Assume Responsibility for Your Stress

by Herbert C. Mansmann, Jr., M.D.


The purpose of this document is to illustrate how one acquires the coping skills to be able to manage his own stress and stress related problems. This will significantly decrease magnesium (Mg) deficiency (MgD) and all of its problems in those that are successful at learning the coping skills.


Biological Effects–Everyone with a MgD, as well as anyone ill with a chronic disease must learn to control his own stress level. Although stress is manifested as an emotional, behavioral, type of problem, it does not have its basis in psychiatric diseases, but in biological hormone effects on the nervous system. Just like the chicken or egg story, which one came first? All of the effects of stress originate in the tissues and not in the mind, so the seeds and pathways are via biochemicals released from tissue reactions causing their pharmacological effects on many organ systems, including the mind. Only what we think of it is associated with the mind, purely a secondary effect. What many think it is, is not what it actually is.

The Pharmalogical Effect—Ones physical feelings of stress, result from the action of released chemical on the body and the ability to evoke routine neurological reflexes in the process. Flushing of the skin and sweating are well know examples, no one thinks these are psychiatric disorders. No one can control this for you. In the case of the body’s Mg needs, stress both causes and proteinates MgD. It has been known for years that the catecholamines, like adrenalin, are released during stress. Moreover many drugs cause the release of epinephrine, adrenalin, when taken. This results in the production of free fatty acids, which cause the binding of serum Mg, thereby removing Mg from the circulation, sending it to the tissues to be stuck there forever (Flink, EB. Clin Invest 1973;21:884). The net effect is the production of MgD. In addition intravenous epinephrine (Ryzen E, J Am Coll Nutr.19;9:114) causes urinary Mg wasting, another Mg depleting mechanism. It would be expected that adrenalin from any source would be like a shot of adrenalin and produce the same symptomatic effects. So since stress aggravates MgD, it is essential that patients learn stress self-management. In the following link; there is an excellent review by Mildred Seelig, M.D., ( www.headachepainfree/magstress.htm ), who is a pioneer in the field of Mg metabolism.

My Background

In 1953-4, as a pediatric resident for two years, at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, I trained under Ben Spock, M.D., the pediatrician who has written a World Famous wonderful Mother’s book on growth and development of infants and children. His weekly educational sessions were in depth analysis of human behavior, and how to induce optimal values systems in children. Essential training for pediatricians to learned how to practice pediatrics. Then, as now, it was just an expected part of pediatric practice. This served me very well treating asthmatic children for 50 years. In 1960 I entered eclectic Freudian psychoanalysis for a year. During that year and the following, I participated in several graduate courses on behavior modification from a psychiatric prospective. This also subsequently served me very well, as Medical Director of a children’s chronic disease hospital, where the care was for one to two years of the most severe asthmatic children. We had weekly in depth conferences, on how to best help the child and parents to copy with their physical and emotional problems. A form of humanistic psychology, started by Abraham Maslow, Ph.D. and expanded by Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., both Ph.D.s were in psychology, not to be confused with psychiatry training for medical doctors. Humanistic psychology has become the current norm with the help of Drs. Spock, Maslow and Dyer, all in my life time.

V. Rev. Paul E Cote, STL invited me to prepare a response to a presentation by Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, D.Phil., on “Science and Theology” he had written and presented in Paris for the first Rangeley Lakes Science and Religion Conference. Dr. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize for his work on Hepatitis B. Mostly, this exercise stimulated me to awaken from my bliss. I decided to follow the lead of John Polkinghorne, Ph.D., a former Cambridge Professor of Mathematical Physics, who then became an Anglican priest, when he said of his work: “this is an accounting of my friendship and service between science and theology”. Seven years ago with, but mostly after, my acceptance of this responsibility for Father Cote’s assignment for this presentation, it became obvious, almost immediately, that I had to embark on a mission to look at my life. It was very reassuring, after ten months to see how close I had been to the present day Religion and Science dialogue, in both concepts and practice. The conflicts, we all witness in our daily lives, are between ethical and moral personal choices of humans who are challenged by their Faith, because of the misapplications of science. This is not the same as the roles that Science and Religion must play in finding the singular reality to our very being, since reality can only be one. We are meant to live in awe and wonder, and ask “why” with or without ever-increasing faith.

