Archive for February, 2006

Posted on Feb 13th, 2006

Do you need a vacation but can’t escape your office or cubicle? Don’t worry. Simply turn your bathtub into an exotic retreat with beneficial products and therapeutic aroma’s. Great ingredients such as oatmeal, glycerin, lavender, and shea butter will help you to create an amazingly beneficial pampering experience.

With our busy lives and hectic schedules, we often forget to pamper ourselves. This is where stress release is needed. Release stress with a soothing 30-minute bath and ease your mind while soothing sore muscles – all at the same time. An important part of stress management is to pamper yourself on a regular basis.

It’s simple to run to your local bath and body store or supermarket and grab a few pampering items, but when you have the option of handmade items, you may think twice before using just any products. Handmade items are made with all-natural ingredients that benefit your skin and your mind. A few examples of natural ingredients are:

• Epsom Salts: Used in bath salts, foot soaks, and also in some soaps, this is a great ingredient to help you ease sore muscles and draw away toxins from the body.
• Cocoa Butter: Cocoa Butter is a rich emollient with excellent skin softening and conditioning properties.
• Glycerin Soap: Those who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as people that have sensitive skin or are hypoallergenic often find immediate relief by switching to handmade soap. One of the biggest differences between commercial soap and handmade soap is glycerin. Glycerin is a clear liquid that absorbs water from the air and is a key factor in keeping skin soft and healthy. Glycerin soap is especially good for sensitive and delicate skin, and for children.
• Lavender: Lavender is an aromatherapy relaxant, stress reliever, aphrodisiac. Essential oil of lavender is used in aromatherapy to lift depression, combat tiredness and help relaxation.
• Oatmeal: The benefits of oatmeal come from its ability to bind to the skin. Because of its affinity for water, it acts as a moisturizer by attracting and holding water on the skin’s surface. In addition, the ground oatmeal acts as a soothing agent which helps reduce redness, itching and many minor skin irritations. It is a gentle exfoliant as well.
• Shea Butter: Shea Butter lotion melts on your skin - light and creamy for your face, elbows, knees & hands. Shea butter has an amazing amount of healing properties and softening capability. Shea butter benefits also include the protection of skin from environmental damage.

Customers are buying handmade natural soap in record numbers. According to The U.S. Market for Natural Personal Care Products, a report published by Packaged Facts available at, more Americans are taking a holistic approach to maintaining both body and mind, combining grooming and beauty products free of synthetic ingredients with stress relief programs. There is a keen awareness of the possible unpleasant effects of many of the synthetic additives in commercial skin care products. Because of this, many people are turning to all-natural bath and body products.

Take the time to relax and reduce stress using all-natural products. Your skin will thank you.

Created by Kristen Somerville in April 2001, The Sublime Dragonfly produces bath and body products including soaps, lotions, body scrubs and a full line of luxurious personal items. The company uses only the finest natural ingredients to create quality products for your “at-home” spa experience.

Posted on Feb 13th, 2006

Managing your stress and your time go hand in hand. Stress can often be caused by not having enough time to do the things you want or need to do. This is a common problem shared by many employees and employers alike in the workplace as well as students at school, colleges and universities. By managing your time, stresses can be reduced significantly.

The key to good time management is self-organization. So at the start of each day, make a list of the main tasks you need to achieve. These tasks should be prioritised so that you will always achieve your highest priorities first. Set time limits on various tasks. For example, set aside no more than one hour to reading emails. Finally set a schedule based on the priority of tasks and the amount of time you intend to spend on each one. (Don’t forget to schedule some time for lunch or dinner.) Establishing such a basic routine will go along way towards better managing your time.

Besides the basic time management techniques already discussed there are other things you can do to better manage your time.

Firstly, eliminate all non productive time wasting activities. One way to do this is by simply keeping a track of every activity you do and how much time you spend. Soon you will realize that real time wasters like surfing the net or making personal calls actually impact your time.

Secondly review your efficiency on the various tasks you do day to day. Can they be improved? Are they taking more time than what they should? For example do you waste time looking for where you last placed something? Perhaps a better filing system can improve your efficiency.

