Archive

Archive for the ‘Beliefs’ Category

How Can We Eliminate or Minimize the Stress in Our Lives?

April 27th, 2011 2 comments

Stress is in every one’s life.  It goes beyond race, creed or color.  It is a universal phenomena.  Although stress is universal, how each one of us deals with it can be different.

Our stress levels are similar to pain levels.  Some people can withstand a tremendous amount of pain and not be phased by it.  Others, have low pain thresholds and small amounts of pain bother them greatly.

Some people can run multi million dollar companies and their stress level barely raises above the “calm” line on their stress meter.  While another can red line their meters giving a presentation to their peers.  What one person finds exhilarating, another would find to be a nightmare!

Another area of difference is what triggers our stress levels to climb. Not only are our triggers different, but how we handle our stress can go from one end of the spectrum to the other.  Some find stress devastating to their health.  They suffer from stress related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, depression and many others.  It can, literally, shave years off our lives.

There are some people who seem to let stress roll off of them like a fried egg on a Teflon skillet.  They seem to use stress to energize themselves and create masterpieces of passion in their lives.  What makes everyone so different?

Here are the most common stresses in people’s lives:

1.  Concern over world events
2.  Growing old
3.  Becoming terminally ill
4.  Chronic pain
5.  Fear of death
6.  Reliving painful experiences
7.  Loss of senses; vision, hearing, taste, etc.
8.  Concern for others; family and friends
9.  Career concerns and  job related events; promotions, presentations, interaction with co-workers, etc.
10. Loss; Death of a loved one, a job, a house, a pet, etc.
11. Finances and debt
12. Relationships
13. Loneliness

The list could go on and on.  You may relate to some of these stress triggers, or you may say “nay, I wouldn’t stress out about that!”  For those of you who can relate, how do we build up our stress tolerance levels?

Stress tolerance has a direct relationship with perception.  If we don’t perceive something as stressful, even if someone else sees it that way, we won’t react to it.  When the stress chemicals from our bodies kick in, we could see it as a warning sign, or we could look at it as a challenge to conquer.

Let’s look at some of the steps we could use to reduce our stress:

KNOW WHAT STRESSES YOU OUT

Make a list.  The first step in getting a fix on your stress is to know what it is that triggers it.  Take a close look at your daily activities.  Give each one of them a rating from low, “I can handle this all day long” stress to the red line, “My palms are sweaty, I can’t sleep at night” stresses.

ELIMINATE OR MINIMIZE IT

Look carefully at your list.  How many on your list could be gotten rid of?  How many on your list could you fix by just saying “no”?  It could be a volunteer project which stresses you out to try and fit it into your all ready busy schedule.

How many of your stresses are worries?  Can you change what you are worrying about.  When I find myself worrying, I ask myself, “can I change this?”  If the answer is “no”, than I make a decision to let it go.  As the quote goes, “Let go and let God”  The enemy of stress is meditation, or any relaxation, letting it go technique which works for you.

Looking at the list, are there any of these that you could lower your stress level by changing your perception of it?  For instances, instead of viewing the presentation you are going to give your work peers as stressful, view it as a great step in mastering another skill which will serve you in your career and look good on a resume.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE, PLAN AHEAD

A lot of stress is directly related to being unprepared.  Procrastination is a huge factor in high stress levels.  If we take time to prepare our presentation for our co-workers, the stress will decrease.  If we plan ahead for our party and start cleaning, preparing the food, and all the other things which can be done days before.

DEVELOPING A NETWORK OF LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS

Some stress can be relieve by developing a network of people who love you no matter what happens.  It is a fact, people with a strong network of family and friends have fewer stress related illnesses.  When we spend time with those we love, we can laugh, exchange ideas, and gain perspective.

DON’T PUT ALL YOUR STRESSORS INTO ONE TIME SLOT

Spread the stresses around.  Some people put every activity or thing which stresses them out into the same time slot.  It’s not a wise idea to have a presentation to get ready for in the same time slot as making and selling baked goods at the school function.

It wouldn’t be wise to moving out of your home by a certain date and on the road for your job at the same time.  Huge stress!

