The notion that stress can predispose us to physicial illness has
persisted for centuries. However, current research in the rapidly
developing field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) may ultimately prove
this to be true. Recent studies conducted at leading universities,
hospitals, and research facilities throughout the country are clearly
linking mental and emotional stress as a primary causal factor in
nearly all physical disease.
This is especially true in high stress careers where pressures unique
to a particular line of work make one more vulnerable to the negative
affects of stress.
Numerous studies have been done on those engaged in high stress work,
but little has been written on ways to deal with the problem. Though
there are others, the following is one of the more safe and effective
approaches available today.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
Researching this field in the early 1930s, a British physician showed
that negative attitudes and emotions can lead to physical disease.
Concerned with the indiscriminate use and abuse of chemical drugs,
the doctor searched for natural substances that would be free from
side-effects. Following extensive research and testing he succeeded
in isolating 38 species of wildflowers, preparations of which were
found to help stabilize a wide range of negative emotional and psychological
difficulties. For over 60 years these "flower remedies" have been
used by physicians worldwide.
Former New York City Commissioner of Mental Health Dr. Herbert Fill,
states that because those engaged in high stress employment are under
tremendous emotional, psychological, and physical pressures to perform,
they could benefit a great deal from natural, gentle acting approaches
such as flower remedy therapy. "I feel [flower remedy preparations]
are unusually gentle in their action yet at the same time potent in
helping to resolve emotional and psychological difficulties..."
Some of these preparations used for specific emotional difficulties
which may be related to high stress work include: the Flower Remedy Aspen, derived from the flower of the Aspen tree, used for anxiety and apprehension; while preparations of flowers from the Willow tree are used for the resentment arising out of feeling unappreciated, or the perception that one has been treated unfairly; Holly,
for jealousy; Larch, for lack of self-confidence, perceiving
ones own response capability as inadequate; Mustard, for deep
gloom and depression; Pine, for the guilt arising from feeling
one has not done as good a job as they could have; Beech, for
the emotional isolation arising from hypercritical and judgmental attitudes; Elm, for those temporarily overwhelmed and burdened by current responsibilities; and preparations of flowers from the White Chestnut, tree for persistent unwanted thoughts which interfer with ones ability to focus on the job at hand.
We are rapidly approaching a health crisis in this country. Stress
and related disorders have grown to become a major concern to us all. Parallel
to this the indiscriminate use and abuse of chemical drugs has become
so rampant that New York State passed one of the toughest regulations
nationwide restricting the use of Valium and Xanax, both currently
taken for anxiety and depression.
Perhaps in searching for safe, nonhabit forming alternatives to chemical
drugs, natural stabilizing factors found in flowering plants may be
just what the doctor ordered.