Adele Fraser knows something about the affects of stress. A mother of two, store manager and an HR consultant for Heart Pharmacies in Victoria, Fraser works with a broad cross section of ages and personalities. “It amazes me how early in life you can observe the negative impact of stress,” said Fraser. “I see children at the grade one and two levels carry significant stress and as a result they are distracted and often nervous.”

“When you look at the causes of disease in our society, a majority of the big ones - hypertension, depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, even COPD - stress plays a major part,” said Donovan Walters, Pharmacy Manager, Shelbourne Plaza Peoples Compounding Pharmacy. “What is compelling about HeartMath is that the science behind it is well documented and it very complementary to the medicinal therapies our patients are already using.”

The links between stress and long term health are well documented. In her new book “The Willpower Instinct”, Standford Psychology Professor, Dr. Kelly McGonigal  (Ph.d.) points to stress as a key contributor to the declining quality of health in North America. The challenge is that for the most part the symptoms of stress are treated but the underlying issue is ongoing.

The vicious cycle of stress:

  1. Stress from missing a workout, eating something inappropriate, or work pressure leads to a spike in cortisol.
  2. Cortisol causes increased feelings of hunger and increased storage of fat while increasing strain on the nervous system and ultimately fatigue.
  3. Weight gain and loss of sleep cause more stress go back to #1 and repeat all over again.

Peoples Pharmacy now offers a 4 week program based on HeartMathTM that enables you to quickly reset your physiological response to stress, and shift to a positive emotional state -- and track your progress. This innovative program is based on the science of understanding how your body reacts to stress and simple tools that can enable you to manage your hormonal response to minimize the long term damage the chronic stress and over-stimulation of the nervous system causes.

In her book, Dr. McGonical, refers to Heart Rate Variability as “a measurement most people have never heard of, but one that provides an amazing window into the body’s state of stress or calm.” She discusses at length how reducing stress also contributes increased willpower and focus.

Fraser, a trained HeartMath provider, describes it as a great form of feedback, “When you go through HeartMath training you learn to be aware of a stress response and how to change your body’s response to it. Using the emWave, a heart rate variability monitor and tracker, you can actually see how your response to stress improves. It also gets easier to modify your lifestyle to reduce stress - meditation, exercise and diet can all help.”

Add regular exercise like walking or swimming to your daily routine and you can find yourself in a very positive and reinforcing loop of wellness and reduced stress.

  1. Learn techniques to manage your stress response and get exercise.
  2. Feel better, sleep better and your DHEA levels rise (DHEA is a hormone that is important for tissue repair and positive hormonal balance).
  3. Your energy increases and you look forward to getting outdoors, being social, working hard, focus comes more easily (go back to #1 and repeat).

“I was a bit skeptical of the process at first but my experience has been wonderful,” said Tricia Schaddelee, a Cadboro Bay Customer and HeartMath graduate. “I found the program to be effective and I have been able to incorporate it into my daily routine.”

AuthorRasool Rayani