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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!

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5 Tips to Overcoming the Stress of Frustration

March 8th, 2011 7 comments

Each one of us has our own relationship with the emotion of frustration.  Here’s a little secret between you and me.  If you don’t learn how to deal with frustration it can stop all your attempts to become successful.  Do you think I’m being harsh?  Let’s think about it for a moment.

Frustration is stressful.  Some people, when they become frustrated, throw up their hands and quit.  Frustration becomes personal for them.  They feel, personally, assaulted by this nameless, faceless enemy.  They move themselves into ” victim-hood”.  They don’t have the moxie or stick-to-it-ness to stay with it and conquer it.

There are people who become frustrated and instead of quitting, they realize what they are working on is worth working through their frustration and stress.

Out there in the world is another strange breed, who encounter frustration and their personal alarms go off and they become excited.  They know the reward for working through their frustration will be well worth it.

It’s like a story I heard about the fish tank and the barracuda.  If you put a barracuda in a big tank and feed him, he is an amazing and aggressive creature.  He will hit the food with all the vigor of a hungry predator.

During this experiment, we slide a glass divider down into his tank and divide the tank into 2 distinct halves.  After doing this, we drop the food into the side of the tank the barracuda doesn’t have access to.  He can see the food and he will attack just like he had before.  Whack! He runs headlong into the glass divider.  He backs up, swims again at his prey with all his might.  Smash!  Into the divider again.  After a few attempts, he will swim away and leave his food source swimming unmolested on the other side.  He will continue to ignore his food source no matter how hungry he may get.  This is a story of frustration gone bad.

I know from personal experience how upsetting frustration can be.  As you may have noticed, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted to my blog.  I’ve been very busy writing a book on elder care.  Since I’ve been actively involved in elder care for the past 15 years, I decided others could benefit from my experiences.

I haven’t had a lot of experience in the technical end of this endeavor.  Putting up the page to let everyone know about the book led me to quite a few frustrating days.  I’d never put an ebook on line before.

I’m one of those crazy nut-balls who looks at frustration as an emotion one may have to go through to reach a worthwhile goal.  Frustration doesn’t make me quit.  Sometimes, I have a fleeting moment of wanting to throw up my hands and say “enough!”  But, the little voice in my head says, “relax, regroup, it will be worth it!”

Here’s 5 tips, which work for me, on how to conquer frustration.

1.  When frustration hits, and emotions are running high, I stop what I’m doing and take a break.  For me to continue to work with this emotion unchecked is a recipe for disaster!  It’s like spinning my wheels in mud.  Lot’s of energy spent with no results.  Sometimes, my break lasts for a full 24 hours.

2.  When taking a break, I remove myself completely from the situation.  I go some place, even if it’s only into the next room, with a goal of relaxation. I meditate, listen to some relaxing music, take a hot shower, or take a walk.  Anything to take my mind completely off my subject matter and calm me down.  Many times, this alone will help me see how to fix my problem.  I know my brain is still be noodling on it, in the background, even if I have taken my attention off of it.

3.  I have adopted the “no prisoners” philosophy to my project.  I’m not going to quit the project, no matter how upset I get.  When frustration hits, I release the emotions.  Yes, sometimes I shake my fist and curse the project, stomp my feet or any other childish emotional release, but I know I will conquer this project.  Sooner or later, victory will be mine!

4.  When frustration has set in I like to bounce things off someone.  My special someone is my husband.  He may not know anything about the subject I’m frustrated with, but he let’s me talk it through.  He makes suggestions.  Even when he doesn’t know anything about the subject matter, his suggestions gets my brain going on another track.  I can’t count the number of times this tip has worked to help me bust through the frustration barrier and accomplish my goal.

5.  When I am staring through the glass barrier at my prey, and I’ve hit my head a few times.  I swim over to the side of the tank and sleep.  I take the evening off and do something fun.  I then go to sleep that night with a notebook beside my bed in which to write my thoughts down when I wake up with an “Eureka!” moment.  Some of my writings have been difficult to decipher in the morning, but many a break through has happen when I sleep.

