Archive for June, 2006

Posted on Jun 10th, 2006

Shunning the elitism of Greek and Latin roots its name is derived from two common Anglo-Saxon words: 1. Cause; to create an effect; to make things happen. 2. Ism; a doctrine, system or principle.

Causism is very much a practical philosophy, for in addition to its revolutionary theories and principles, it embodies an equally revolutionary practical component called the Mace Method. It has this mission statement: To assist people to be in control of their lives and live their own dreams. It is from this statement that the name Causism was adopted, for the words ’cause’ and ‘control’ are synonymous.

Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you’re fully informed about stress, , keep reading.

Causism is a scientific examination of life. Its fundamental principles are to be found in its close cousins, magnetism and electricity. Although we are commonly referred to as Spiritual Beings, we are in actual fact energy and each and every one of us is a unit of energy, a Human Energy Unit, which is an expression coined by Causism.

Causism postulates two universes, the Energy Universe and the Material Universe. The laws or logics of each universe are different and you cannot use the laws of one to explain phenomena in the other. Understanding this has created the Mace Method, for its procedures are built on the laws of the energy universe, not the laws of the material or physical universe. Very importantly, the energy or spiritual universe contains no time.

Energy in any form is invisible and as science knows, energy is also indestructible. From this it follows that as energy units we are invisible and indestructible, in other words immortal. We are immortal, timeless, sentient and aware units of energy using and activating bodies.

The bodies are used to play a game, the game of life.

There’s no doubt that the topic of stress, can be fascinating.

My name is Sandra Hedditch, The Author of this Article John Mace my good friend has given me permission to share his work with you. If you would like to know more about the Mace Method and see more of Johns Articles Please go to http://www.how-what-why.com

Posted on Jun 10th, 2006

Q: “My career, though very very stressful, is one that I thoroughly enjoy and do not want to change. Because I’m under so much stress, my counselor has recommended that I eliminate all stress from my life. This doesn’t seem to make sense to me, especially since I like what I do so much. Should I quit my job, or is there something else I can do?”

I think your counselor is wrong. I’m sure they mean well, they just don’t understand some key distinctions about stress.

The reason for that rather bold statement is that unless you are in imminent danger of a heart attack, stroke or some other equally severe catastrophe, there is no reason to eliminate all the stress from your life. The only people I know who are completely stress free can be found a few blocks down the street from my office - in the cemetery!

Not only is it not really possible to eliminate all the stress from your life, it’s not very healthy as well.

What!?! are you saying stress can be healthy?!

Well, in a word, yes.

Before you think I’m completely nuts, consider what some scientists have found. Who knows where they get these ideas, but apparently some researchers found a way for a butterfly to get out of a cocoon without having to struggle. Here’s the interesting part for our approach to stress. As they further studied the butterflies, they found that the ones that did not have to struggle out of their cocoons were not as healthy, not as brightly colored, and did not live as long as the butterflies that had to go through some struggles.

The meaning for us is clear: the right amount of struggle and stress can be a good thing.

When it comes to successfully dealing with stress and struggle, you can have only one of two results: a breakdown or a breakthrough. Let’s take a closer look at each of these two options.

How to Have a Breakdown

Obsess on the stress in your life. Think about nothing else.

Even though you are the only invited guest, have a continuing “pity party.”

Talk constantly about the stress you feel, especially to those that agree completely with you.

Get little or no exercise. After all, with all this stress, you just don’t have time.

Ask lousy questions, such as “Why does this always happen to me?”, “Why don’t other people have as much stress as me?”, etc. etc.

Take a “dead roach approach.” You know, flat on your back, just letting the stress happen to you.

Follow these directions: Say to yourself “I have to do this, I have to do this, I have to do this.” Rinse. Repeat.

Cut down on your sleep and rest. Remember, you just don’t have time.

Focus on everything that is wrong in your life.

Put off all enjoyment until the stress has passed. Remember, you don’t have time.

Pray that life gets easier.

Isolate yourself. Believe you have to do it all your self.

Carry the burden alone.

Believe you have absolutely no choice in the matter.

How to Have a Breakthrough

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 Jun 9th, 2006

A recent survey showed that 70-90% of us feel stressed at work and outside. Stress is easy to lead to problems in central nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, respiratory system, immune system, endocrine and reproductive system. There are several ways to control stress. The fact is that Teas they act simultaneously in all the body levels due to it’s many properties, sometimes thousands unlike western drugs that have just a few. This comprehensive general approach that acts in the whole body is the paramount advantage of the natural approach versus the limited drug related one.