We can’t remove all stress from our lives, but if we can come to understand about what stress us out. Take the steps to eliminate it or minimize it.  We can stop procrastination and plan ahead being careful not to put all our stressful things into one time slot.

My all time favorite is, we must not forget to enjoy our network of loved ones and friends.  Enjoy a glass of wine.  Laugh and unwind!  It’s good for our bodies and our souls!

Enhanced by Zemanta

When is Change Really Bad for Me?

March 14th, 2011 9 comments

Change can be a disquieting thing.  We have a picture, in our rec room, of the 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover with a cowboy affectionately called “Lonesome Luke”.  The caption underneath the pictures says, “Just when I learned the dance, they changed the music.” Have you ever felt like Luke?

It seems our world is rushing past us with change on ever corner.  We can feel like change is against us.  We can suffer what we perceive as “bad” life changing events, which can throw us into a tailspin of disaster!  Even with the worst changes, what makes it bad?

We would all agree, changes which lead to death and loss are not desirable.  We wouldn’t seek out the seeds of change that drops us into destruction.  They happen anyway.

Change is a constantly flowing river.  It can’t be stopped.  The only thing which can be altered about change, is the way it’s perceived.  If you can’t choose your own change, could you see it as the force to move forward? wouldn’t it be more palatable?  If you knew with every storm laden change in your life there was a silver lining, also known as a change for the better.

Change is neither good nor bad.  It just is.  How I chose to react to change defines me.  If I decide to accept every change as “somewhere in this change in my life is a kernel of good”, would it make me a Pollyanna?  Is that bad?

You may say, there isn’t anything good about a tsunami hitting the coast of Japan.  Lives were lost, property was destroyed.  All of us would agree, “that stinks”!  But, if we chose to look for the kernel of good, could we find it?  Maybe, people helping people through life changing events.  There are always miracle stories that come out of tragedy.

Life isn’t always easy. It isn’t fair. Sometimes, it isn’t even fun!  When I’ve chosen to look beyond the obvious stink factor, I’ve always found the bright kernal of success.  If you and I choose to look at any business, or life failure, as a learning experience and another way it doesn’t work, couldn’t we polish up the failure to be a bright shining star that lights the pathway to success? Kind of a change your brain, change your life” thing.  What if more people did this, could it change the world?

I’m not here to convince you to be an optimist.  Only you are in control of your predominate attitude.  What I am saying is, the next time you are down in the dumps because something failed, and the music changed, try looking for the good, that bright shiny kernel of success.  You might just find it!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The 4 Things that are Stealing Our Goals and Dreams

November 30th, 2010 7 comments

Humans always seem to want more.  Ever noticed this? It is our nature.  We have the ability, if we want, to have more, do more and be more.  To accomplish our goals and dreams.  We can rise to the occasion. This is because of the WIIFM factor. Also known as the what’s in it for me factor.

I have been blessed to live in a capitalistic society.  I hope this last for all of my life.  In our capitalistic society, we have the opportunity to be whatever we want to.  The system is in place to allow us to live the life of our dreams!

When we don’t live the life of our dreams, there is usually something standing in our way.  Have you ever wondered what’s holding you back?  Here are a few reasons that might ring true.

FEAR

We all dream our dreams.  When we pull the wishbone on the Thanksgiving turkey and make our wish, we all know what we would love to have, do, or be. All of us have a handful of things we would like to have happen when we win the lottery.

But, when it comes down to the investment of the sweat equity it takes to go after our dreams, it’s too easy to choke.  We stall out like a jet plane and let out dreams crash.  We allow fear to dictate what we accomplish.

You know those fears; fear of failure, fear of success, fear our friends won’t like us any more if we become successful, fear of change, fear of responsibility. Fear, Fear, Fear!!  Yikes!

Isn’t fear really just false evidence appearing real?  The things that frighten us rarely come true.  If we do what we fear, the death of fear is certain.

ALLOWING OTHERS TO STEAL OUR DREAMS

We allow people to rob us of what we want.  How do they do it?  They tell us why it won’t work.  How silly of us to think we could actually have our dream.  They give us every reasons it can’t work.