Frustration doesn’t have to kill the project.  It can, actually, work as a learning tool.  The main ideas is, “don’t quit”.  There’s always a way through it, around it, or over it.

I’m very proud of the fact that I have my book on line.  It’s a great feeling to push past frustration and accomplish the task!  We all have ways to work through frustration.  Leave me a comment and let me know what works for you.  We can all learn from each other.

To check out my new e book, click here!

 

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A Winning Formula for a Stress Free Christmas

December 20th, 2010 5 comments

Every one of us lives busy lives.  I have often felt like I was running a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire!  I feel as though I’m juggling 10 balls in the air at the same time.  My life is stressful enough, then a holiday is added to it!  Christmas programs, parties, shopping, baking!  Yikes!

Have you ever felt like I just described?  I know most of us have.  This is a wonderful time of year when families get together to celebrate the birth of Christ and we turn it into a stress fest!  We end up being so stressed out we miss all the fun.  Sound familiar?

Here is a little formula I use and it works wonders for me.

N – No is a word I had to learn and use.  Saying no to the extra things, people, and stuff that stresses me out.  Will anyone notice if it isn’t done?  5 years from now will anyone remember I wasn’t in charge of it?
O – Organizing what I need to create our Christmas atmosphere.  Where the tree, lights, ornaments, paper, etc. are located.  I optimize my less stressful weekends during the year to organize my things.

S – Start small. I realized my family doesn’t care if I put on a big event.  They just want to enjoy me and being together at this time of year.
T – Target my important things.  If I know what’s important to my family, then I don’t have to stress about the unimportant things.
R – Release tension.  When I start to feel stress, I take time out for me.  I meditate or listen to soothing music.  15 minutes makes a mega difference for me!
E – Escape the stress for a short time.  My husband and I get away for a little time spent together.  If we are both stressed we become snappish.  No fun there!
S – Silliness and laughter.  There is nothing which breaks the stressful times better for me than a little laughter!
S – Security within myself.  I have realized, everything is fine in my world.  My family and friends love me just the way I am!

This is a beautiful time of year.  The gorgeous light displays and wonderful songs remind us of how important life really is, just the way it is.  Enjoy it!  Don’t stress.  Everything will be fine.

Here’s a cute little video to bring some laughter into your life!

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Vishen Lakhiani – How Do I Get into the Flow?

January 27th, 2010 No comments

victoria fallsThere are many ways to build a business life.  Whether you work in your own entrepreneurial business or as an employee in someone else’s business. Some people work hard and the fruits of their labor come with extreme amounts of pressure and stress.  They work long hours.  They have little time to enjoy family, hobbies, and relaxation.  As soon as they stop, due to illness or misfortune, they seem to be swept up by an invisible force that seems to carry them away.  They spiral into more health problems or financial ruin.

A few months back, I was sitting next to a gentleman at a seminar.  The relationships side of my personality took over and I just had to make a new acquaintance.  Hoping to find areas of commonality, I asked him what he did for a living.  He explained that he was a Yoga instructor with his own business in a nearby town.  Being interested in Yoga and knowing that it can be a competitive field for instructors, I asked him how that was working for him.  His response was, “quite well, I have more business than I can handle”.  I asked him how he got his clients and he responded, “they just come to me”.

I have observed businesses that function similar to the first and, also, to the second examples. I have puzzled over it.  How can some folks have an almost effortless experience building their business like the Yoga instructor, and some people always seem to be swimming upstream against a waterfall of adversity.

We would all like to be part of a business that grows, with what seems like effortless ease.  Most people don’t have a problem with the part of the equation that calls for working hard.  That is not where the challenge lies.  It is the mindset, or being in “the flow”.

I have been on a quest to answer the question, how do we get to “the flow”?  I have been making considerable headway on answering that question.  As the quotation says, “when the student is willing the teacher will appear.”  I stumbled into this video from “Engage Today 2009” which was a conference held in September of 2009.  This conference had some heavy hitters, in the success arena, in their line up of speakers.  A 16 CD set will be released on January 28, 2010 with all of these speeches.  Looking at the line up of speakers this should be a great investment.  You can check out the preview videos here.

