Archive for April, 2006

Posted on Apr 30th, 2006

If you’re like most people you are probably working harder and longer than you used to. As a result, finding balance in today’s fast-paced world is more difficult than ever before. Yet, a healthy balance has also never been more important. Here are a few strategies that can help:

1. First and foremost, you must love what you do. We spend over a third of our life at work – doesn’t it make sense to enjoy it? I learned many years ago that the more you enjoy your job or work the more successful you will be. Even a high-pressure job is less stressful when you fully enjoy it. I know several people who have high-profile and high-pressure careers but they still maintain a sense of balance because they love their business. Enjoying your work gives you more satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

If you find yourself in a job that doesn’t motivate or stimulate you, consider making a change. There are lots of great books on the market that can help you discover what type of work you are best suited for.

2. Make time for family and friends. Regardless how busy you are it is critical to spend time with people who are close to you. In the last several years my wife and I make sure to schedule a ‘date night’ once a week. This usually means having dinner at a local restaurant or going to a movie, show, or concert. Although we often talk about our business it gives us the opportunity to catch up and discuss things we don’t always find time to talk about during the rest of the week. Spending time with friends is also a great way to recharge mentally, particularly if your friends are not employed in the same industry.

3. Find a hobby. I think it is important to engage yourself in a pastime or hobby because they help you forget about work for a while. My two favourite pastimes are reading and running. In additional to releasing stress, this ‘escape’ helps recharge your batteries and maintain your objectivity. Plus, a clear energized mind is more creative and open to accepting new ideas.

4. Schedule “me” time. As selfish as it sounds we all need a few hours of personal time. I usually schedule this when my wife is out running errands. Most of the time I’ll read, watch a movie, or sometimes take a nap. I don’t feel guilty for taking this time to myself because it actually helps my marriage by allowing me to engage in something I fully enjoy without worrying about distractions from other people. One word of caution, “Me” time should not be scheduled at the sacrifice of others or occupy a large portion of your schedule. If you have been on a business trip for a week it’s not fair to your family to schedule the entire weekend as “me” time.

5. Take vacations. Vacations are critical to your well-being. It is essential to take a break from the hectic and fast-paced business world. Too many people in business wave their lack of vacation time as a badge of honour but I feel that a lack of a break from the business negatively affects your ability to perform at your maximum potential. When I started my business, I set a goal of taking a one-week break at least three times a year. I adhered to this goal in the first three years because I made sure to plan my breaks early in the year. Then in my fourth year I neglected to plan this time off. Before I knew it, October had rolled around and I still hadn’t taken any time off. By this time, I was feeling burned out, I experienced more stress, and I had less energy, drive and motivation.

6. Disconnect yourself. Today’s technology has made it very difficult for us to completely disconnect from business. I find that I am drawn to email on the weekends and even on vacations. We don’t want to miss anything and sometimes our boss even requires that we stay connected to the office on our time off. However, I strongly believe that disconnecting yourself completely from voice mail, email, your PDA and BlackBerry is essential to creating some semblance of balance in our lives. There is no question that you will have more work to catch up on when you return to work but this complete break helps your brain recharge.

I won’t suggest that creating this balance is easy – it’s not. However, with a bit of focus and attention you can start to balance the scales. It’s worth the effort.

© 2006 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved

Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. Receive a FREE copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” by subscribing to his free newsletter available at http://www.RobertsonTrainingGroup.com For information on his programs, contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@stressmanagementarticles.com

Posted on Apr 30th, 2006

Whether you are a man or a woman, the feelings that come with midlife crisis can be similar. Disillusionment, doubt, unhappiness, restlessness and disappointment are some of the common characteristics. Many people report a kind of uneasiness that they just can’t name.

As the baby-boom generation (those born between 1945 and 1965) has come of age, it’s as if, at best, having a midlife crisis has become fashionable.

At worst, it’s an excuse for irresponsible and possibly destructive behavior.

