Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, FAIS
I would like to start this issue with a thank you to Dr. Stephanie Ross for her contributions as editor of the last three issues of Contentment magazine. Dr. Ross has contributed greatly to the general fund of knowledge in understanding and managing stress throughout this year.
Typically, when someone calls me editor of this publication, I tend to correct them in that I serve as editor-in-chief, which I define as publisher. I tell my editors that it’s their magazine. I remain available for advice or second opinions, but ultimately the responsibility of what to publish and how to edit it falls on the editors. However, I am actually editor of this issue as I did not want to rush into hiring a new editor and anyway it’s always good to roll up your sleeves once in a while and do the work yourself so you can appreciate it more. I did and I do. And doing so reminded me how much of a privilege it is to be trusted by our contributing authors to enshrine their hard work within the pages of this important publication.
Like many, if not most magazines this time of year, we would be remiss if we didn’t start with an article about holiday stress. After all, most people already live in a stressed state of mind leaving little room for a month or so of additional stressors and responsibilities to somehow squeeze into their schedules. The winter holidays are a wonderful time of year for children of all ages, and those who like to shop or make gifts for their loved ones. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Frequent contributor and leading AIS Fellow Dr. Josh Briley has written the ultimate guide to enjoying the holidays. He warns of the special stressors accompanying the season and guides us through managing them with practical advice to actually enjoy the holidays. Of the hundreds of holiday stress articles that I have read over the years, this is the best. Don’t skip this one!
A spillover from the previous issue of Contentment focused on the immune system, our leading scientist and AIS Fellow Dr. Lewis Coleman once again explains how many of the assumptions of medical sciences are wrong. In past issues of Contentment and in his seminal book, 50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The Discovery of Hans Selye’s Stress Mechanism, Dr. Coleman details the mammalian stress mechanism as a physiological paradigm overlooked by medical science. However, the stress mechanism is able to explain physiological processes not generally understood, and armed with that information, it is able to predict kinder and far more effective treatments for all ailments, including and especially the major killers of heart disease and cancer. In this issue’s article, Dr. Coleman debunks the theory of autoimmune disease for the much more intricate and correct understanding of disease based on the stress mechanism.
Another AIS Fellow and frequent contributor to Contentment magazine, Dr. Evian Gordon founded the first standardized International Brain Database (over 1 million datasets) to discover the most effective insights and behavioral habits in stress, mental health, wellness, and peak performance. His analysis of that database has resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed scientific publications by Dr. Gordon. In this issue of Contentment Dr. Gordon and coauthor Dr. Donna Palmer explore the “Emotion-Stress” continuum as central to shaping the five key pillars of health: calm, move, eat, connect, and sleep. From that they devise a plan to regulate stress and harness the techniques and tools that can work for you in these interconnected pillars of health with just 5-10 minutes a day of regular practice.
Dr. Carla Hay-Perdue’s thought provoking inaugural contribution to Contentment is about taking control of framing and interpreting our thoughts. She shows how the Universal Mind provides the energy and intelligence to consciously see thought as the reel of the film of life to be in the present moment, decreasing feelings of stress and increasing feelings of peace and wellbeing. And most importantly, Dr. Hay-Perdue teaches us that you have the power to change films at any time.
Another new contributor to Contentment, Linda Penkala, author of The Pause to Relax Ladies for Robust Heart Health, reminds us about the stress of loneliness and social isolation and how making intentional time to invest in friendships has positive effects on improving stress and mental health. In fact friendship is one of the most common answers to the question of what makes life meaningful. It is friends that add to the spice of life and allow the connection of the hearts to enhance longevity, wellness and health. This is especially true after the pandemic, with a deep need to connect with others once again, despite the stress, loss, grief, and hardships the pandemic caused for so many.
In the final article of this issue of Contentment magazine, this institute’s executive director and the host for our Finding Contentment podcasts, Will Heckman describes some of his favorite recent podcasts. The ultimate goal of this podcast is to empower people to take control of their stress levels, develop resilience, and lead happier, healthier lives. Stress is both a constant companion and a formidable adversary, but by shedding light on its various dimensions and offering a platform for open discourse, Finding Contentment podcasts help individuals not only cope with stress, but also thrive in the face of life’s challenges.
Our authors have come together to make this an informative and fascinating issue of Contentment magazine for you. It has truly been a pleasure to function as editor of this remarkable issue. In the next issue of Contentment, The American Institute of Stress Fellow and frequent contributor to this magazine and our sister publication, Combat Stress, board-certified mental health professional Jeff Jernigan, PhD, BCPPC, FAIS will be taking over as editor. Dr. Jernigan’s lifetime focus on humanitarian service is reflected in Jeff’s role as the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, with his wife Nancy, for the Hidden Value Group, an organization bringing healing, health, and hope to the world in the wake of mass disasters and violence through healthcare, education, and leadership development. Together they have completed more than 300 projects in 25 countries over the last 27 years. Jeff currently serves as a Subject Matter Expert, Master Teacher, Research Mentor, or Fellow in the following professional organizations: American Association of Suicidology, National Association for Addiction Professionals, The American Institute of Stress, International Association for Continuing Education and Training, American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Wellness Council of America. I very much look forward to his stewardship of Contentment magazine.
Thank you for reading Contentment magazine. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe, it’s free. And although it’s free to read, it does cost money to produce. Please consider donating at stress.org.
Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS
Editor of this issue of Contentment,
The American Institute of Stress