The 9 minute video I am showing you today, which is just a teaser, is bits and pieces from a speech given by Vishen Lakhiani from Finer Minds.  Even in this preview video he gives some interesting answers to the question about how to get into the flow.  If you enjoy this post please re-tweet.

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3 Tips on How to Overcome Holiday Stress and Depression

December 10th, 2009 1 comment

thumbnail.aspxChristmas time, what a wonderful time of year!  An evening drive around the city is eye candy.  Spectacular light displays, Christmas cards, music we hear only once a year, parties, and getting together with loved ones.  If this time of year is so full of wonderful things, why are more people stressed and depressed?

This has been a tough year on a lot of people with the economy and job losses.  Money can be tight this time of year.  People are trying to spread themselves thin with all the holiday activities.  How can we enjoy the seasonal activities and still keep our sanity?  Here are few tips and techniques that might come in handy.

1.  Get enough rest.  When we are battling fatigue our nerves can become very close to the surface.  For most people 7 – 8 hours a night is optimal.  The holiday season, before Christmas to after the New Year dawns, is a time when our usual time commitments can be added to very easily.  It can feel like the entire family is going all directions, running 100 mile an hour with their hair on fire.  Being well rested can help our stress levels.

2.  Learn to say no.  It can seem like adding one or two extra volunteer projects should be easy enough.  But, one or two more things can stretch the already busy schedule to critical mass.  Think it over carefully before volunteering for each project.

3.  Decide to enjoy Christmas!  For someone that has lost a loved one near Christmas, or family can’t make it home to celebrate the season, this can be a long and lonely holiday season.  Try out a few new holiday traditions.  Most of all, especially when  grief is involved, be kind to yourself.  It is OK to be sad when you’ve experienced loss.  That is a natural reaction.  Try not to block yourself off from others.  If you are alone for the holidays, this would be a good time to find others that are in the same situation.  Fill that lonely time by being of service to others.  The homeless shelter might need help serving Christmas dinner, or volunteer to deliver Christmas baskets to the poor.  There are trees in hospitals and grocery stores that have children’s names and ages and suggestions for gifts that you might enjoy shopping for them.  Seeking out the company of other people might give a small reprieve from the sadness. If it becomes unbearable, seek out a professional who has been schooled in dealing with grief and talk with them; clergy, doctors, or mental health professionals.  Don’t be ashamed.  Everyone needs a little help at times.

I have included a link to an article that goes into more detail and could be helpful to you.  May you have a blessed Christmas season!

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How Do I Deal With All the Stress in My Life?

December 9th, 2009 No comments
meditation

Image by HaPe_Gera via Flickr

There will always be stress in our lives.  Stress can be good or bad.  Most people would say, “I don’t know of any good stress in my life!”  Ah, but there is positive stress which takes the form of excitement and anticipation.  I think we would all agree that kind of stress is a good.  But, on the flip side of that coin, the stress that is not good for us is responsible for 90% of the health challenges that plague our society.  It has grown to be the #1 health problem facing our country today.  Would you agree that stress holds us back from complete enjoyment of life?

Each one of us has a unique way that our stress manifests in our bodies.  We develop headaches, stomach aches, increased heart rate, grinding our teeth at night, just to name a few.  Continued stress can do permanent damage to our body in the form of heart conditions and cancer.

Where did stress come from?  Stress was originally designed to be our fight and flight response that kept us out of the way of danger.  It took care of us and helped us survive.  We don’t face as much danger, in this day and age, where we would need to fight our way out of it or run away.  We have now transmuted those responses into the form of anger and fear.

How each of us deals with stress is a learned response.  Our response to stress is taught to us by our families, friends, and from past experiences and beliefs.  Since, how we deal with stress is a learned response, wouldn’t it make sense that we could learn a different tactic that would be healthier for us?

Here are a few ways to change our negative patterns of reaction…aka stress habits.