Because baby boomers tend to reach success at an earlier age than their parents, midlife crisis can hit earlier as well.

Crisis and opportunity

The Chinese symbol for crisis means both danger and opportunity. A midlife crisis represents both danger and opportunity for the people who experience one. Let’s take a look at both of these possibilities.

Danger

Remember the old sci-fi series Lost in Space? Whenever danger was approaching, the robot would wave his arms and shout, "Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson!"

From what I’ve seen happen to many people, that’s what needs to be shouted at people hitting a midlife crisis.

Here’s a list of some of the dangers:

If you try to resolve a midlife crisis with the traditional little red sports car and 22-year-old new partner, you may wind up in a small, one-bedroom apartment with huge alimony and child-support payments.

You may start to believe that everything you are feeling is real. It’s like the story about the Room of 10,000 Demons, first told to me by Bill 0′Hanlon, writer and hypnotherapist. When you walk into the Room of 10,000 Demons, you will see all your worst fears and nightmares played out as if they were real. When you walk in, the door closes behind you, and there is no handle on the inside of the door. If you can make it to the other side, to the door leading out, you will reach nirvana. Once inside, you get two important instructions. The first is that no matter what you see, hear or feel, it’s not real; it’s merely a product of your own mind. The second instruction is that no matter what you see, hear or feel, keep your feet moving. Eventually, you will make it to the other side.

And, as we can glean from this story, you may start to believe that you have to act on everything you feel.

Opportunity

The opportunities available in a midlife crisis can be very useful.

A midlife crisis can be a time of evaluation and soul-searching and not necessarily a time of self-absorption.

In the movie Look Who’s Talking, one character tells a woman, whom he has gotten pregnant and is abandoning, that his therapist says he is going through a selfish phase. Now that’s self-absorption!

Puh-lease!

Not only is a period of evaluation and soul-searching a good thing - it can and should be done much more often than just at midlife.

Some useful questions

• Where did I expect to be by this time in my life?

• How is my life different from and how is it similar to my expectations?

• What promises to myself and others have I kept or broken?

• What do I need to do to keep the promises I made to myself and others?

• Where do I want to be one year from now? In five years? In 10 years? In 20-plus years? (This implies that there is a whole lot of life left.)

• What will I need to do to get there? Answer those questions honestly, and turn a midlife crisis into a midlife opportunity.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Apr 29th, 2006

From the moment we enter our first day of school to the day we retire from our jobs we are slaves to the clock.

When to start, when to finish, when to eat, when to sleep we are slaves to the clock.

The unfortunate thing is, the controller of the clock is not time but we ourselves …we are our own slave masters. We put so much emphasis on getting the job done, whatever the job is, to the point where we become undone.

Life comes with its own built in stress tests, yet we still choose to add self induced stresses. There are many moments in our day that we can take a few minutes to relax, rejuvenate and regenerate for what lies ahead.

It could be power napping on our lunch break, listening to relaxing sounds on our daily commute, just as long as we regularly feed as much positives into our system to combat the inherent negatives of our daily lives we will continue to lose the battle of stress management.

Take a few moments everyday and I do mean everyday and focus on you and your wants, needs and desires. Only then we will you realize that if you can not really and truly please yourself you will never be able to please anyone else.

Rudy Rodway
Relevant Products Inc.
relevant-products.com/tranquil.html

Posted on Apr 29th, 2006

Worry/Anxiety

Anxiety and its partner, worry,’ are specific forms of fear. They can also be some of the most insidious and crippling emotions.

Worry can be useful if it motivates you to take action to make changes. Worry then becomes action.

Worry becomes a problem when we believe the big lie that "if only I worry enough about this, it will be OK"

The best definition I’ve ever heard of anxiety goes like this:

"Anxiety is when we mentally fastforward - to some possible future problem and our emotions catch up to match up our picture."

In other words, anxiety is often caused by repeatedly picturing negative outcomes and then dragging our emotions along for the ride.

Fear

All of us must deal with fear in our lives. As a matter of fact, people who tell me they are never afraid tend to scare me.

