Stress and Anxiety

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davidsimon1Question: I have heard that anger and stress are detrimental to heart health. I often react with anger when under stress and lash out at family members. I also tend toward “type A” behavior. I’m worried this puts me in a high-risk category for heart disease. Is anger really the worst emotion for the heart? What suggestions do you have for me?

Answer: Anger is like fire: It has a useful purpose, but it is very damaging when it takes on a life of its own. Anger is a boundary-setting emotion. Although there are times when the expression of anger can be healthy, it often causes more harm than benefit to both the expresser and receiver.

Conventional wisdom used to be that type-A personality traits (being hard-driving and competitive, for example) put a person at risk for heart disease. We now understand, however, that hostility is the dangerous character trait. Hostility has three components that put your heart at risk:

1) Cynicism (an underlying negative belief that other people are inherently unworthy, deceitful, and selfish)

2) Hostile affect, in which the emotions of irritability, impatience, and loathing are dominant

3) Aggressive responding, in which anger and aggression are considered reasonable and justifiable ways of responding to life’s challenges

People who score high on hostility tests have a much greater chance of experiencing serious narrowing of the heart vessels than people who do not feel hostility. Hostile people are also more likely to suffer heart attacks and will probably not live as long as their more relaxed friends.

The most important step you can take to better manage your hostile feelings is to learn meditation. Taking time to quiet your mind will enable you to stay more centered and balanced when things do not go the way you want. When you respond consciously, rather than reacting angrily, you more effectively meet your needs.

In addition, it will help you create overall balance in your daily routine. Get enough rest, don’t skip meals, and engage in regular exercise. Learning to manage your inner tyrant will benefit you, your heart, and the people in your life.

With love,


To ask Dr. Simon a question, please click here.

Perfect Health takes place each week at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, located on the grounds of the world-famous La Costa Resort & Spa.

Class size is limited in this event to insure the most personal experience.

What is the Perfect Health program?
Perfect Health is a week-long healing process offered each week at the Chopra Center. Deepak Chopra, M.D., and David Simon, M.D., created the Perfect Health program to help you experience relief from your physical pain and the emotional turbulence that often accompanies it.

The Perfect Health program is based on the principles presented in Dr. Chopra’s best-selling book Perfect Health, a practical guide to mind-body healing and the practices of ayurveda – the 5,000-year-old medical system that originated in India.

Each day at Perfect Health, you will experience a customized ayurvedic massage treatment in the loving hands of our Healing Arts Masters, as well as classes in Primordial Sound Meditation, ayurveda, stress management, and other mind-body healing practices. The day begins and ends with group meditations and sessions in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.

The cornerstone of the Perfect Health program is panchakarma, a powerful ayurvedic cleansing process that helps the body release accumulated toxins and stress. You will receive daily panchakarma therapies to restore your natural state of balance and calm. Each treatment is tailored to your unique mind-body constitution, using specific essential oils and natural herbs to purify and nurture you at the deepest cellular level.

Who can benefit from Perfect Health?
The Perfect Health program provides immediate and long-term benefits to anyone seeking improved health and vitality, including those coping with:

  • Physical or emotional pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
  • Job burnout and career stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or other digestive problems
  • Body image and weight issues
  • Cancer and chemotherapy
  • Grief and loss
  • And many more

What happens at the Perfect Health program?
Your Perfect Health experience begins on Monday morning with a welcome session where you will meet the Chopra Center educators and massage therapists who will be working with you throughout the week. You will experience your first ayurvedic massage treatment and begin the panchakarma cleansing process. Your first class will be an introduction to Primordial Sound Meditation, followed by a special one-on-one session where you will be given your personal mantra. The evening concludes with a group meditation practice and a gentle hatha-style yoga class that will bring you into a state of deep relaxation before you return to your room and drift off to sleep.

In the week that follows, each day begins and ends with sessions in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (all levels) and a group meditation held in the serenity of our meditation room, which has absorbed the peaceful vibrations of thousands of meditators over the years. You will receive an individual schedule for your daily ayurvedic massage treatments and panchakarma therapy – as well as for your one-on-one mind-body medical consultation.

All instruction take place in the Chopra Center’s beautiful Dharma room, where you can make yourself comfortable in a seat, backjack, or nestled on the floor with an abundant supply of soft blankets. Fresh fruit, light snacks, and herbal tea are available throughout the day. In this relaxed group setting, our master certified instructors will teach you the fundamentals of living an ayurvedic lifestyle, including:

  • Identifying your mind-body constitution (dosha)
  • Healing yourself through the power of the five senses
  • Food as medicine and eating to balance your dosha
  • Emotional healing
  • A customized balancing routine
  • Training in the wisdom of natural herbs
  • Lessons in communicating effectively and compassionately
  • The keys to turning your intentions into good choices for health and wellbeing


To learn more about Perfect Health, please call 888.736.6895 or click here to request more information

Deepak Chopra appeared as a guest on the Dr. Oz show yesterday, where he provided a clear and powerful introduction to meditation and holistic health care.  A few highlights:

  • Even five-year-olds can learn to meditate
  • Meditation can help you lose weight
  • Keys to ending insomnia
  • Why trying to “be positive” doesn’t make us feel better – and why releasing emotional toxicity does
  • How to experience an inner sense of well-being

Find this simple 3-step process  and more in our January Agni Newsletter.