1.  Meditate daily.  Meditation is an amazing tool to alleviate stress.  It is easy to learn and can be used any where you don’t have to be alert.  Driving in your car meditating is never a good idea.  Meditation relaxes.  It is physically impossible to be stressed when we are relaxed.  Meditation has many health benefits attached to the continuous practice.  Here is a link to a site I trust and that helped me learn meditation.

2.  Stop thinking about what you don’t want to happen.  People get confused thinking that they aren’t manifesting.  Manifestation is not the problem.  We manifest all day long.  We can’t help ourselves.  We manifest the breakfast we have, the coffee we drink, the clothes we wear.  The problem is that we aren’t manifesting what we think we want.  We make this a lot harder than it really is.  If we would occupy our minds with what we want and not entertain those thoughts of what we don’t want, our manifestations would be the things we want in life.

3.  Take control of ourselves.  Stop thinking that something outside of us is what makes us happy or sad.  We are the ones that choose to attach those emotions to events.  Nothing outside of us has the ability to make us happy or sad.  It is us that applies the label or perception to what happens in our lives.  We can start to change this by recognizing the thoughts we are thinking.  Where in the body are we feeling the stress?  When we start to feel the stress, stop and pinpoint what our fear is.  Imagine ourselves as being OK and after the situation is over, no matter how bad it is.

These are just a few things you can do to learn to deal with negative stress in a more positive way.  I have included this 6 minute video for your enjoyment and to relieve some stress with some good old fashion humor.  Feel free to pass this on to your network of people.

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Stress Vs. Success – Who’s team are you on?

September 2nd, 2009 No comments

All of us have rituals.  I am not necessarily talking about religious rituals.  Although, those are important.  I am talking about the habits that we do every day.  Some of us wake up and head for the bathroom and then the coffee pot.  Some of us lie in bed and extra 5 minutes and visualize what we want from our day and our life.  One thing that often goes undetected is that rituals can also be habitual thought patterns.

I once read that the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with “what is”.  We often want our reality to be different from what we are experience right now.  This causes us pain.  Signs of this are thoughts that have “should” in them.  For instance, I live in a community that is on the edge of town.  When we looked at this house 27 years ago, our realtor referred to it as “country living with city access”.  We live on a dead end street without sidewalks.  Everyone on our block takes exceptional care of their lawns including the ditches.  We recently had a new neighbor move into the house on the corner.  They mow their yard, but they never mow the ditch.  It looks unsightly with 2 foot tall weeds of ever type.  Once, when my husband and I were rounding the corner, heading for home, I remarked,  “The new neighbor should mow their ditch.  It looks like stink.”

This thought was a way of wanting reality to be different than it is.  Here’s my point to all this.  All the stress we feel in our lives at this moment is caused by arguing with “what is”.  Does their lack of mowing etiquette have any bearing on my life?  Only the importance I give to it.  Any importance I give to it only creates stress on myself (and maybe my husband for having to listen to my complaints). 

My “should” statement probably seems immaterial to you.  It is.  But, what about your “should” statements?  Do you have any habitual “should” statements about your life that are causing you stress?  Here are a few I have heard from people;  “I should have worked harder on that project.”, “My wife should quit spending so much money.”, “My kids should study harder.”, “I should be farther along in my career by now.”  I am sure you are catching the drift.  These kinds of statements become habitual patterns of thought.

People are starting to wake up to the “now”.  Popular books like “Living in the Now” by Eckhart Tolle are waking people up to the power of living in the now.  Accepting “what is” doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with the way things are now.  What it means is giving up the resistance and inner struggle of wishing that things were different.  None of us wish for the maladies that effect our lives.  But, when you get down to it which statement moves you towards a more powerful outcome for success?  “I should have saved more money.” or “What can I do to generate more income?”

The only way to escape these painful thought patterns is to become aware of them.  Record them when you are thinking them.  Study it and determine a way to turn that thought around to accept “what is”.  It sounds like it would be a painfully slow process, which is untrue.  What is a painfully slow process is living your life with stress caused by your habitual thoughts.  When it is all said and done, the choice is yours to make.

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