It’s my experience that they are lying, or worse.

Fear is so common that we can identify several general fears that are familiar to all of us. Here is a partial list of fears I hear about regularly in my office:

• Fear of rejection. From the nervous teen-age boy who hangs up the phone when the girl answers, to the adult who is afraid to ask for a raise, fear of rejection keeps us from asking for what we want.

• Fear of failure.

• Fear of success.

• Fear of being smothered or fear of being abandoned in elationships.

While there are certainly times when fear is an appropriate response, fear many times simply holds us back from accomplishing what we want.

Here are two tips for dealing successfully with fear.

• Remember that courage is not having no fear at all. Courage is feeling the fear and proceeding anyway.

• One of the best ways of dealing with fear that I’ve found comes in the form of an acronym: Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

What "false evidence" are you allowing to limit your life? What might that mean when you examine some of your fears?

Visit The Article Guy for more leading edge tips and tools for writing articles that bring you prospects, publicity and profits. You can also subscirbe to our monthly Article Empire Tips Newsletter. You are also invited to visit my Express-Start Article Writing Program for more information on the next article writing tele-seminar.

Posted on Apr 28th, 2006

Do you ever get stressed by the sheer amount of work and tasks to be done from day to day? Do you feel that 24 hours in a day is simply too short a time to get things done?

You are not alone! As our society progresses and the pace of life quickens, time is the most precious and scarce commodity. Whether it is things from work or personal stuffs that needs to be done, all you need is to know how to prioritise and organise yourself to get things done right. You would be surprised that a few simple tips will provide you with the tools necessary to accomplish more in less time and of course reduce your stress level at the same time!

In the second part of this series, we will take a look at the importance of planning.

1) In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned prioritising your tasks. When preparing your list of things to do, first write down everything that comes across your mind. The idea is to dump everything from your brain and convert it into writing, continue without editing until you are sure that everything is covered.

2) After you have a whole list of the tasks to be done, select each item according to the following classifications. (1) Critical (2) Quite important (3) Can wait.

3) Go through your list while asking yourself whether it is a (1), (2) or (3), then mark the number beside each task.

4) After that classification is done, drill down each category, for example you have listed 5 tasks as (1), take a look at the 5 tasks and then determine their order of priority. You could mark these tasks as (1)1, (1)2, (1)3 etc. Do the same for category (2) and (3).

5) Always be flexible, sometimes your plan needs to be adjusted as you go along. For example you have set out to accomplish your first task, and it has been delayed due to reasons or circumstances not within your control. You do not have to wait for the task to be done before proceeding to the next. Skip right over to the next one and try to get it done. You can always come back to the undone task.

6) Be mindful of the time needed to complete each task. Take into account the time loss in peripheral activities that need to support your task, these would include, waiting, travelling etc. Be realistic and do not allocate insufficient time for the task to be completed.

In the coming issues, I will be discussing other critical areas that you can consider to adopt into your life for more productivity and less stress. If you have missed any of the past issues, go www.stress-relief-and-management.com to get it.

James Tan has dedicated his life to exploring the human mind’s potential in stress management areas after suffering a fatal auto accident, which has been the turning point of his life.

His website http://www.stress-relief-and-management.com contains various tips and advices, including a newsletter ‘Taming the Monkey mind’ and a free 28 part ecourse of stress managing tips.

Posted on Apr 28th, 2006

Every now and then, we will see an article in a magazine claiming that Sunday is dead. We’ve turned it into just another high stress day in which to get things done.

To me, it is the mark of an over-stressed person, a workaholic, a heart attack waiting to happen, a life out of control.

The artidle went on to make it sound like there are sinister forces at work trying to steal our Sundays from us.

So I have a question:

"If Sunday is dead, who killed it?"

Was it technology? Nope, technology is just a tool.

Was it the baby boomers? Nope, we need rest too.

Was it generation X, Y or Z? Nope, even they need rest.

