Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fears and Phobias haunt us all!

 Around 5% of your  friends, family and associates (or you) are living in dreaded fear of persistent and irrational thoughts about specific objects or public embarrassment. This fear or phobia generally starts in childhood or after a traumatic event with the average age around 15-20 years old.

We all have fears, but they can turn into phobias when the fear is so great, along with the worrying, to make life miserable or render us unable to function.

There are over 530 listed phobias, which are a type of anxiety, and they can lead to panic attacks. Anxiety consumes 40,000.000 Americans daily and it takes many forms including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (COD); Panic Disorder (PD); Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD); Social Anxiety, and Phobias.

Phobias can be treated and can include psychotherapy and medication or both. In counseling or psychotherapy, the Cognitive Behavioral Technique (CBT) is very effective in dealing with phobias using Exposure techniques that gradually teach the sufferer to confront the issue.

Sometimes the fear or phobia leads to Agoraphobia, where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away.

Life is challenging enough without having to deal with a mental challenge that makes you afraid to leave the house or fearful of being ridiculed, which is strangely named- Catagelophobia (See Phobia List on the web).

CBT can be effective an effective self-management solution or if you feel overwhelmed and need help, please seek a professional to help you reduce your weight load. Many of the phobias can be managed after a few sessions of exposure, and like many things is life, others will need time.

“All we have to fear is fear itself!”-Franklin Roosevelt

Live Life to the fullest and learn how to Stress Less®.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

 It’s the Suicides Stupid!

The US has the unenviable position as the #1 country with the highest gun death per capita in the world.

However, 2/3 of those gun deaths are suicides that are mostly white males (85%) and older (50% men 45 years old or older). In 1999, 16,999 people committed suicide and 21,344 in 2014, a 24% increase.

The remaining 1/3 are mostly homicides with 50% of the victims being black young men. Women homicides are low and most are due to domestic violence.

The population continues to grow older with the baby boomers leading the way (born between 1946-1964). This aging population sector will grow 74% between 1990-2020 and they will procure guns legally and will not physically harm anyone but themselves and leave grief for family members and/or loved ones.

The reasons for this high suicide rate are many and would include satisfaction with life, financial issues, medical or mental issues, loneliness, and negative domestic environments, among others. Gun control is not the answer to suicide.

Unfortunately, our biggest challenge as a society is to find out what is really driving these suicides and to implement interventions in an effort to at least slow them down. If someone truly wants to commit suicide, there is probably little that can be done and in a way should be respected. They certainly have a right to die, if that is their will. However, we owe them at least a chance to see alternatives. There is also the issue of dying with dignity that should be considered as an alternative.

So, in the US, it is really not gun control or the terror groups or random killings that need our primary focus, it should be our parents, grandparents, and friends/associates who feel suicide is their last resort..

Source: CDC

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stressless or Stress Less?

What’s the difference? Absolutely nothing! They both mean the exact same thing, which is to “create less stress” in your life.
However, there are many products and services, along with supportive trademarks, for each of the names. This of course creates confusion among consumers, which is what the trademarks are designed to do in the first place. A trademark protects your mark from other people using it and the criteria for infringement is simply: “Is the name they are using likely to create confusion among consumers”?
There are different categories and classes where you can trademark a name which means that there can be more than one Stressless or Stress Less product/service trademarked as long as they are clearly in different categories/classes. For instance, there is the Ekornes Stressless trademark Registered in 1983 # 1224287 in classes IC 020. US 032. G & S for Furniture-Namely, Adjustable Chairs. Ekornes filed another modified registration in 1999 for trademark # 2251731  IC 020. US 002 013 022 025 032 050. G & S for furniture, sofas, chairs, easy chairs with footstool; [ mattresses; pillows; beds; bedboards ]. And in 2008, they received another modified registration # 2251731 in International Class IC020 US 002 013 022 025 032 050 G&S for Furniture, chairs, seats, recliner chairs with footstools in class IC035 US 100 101 102. G&S for Retail outlet and store services in the field of furniture and furnishings. Design plus words, letters, and/or numbers below:
26.05.21 - Triangles that are completely or partially shaded
26.05.25 - Triangles with one or more curved sides
26.05.28 - Miscellaneous designs with overall triangular shape; Triangular shape (miscellaneous overall shape) Ekornes is a publically listed Norwegian company with these US trademarks.

