Archive for March, 2006

Posted on Mar 16th, 2006

Stress has always been a part of our lives. In this hectic time, people lead an increasingly stressful life. Experts state that a little stress can be good; it keeps you sharp and ready to move forward, and is sometimes vital for achieving optimum performance. However, medical research has determined that prolonged stress is very bad for the body, and can block the body’s natural ability to repair, regenerate and protect itself. Over 90% of disease is caused by stress. Stress is both a physical and psychological response. It can lead to chronic disease, obesity, insomnia, deteriorating relationships, depression, and more.

Stress is such a powerful and harmful force that it is vital that you learn effective stress management techniques to live a successful, happy, and healthy life. We must remember that we will always come across inevitable factors that cause pressure and anxiety on us. What we do not know is that it is not really the problems that are difficult to deal with, but our attitude towards them. So basically, the cause of stress is your attitude toward these things. What, then, is an effective way to deal with stressors?

Below are 5 great tips to handle stress.

1. Identify what makes you stressful and uneasy. Making a list of your stressful experiences is useful. Immediately deal with the issues that you can change, for instance waking up earlier for work in the morning, not leaving things till the last minute, and delegating tasks in case you are taking responsibility for everything. Forget about the issues that you cannot influence like being stuck in a traffic jam or not getting into the elevator because there is no room for you.

2. Calm down. A few minutes break would do you good. Wash your face, breath slowly and deeply, and notice if there is tension in any part of your body and release it. You can also listen to relaxing music, or call a friend. Releasing your inner feelings to a friend is healthy option.

3. It will pass and it will be over before you know it. Remind yourself that the stressful event will end sooner or later can make you see the positive sides of things. At the same time, calm down your emotions and think of what is the best thing to do rather than take your energy away from what needs to be done.

4. Know yourself. Ask yourself: What triggers your anxiety? If for example it is your job, then maybe it’s time for you to reconsider whether it would be best to find a less stressful job. You can also make your job more tolerable by allowing yourself to get that needed vacation or leave.

5. Learn to use your relaxation response. Just as we all have within us the stress response, we also have an opposite response, which is the relaxation response. A person should elicit that on a regular basis. The relaxation response involves two steps. Repetition, the repetition can be a word, a sound, an expression, or a repetitive movement. The second step is to ignore other thoughts that come to your mind while you’re doing the repetition, and come back to the repetition. The technique should be used once or twice a day for about 15 minutes. Sit quietly and choose a suitable repetition, like a prayer, the sound Om, or the word love, or calm. Or you can do a repetitive exercise, for instance yoga, jogging, Reiki. Additional repetitive activities are knitting or handicraft. When you incorporate this into your everyday life, you become calmer and better able to handle the stressors. Practice makes perfect and the more you practice relax your mind, the easier it gets.

The true causes of stress are not the problems or negative experiences that you encounter in your life; but your attitude toward them. So, the trick is to change your attitude and to develop a relaxed state, because you cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time. It is important to understand that what we focus on, we energize. The more you continue to think about the factors that cause your stress, the more energy you give it. So it is vital to let go and focus on relaxation instead. Consequently, you’re less likely to be upset by a stressor, and thus less likely to have its harmful effect occur. Eventually, it is your choice. You could either continue to react in the same stressful way, or you could choose to improve your life by changing your attitude and becoming relaxed. There’s no other way around it.

Mona Khalaf is a Reiki master teacher. She is certified in Vibrational medicine, certified NLP Master Practitioner, and life coach. Find out how you can improve your life on all levels by visiting her website at: http://reikihealingpower.com

Posted on Mar 16th, 2006

Attack and conquer deadly killer stress.

In the 14 years of teaching relaxation/meditation most people have admitted that stress is an issue they have ignored.

You ignore stress because it does not attack you like a big bang. Stress gradually creeps up on you like a can of worms and only becomes evident when the "worms" of aches and pains in your body become unbearable or exposed.

You can attack killer stress using 3 basic rules.

Step #1 You need to start your day in a stress free natural state. A stress free natural state means that your cells have recharge and you are experiencing a wonderful flow of energy.

A stress free state does not include coffee, alcohol, smoking or pain killers in order to experience relaxation.

A natural stress free state is having the awesome feeling of relaxation by habitually practicing to relax. This practice also helps you conquer killer stress.