Thirdly, utilise the time where you are actually waiting. If you are travelling to and from work/school by public transport, there is plenty of opportunity to complete a task, especially in today’s mobile computing age. Finally it is worth acknowledging that there is only 24 hours in a day. Don’t bust your gut trying to fit in more than what is humanly possible.

David Tomaselli is the creator of Stress Management and Self Improvement Techniques – The Wholistic Development Exchange. The aim of the Wholistic Development Exchange is to empower you to deal with stress, pressure and the day to day challenges that life brings by providing you the latest Tips, Techniques, Articles, News, E-Books, Products and other Resources related to Stress Management and Self Improvement. To download free E-Books go to our Free Stress Management E-Books section. To find out how to create an Extra Hour in your Day, have a read of our NEW seven part Time Creation Tips series.

Posted on Feb 12th, 2006

Some people seem to have lived with stress all their lives. There are those who always seem to march to the beat of a different drummer.

Sometimes babies that are born too early have to be given drugs to prevent more serious complications of their condition. Babies that are born too small and undeveloped are often sick during their early years. A reason for their early birth can be that their mother had toxaemia, while the baby was in the womb which could mean her kidneys were not removing toxins from her blood. The birth may have had to be induced to save both patients from being poisoned. Such babies can be born possessing about half the normal weight. These babies often have to fight for life and they can have problems with recurring convulsions.

In the past drugs were given to reduce the frequency of the convulsive episodes. Phenobarbital, a barbiturate used as a sedative is sometimes prescribed for young children. However, the effect of drugging a small child can be the impairment of their learning ability meaning that it may take them longer than the average person to learn new tasks. They may have a difficult time in school for the first few years and the stress caused by impaired brain function can make life difficult.

Sometimes these young adults only finish high school because difficulty in learning makes it impossible to continue with a formal education. Without a degree from an institute of higher education, they usually end up taking low paid high stress jobs. There are a lot of these jobs in the customer service and retail sector. Some jobs require the employee to work as a clerk, janitor, store shelf stalker, and fried chicken cook, all in one job. To add to the stress level, there is never enough time to do the work at a normal pace. The job is always rushed and interrupted by customers. This adds to the stress level. Add to that the responsibility for customers who do not want to pay for the gas they take, or the products they walk out of the store with. The stress is compounded if the store is open 24 hours a day. The employee may be required to work a variety of 3 different shifts. If the employee has difficulty sleeping during the day time the problem is compounded by fatigue.

The current trend is to squeeze more and more work out of these low paid employees. The system is designed this way so there is always a high employee turn over. People leave before the company has to spend more, to pay higher wages to long term employees. There is a ready made student or undergraduate work force, who will provide the inexperienced cheap labour the employer requires.

Some people seem to thrive on stress in their lives and on the job. Others handle it, less well. They do not enjoy being squeezed, by the system. Often they burn out and leave, hoping to find a better quality of life doing something more fulfilling.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress

Posted on Feb 12th, 2006

Of all the methods of stress elimination used, the most popular methods is through good old stress balls. The simple act of squeezing something in your hand can help you ease a few of your concerns, release some built-up tension, and make you feel like you are at least doing something rather than brooding upon everything that has you down. Fortunately, stress balls are easy to find and they can be very effective for some quick relief.

The most common stress balls are the beanbag type that can be picked up at job fairs and industry gatherings. They are very effective, they provide enough resistance to make you feel good and they give off a relieving noise that tells you that something is happening. Sure it is just some sort of filler grating against itself, but darn it, it’s something! And when you are stressed, the simple feeling of doing something, anything is its own reward. Plus, you are getting a little bit of a workout for your hands and even this form of exercise can give you some benefits.

As well, there are some liquid filled stress balls that can be very good for relieving your worries. They usually do not give as much resistance as the beanbag type, but they do still provide you with something that will give your hands a workout. This can be a good thing if you tend to squeeze the stress ball a lot, simply because your hands will not get tired as quickly. As well, they tend to squeeze out much more than the beanbag type, so they give you a bit more of a feeling of doing something. However, they also tend to make a serious mess if you happen to break them, since the contents cannot be vacuumed up. But, if you are going to be spending a lot of time squeezing the stress ball, this might just suit your fancy.