Firstly, the optimum alternative would be to leave your stressful environment and you can more easily treat and even cure the conditions. Of course, this is usually difficult if not impossible; so if you gradually reduce the symptoms even while living in the same environment, it will be easier to live and improve your health and emotional condition. When you prepare your tea cup in the traditional way, you will “allow” yourself a few minutes to escape from the stressful environment and emerge in a “different state of mind” even for a few minutes …. Surprisingly these few moments every day it will make a difference. Every time you pour the Teas, you will have the “natural infusion” of tranquility, and healthy nutrients that in the course of time will definitely make you feel better. It’s not a quick fix and it’s meant to slowly improve your condition for the long term.

Exercise is definitely important, as well as meditation and focus on your breathing is paramount. Again not an easy option in the modern way of life but small steps can be effective. Isolate yourself in a space, focus on your breathing, and try to reduce the speed of your heart beat. You can do it standing up or in the lotus position. Yoga and Tai Chi are also excellent. In the Art of Tea, it is said that Teas have the property of slowing altering your “energy” Chi, level and is conducive to a more active way of life. It all works together, mind and body; teas are only one of the ways to bring them into harmony.

All patients suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression will benefit from treatment with herbs or Teas. Some people feel good for a short time, while others can actually stop drugs and even psychotherapy. It usually takes some time but it does have a long lasting effect and more importantly no side effects. Many people will feel temporary relief after two or three weeks drinking Pure Teas between two or three cups a day and a definite over all improvement after a few months.

The question is what is Tea? And how good are they? And which ones to drink?

We believe that any Tea that comes in a bag is already altered from its natural state with loss of its key properties; it has been usually mixed with different elements, processed in an industrial scale and often of lesser quality. In the traditional sense, Teas should be drunk, in its loose form, in its natural form, without any alteration whatsoever from its original form. Never mixed with milk and some, like Flower Tea, may be used with Crystal sugar, never the refined one.

Try different ones; let your body tell you which ones are more suitable to your condition. Please read about them, (www.in-nature.com) and to vary is important. For example: after eating fattening foods one should drink Puehr and when feeling too stresses some Oolong.

This makes the whole difference and this is where lies the dividing line between the “real tea” that can effectively make a difference in your stress level as well as your general well being and the other ones.

It is important to highlight that the caffeine in Natural Teas are far less then in Coffee and easily absorbed by the body due to its small quantities.

For more serious cases of course there are a variety of herbal formulas to treat various psychological conditions. A formula of herbs is similar to a doctor’s prescription in the sense that the dosage and specifics of the medicine need to be closely monitored by a trained professional.

In all we recommend to all the high flyers, workaholics, stress addicted members of the modern world to take this very first simple step and sooner then you think you will feel the difference.

Pure Teas, a simple taste of life … a natural way to control stress created, produced and delivered by Mother Nature.

www.in-nature.com

Posted on Jun 9th, 2006

In my experience, most of us spend a lot more time living in problem land, griping and complaining, than we do in solution land, working hard and enjoying solving problems.

It’s almost become a national past time. Just check out a talk show or a self help book. Almost all the time and space is spent describing, giving examples, and complaining about the problem, with, if we’re lucky, only a glimpse at possible solutions.

Drives me nuts.

Having said all that, let’s look at some signs and symptoms of problem land and some signs and solutions for solution land.

How to Live in Problem Land

Complain. A lot. Raise it to an art form.

When something goes wrong, immediately look for someone to blame.

A cousin to the one above, when something goes wrong, take no responsibility for changing things.

Keep a working list of all offenses ever done to you, and bring them up when anything bad happens.

Spend 95% of your time focusing on and complaining about the problem, and only 5% on working toward a solution. This my biggest gripe with most self-help books.

Make lots of disempowering, self-defeating statements, such as: “This isn’t fair.” “This shouldn’t be happening” “This isn’t my fault”

Follow this up with disempowering, self-defeating questions, such as: “Why is the world out to get me?” “Why doesn’t God like me?”

Or as Rabbit says in Winnie the Pooh, “Why does this always happen to me? Why, oh why, oh why?”