You can use mantras, guided meditation,affirmations, soothing music or anchoring. The purpose of the natural stress free state is to prepare the mind and body for the onslaught of stress attacks that you will be faced with during the day.

Relaxation soothes the soul (especially in these busy times) and it helps you brace the fall of nerve-shattering killer stress.

Step #2 Just imagine you wrote a 500 word sentence with one period. The sentence would make no sense at all. Therefore you need to let go of your stress by punctuating the sentence.

Your life needs to be regularly punctuated in order to attack killer stress. This means that you need to take a quiet break at lunch time and do another relaxation exercise.

Yes I have heard all kinds of excuse over the years, but when you take the time (to do a relaxation exercise at lunch time) you will be amazed at the profound results. Killer stress will be neutralized.

Step #3 Let’s assume you have difficulty with Step #2, then Step #3 can become your powerful rescuer.

Again at the end of the day you need to quietly punctuate the sentence of your life. Going nonstop all day without punctuation creates all kind of stress. It also exposes your vulneralility to killer stress.

Step #3 simply states that you separate work from home by doing a relaxation exercise before going home.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you knock out killer stress. This allows you to recharge your energies so that you can spend time with your friends, family and or love ones.

One simple relaxation exercise is listening to whatever music you consider soothing. This has to be done either before you enter the house or the first thing you do after entering the house.

If you are self employed or work from home then you need to make the necessary adjustments as when to do the relaxation exercises.

In summary you need to relax three time a day in order to knock out deadly killer stress.

Step #1 reminds you do a relaxation exercise in the morning to recharge your energies and prepare for the attacks of deadly killer stress.

Step #2 reminds you that you need to punctuate your life with relaxation exercise at lunch time in order to attack deadly killer stress.

Step #3 helps you separate work from home so that you can attack and conquer deadly killer stress and enjoy a life other than work.This means that you can stop and smell the roses.

Cecil McIntosh provides Relaxation Resources, that will turbo charge your health, business and wealth. To receive your free 7 day Relaxation course. visit this site now: Relaxation tools and Tips

Posted on Mar 15th, 2006

Many people believe that stress is a leading cause of heart attacks. When your doctor evaluates your risk for a heart attack, he or she can measure your fitness and your nutritional status objectively, and can tell you about hundreds of studies on the effects of diet and exercise that are based on solid science. But stress is subjective, not clearly defined or measurable. What one person considers stressful may be a motivating source of success to another. A situation that causes you great distress may be just a minor annoyance for someone else, and vice versa. We don’t have any reliable way to measure stress and we don’t even have a universally accepted definition of what constitutes stress or elimination of stress.

Several studies associate stress with increased risk for heart attacks, and one study from Duke University showed that stress reduction techniques reduced second heart attacks (American Journal of Cardiology January 15 2002). If you and your doctor think that you may benefit from any of the stress management techniques, by all means use them, but ADD them to your diet changes and fitness efforts. Stress management programs may include meditation, classroom teaching about heart disease and stress, training in stress-reduction skills, anger management, group support, yoga or Tai Chi classes and/or tranquilizing medications.

It’s my personal belief that telling patients their health problems are caused by stress is an example of "blame the victim." There’s no doubt that your physical health and your overall happiness are intimately connected. If YOU are dissatisfied with your work or your personal relationships, if you do not have fulfilling interests and a sense of purpose, your health may well suffer. But if I AS YOUR DOCTOR tell you your problem is caused by stress, it’s often because I can’t find any other physical explanation and don’t want to admit "I don’t know." I KNOW you can improve your heart health with diet and exercise; that’s why I suggest focusing on these tangible changes. Good food choices and vigorous exercise are two of the best ways we have to combat "stress", improve your mood, help you sleep better and feel better about yourself. Seeking counseling and changing your spouse, job or environment may reduce your stress and thus help you to prevent heart attacks or strokes. Depression and panic attacks are treatable medical conditions that can increase your risk for heart attacks; if you suffer from either of these, please check with your doctor.

