Dr. Cindy Bergeman Adresses the Club
on How Stress Affects Your Health
What a great day to be a Rotarian in Elkhart! A Monday afternoon just isn’t complete until you’ve spent it with good friends and community members at the finest Rotary Club around. All were anxious for a stimulating and relaxing presentation by our speaker Dr. Cindy S. Bergeman - - see the recap below. President Terri Rickel opened the meeting with a warm welcome to both members and guests while all enjoyed Matterhorn Catering’s delicious food. Bill Templin provided some uplifting thoughts and led the Club in recital of the Pledge of Allegiance and Four Way Test.
Deb Hall led the introduction of guests for the day, including visiting Rotarians Judy Jankowski, Beth North and Iris Hammel from South Bend, as well as Jack Woodworth from Elkhart Morning. Jack introduced his guest, Joe Caffee, Darrel Peterson introduced Jason Pippenger, Beth North introduced Kathleen Ryan, Sherri Wuischperd introduced Joshua Neff, and Dean Hupp proudly introduced our guest of honor, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese. Visiting high school students included Marisa Lapp, Mikayla Karasek, Lauren Weirich, and Ian Jenks - - thanks, All, for joining us!
Terri Rickel’s first order of business was to bestow the title of “Honorary Rotarian” to our guest, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese. Great to have you as a part of our club this year, Mayor Neese! Come back early and often.
Kathy Grusy promoted the upcoming Rotary Friendship Exchange, in which Elkhart will be hosting a Turkish contingent in May; those willing to host our Turkish guests in their home and share some of our local highlights (the writer humbly suggest Wellfield Botanic Gardens, for example) should contact Kathy at her email katgrusy@gmail.com.
Foundation Chair Doug Risser followed Kathy’s lead and announced the second half of the Rotary Friendship Exchange, in which Elkhart will be sending a contingent to Turkey, June 17-27. Those interested in this adventurous opportunity should contact Doug.
Doug also mentioned the upcoming May 20-28 “Give a Book” trip, happening again this year, traveling to Costa Rica. Interested? Contact Doug.
Don’t miss next week’s presentation as the Elkhart Rotary hosts the President of Goshen College!
Sergeant at Arms:
A rousing round of applause accompanied Dave Dygart to the podium for his duties to fleece the club of some bucks, all for a good cause. The funds raised from fines all go to support our community - - Remember your $5 minimum.
  • Jeff New led off the donations, fined for his December 7 singing performance!
  • “do unto others…” caught up with Sherm Hansen as he was fined for fining another Sergeant; what goes around, comes around, Sherm.
  • Peter Norton…let’s just say, Pete’s energy and enthusiasm might just perceived as “loud and obnoxious” by some… at least by today’s Sergeant! Dave requested that Sergeants Coordinator Laura Zell put a note in Peter’s permanent Sergeant file.
  • Stu Barb was recognized for his tireless work as a Rotarian, including his leadership at Wellfield - - he was also recognized for forgetting honorary Rotarian Diana Lawson’s last name - - oops!
  • IU and Purdue fans were recognized - - and fined - - for their teams’ respective men’s basketball game performances over the weekend. Combined, these two teams put together one heck of a ballgame… in two separate games, one half at a time! Pay up!
  • Notre Dame fans… get the Pope on the phone! Where were ya’ as ND lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday evening!?
  • Sergeant Dave finished up his session with some Trivia - - right or wrong, we pay - - and some advice for wives: “When your husband says he’s going to complete a project around the house, he’ll do it! You don’t have to keep nagging him every 6 months!” J
An apparent speaker scheduling glitch worked out perfectly for the club as member Dean Bergeman introduced today’s speaker: Cindy S. Bergeman, Ph.D, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. (Needless to say, Dean really came through on this speaker - - and owes Dr. Bergeman a big favor for her ‘pinch hitting’ today..)
With a topic just about EVERYONE can appreciate and relate to, Dr. Bergeman really hit it out of the park, speaking eloquently on a subject near and dear to her profession: STRESS, and how it affects your health.
A fantastic and engaging presentation ensued, as Dr. Bergeman delved into the basic types of stresses such as “acute”, “chronic”, and the ‘good’ kind of stressed, referred to as “eustress”, an essential reaction that actually HELPS us to perform and survive when necessary. She outlined the basic progression of stress; from the original ‘stressor’ which leads to a ‘stress response’, followed by ‘coping mechanisms’ [hopefully, right?] and ultimately leading to ‘stress outcomes’.
Acute stress may lead to the ‘fight or flee’ response, a physiological reaction to something such as immediate danger (think of being chased by a lion), which may cause your body to have some immediate reactions: increased heart rate, sweating, even more extreme measures such as bladder evacuation and vomiting. Have you ever wondered about these responses?.. Why do they happen? It’s the way we’ve evolved (surviving those attacks by predators!). Evacuation of bladder or gut in an emergency situation can actually help save your life! It could make you faster on your feet (you’ve ditched excess weight, right), your rapid heart rate increases your blood pressure for peak performance and sweating could even aide you in escaping an attack as the sweat acts as a lubricant on your body! All the while, the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol is being produced in your body, thickening your blood in case of severe injury! Fascinating - - Isn’t nature cool?
So after you’ve escaped near-certain doom, it’s time to evaluate the long term, or secondary effects of stress over time. Increased blood pressure, changing ‘hip to waist ratio’, hypertension, high cholesterol… any of these sound familiar? Take charge of your stress! It’s time to develop a healthier lifestyle if any of these long term effects apply to you – it can be done. Dr. Bergeman gave a variety of options that can help dissipate the physiological arousal related to stressors. While she conceded that none of these would come as a shock to anyone in the room, it’s always nice to have reminders from a professional in the field, so here ya’ go:
  • First, avoid unnecessary stress. Simple right? It’s as easy as saying “no”. But that can be a challenge for Rotarians.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Sounds simple enough.
  • Sleep more. (Take this recap with you tonight, read it while getting ready for bed, that’ll do the trick :)
  • Pare down your “must do” list to a “should do” list. You’ll find you have fewer things you “must” do.
  • Delegate stress. Lots of managers, CEOs, directors in the room that should know how to do this!
  • Manage your time (or join me in my personal quest to invent a button to STOP TIME around me as to get more done!)
  • Adapt to the stressor - - meaning, create perceived control by adjusting your expectations.
  • Turn “challenges” and “problems” into opportunities.
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Make time for yourself - - nurture yourself with fun and relaxation.
  • Do something you enjoy EVERYday.
  • Laugh more. It’s a great way to dissipate that physiological arousal we talked about earlier.
  • Dr. Bergeman’s final suggestion for members of Rotary was a fitting reminder to help yourself by helping others. We can relate to that.
  • And always remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
See you next week!