After much thought, investigation and research, I have discovered who the culprit is. The answer is a bit disturbing.

We killed Sunday.

That is, we and our choices.

Unless you are in a desperate situation where you must work three or four hours just to make ends meet or you are a minister, you have a choice about how to spend Sundays.

The problem is that most Americans have very weak choice muscles. We are mueh more comfortable finding someone or something else to blame.

I really believe we know better, yet we keep making poor choices with our time. Or as stress management expert Tim O’Brien says,

"If we all hate stress so much then why do we live like this?"

Visit The Article Guy for more leading edge tips and tools for writing articles that bring you prospects, publicity and profits. You can also subscirbe to our monthly Article Empire Tips Newsletter. You are also invited to visit my Express-Start Article Writing Program for more information on the next article writing tele-seminar.

Posted on Apr 27th, 2006

Stress is an inescapable fact our lives and can manifest itself regardless of one’s age, gender, or lifestyle. It affects our rational thinking capabilities and prevents us from enjoying our natural disposition, which is to be happy.

There are many stress relieving techniques that have evolved over time; these include yoga, aerobics, and even comedy clubs. These techniques, although effective, have the drawback in that they are all time-consuming, require a schedule, and can be carried out only in certain places.

An excellent alternative to these stress relieving techniques is the stress ball (or stress relief ball). These palm-sized balls come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are recommended as stress busters by various health organizations and fitness centers. They are made from high density foam, soft rubber, or squeezable polyurethane and squeezing these balls has many therapeutic benefits. Stress balls can be filled with gel and can be given different cheerful shapes such as colorful beans and animals. Their textures can be spiny, smooth, fuzzy, or rough.

Since all materials used in the manufacture of stress balls are non-toxic, the stress balls are safe for use. Patients suffering from arthritis and nerve disorders can also benefit from stress balls. A few quick squeezes of a stress ball helps in improving blood circulation to the hands and are a great way of rejuvenating tired hands.

Stress balls, if used at the end of a hard day’s work, have a calming effect, foster relaxation, and help in regaining energy lost during the course of a hectic day. A great plus with stress balls is that they have absolutely no side effects and can be used by individuals in any age group. Consistent use of this simple therapy can prevent stress related ailments from getting aggravated. Keeping this fact in mind, several health centers are incorporating stress balls in their stress treatment routines. It is not uncommon for stress balls to be distributed during meetings and seminars. Corporates are recognizing the value stress balls as effective stress-management tools.

Stress balls are easily customizable; they can be manufactured according to different size specifications and can be imprinted with the user’s name. These attributes have contributed to the popularity of stress balls. Stress balls are also ideal gifts to be given during corporate seminars.

John Hanksworth recommends QualityLogoProducts.com for stress balls.

Posted on Apr 27th, 2006

One of the things I really enjoy as a therapist is helping people learn how to handle stress. I often ask clients what a typical day is like for them, so I can understand what they are up against.

"Take me from getting up to going to bed" is one way I usually ask the question.

I’ve heard about some horrendous schedules. After listening to some people, the question changes from "How could you feel so stressed-out?" to "How could you not feel so stressedout’?"

Of all the schedules I have heard about, I truly think the most stressful are those of women who have the dual careers of "professional outside the home" and "professional mom" at home.

Notice that I haven’t used the popular term "working mom." All mothers work.

Consider the words of Amy Grant from her song "Hats!"

"One day I’m a lover, one day I’m a mother. What am I supposed to do? Working for a livin,’ all because I’m driven, to be the very best for you."

She seems to have captured some of the angst and pressure of the typical dual-career woman.

What a schedule!

Follow along with me as I describe the typical daily schedule of one dual-career mom.

• 5:30 a.m. Alarm goes off. Get up and get ready for work. • 6 a.m. Make kids’ lunches and fix breakfasts.

• 6:30 a.m. Wake up kids, make sure they get bathed, dressed, fed and ready for school. Make sure oldest is at bus stop by 6:45 a.m.