Read my Good Food Book FREE, with 100 healthful recipes.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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Posted on Mar 15th, 2006

Stress has been called ‘the plague of our time’. More than ever before stress relief seems to be in great demand and especially for people in stressful jobs or careers. It would be more appropriate to ask which jobs or careers are not stress related and you would probably be able to count the number on one hand. As a self help tool for handling stressful situations in your everyday life, I’ll give you 5 simple methods for instantly relieving stress that has worked great for me. I really hope these methods can be useful for you as well.

Remove stress with relaxation

If you are stressed, sit down at the most comfortable place you can find, close your eyes and say to your self slowly:

"I am calm. Absolutely calm. I feel relaxed. My hands are heavy. I’m calm and relaxed. My arms are heavy and relaxed. My arms and my legs are relaxed and heavy. My torso is relaxed, calm and feels heavy. My shoulders and neck are heavy and relaxed. My entire body is calm, relaxed and heavy. I feel great, relaxed and calm. I feel warmth spreading from my stomach to all parts of my body. My entire body is calm, relaxed, heavy and warm. I feel good and I’m totally relieved from stress. "

Continue having this feeling of being totally relaxed and stress less for as long as you can or want. When you decide to finish this down-stressing session, take a deep breath and stretch out your arms in a short and energetic movement. How do you feel now? Practice this exercise every time you feel stressed.

Sit down and look at the Sea

If you are stressed and need to relax go to the harbor, the nearest beach or any place close to the sea, or a lake if you live in the inland. Just sit there and feel it, smell it, hear it. Don’t think so much, just sense. Do you feel relaxed? Keep on until you feel the stress has left you.

Take a Walk

If you are stressed leave your home or office and take a thirty minute walk. Just walk don’t talk to anybody. Try to relax while you walk. Instead of thinking or focusing on your current problems, try to sense your environments like smell, sound impressions and what you see as well as your inner feelings; heart beat, your feet touching the ground and the movements of your arms. Do you feel relaxed now? After half an hour your stressful feelings should have disappeared.

Listen to Music

If you are stressed sit or lie down, walk or do whatever you want, while you are listening to music. Don’t listen to heavy rock and similar music, this might invoke even more stress. Relaxing with a Nat King Cole ballad or two, some slow pace smooth Jazz, the Adagietto movement of Gustav Mahlers 5th symphony or Mozart’s Grand Partita for wind instruments are all great. Do you feel more relaxed? Is your stressfulness leaving you? It should.

Laugh, laugh and laugh

If you are stressed, call or visit friends that you have had much fun with. Talk with them about funny things you have done in the past and as they the youngsters say, “Get your laugh on”. Do all you can to provoke good and healthy laughter as it is very relaxing and dissolves the away the stress. Read a joke magazine, watch a comedy DVD or video or listen to a funny audio. If you have kids around you, play a crazy and childish game with them, they love it and everybody will relax. The point is, laugh and your stress will disappear and you’ll feel relaxed.

Terje Brooks Ellingsen is a writer and internet publisher. He runs the website 1st-Self_Improvement.net. Terje is a Sociologist who enjoys contributing to the personal growth and happiness of others. He tries to accomplish this by writing about self improvement issues from his own experience and knowledge. For example, self help for stress relief and self esteem improvement help.

Posted on Mar 14th, 2006

I am under stress right now. Please don’t bother me. I am facing real bad stress at my work place. Please tell me what can be done? Our relationship is under great stress. Can we not try anything to reduce it? My kids put me under so much stress. I feel helpless. And so on. Stress is one of the most commonly used words. Let us try to understand how to fight it. And this article is timely as April is Stress awareness month.

How is Stress defined? Pressure, strain, anxiety, worry etc. All those negative states that make living difficult are commonly termed as stress. Any time, when the locus of control goes beyond our capacity, we feel stressed. As far as we are in control, we are able to cope it, and as soon as we begin losing control, we experience stress.

The worst part of stress is the common methods used to fight it. Smoking and alcohol are common stress busters. Even overeating for some of us is a stress buster. All these put more pressure on our mind and body and lead to diseases.