However, not all stress balls are the squeezable kind. There are also Chinese stress balls that are made out of very hard materials that are not meant for squeezing. Rather, they come in pairs so that you can roll them around in your hand in order to relieve stress. Also, these stress balls sometimes come with some sort of noisemaker inside that provides a soothing sound other than the noise of the balls banging and rubbing against each other. However, this form of stress ball is usually not very good to use at work, since they do tend to make some noise. But, if you are sitting at home and you want to relieve a little tension, they can be very soothing.

When using stress balls, it is best to treat them as a form of meditation. That is, you concentrate on the stress balls so that you are not worrying about anything else. Feel them in your hand and notice the weight. When you are either squeezing them or rolling them around in your hand, notice how they feel in your palm and in your fingers. Concentrate on putting your concerns into your hand, then putting them into the stress balls, as though they are absorbing all that stress and taking it away. By placing all your thoughts into your stress balls, you can push away all those concerns and worries and put them into an inanimate object that does not notice the stress. Then, once you are done, you should feel as though a burden has been lifted and your mind is cleared.

However, you should also be careful with stress balls, as the squeezable kind can break. Yes, it takes a lot of effort, time and strength to break them, but it can be done. Thus, if you notice any leaks in your stress ball, or you notice that weak spots are starting to appear, you should throw it out and get a new one. After all, the stress of cleaning up some sort of fluid or vaccuuming up a large quantity of small, grainy material can stress you out too. Thus, do not squeeze a stress ball over a computer keyboard. If it does break, you will have a lot of problems that you would much rather avoid — such as the need to run out and buy and new keyboard.

Used properly, stress balls can have a very beneficial effect on your mind and body. Though the only workout you are getting from them is in your hands, it is at least something. And those people who have to type constantly could also get a nice break from pecking at a keyboard and, by exercising their hands in a different way, will be able to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. So see what is out there, see what you like, and let some stress balls take away those petty concerns for you.

Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton for everything to do with stress. Get a free ebook to help with your stress levels:

Posted on Feb 11th, 2006

Picture this

The phone rings, a customer cancels a contract that Tom thought he had secured. He frowns, reaches over to a pen to cross tomorrow’s meeting out in his diary and he hits the tea cup; tea with milk and sugar spills over the papers on the desk. Tom swivels around in his chair and runs over documents he has safely placed on the ground to be posted today. He growls and hits the on-button of the printer and the printer starts up with ongoing unnerving rattling, when the phone rings again. The voice is soft at the other end: the printer is so loud, Tom can barely hear, he starts feeling hot, agitated, he yells into the phone, the line drops out and all he hears are some faint sounds ….

Time for action: Tom jumps up and starts yelling at the printer.


Assessment of Status Quo

Tom knows he is quite challenged at the moment. He knows he needs regular breaks. He knows his resilience is not too high. He knows he has not slept well last night.

Knowing and acting…

Knowledge alone does not help.

Here are a couple of actions that could have diffused the amounting stress.

1) Learning that a contract falls through is painful and disappointing. STOP!

Walk away to sort your feelings.

2) Spilling tea over paperwork is distressing and causes aggravation. STOP!

Clean up, fetch a rag, understand the signs and make another cup of tea, which you drink it in peace and quiet before you return to your work.

3) A document is due today, it is stuffed up in the last minute. Well, let’s face it, it is not going to be the end of the world, if the document is a day late.

The chain reaction could have been interrupted here by: assessing the mess, facing the fact that it may be too late for the document to be re-printed, and cooling off before further actions are taken.

What was missing in the process? Awareness and the right action.

© 2006 Copyright Astrid McCormick

Astrid McCormick is Head Coach and CKO at rightNow Coaching Solutions and is currently designing a Self Care Program for Busy Professionals and people who want to get more done in the same time. It is her aim to assist people setting clear goals, achieving their goals with ease while they are looking after themselves. and

Posted on Feb 11th, 2006

Stress can take its toll on the body. Take care of yourself by doing some preventative stress maintenance.

Eat right. Your body requires proper nutrition in order for it to be able to supply the muscles with energy and to make essential hormones necessary to cope with stress.