• 7:15 a.m. Leave house, drop one kid off at school and the youngest at day care. Listen to the day-care worker tell about problem with your child yesterday.

• 8 a.m. Arrive at work.

• Noon. Do errands on lunch hour.

• 3 p.m. Leave work to take one child to doctor’s appointment.

• 4 p.m. Return to work.

• 4:15 p.m. Take call from oldest child who just got home and is checking in. Work until 6 p.m. to make up for time off in afternoon.

• 6:15 p.m. Pick up kids at day care.

• 6:45 p.m. Arrive home, fix dinner, give baths, help with homework, get ready for the next day, get kids in bed.

• 9:30 p.m. Time for self and to be with husband.

• 9:45 p.m. Fall asleep. Next morning get up and do it all over again.

Whew! It wears me out just to think about that schedule. In my conversations with dual-career women, several themes have emerged. Let’s take a look at what is most stressful followed by some suggested solutions.

What is most stressful

• Juggling multiple schedules

• Finding quality time for everyone, including oneself

• Spending the weekend catching up instead of relaxing

• Coming home to cranky, hungry kids

• Exhaustion - physical, mental, emotional

• Worrying if kids are well cared for while you are at your job

Solutions we have found together

• Get your partner to help.

• Make lists. This was one of the most common suggestions. Make lists of all the to-dos and appointments and commitments. Having them on paper not only organizes you, it can clear your head as well. One crucial key is to make sure your own needs get on the list.

• Plan ahead. Cook several meals and freeze them. Plan outfits for a week, etc.

• Hire someone to help with cleaning. If you can’t afford it, hire someone anyway, even if it’s only once a year.

• Keep just one room of your home clean. Many people say this makes them feel less pressured.

• Get out your schedule book and make two appointments. One is for time completely to yourself. The second is with your spouse or partner. Protect these times as you would a business appointment or job interview. I learned this technique from my wife when she wrote her name down in my appointment book a few years ago. I got the message.

• Once a month, or with a similar regularity, pamper and indulge yourself in some way.

• Create realistic expectations and priorities for yourself. Consider what’s more important, a clean house or time with your family. Well, that’s what I’ve learned from the dual-career moms I know. I invite your comments, experiences and suggestions.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Apr 26th, 2006

Do you ever get the feeling that you just cannot think straight? That your ability to concentrate has just disappeared? That your brain has somehow reached overload and your thought processes have ground to a halt? You’re tired and irritable! Perhaps your neck feels stiff and your shoulders and muscles are tight, and your head aches! Does all this seem familiar?

We all know stress - it’s part of life! Pressure is a form of stress and we use it every day, at work and in our daily lives. We apply pressure to ourselves, or it is applied to us, when we set time frames and objectives for projects, goals and ambitions. Without pressure and stress we would simply get nothing done. Stress is good when it invigorates your life and challenges you to reach the limits of your potential.

Stress can be bad however, when it reaches a level beyond which you feel in control any longer. Stress then becomes counter productive and a destructive force in your life. When you find yourself tense, tired and uncomfortable. When worry about problems or situations causes tension, insomnia, depression and other physical and psychological problems.

Bad Stress also affects your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness, pain and headaches, but if you know how, you do not have to allow that to happen anymore!

Imagine… having relief on tap - something you could experience whenever you need it, something that would remove all the stress from your body and return the sparkle to your mind. How would you feel if you could wake up tomorrow, feeling in control?

Well, Happily, you are blessed with a really powerful tool that can remove stress instantly - your bodies relaxation response. Using hypnosis to trigger this wonderful natural effect will release hormones and neurotransmitters that flood your body and mind with pure, cleansing relaxation. You owe it to yourself to feel the relief you can have instantly.

Stress causes many physical and psychological problems that can be relieved through hypnotherapy. Hypnosis changes the way you think and moves you forward into a new perspective. Most people feel better immediately and stop their self-defeating thought processes.