What are the easy ways to beat stress? Would getting away from the stressful situation for some time help? Yes it can, and if we add an exercise of imagination where we imagine of someone else facing stress and visualizing his/her responses, that can give us many insights to our situation. Try this. Imagine that someone else is facing the situation of yours. Observe that person carefully. Read the mind of that person. Note the physical signs. Observe how she/he is reacting. Keep yourself totally uninvolved, though it is yourself you are thinking about. This exercise may give you some key insights to your reaction to stress. Now imagine of this person responding to the stressed person relaxingly. Watch the stress dissolving. Note how the person has suddenly begun looking in control. Do this few times when ever you face stress that may be overwhelming you. Visualization helps many of us. If you also get some help with such an exercise, you will beat stress in the initial stage itself and keep your control with yourself.

A very good method of reducing stress is listening to peaceful music and reading motivational text messages. You can do that sitting right in front of your desktop with good screensavers and wallpapers of motivation, living, daily thoughts, success thoughts etc.

Stress takes away control from us. When we get the control back, stress disappears. Control may be got back only by fighting the stress causing situation and finding solutions. That can be done only if we are confident and relaxed. Visualization helps us achieving that state. This is a simple exercise. Try it. Never take stress lightly. As soon as you find that stress is causing you more damage than you can cope up with, take professional help.

CD Mohatta writes for ecards and online greetings, screensavers and desktop wallpapers. The topics of his writings include love, inspiration, holidays, birthdays, nature, religion and spirituality, success etc. You can have his writings on your desktop with free desktop wallpapers. These are static wallpapers which can be your computer desktop background all the time. Read the messages and get inspired all day. Also try out some of the free ecards at ecarduniverse.com. You will find lovely video animated ecards in all topics like expressions, celebrations, family, friends and many more. The third site in which he writes are love ecards at cupidecards.com. Here, you can send love notes to your beloved and grow your love for each together.

Posted on Mar 14th, 2006

From old to young, male to female, rich to poor, no matter where you come from, everyone of us will have some elements of stress in life or business. Stress is a silent killer that causes us to go out of balance.

Therefore, it’s utmost important for us to learn to de-stress. Once in a while, throughout the day, do something that you can release stress. Here are some of the exercises that I find useful in stress management.

1) Read a good book. Grab a book you like and a glass of your favorite drink, sink yourself into a sofa. When you absorb in the book, you lose touch with outside world and immerse in the writing. Reading is a way to sharpen your mind too and keep it alert. Reading a good book not only helpful in releasing stress but also to increase knowledge.

2) Listen to music. I used to hate music but only in recent years that I like to listen to music. When I talk about music, I mean just pure music. Experts suggest that the best music for you to de-stress is classical music. For example music by Mozart or Beethoven. You can listen to the music while driving, before and during sleep. Or during work if the environment allows. Now it’s even more convenient with portable mp3 players.

3) Exercise. Everybody knows after workout, you feel energized and fresh. But I have a confession to make, I have not been working out for some time. But I still think that exercise is one of the best stress busters. Engage yourself in a sport that you love and make it a point that you stick to your exercise schedule. The best, I believe, is still cardio-vascular exercises.

4) Meditation. Worry not and it’s nothing to do with religions. The only thing you need is a quiet place, close your eyes and listen to yourself. It has been proven that meditation not only helps in releasing stress but it also enhances self-awareness, creativity, intuition, inner peace, and longevity! Frankly, meditation is not easy to do even though it looks simple. I have tried many ways to practise meditation, but most of the methods are hard to follow as not many of us can still a mind that is as wild as a wild horse. It requires a lot of practice and discipline. But I’ve found a technology called Holosync developed by Bill Harris that can put you into deep meditation just by putting on headphone. The best meditation guide I ever found. Check it out http://www.abelcheng.com/cgi-bin/track/tracker.cgi?meditation

5) Play with my daughter. This is the best part. Not only can I play with her as an excuse to get away from work, it also helps me to foster a closer relationship with her. And you will be also surprise to find out that how observant children are. They can show you small little things that adults overlook. And the best reward from playing with children is their laughter…as we all know laughter is the best medicine.

6) Sleep. I am not talking about a few hours of sleep, I am talking about having a nap. Preferably a 30-minute nap is just fine. When you feel tired, take a nap and you’ll see the difference in you after you wake up. Too much of sleep will have counter effect. Don’t overdo it.

7) Rest in regular intervals. Stop doing whatever you are doing after one or two hours. Walk around or sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Visualize that you are relaxing your body part by part starting from your head. Do it until you reach your toes. Just tell yourself to relax and release all the tension in your body. This won’t take much of your time but it helps you to have a stress free body and mind.

