart disease, stokes, arthritis, MS, diabetes, and cancer. Since stress is believed to be responsible in helping to create at least 80% of all illnesses, it is truly wise to develop a personal stress control strategy that involves both proper exercise and proper unwinding from stress. It is also important to realize that whereas it is impossible to control most of the stress-creating situations in one’s life, it is entirely possible (even deceptively simple, with training) to be able to regulate one’s internal reactions to those stressors. With that comes not only better health, well-being and performance but also greater freedom and peace of mind.
ML: Is there such thing as good stress and bad stress? If so what are the differences and how can an individual determine if it’s good or bad?
EB: Technically, stress is nothing more an arousal state that prepares the bodymind to fight or run, much like you see in a cat with its back arched, hair on end. It’s a necessary part of our physiology. Too little stress is not good. Too much stress is not good.
One should be able to listen to one’s body – if you start to experience stress-related symptoms, that’s a signal that you have exceeded the right amount of stress for you. By the same token, winning a fortune on the stock market can create as much stress as losing a fortune, and can precipitate a health problem. It is the volume of unmanaged stress that is a problem, not whether it is caused by positive or negative events.
On one well-regarded stress test, getting married is considered to be as stressful as getting fired. The key is to develop awareness about your body and mind and be able to pick up signals that indicate that you are manifesting stress-related feedback. Check out the stress symptom test to become aware of common stress-related feedback.
ML: For many women when they get stressed they tend to eat. This is obviously a setback if they’re looking to lose weight and become fit. What tips or strategies would you recommend for these women who choose food to deal with their daily stresses?
I have had many women report that just by working with deep relaxation over a couple of weeks, their compensatory need to eat diminishes. One graduate of my training program reported that she lost 19 lbs over a month without even intending or expecting weight loss. She just found another way to deal with stress instead of turning to comfort foods.
One can also use the relaxation response as the mind-body state that is optimal to work with autosuggestion (affirmations) and visualization to reprogram one’s habit patterns.
For more information on Eli please be sure to visit his website at elibay.com