When you discover how easy it is to resolve these issues with Hypnotherapy, you will be amazed. Some people say it feels like magic because it is so easy to make powerful changes. Hypnotherapy simply allows you to access the resources you already have in your subconscious mind. It moves your mind and body into a different state, where your emotions and hormonal balance will help you feel better. This will enable your subconscious mind to access new, more relaxed, more uplifting emotions. You will enjoy deep, peaceful relaxation, allowing the feelings of tension and stress to just drift away from you. You will be left feeling recharged and energised.

A hypnosis session for change won’t just help you to “chill out”; it could be the single most important thing that forever determines your ability to feel Relaxed and calm, even under the most stressful of situations!

Learn to recognise the signs that stress is starting to build up and be prepared to act quickly on the problems causing this, because problems seem to grow in intensity if they are not dealt with. The relief will be instant and you will be glad that you did.

It’s important to realise that you always have choices and learning how to properly manage stress will make you a happier person and really will improve your life. Believe in yourself and in the power of your mind.

Using Hypnosis to trigger your natural relaxation response is an effective method of dealing with stress from which you cannot get relief through any other methods. This will help you cope with ordinary and extraordinary levels of stress and enable you to live a happier healthier life.

Imagine how good it will feel to wake up the next day feeling in control, feeling strong, feeling free, and feeling optimistic and excited about the future….

Let your mind go free and your body will follow!

Authors - Dave Massey, Ron Goodswen, partners at Imagine Me Media - the Hypnotherapy DVD company. Roderick Piggott - Hypnotherapist with over 20 years of experience. http://www.imaginememedia.com

Posted on Apr 26th, 2006

In World War I, they called it shellshock. In World War II,they called it combat fatigue. After Vietnam, they called it posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD for short.

PTSD describes a set of characteristics common to people who have been traumatized in some way. These are folks who have seen and/or experienced more than the mind and emotions can handle at one time.

My notion is that, in our current stressful society, we live in a constant state of trauma, which leads to a sort of "post-modern PTSD."

We are bombarded daily with overwhelming amounts of traumatizing information. A study by George Washington University monitored the evening national news for 100 nights. The researchers found 6,500 negative news items and only 370 positive news items.

What this may mean is that we are grossly over-informed about catastrophes we can do little or nothing about.

We get so overwhelmed by things we can do little about that a sort of "psychic numbness" sets in.

Here’s how it happens:

In his book "Lifetime Guarantee," Stu Gilhelm uses a great metaphor. Picture a meter that runs from zero to 10. Gilhelm calls this our feeling meter. Under normal circumstances, the meter rests on zero.

As we respond to different We get so overwhelmed by things we can do little about that a sort of ` psychic numbness" sets 111. events in our lives, the meter moves upward toward 10 and then comes to rest again. When we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of stimuli, the meter goes up but never gets a chance to come back down again.

We get used to the feeling, and a level of five or six becomes the normal resting place instead of zero. And we begin to believe we are helpless in the face of these overwhelming events. Helplessness leads to nervousness, anxiety and isolation.

Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of this stress and trauma and then some of the actions we can take to deal with it effectively.

Symptoms of post-modern PTSD

• A sense of helplessness

• "psychic numbness"

• A feeling of isolation

• Not being able to take action, feeling impotent

• Recurring thoughts and images of traumatic events

Actions to take

• Live in strong community with others. Robert Fulghum, in "Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten," suggests "when you go out into the world, hold hands."

Scott Peck, in his book "A Different Drum" stresses the need for community. I’d be willing to bet that half of the people reading this column don’t know the names of their neighbors next door or across the street. If that’s true for you, go find out.

• For one week, don’t listen to the TV news. See how that can change your stress level and perspective.

• Do something, anything, that positively affects the world immediately around you.

Visit The Article Guy for more leading edge tips and tools for writing articles that bring you prospects, publicity and profits. You can also subscirbe to our monthly Article Empire Tips Newsletter. You are also invited to visit my Express-Start Article Writing Program for more information on the next article writing tele-seminar.

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