Try some of these stress management techniques and you’ll feel that your stress level will reduce. And you’ll become more productive and peaceful.

Abel Cheng is publisher of Abel Cheng’s Business Diary, a free publication that provides unorthodox home and small business success tips, tools and resources. Get instant access to his publication at http://www.abelcheng.com/diary.html

Posted on Mar 13th, 2006

Are you a busy executive or mom trying to do everything? Are you getting so stressed out that it seems like you’re not accomplishing anything? If so, you can use martial arts to combat that stress! Many of the skills and techniques used in martial arts training are the same skills and techniques you can use to rid your body of stress.

So, you might be wondering how a skill that is commonly depicted as a fighting tool can actually reduce stress… Some of these common images of martial arts aren’t completely accurate. The cartoons, video games and movies showing martial arts as a fighting tool are only showing you one small facet of the art. The skills necessary for training martial arts can teach you how to balance your mind and body and give you the confidence you need to face the stressful events in your life.

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

One of the techniques used to create this balance is using breathing and meditation techniques to help you connect and control your mind and body. There are different types of meditation: sitting, standing, kneeling and moving. Find the position that works best for you. Here’s how to start.

1. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

2. Breathe deeply. To make sure you’re breathing deeply enough, put your hand on your stomach. If your stomach isn’t pushing out as you breath in, you’re not breathing deeply enough. Try to pull the air all the way to your navel before you let it out.

3. When you breathe out, keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This keeps helps minimize your saliva and swallowing.

In the Chinese way of thinking, breathing like this is completing a path: The mouth is a gate and the tongue on the roof of the mouth allows your vital energy called “Qi” or “Chi” (both pronounced “chee”) to circulate throughout your body. Chi is what helps your mind and body connect.

After you’ve gotten the physical aspects of breathing down, you can start counting your breaths – this is a form of meditation that many experts teach during stress management courses. Start short and work your way up.

1. Begin with a count of 4 as you breathe in and a count of 6 as you breathe out.

2. As you go along, extend the in and out until you can get a count of 6 as you breathe in and up to 24-30 as you breathe out. Just remember that you want a short, deep breath in and a slow, long breath out.

WHY DOES IT WORK?

This mind and body connection through breathing works because stress is a mental state that manifests itself as a physical symptom in your body. This physical symptom then acts as a trigger to tell you to do something about it. As you become more aware of your body, you’ll be able to notice the “trigger” before it becomes something unbearable such as a severe neck problem or a migraine headache. Once you notice your trigger, you can stop and do something about it such as practicing a breathing technique. For example, I used to get stress-induced migraines that would leave me out of commission for a whole day. Now, I’ve come to realize that it actually starts in my lower back as a small thing. If I let it go, it works its way up to my head. Now, when I noticed this trigger in my back, I stop and do my breathing. It allows the issue to surface so I can deal with it and I don’t have to deal with a migraine.

We all have those moments from time to time when we experience stress (some more frequently than others). The overall benefits of training martial arts for the mind and body (including self-awareness, self confidence, focus, concentration and physical conditioning) all lead to reducing that stress. You owe it to yourself to start relieving the stress in your life with the skills taught through martial arts. The best place to find these skills is at a fine martial arts school. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. To make it even easier, I’ll help you get started. Just contact me and I’ll send you my free report on how to pick a martial arts school.

Sincerely,

Robert Jones
Master Instructor
The Academy of Kempo Martial Arts
www.martialarts-instruction.com

Robert Jones runs three successful martial arts schools located in Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Kent Washington. He has been helping families make positive changes in their lives through martial arts for over 20 years. He has also written two guides on how to pick a martial arts school. One for adults and one for parents wanting to pick the right school for their children. He can be reached at martialadvice@stressmanagementarticles.com or at the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts. 800-508-6141.

http://www.martialarts-instruction.com

Posted on Mar 13th, 2006

Stress is the underlying cause of 85% of visits to the doctor and includes Fibromyalgia, Headaches, and other Chronic Pain syndromes. If this is so and the research shows it to be true then why do we not recognize these stressors? How is it that we let stress create such problems in our lives? These questions are being studied more than ever before as is noted in the latest issues of Time, News Week, US News and World Report, National Geographic and a host of other weekly and monthly magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine.