Do Consume

* Plenty of water (8 glasses a day minimum)
* Zinc and Magnesium rich foods (seafood, beans, grains)
* Vitamin A and Folic acid rich foods (dark greens, orange juice)
* Wholegrain breads, cereals
* Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
* Lowfat milk or soymilk


* Caffeine
* Alcohol
* Sugar
* Salt
* Saturated fats
* Skipping Breakfast. Breakfast helps maintain steady blood-sugar levels throughout the day

Stay Fit. One of the best ways of relieving stress is through physical exertion. Stress and anxiety cause a lot of pent up energy inside your body that needs to be released. Any type of aerobic exercise is the best choice from releasing stress, but exercise in general is better than nothing at all. By maintaining a healthy body, you will have the physical stamina to handle long and stress-involving negotiations. You should strive for at least three 30-minute sessions a week.

Sleep. You need adequate sleep for the body to recharge and repair itself after a long day’s work. Make sure you allow yourself enough time for an adequate amount of sleep (6-8 hours).

Smile. By smiling you not only appear more confident, sociable, and attractive to others, but it unconsciously makes you feel better too. Studies have shown that smiling makes you more relaxed and calms you down when you are stressed.

Avoid stress-causing situations. If you can avoid a stress-causing situation, then do so. While some stress-causing situations are unavoidable, there is simply no reason to add additional stress to your mind and body if there is no reason to. Avoid adding any unwarranted stress to your life.

Tristan Loo is an experienced negotiator and an expert in conflict resolution. He is the author of Street Negotiation–How To Resolve Any Conflict Anytime.He uses his law enforcement experience to train others in the prinicples of defusing conflict and reaching agreements. Visit his website at or e-mail him directly at

Posted on Feb 10th, 2006

As we move into the new millennium, we witness the effects of increasing environmental, economic, and psychological stress. Sensory overload is taxing the human system. The pressures upon all life on earth have reached unparalleled proportions.

Our bodies are subject to an onslaught of man-made stressors: crisscrossing fields of microwave, radio, television, and electronic transmissions, pollution, noise, and traffic, as well as the bombardments of information and advertising, and the requirements to produce more and more efficiently in the face of fierce economic competition. Add to that the threats of terrorism and war that have created a palpable level of world anxiety and we have a culture dominated by stress, tension, and fear. We are beings of energy vibrating at the edge of disintegration in a sea of over-stimulation.

How do we maintain our balance? What do we do when an intense stressor such as a lost job, divorce, or the death of a loved one lands on top of the load we bear? What if, to complicate matters, this load rests on a personal history of trauma?

One of the main reasons we have a hard time breaking out of this cycle is that we do not realize how deeply we are affected by stress. On the surface, we may speak of being in a time-crunch, feeling burned-out, or needing to get away. We joke about vibrating from all the pressure. When our stress is intensified, we feel that we are going to go ballistic. We blow off steam in more or less productive ways, from exercise to alcohol to road rage, but the underlying pattern of denial remains.

Psychologists describe our perpetual tension, or the fight/flight response, as a reaction to the relentless fronts of over-stimulation. This response pattern is characterized by high-frequency brain waves termed beta waves. We are functioning as if we are on high alert all of the time.

Moreover, medical scientists are discovering how this state of perpetual tension adversely affects our well-being. Stress creates chronic patterns of muscular tension. Muscular tension restricts the flow of blood, lymphatic fluid, and nerve impulses. Cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients and unable to clear toxic substances. This leads to chronic pain, cellular toxicity, and decreased immune response.

On an emotional level, we experience chronic anxiety and reactive response patterns marked by inappropriate anger and projected blame and criticism. Mentally, we become locked in rigid thinking patterns marked by a defensive mindset governed by fear. Spiritually we resign ourselves to being victims of circumstances and isolate ourselves in a survival mode. While our problems are not new, the pace of modern life has multiplied their negative effects exponentially.

If that sounds overly grim, take heart. It can be motivation to shift our state of awareness. It can intensify the search for ways to live differently. In recent decades, a time-honored light has begun to shine through the dense, tangled lines of our modern networks. This light radiates through a variety of old and new refractions. We see the emergence of a multitude of holistic practices.