It’s like two baskets of crabs on a Louisiana dock.  One crab basket has only one crab in it and the other crab basket is filled with lots of crabs.  If we only had one lid, do you know which basket we should put it on?  The logical choice would seem to be the second basket.  Right?  It only makes sense, we wouldn’t want to lose the most crabs.

Louisiana fishermen are wise.  They would tell you to put the lid on the basket with the one crab.  No crabs can escape from the second basket.  Each time a crab gets close to climbing out, there is another crab to pull it back down into the basket.

People can be like those crabs.  When we start to achieve our goals and dreams there is usually someone there to tell you why we can’t.

My advice, get the heck away from them!  Run, don’t walk!  Instead, hang out with other people who are working towards their goals and dreams.

LACK OF BELIEF

This is mega huge!  If you believe you can or you can’t you are right.  It’s all about belief. To move in the right direction towards your dreams and goals you have to be able to suspend your disbelief.  This is called faith.

FOCUS

Most talented people who don’t accomplish their dreams and goals are focused on the wrong things.  They focus on the struggle, their illnesses, friend’s problems, family issues, lack of money, etc.  We’re creatures of attraction.  What we focus on grows.

This one dovetails into the lack of belief.  Many times we are focused on why we can’t do something.  Then we begin to just settle.  Settle for a cheaper car, a less expensive house, a lower paying job.  We allow adversities of life to dictate our dreams, instead of rising above it and pushing forward.

We need to be bold!  Listening to others and playing it safe won’t get us the life of our dreams.  Make bold decisions and choices!  Risk can equal reward.  It’s not an overnight solution.  But, it’s worth the effort!  Life will give us what we are willing to fight for!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vision – Belief – And a Walk on the Moon

October 28th, 2010 4 comments

The 1960s, was an unforgettable time.  The age of Aquarius, free love, flower power, hippies, and the death of a beloved President. In November of 1963, we lost our President John F. Kennedy, to an assassin’s bullet.  But, before he died, he sold us his vision.  It started out as  only a dream. He made us believe.  We, as a nation, were going to be the first ones to land on the moon. The competition was stiff.  The Russians wanted the title for their nation.

I was a small child at that time, but it was such an exciting dream!  We all bought into it.  President Kennedy said we could do this, and we believed him.

Every space flight that flew was injected into our lives and our classrooms via TV. We watched mesmerized by the grainy images on those tiny, black and white Television sets.  We knew all the astronauts by name.  We felt close to them, as if they were our neighbor down the street. They were our heroes! Every little boy wanted to become one. We were a nation with a mission! We were the United States.  We could do anything!

When I look back on those days, I am amazed that it was accomplished. The computers aboard those space crafts had less capacity than the cell phones we, all, carry in our pockets.  There wasn’t such a thing as Windows or Apple.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were still little boys.  Why did we succeed?

WE WERE WILLING TO BELIEVE

To accomplish any big dream in our lives, we must have a willingness to believe.  To suspend the disbelief, and seriously ask ourselves, “what if”.

GET RID OF THE “IF ONLY” IN OUR LIVES

This means taking complete responsibility for our lives. As Mark Joyner says, “the if only loop is a prison of your own design”. How true. Take a moment to think of your personal “if onlys”. “If only I hadn’t lost my job”, “if only I had more money”, “if only ____ loved me more”.  When we continue to support these thoughts by thinking them over and over again, it becomes a belief.  At that point, we have successfully locked ourselves into a failure loop. We must learn to let it go.

CREATE A NEW EMPOWERING STORY

We as a nation could not have reached the moon if President Kennedy had not created a new empowering story for us. It was exciting and fueled us. It created an empowering identity for us. We can do this for our own lives. Accomplishing a dream has to be fed by a empowering story.  The retelling of it, daily, builds a new confidence. If we keep telling the empowering story, we will own it.

PROJECT OURSELVES FORWARD INTO AN INSPIRING FUTURE

This should be our vision for now, and beyond. Is Bill Gates’ vision the same, now, as it was the day he quit college? As we project ourselves forward into the future our vision grows in direct proportion to the belief in our growing vision. It happens as we build upon our successes.