If we understand that the underlying cause of stress is a mind body connection response to our thoughts and our bodies response to those thoughts then it makes since. Florence Nightingale, in her book Notes on Nursing written in 1859 stated that volumes are now written on the connection of the mind and the body. Even then she declared that if we help the patents to vary their thoughts we help them get better.

So why is the Medical Community so slow in connecting the two. Good Question and not so hard when you think of our fast paced world and how easy and routine it is for a physician to write a prescription to calm our nerves.

As humans we experience daily stress totally different than say a rabbit in the wild. A rabbit while leisurely feeding will respond with all its senses with any sign of danger. However, unlike humans the rabbit will relax and go on feeding as soon as the signs of danger pass. It has no thoughts of what just occurred, or what might occur or what could have occurred.

When humans sense danger we also go on the alert. Our heart rate faster, our blood pressure higher, our blood diverted to our arms and legs so that we can fight or get the heck out of Dodge. On the other hand, we humans unlike the rabbit tend to proceed to worry about the “What Ifs.” What if the danger comes back? What if it isn’t gone and I just I think it is gone?

When the “What Ifs” set in we are beyond the protecting intentions of the stress response and become distressed. We take a thought and turn it into worry, which creates high blood pressure, fast pulse, etc.

Read the following and then try the exercise: Close your eyes take a deep breathe and pretend or imagine that you are in your kitchen. Look around the kitchen and listen for the hum of the refrigerator. Walk over to the refrigerator. Did you hear your footsteps? Now open the door of the refrigerator? Feel the cool air as it flows out.

You notice a bright yellow lemon and you reach in and take it out. Pay attention to the size, color, temperature, and texture of the lemon as you hold it in your hand.

Now take the lemon over to where you would normally cut up fruits or vegetables. Take out your favorite knife and slice through the lemon. Watch the lemon juice as it oozes out onto the cutting area. Now pick up one half of the lemon and smell the scent of the lemon.

Now open your mouth and take a bite of the lemon. Taste the lemon juice as it passes across your teeth onto your tongue. Taste the tangy tart taste of the lemon as you feel it in your jaw. Go ahead and notice and then swallow the extra saliva in your mouth.

If you are like most who try this exercise then you may have noticed a little sour taste with some discomfort in your jaw and/or extra saliva in your mouth. What you created with just your thought was a physiological, biochemical response in your body – yes, just from a though – So the old saying “We are what we think we are is true.” Therefore, change your negative thoughts to positive thoughts and experience the changes in you.

How do I know if I am stressed?

If you are finger tapping, compulsively eating, biting your nails, having repetitive thoughts you might be stressed. If you have increased your smoking, drinking or drug use you might be stressed. If you are absent or being late for work then you might be stressed.

Prolonged stress can result in heart disease, food cravings, insomnia, depression, PMS, obesity arthritis, diabetes, and multiple other conditions that are a direct result of uncontrolled stress.

The most stressful jobs:
1. Teaching
2. Nursing
3. Management
4. Other professionals
5. Social workers
6. Road transport
7. Police and prison officers

On an average workday, an estimated one million workers do not make it to work due to stress. “Health and Executive Magazine,” claims 6.5 million sick days are being taken every year as a result of stress.

Stress Reduction

Stress affects blood pressure, sleep habits, nervousness, and confusion. Whenever our bodies are stressed – whether the stress is real or imagined – our brains respond as if it is real. Stress, by the way, can come in many forms: an impending deadline, an inability to complete work tasks, or even a verbal lashing from another person. The body’s response is the same regardless of what causes the stress.

Ten Ways to Cut Down on Stress
1. Talk it out. Get support from family and friends.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Avoid false guilt.
4. Set realistic goals and priorities.
5. Avoid perfectionism.
6. Keep a sense of humor.
7. Hang loose. Set aside idle time to relax every day.
8. Live by the calendar, not the stopwatch.
9. Avoid over indulging in drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
10. Think positively

Taking time out of a busy schedule to relax is very important. Everyone experiences relaxation differently so the key is to relax as best you can. The ability to relax is enhanced by finding a quiet place, creating positive self talk, listening to soft music, day dreaming, or taking a walk.

