Andrea de Michaelis, Publisher

March, Spring, new beginnings. And I'm ready for it. Last month, for the first time in years, I made a medical appointment for anxiety. I attribute the anxiety to a few recent incidents where I was concerned with dear friends in health crises, and I let my mind run away with worry. My wake up call was one Sunday when a close friend began having classic heart attack symptoms and we called 911. The paramedics arrived just in time they said and he was transported to the emergency room. I followed and hung with him while they did all the poking and prodding and gave him a ride home many hours later. Except for the almost dying part, it was a fun adventure once he was stabilized and medicated and we were just waiting for him to be released. It was a powerfully bonding adventure to share, and an initiation of sorts. There are no accidents when people come together and mix energy and mix karma with each other.

I love it when friends are aware of what's happening on a conscious and transcendant level and we can discuss what we're going through. I spent much time afterward contemplating my part in the co-creation of the day's events. I did much soul searching and also did Dr. Lew's Ho'oponopono Hawaiian Healing Process (I'm sorry, I ask your forgiveness, I forgive you, I love you, thank you) since the premise is: if you are aware of something happening to anyone, you have a part in the creation of it simply by virtue of your awareness of it. It is my experience that is true. I have a handful of friends and family with recent health events and I did the process on each of them. Then I did it on myself since I've allowed myself to let it all get to me.

I asked a friend for a referral to a medical office and got an appointment for 3 hours later. Synchronicity: it is an office where a pal works! I saw Lynn Meyer and told her I usually manage stress well, and don't have much of it -- that I do daily meditation and yoga and I work out several times a week at the gym and at home. I brought in my list of the daily vitamin and mineral supplements I take. I also brought my most recent blood test results, so she knew what was going on inside my body. I told her I'm a lightweight with drugs and need to be coherent and clear minded.

She prescribed .25 xanax (alprazolam) and said take one twice a day for anxiety and 2-3 at night to sleep. She ordered another set of labs, so I went right from her office to do that. It was noon the next day before I was able to pick up the prescription and take a dose and it did calm the anxiety. Within 30 minutes, I felt less of an urgency to return all the calls today, answer all the emails today. But 10 hours later I noticed my spidey sense also seemed to be still asleep. Not good for the occupation! I'm aware, however, that I was under acute distress and it would pass soon enough.

On a regular basis for stress, I first go to doing deep breathing and some full body stretching, yoga and exercise -- the treadmill is good for that. If I still need relief, I'll look to St. John's Wort, Rhodiola Rosea, Valerian Root (all standardized) as well as melatonin, holy basil extract, the Bach Rescue Remedy, and I just discovered the homeopathic Ignatia Amara.

Also important: L-Theanine is a unique amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and is the main ingredient in the taste of green tea. Animal studies have shown that L-theanine crosses the blood brain barrier, increases dopamine and GABA levels in the brain, and inhibits the properties of caffeine and alcohol. It can reverse alcohol damage to liver. If theanine is present in the body at the time stroke occurs, the damaged area will be significantly reduced. Human studies have shown that taking L-theanine results in the emission of brain waves associated with a state of relaxation. It does not make you drowsy. In fact, I take it in the morning because it keeps me alert.