In support of these phenomena, research has shown that certain exercises for the mind and body reduce stress and produce deep relaxation via slower alpha-theta brain-wave frequencies. In the states affected by these exercises, such a slowdown simultaneously occurs in many of the body’s systems. This slowdown produces integrating, synchronizing, and healing effects. The practice of these exercises can develop capacities within us that will enable us to handle the pressures of our lives.

Taking these exercises even further, we are able to develop senses and modes of perception that have been latent in human evolution, as we know it. We can develop the ability to perceive and cultivate ourselves as the energetic beings that we are on the most fundamental level.

As an entry point to the expansion of the conscious domain, biofeedback research shows that we can positively affect aspects of our lives that we thought were automatic and inaccessible, such as brain-wave frequencies, heart rate, respiration, and chronic muscle-tension, to name a few. Guided-imagery research has proven the power of imagination and visualization in overcoming disease and increasing wellness. Meditation research describes how, through the application of awareness and intention, we can positively affect the intricate pathways that serve as conductors for qi ("chee"), the universal vitalizing force that enlivens our bodies.

Dr. John Sarno, a physician who specializes in pain relief, has shown that emotion and consciousness play a large role in health and disease. He has coined the term Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) to describe a host of symptoms that are caused by stress, tension, and repressed rage. To show the direct relationship of consciousness to TMS he found that "Awareness, insight, knowledge, and information were the magic medicines that would cure this disorder" (The Mindbody Prescription, New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1998, p. xxi). This supports what physicists have been saying for many years, which is that consciousness and physical reality are interwoven; mind and matter are inseparable. In the context of the qigong meditation, we see how body, emotion, mind, and spirit form a feedback system that can be used to shift our state of being.

Tension-causing sensory overload is both our most predominant problem and our window of opportunity. It is through a thorough understanding of our stress that we will find a new way. When we uncover the source of stress and take action to release this tension, we open to new possibilities. We recover and develop our fuller sensitivities and feelings of vitality.

These are not the mists of fantasy or the mere ear tickle of sweet sounding words. This is a well-mapped path. The Chinese have used Qigong Meditation as a powerful tool for self-development for thousands of years. You can receive a free introduction to this method and discover a step-by-step program of qigong meditation in my "LEARN QIGONG MEDITATION" course available from

Copyright 2006 by Kevin D. Schoeninger

Kevin Schoeninger: M.A. Philosophy, Certified Personal Trainer, Qigong Meditation Instructor, and Reiki Master.

Posted on Feb 10th, 2006

A lot of research today is showing that having a good nutritional diet has a direct impact on a person’s ability to manage stress. A body that is well nourished and healthy is far more resilient to stressful conditions than a poorly nourished body.

In order to function properly, you body requires a certain amount of energy from carbohydrates, protein and fats. Like the term “balanced diet” suggests, there is no single food that provides all the essential nutrients. Rather you should be eating a variety of foods during the day to ensure that your body is receiving the necessary nutrients.

A healthy nutritious diet typically includes fresh fruit, whole grains, vegetables, lean meat and fish. Foods that contain high levels of fat, salt, sugar and alcohol should be taken in moderation. A healthy diet enhances the immune system and helps to maintain a reasonable energy level which is essential for dealing with stress.

As certain foods are helpful in dealing with stress, other types of food are known to have a detrimental effect and quite possibly add extra levels of stress particularly when consumed in large amounts. For example, too much caffeine, i.e. coffee or tea, can increase anxiety and cause inability to sleep. Large amounts of alcohol may initially cause you to feel sleepy but will ultimately disrupt sleep. Nicotine, while not a food, raises the heart rate and is quite simply bad for the body. Finally too much sugar may give an initial burst of energy but can cause an energy dip as the naturally occurring insulin is generated within the body.

As you can see the impact of these food types, do not only add to your stress levels, but also can affect your ability to deal with stress.

In short, if you follow the suggested tips below, your ability to deal with stress will be maximised while the impact of any ongoing stress will be reduced.

  • Never start the day with out breakfast.
  • Eat slowly rather than rush.
  • Eat small frequent meals and snacks.
  • Include a variety of foods in your diet as described earlier.
  • Avoid saturated fats.
  • Minimise your intake of salt and sugar.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine based drinks such as coffee and tea.
  • Drink plenty of water.