Try this simple breathing technique to relax and decrease stress. Blow your stomach out like blowing up a balloon. This will drop the diaphragm down and automatically create a deep breath. More oxygen is able to enter into the two lower lobes of the lungs, which has more blood vessels to carry oxygen to the cells.

Exercise

Exercise is the most widely recommended form of treatment for relieving the effects of stress and depression. It increases endorphin release (the bodies natural morphine) along with melatonin (natural sleeping pill) and serotonin (natural Prozac) production, and helps level out blood glucose. Exercise helps us sleep better which also decreases stress.

Think Stress Control

Skipping breakfast is a bad idea. Starting your day on an empty stomach results in DECREASED ATTENTION and POOR PERFORMANCE. Even if your breakfast consists of something sweet or fatty, which is common, it can still help you get a better start on your workday. It is also true that breakfast eaters are leaner, have lower blood pressure, eat less throughout the day, and are in better health than those who skip the most important meal of the day.

In Conclusion

Stress responds well to meditation, Relaxation Therapy, Self-Hypnosis Exercise, a walk in nature, soft music, get 6-8 hours of sleep and a proper diet with the right vitamin and mineral supplements greatly decreases stress and enhance wellness.

(Copyright 2005 by M. Ron Eslinger)

About the Author: Michael R. “Ron” Eslinger, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired is a Board Certified Hypnotherapist, Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Hypnotherapy Instructor and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. He has served as Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Assistant Department Head for Administration Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA. and is the Past President, Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists. He is Owner/Director of Healthy Visions Wellness Center in Oak Ridge, TN USA. For more information regarding hypnosis as an adjunct therapy, Ron Eslinger can be reached at The Healthy Visions Wellness Center. Go online to http://www.eslinger.net for more information.

Posted on Mar 12th, 2006

I learn Aikido – a Japanese martial art. I didn’t start training so that I could fight anybody, because I have no need or desire to fight. I started training because of the connection between body and mind.

Soon after I started training in Aikido I discovered a fascinating truth: Aikido is life. What happens in the dojo (that’s what the training area is called), also happens in life. That is what I would like to share with you in this article.

During an Aikido lesson, the sensei (teacher) demonstrates an exercise or technique with one of the students. After this demonstration, all the students pair-up and practice the technique they just saw.

By practicing Aikido I learn how to accept, to connect with others, to follow. I learn harmony and intimacy. I learn many other important concepts, but one of them is the most relevant when discussing the connection between Aikido and stress: I learn to look for the place or the way which allows me to perform the exercise easily and effortlessly.

Most of us, both in Aikido and in life, tend to use force instead of looking for the easy way to do whatever it is we’re doing. We tend to walk into walls instead of finding a way around them.

In both Aikido and life, once I remind myself that there is always a way AROUND difficulties, and once I look for that way, I find that I can move forward easily and effortlessly.

Effort and difficulty are the building blocks of stress. Effort and difficulty consist of walking head-first into a wall, of resisting things, of fighting. Looking for that place or way where there is no resistance, no wall, is what enables you to move forward smoothly and effortlessly.

No difficulty, no stress. Life is good.

Now you may be thinking: “Oh, that’s quite easy to say, but other people are more than me – they have more money, more power, a better education. They are stronger.”

Let’s go back to Aikido to see what can be done. In Aikido practice, ironically it’s those who are stronger who have the hardest time learning. Why? Because they rely upon their physical strength.

Those who are smaller, like me – a woman, 5 feet 4 inches tall – cannot rely upon their physical strength to perform an exercise. When they try, they soon discover that it just doesn’t work. My partner will almost always be bigger and stronger than me.

I learned fast enough that in order to succeed, I must find a way to do the exercise without force. I realized that I have to use softness. The softer, less stiff I am in Aikido, the easier it becomes for me.

It works the same way in life.

All you have to do is choose to be more accepting, softer, to let harmony in. Look for the way that doesn’t involve conflict. There is always such a way.

Once you’ve realized that, a huge amount of stress leaves your life, and joy enters in its stead.

Copyright 2006 Dvora Ifat and Shunit Ben-Tzvi

Dvora Ifat and Shunit Ben-Tzvi are co-authors of "No Stress! How to Save Tons of Money on Shrinks and Doctors - Just by Reducing Stress!", a web authority on stress management and relief. http://www.nostressebook.com

Posted on Mar 12th, 2006

Are any of these scenes familiar?