As an example for potential confusion is another Stressless trademark Registration #3867652 by an Italian company in Class  IC 044 US 100 101 G&S for Medical services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings.
There are others using a Stressless trademark name and also the name Stress Less, so you can see that even without a mark being in the same class or category, it can be confusing.
It is very frustrating for the respective trademark owners who have to keep constant vigilance for violators or those who infringe on their registered trademarks. Some will intentionally use existing trademarked names to capitalize on the brand equity already built up in the trademarked name. This usually results in a “cease and desist” request from the trademark owner to the infringer who may or may not cooperate. This then leads to legal action which can result in expensive out of pocket costs/damages for the violator and unfortunately, the trademark owner also.
There are  small business owners who use trademarked names without checking the readily available trademark registration history located on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website ( This, of course, is no excuse and the violator runs the risk of having to pay legal fees, damages, and loss of existing inventory of the product/services being sold if they use an already existing trademark name in their product/service category/class.
Stress Less, Inc. has owned over 14 U.S. trademarked products and services since 1995 which requires a lot of monitoring for violators. We have issued over 300 “Cease and Desist” letters and have had to take many to court without losing one case. Trademark protection is a necessary time consuming and costly
Exercise since the word Stressless and Stress Less are very popular and attractive names and the use or misuse by non-trademark holders keep the lawyers busy.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Know, Love, and Be Yourself!

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”-Lao Tzu

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don't forget to love yourself”-Soren Kierkegaard

These 3 tenements of life advice have been handed down through the ages and are great wisdom for living your life fully and happily. If you can achieve these hallmarks, then your life will be inundated with positive and creative feelings where you begin to look outward vs. inward.

However, we spend too much of our life caught in the same vicious cycle of unsuccessfully trying to calm/delete our “demons”. Unfortunately, we normally end up using the “wrong” strategies, like alcohol, drugs, and or prescription medication vs. engaging in psychotherapy, counseling, or self-help programs.

We know that there is widespread mental pain being suffered by over 42,000,000 US individuals and only 10% seek and receive professional mental health treatment. So, 36,000,000 of you are needlessly still in great angst. 

The Self Help or Self Improvement business is growing and estimated to reach $16.1 Billion in sales in 2016. Although there is no definitive evidence that these work, it still gets you started with an attempt to resolve your issues and possibly move on to the more qualified mental health treatments.

Brain plasticity allows our brains to grow and heal until death. The brain is best expanded with learning and practicing new mind/body skills which help to rewire the neurons and synapses so you can eventually reach the desired “peace of mind” stage. This can be achieved by counseling/psychotherapy and/or self- help programs. Medications will work faster to help in severe depression/anxiety cases, but the combination of therapy and medication have the highest success rates overall. And psychotherapy can work alone and has been proven to beat medication only and it actually helps rewire your brain. Plus, it is permanent vs. some recidivism for medication alone.

Is seems like the time is now for you to “own up” to your issues and seek professional mental health treatment. You will then begin to know, love, and be yourself creating a whole new, wonderful world.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Anxiety-The Scourge of Society!

If you are or have been one of the 40,000.000 US Adults (18-54 years old) that have experienced Anxiety (NIMH), then you know what we are talking about. And believe us, we also have first-hand experience for decades and can speak from experience.

The ridiculousness of Anxiety is that only 10% of people receive effective help, which means that 36,000,000 people are having to go day to day dealing with its terrible symptoms.
The most common form is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which consumes some 34% of sufferers. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 20%; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 20%; Phobias 13%; and Panic Disorder 13%.

With these different manifestations, you could experience interruptions in your daily life; suffering and dysfunction; sleep problems (50% do); irrational fears; muscle tension; chronic indigestion; stage freight; self-consciousness; panic attacks; flashbacks; perfectionism; and self-doubt/second questioning. You may experience any number of the above symptoms which will make your life a “living hell”. Add to that that 90% are trying to deal with these symptoms without valid professional help, some for budget reasons and some from embarrassment or the “stigma” of it all.

Even with proper mental health treatment and medications, it can take decades before a person can regain their life back to live without debilitating anxiety. So there is no mystery why anxiety is the most common mental health issue accounting for nearly 1/3 of the $148,000,000,000 in US Annual Healthcare costs (The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders, a report commissioned by the ADAA). And the bad news is the incidence and hospitalization increases with age with the majority of known sufferers being women (it is fair to say that these numbers may be skewed since most men will not admit to any type of anxiety/mental health condition or seek help due to the social stigma or just being macho and deemed weak).

So what do we do now? It would seem that since there still is a very real social stigma to mental health and seeing mental health professionals, the on-line counselor sites (yes, we have one too) is a fantastic way for more people, particularly men, to seek help in the privacy of their own home. Medications are primarily prescribed by the Primary Care Doctors anyway, so you can get the proper combination of therapy and medication, as needed. More and More states are letting Psychologists prescribe medications and the word on the street is that most psychiatrists are just writing scripts and letting most of the patient volume go to the Psychologists.

No matter what you have or think you have, do yourself a favor and go see a mental health professional or on-line to discuss your options. It may take longer that you want, but it sure beats having to always be saddled with this tremendous burden that can ultimately be controlled and/or eliminated.

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