After 50 years as a, clinical scientist, researcher and academic educator, in a medical college environment, working in pediatrics, allergy, immunology, pharmacology, pulmonology and more recently in nutrition, I have always been struck with the complexity and magnificent order of life, with it’s biochemical predictability. One would probably substitute the word “universe” for life. It is “all awesome”, to borrow a phrase. From the beginning, I had learned the marvels of the human body, and recently, the uniqueness of its nutritional biochemistry. Examples are seen in the CP450 enzyme system and their requirement for magnesium, my ten-year-old hobby.

Magnesium is a co-factor to permit over 350 different but similar enzymes; to each do their individual thing. The methods used in clinical science are often trial and error, based on knowledge of the most recent studies, clinical experience and some applied deductions. The facts (results) do not change, but are expanded with each piece of new or unrelated and related new piece of knowledge, such as different age groups, another disease state, when under the influence of a drug, etc. etc, etc. Advances in all types of research, always require a fresh interpretation of the basic data, but the fundamental facts remain true, only the explanation is changed.

Another post retirement exercise followed in the last five years, and that was the teaching and supporting of a program called spirituality and healing for medical students, physicians and other health care givers, including end of life care.

Your Future

Below I have listed three books that I recommend, to help your coping skills and to take control of your stress.. I have studied this subject for at least 50 years and we all know the value of regular exercise, and meditation. Lots of research on the ability of mediation to control the effect of stress on the body, has been reported. The American Cancer Society has recently published online an excellent comment on meditation, which should be read. Everyone should read “Timeless Healing: The power of Biology and Belief” by Herbert Benson, MD. Scribner NY, NY 1996. or read the following link:

But the following books have had the strongest and most profound impact on me. Please start to address this subject with an open mind, you all will benefit from this process. It will help you to answer the question, where do I go from here. The coping skills are based on Human Values and are universal for the non-religious and the religious irregard to ones denomination. They, the skills, are truly neutral.


A. The Basic Method—The first book is by Wayne W. Dyer, with a Ph.D. in psychology, ( ) He was a student of Abraham Maslow, Ph.D., (see footnote), ( ) who also wrote a great book, “Toward a Psychology of Being”, which I had studied for two hours an evening each week for six weeks about 20 years ago, in a religious book club at a Normatine Abbey, a wonderful growth experience. Dyer is a non-denominational motivator. One can use his method as self development or as a spiritual exercise. He uses tested ideas, and is the best there is. Everyone must try.

B. The Advanced Mode—Dyer quoted a great book by Valerie V. Hunt, Ph.D. ) named below, nine times in his book also listed just below. It contains the laboratory experiments to support the Basic clinical methods used by Dyer. (

C. The Cosmos Connection—Everyone should read the enclosed comments of Dr. Fagg at the end of this document. The scientific reader should also read his exciting book titled “Electromagnetism and the Sacred, At the Frontier of Spirit and Matter”, Continuum Publishing Co, New York, by Lawrence W. Fagg, Ph.D., Research Professor of Nuclear Physics at Catholic University.


I. Wayne Dyer shares his view that we’re living in an age of spiritual deficiency. We have more than enough information in our society – it’s spirituality that’s lacking. See his link just below.

“There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem” by Wayne W. Dyer, Harper Collins Publ, New York. (Audio tapes are also available.) Each one of the last seven chapters is devoted to an in-depth discussion of the Universal Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, presented as optimal personal goals and with a why!!! They are as follows: Lord Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace; Where there is Hatred, Let Me Sow Love; Where There is Injury, Pardon: Where There is Doubt, Faith; Where There is Despair, Hope; Where There Darkness, Light; and Where There is Sadness, Joy. ( The actual prayer continues: O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.)

Wayne Dyer has been at the forefront of the human potential movement for 25 years. Now, in this powerful new book, Dyer helps us unplug from the material world and awaken the divine within. Profound and thought provoking, yet filled with pragmatic advice, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem is a book about self-awareness and about tapping the healing energy that exists in each of us. As Dyer writes, “Thinking is the source of problems. Your heart holds the answer to solving them.”

First and foremost, spiritually advanced people must have a “burning desire” to become as spiritually fulfilled as possible – even if they’re seen as running against the pack or “marching to the beat of their own drummer,” as Henry David Thoreau said (Dr. Dyer’s spiritual mentor).

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