…The kids woke up late again this morning. By the time you get them to school and fight rush hour traffic, you’ll be 20 minutes late for the meeting you’re supposed to lead…

…When you were first hired, you felt lucky to get your customer service job. But now you wonder if it’s worth it. The phones ring constantly and you hear nothing but complaints. Last week, you called in sick just to get a break…

…It’s almost time for your presentation. Top management is here and your supervisor is counting on you to make her look good. You were up all night finishing the Powerpoint. You wonder if you’ve anticipated all the possible questions…

Stress is a permanent feature of our lives, but it really seems to ramp up at work. More than two-thirds of American workers report that workplace stress is a problem.

This means we’re all spending way too much time in “fight or flight” mode. And it’s taking a toll on our bodies through weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, and heart disease. These conditions shorten our lives and lower the quality of what’s left.

There are lots of strategies for managing stress, but when stress blindsides us with no time to prepare, we don’t need strategy. We need quick, practical steps we can take NOW that work fast and can be done anywhere. When stress launches it’s next surprise attack, try one of these: breathe deeply, visualize mentally, relax progressively.

Breathe Deeply

Breathing deeply could be the single most effective way to stay calm. Everyone breathes, but a lot of us breathe the wrong way–shallow, fast, and high in the chest. This kind of breathing is restrictive, it increases our anxious feelings, and it fuels our body’s negative stress reactions.

Slow, deep breathing triggers a relaxation response, calming the body and focusing the mind. It increases the amount of oxygen in our blood, raising our performance potential.

Are you breathing the right way? To find out, try this: put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen just below your rib cage. Now breathe. Which hand moves? If it’s the hand on your chest, your breathing is too shallow.

The trick is to make the hand on your abdomen move. Inhale deeply while you slowly count to five. Try to get your abdomen to expand instead of your chest. If you have trouble making it happen, try it lying on your back. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be able to shift into a deep breathing pattern automatically.

Once you learn the technique of deep breathing, you can do it anytime—in the middle of rush hour traffic, right before you handle the next irate customer, even in the middle of your big presentation.

Visualize Mentally

There are two kinds of visualization techniques. The first one involves building a mental image of a place that’s relaxing for you. It may be a remembered place that triggers relaxed, contented feelings, or it may be imaginary. The basic idea is to give your mind something to focus on besides the stress.

Once you have visualized your restful scene, you should spend about 10 minutes attempting to imagine it as fully as possible. Inventory your senses. What do you see? How does it smell? Do you hear anything? What do you feel? What can you taste? Then slowly allow yourself to return to the real world around you. Effective visualization will take some practice.

Professional musicians and Olympic athletes practice a different form of visualization: a mental rehearsal of what’s about to happen. Instead of visualizing a relaxing scene, mentally rehearse the situation that’s causing your stress. Visualize the meeting you’re about to walk into and rehearse what happens. Imagine yourself successfully completing tasks that give you trouble. Visualize feeling calm and in control. This type of mental rehearsal can help you actually attain these feelings when the situation becomes reality.

Relax Progressively

Breathing deeply and visualizing mentally both involve your mind convincing your body to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation works the other way, with your body reporting to your mind that all is well.

Progressive relaxation works by tensing and relaxing muscles throughout your body, one group at a time. Try this: starting at your feet and working your way up to your head, contract and loosen each muscle group one after the other. Become aware of each muscle, tense it, hold the tension for a count of five, then slowly relax it. As the muscles in your body relax, your mind will become calmer and more focused.

The more you practice, the more sensitive your muscles will become to levels of tension and relaxation. The goal is to reach the point where you can relax your body on demand without having to go through the entire cycle. If you can do that, then stress doesn’t stand a chance.

Be aware of the situations that cause you negative stress. If you can see them coming sooner, it may give you extra time to breathe deeply, visualize mentally, and relax progressively. Not only will these fast and easy techniques help you in the moment of stress, using them regularly may help lessen the long term effects of stress on your life and health.

Art Turner is a writer, musician, and creator of Relaxation Emporium, where you can learn more about stress and stress management techniques. Visit http://www.relaxationemporium.com

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