This month’s issue also features:

Read Agni here

david-simon-portrait-webThis is Part II of  an interview with Dr. David Simon,  featured in the December issue of Elevated Existence Magazine.   Dr. Simon explains the connection between emotions and disease, and the holistic way to find wholeness and health.  Read Part I here.

Making Changes
The Chopra Center offers emotional healing seminars, which Simon says he has been
developing for years. The first of the two-part series dedicated to emotional healing is called Free to Love, which takes place over three days and is about identifying, mobilizing and releasing emotional toxicity getting in the way of good health. The second part is Free to Heal, which dedicates five days focused on rejuvenation for
the body.

“Fee to Love is intensely healing, but we are finding people are pretty raw afterward, and so we encourage them to learn how to take better care of themselves in a compassionate and loving way through the second course, Free to Heal, explains Simon. “With both, they have the deep insights to release the pain, and also have the tools to move forward, treat themselves lovingly and have healthy relationships.”
In his book, which is a guide to the Free to Love process, Simon reveals a variety of methods for emotional clearing, including heart-opening yoga poses, breathing exercises and specific “intuitive self-reflection” exercises that take the reader through a series of questions to both reflect upon and journal about.

Yoga for Emotional Healing

Yoga on the beach.“Breath and thought work closely together, so we find that by consciously using the breath, we can access information we previously suppressed,” he says. Also, the yoga poses were developed over the years to make it easier for people to bring awareness into the places of the body associated with emotions, and stretching, moving and
breathing helps the release of toxic emotions from the body.

“If people are tuned in, they feel emotions in the heart, gut and occasionally the sexual organs,” Simon explains. “The yoga poses are designed to open up the core emotional center and release the energy trapped inside.”

And while many who go through the program or do it themselves at home may be tempted not to do the journaling element, Simon says it is a very important piece. Rather than going through the steps in the mind, writing them down is necessary — not only to remember the insights revealed, but to get them out of our minds and onto the paper.
1128174902kD2fi8“We carry all this stuff around on our internal hard drive, and when we write it down, it’s like downloading it to a flash drive and creating space,” Simon says. “We need to quiet down the usual conversation of our mind and start asking questions from a deeper place. We may not think we know what we need, but we do know it somewhere, and intuitive self-reflection is a way of hearing the truth and bringing into awareness.”

The key to emotional health, and in turn physical health, is learning how to stay centered, no matter what life throws at us. It’s about learning to make better choices, and knowing we all deserve to be happy and healthy, have nurturing relationships and have a meaningful life by expressing our unique purpose. By ridding ourselves of toxic emotions — some we may have been carrying around for a lifetime — and learning a new, healthy way to live and love, we can find our center and know how to return to it when we fall off.

“If we have an inner state of wellbeing, where the mind is relatively quiet and the body is in comfort, we can evaluate, and listen to our bodies and minds to get
information from a deeper place,” Simons says.

When evaluating a decision in life, our mind and body will often generate signals, letting us know when something doesn’t feel right. The more centered we are, the more likely we will be able to recognize the signals, he notes.

“The more your baseline is centered, balanced and comfortable, the more sensitive you will be to going out of your center. But if your baseline is one of chaos, you won’t even notice you are out of balance.”

To learn more about upcoming Free to Love, Free to Heal workshops in 2010, click here.

Find these tips and more in the just-released December Agni Newsletter.

This month’s issue also features:

Read Agni here

To read and post comments, click here!

Read Deepak’s new article on the best aging secret on

To read and post comments, click here!


Dear Dr. Simon,

Normally I stress for only a few hours but for the past 6 months, I’ve been experiencing ongoing anxiety, stress, and worry. I believe the stress has weakened my body, and I need to relax and get healthy again. How do I reverse this?
I am grateful for your time and assistance.

Answer: Worrying about the future is like paying interest on a loan that you haven’t taken out. Even when they realize it isn’t logical, many people spend a lot of time ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. The way out of this cycle is finding opportunities to enter into present-moment awareness. Meditation is the most important first step in learning to quiet the mind and calm the chemistry that creates feelings of stress.

I encourage you to get daily exercise, and find time each day to do some kind of creative activity that you enjoy, such as dance, poetry, journaling, painting, or pottery. Give yourself 20 minutes a day to feel anxious, then consciously redirect your mind to more fruitful thoughts that celebrate the magic and mystery of a human incarnation.

It sometimes helps to bring in a littleness and humor to put your worrying into perspective. For example, for this week, focus all of your anxiety on global warming and the possibility that a meteorite could hit our planet at any time. By taking a more proactive role in your worrying, you may recognize that you have the ability to change the “channel” in your mind from one that generates agitation to one that encourages peace.

With love,

To read and post comments, click here!

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