In the early 60s, we as a nation, focused on walking on the moon.  Without that focus, we wouldn’t have  space shuttles, the Hubble Telescope, many new wonder drugs, and Star Trek.  We have now visited our distant neighbors in space with unmanned probes.  We know so much more about ourselves and our Universe because we dared to believe in a  dream.

We, humans, are amazing creatures.  If we can see it, believe, we can do it!  What ever the mind can see, and believe, it can accomplish.  It is as simple as that.  Only you know if you have “the right stuff”.

Our Belief Systems – Rain Coats or Rainbows?

October 27th, 2010 4 comments

Life never ceases to amaze me.  In our darkest hours we can have our biggest triumphs. The most fabulous thing is, we get to choose how to experience our lives.  We get to decide what is good in our lives and what is bad.  It is our own belief systems which allows us to chose to accept our adversities as misfortune, or as the biggest blessing that has ever been bestowed upon us.

We don’t get a choice on whether we will experience pain in our lives.  It comes in the package labeled “life”.  What we do have a choice of is how we will see the pain.  Will it be a burden to be endured?  Or, is it possible to see it as a gift?

I know in my own life, the times of greatest pain have become my biggest blessings. Is it Pollyanna-ish to decide to live our lives looking for the best lesson our pain has to offer?

Crap drops into every one’s lives.  We can be engulfed in what we perceive as a mega poop storm. It’s our belief system which makes the decision about the poop’s importance.  We can shake our fist at it with vile curses.  We can rant and rave about how unfortunate our life is.  We can try to get all the sympathy we can from our fellow life travelers.  Or, we can suck it up and look for the flowers in our life which will grow bigger, healthier, and more colorful from the fertilizer.

In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone jump in and save us from every bad thing which could befall us.  We could slide through life free and easy without a care in the world.  We all know, this isn’t going to happen.  Even if it could happen, would that be the wisest thing?

Adversity makes us strong.  It teaches us life lessons.  It gives us something to use for comparisons.  How could we, possibly, know how wonderful it feels to have the sun on our faces if we had never felt the cold?  If we never felt sadness or depression, would we appreciate happiness?

Next time we are engulfed in our own personal poop storm, are we going to be looking for our rain coat because the storm will be bad?  What if we look for the rainbow, because it only happens after a storm.  It’s our choice!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Dirty Little Secret About Hoarding

October 20th, 2010 1 comment

The subject of hoarding seems to be a hot topic these days.  I can see why.  Growing up with it in my family left me ashamed and confused.  I didn’t want anyone to see the conditions I had been raised in.  I was confused on how to deal with it.  It was a dirty little secret I didn’t feel like I had any control over.  How many people can relate to this?

My parents lived through the depression.  My mother was raised in a very poor situation in Oklahoma.  They had dirt floors in their home.  Her parents were farm hands.  My mother could run mule teams by the time she was 7 years old.  She could  Knock a squirrel dead, out of a tree, with a rock.  Her hunting skills helped feed her family.  Even though she was a dead eye with a rock, there were many nights her family went to bed without anything to eat.  Did she feel the need to hoard because of her child hood?

My father lived on several farms in southern Iowa when he was growing up.  His father was a farm hand until they moved to town where he became high school custodian.

My father’s family has kept the furniture my great great grandfather made.  It traveled down the Ohio river with the family when they moved to Iowa after the Civil War.

When my grandmother passed away, they moved all of her things into their home.  They couldn’t stand to part with anything!  Their home was, literally, filled to the rafters!  Obviously, my family loves their stuff.  When does “loving your stuff” cross over into unhealthy hoarding?

Each of my siblings and I had spoken to them about getting rid of some things.  That was as well received as a nuke at a peace rally.  If you have ever known a hoarder, this is a very sensitive subject.  My parents were obsessively attached to their stuff!

My parent’s hoarding had become extreme.  They had been living in their home since 1963.  They kept everything, from junk mail to bags of old walnuts which were probably 10 years old, or older.