David Tomaselli is the creator of Stress Management and Self Improvement Techniques – The Wholistic Development Exchange. The aim of the Wholistic Development Exchange is to empower you to deal with stress, pressure and the day to day challenges that life brings by providing you the latest Tips, Techniques, Articles, News, E-Books, Products and other Resources related to Stress Management and Self Improvement. To download free E-Books go to our Free Stress Management E-Books section. To find out how to create an Extra Hour in your Day, have a read of our NEW seven part Time Creation Tips series.

Posted on Feb 9th, 2006

Internal conflict, conflict within yourself, reflects the difference between what you really feel and what you are able or choose to do about it. Interpersonal conflict occurs between you and another person when what they do or say is different to what you feel and vice-versa.

Everyone has four basic psychological needs. These are the need to be valued, to be in control, the need for self esteem or self worth, and lastly the need for consistency or stability.

1. The need to be valued or appreciated by others is a basic psychological requirement

You want others to recognize your worth and appreciate your contributions. You are more motivated when your contributions are recognized. When you feel unappreciated, taken advantage of, or taken for granted your need to be appreciated and valued has been violated and this can trigger a response of fear, anger or frequently both.

2. The need to be in control

Being in control is important for everyone, but more for some than others. The more insecure you feel about yourself, the more controlling you may become. On the other hand, if you feel secure and confident about yourself, then your need to control others will reduce.

Whenever you have to deal with an over controlling person remember their need to control comes from their insecurity. Make them feel secure and their need to control will normally reduce.

3. The need for self esteem and self worth

By this I mean you should appreciate yourself and look to your strengths rather than any weakness (we all have both). A strong self esteem gives you a powerful, solid base for dealing with all types of problems and situations.

With a strong self esteem, you have the ability to positively respond or react to any type of situation, rather than reacting negatively by panicking of avoiding the potential conflict.

4. The need to be consistent

You need to know what is likely to happen in any given situation. You need consistency from family, partners, friends, everyone in your life otherwise you are always anxious about the unexpected.

This is not to say that no-one can change their minds but someone who changes opinions or reacts differently to the same situation brings a level of insecurity in to your life and you never know how to react.

The reason some people feel the need to change comes from their insecurity. They are insecure in themselves so they try to fit in with others all the time and will agree with whoever they feel is the most dominant personality.

Whenever any of these needs are not met conflicts, internal, external or both, are produced and people usually react in one of four ways.

They can retaliate, dominate, isolate, or cooperate.

Retaliation and domination can result in extreme violence. Isolation separates the parties but does not resolve the conflict whereas with cooperation one party allows their feelings to be ignored and accepts the opinion of another over their own.

If you are aware of these basic needs and reactions you will begin to understand how and why you and others react the way you do. Considering these needs, understanding them and acting upon them will make you a more complete and therefore a more confident person and will give you strength at times of conflict.

John has 4 grown up and successful children and recently completed a writing degree. He writes on a number of topics including Building Self Esteem. Go to Building Self Confidence for another article on self help and confidence.

Posted on Feb 9th, 2006

You can find difficult people everywhere. Sometimes we work with them, sometimes we play with them, and sometimes we even live with them.

I call the difficult people in life the Bozos of life. If you let them, they can ruin your day, or worse.

There’s the key phrase, if you let them.


There is one special type of bozo that I find particularly irritating.

The IEOE is the Instant Expert On Everything, the classic know-it-all.

On the TV show Cheers, it was Cliff the mailman. Expert on everything, complete with facts and figures that would bore you to suicide. You just know they must have spent their childhood and their adult spare time reading the encyclopedial and The Journal of Meaningless and Trivial Information.

The IEOE bozo is really irritating when they wander into your area of expertise.

ALthough they would be good to have on your team in a game of Trivial Pursuit.

What to do

There’s an old saying that goes something like this:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Might have been Mark Twain, sure sounds like him.

In other words, let the IEOE ramble on, they will eventually expose themselves for what they are.

Visit Secrets of Stress Management for more tips and tools for dealing with the stress is your life. You can also check out How to Beat the BOZOs for more tips on how to deal with different types of difficult people.

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