When my mother’s health began to slip, there were numerous ambulance rides.   My parents home had become so cluttered that the ambulance drivers couldn’t get a gurney through to her bedroom.  They had to take her out in a sling type of cot.  When she arrived at the hospital, the trip through the house had been so perilous and close that she had a piece of one of her house plants stuck in her hair.  This issue had gotten to critical mass.  We finally had no choice, but to deal with it.

After the first ambulance trip, while my mother was in the hospital, we moved like a united front. We swooped and cleared away the paper and trash.  We filled a dumpster numerous times.  I don’t know if the way we did it was correct, but it had to be done.  My parents were not happy with our actions, but what could they do?  This, however, did not stop the hoarding.

As my parents continued to age, they were less able to care for themselves.  I became the one who helped them pay their bills, among other things.  Then it dawned on me.  They couldn’t make a decision about what mail they should keep and what they should throw away.  Could one reason for hoarding be a lack of decision making skills?

While I was dealing with their mail, they would appear nervous, but also relieved.  I disposed of what they didn’t need.  When I first started doing this, I had to take the trash completely out of the house to keep them from wanting to retrieve it.

They have now had to relocate to a full nursing care facility.  We are in the process of going through their house preparing it for sale.  We have found many treasures, and lots of junk.  And, yes, to answer the question I know must be in your mind, great great Grandpa’s furniture is still in the family.

I am doing research on this subject for a project I am working on.  I need your help.  I would love to have you leave me a comment and tell me your stories.  How did you deal with it?  Where did you go for help?  Thank you in advance for all your help!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Gratitude – A lesson From the Wizard of Oz

October 5th, 2010 1 comment

In 1939, Hollywood filmed a picture called the “Wizard of Oz”. It became a legend and has been shown thousands of times around the globe. One of the most unique things, which set it apart from the other films in that year, was the use of black and white in the beginning of the movie. The black and white landscape of Dorothy’s Kansas symbolizes the lack of “something” in her life.  I believe that “something” is gratitude.

Without gratitude, it feel like all the color has been sucked out of our lives.  Everything is shades of gray.  Depression seeps in and we are plodding through our lives with little joy.  Our lives can feel as though it is a painful task that must be completed.  Living in a world without gratitude is as drab as the scenery in Dorothy’s Kansas.

Gratitude is the paint brush in our lives.  When I am truly grateful for something it makes my world feel brighter. I notice the green of the trees. The color of the flowers. It is the emotion of feeling fully awake and alive.

Every day we are given opportunities to be grateful. They may come cloaked as events we couldn’t possible feel gratitude. we could have career difficulties, or finances aren’t good. There are many things in our every day happenings we could choose sadness, depression and fear.  Or, we can choose to feel grateful. It is all a matter of perception and choices.  It is possible to find something good in even the most horrendous situations.  Napoleon Hill said,   “Every adversity, every failure, and every unpleasant experience carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit which may prove to be a blessing in disguise.”

Even when our lives feel filled with heavy thunderstorms. Full of lightning, loud thunder, heavy rain and damaging winds. We can chose our perception of these events.  We can realize our lives are like nature.   The sun will come out and the earth has been nourished with life giving rain.  The clouds will move on, leaving us a beautiful, colorful rainbow.  It takes a storm to make a rainbow.

The business man, J. C. Penney said it best, “I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

Gratitude is an emotion which needs to be practiced. We can practice it as we write in our journal.  We practice when we tell our families what we enjoy about them.  We can look for the best in situations even as the storm is raging.  That is when it isn’t easy to remember the rainbow yet to come. But, if we are diligent, and practice gratitude every day, our perceptions will change and we will be rewarded with even more things to be grateful for. I like to think of gratitude as our direct link with the Divine.

Dorothy had to work so hard to get home.  She had many lessons to learn in Oz.  She finally clicked her ruby slippers together while repeating over and over, “there is no place like home”.  what was her attitude when she finally made it back to Auntie Em and her family? It was gratitude. Let gratitude bring the change from black and white to color in your life.

Gratitude works best when it it expressed.  What are you grateful for? Leave me a comment and share with all of us.

Enhanced by Zemanta