All of above factors keep your focus on the problem instead of the solution. At best, you may be able to get someone to feel sorry for you, and at worst, you stay stuck in the problem.

How to Live in Solution Land

Number one rule. When problems arise (and they will), look for solutions. In the movie “Rising Sun”, actor Sean Connery has this great line, “In America, when something goes wrong, we look for someone to blame. In Japan, when something goes wrong, they look for solutions.”

Consider this quote from Richard Bach, author of “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.”: “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in it’s hands. We seek problems because we need their gifts.”

Ask questions that lead to action, such as: “How can I make this work for me?” “What might be the gift for me in this problem?”

Spend no more that 5% of your time and energy complaining about the problem, and 95% of your time and energy creatively solving the problem.

Consider these solutions oriented questions from motivational expert Tony Robbins:

What’s not perfect yet?

What’s good about this problem? If you can’t think of anything good, ask “If there was something good about this, what would it be?” What am I willing to do to solve this problem?

What am I willing to no longer do to solve this problem?

What actions can I take that will help me solve this problem and enjoy the process?

“There is a time in the life of every problem when it is big enough to notice and small enough to solve quickly.” Attack problems early and head on, before they have a chance to grow.

I’ll close with a fantastic quote from W. Mitchell, one to live by: “It’s not what happens to us in life that makes the difference. It’s what we do about it.” In other words, we have the power of choice. Problem land or solution land, which will it be for you?

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 Jun 8th, 2006

I’ve spent years researching books on stress in order to find the very best methods to combat this destroyer of happiness, contentment and sometimes life itself. Sure, some stress is good since it can motivate us to take action and even enable us to save our lives and others. But today’s society pounds us with a continuous barrage of stress through long working hours, downsizing, technological changes, two parents working, financial pressures and a host of other influences including war, taxes and death.

There are three excellent methods to combat stress. Make sure you have healthy eating habits, a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Reduce stress with healthy eating habits

What we eat and drink fuels our body. If our body is well fuelled we feel energetic, alert, we sleep better and live longer. If our body is given Big Macs, cake, French fries and fast food continuously we will have high cholesterol, fat, feel sluggish and probably die many years younger than we thought we would. Having healthy eating habits takes a bit of effort. Here is what you do. Read a book on health and become educated on healthy foods. You probably already know that fruits and vegetables are important, but find out what the healthiest ones are (like broccoli). Reducing all processed foods such as white bread, white paste, white rice and reducing sugar is also very healthy. Each Sunday morning take a few minutes to plan the week’s meals. If you are on a budget check the grocery store flyers and buy what is on sale. Get a healthy but tasty recipe book and choose a few recipes for the week. The trick here is to plan the week so that you stay away from last minute junk food temptation. And stay in the habit. It’s really not that difficult.

Reduce stress with a healthy mind.

The fascinating thing about humans is that we all see the world through different perceptions. They way we each see the world is from all the imprints we have experienced throughout our lives. Some of us call these imprints conditioning. These imprints can also cause us stress. Ancient Asian teaching tells us that our mind records about 60 images (or imprints) in the snap of a finger. These imprints enter the subconscious and are part of a vast repository of imprints in your mind, some stronger than others. You may see a winter day as cold and miserable, I may see it as beautiful. I like that person yet you hate them. You believe that the winter and a certain cashier are contributing to the misery in your life (even though that cashier is only at the grocery store). And you carry this anger and misery around like heavy luggage strapped on your back. The most important thing here is to make a conscience effort and avoid having past imprints influence you. The cashier reminds you of a bad teacher, she is just like your strict aunt, and the way she looks at you over her glasses is annoying. These are all past imprints bubbling up to you from your subconscious. And now every time you see her you are annoyed. The cashier may have had a bad day with you once, but is loved by many other people. Different perspectives. The winter is not purposely trying to make you miserable. It can’t. Only you can make yourself miserable. Now try looking at everything from an empty or neutral perspective. Allow the goodness to seep in. This is an incredible peaceful way of looking at the world around us and will erase all kinds of stress. My perception of the winter day is now beautiful. I am the master of my mind, not the winter day. This technique reduces all kinds of unnecessary imprint stress.

Reduce stress with a healthy body.

Our body needs exercise. Without exercise we become lazy, fat, weak, stressed out, and will probably die sooner than expected. There are a million reasons not to exercise. Here are a few tips on getting you in motion. Whatever you do, try to make exercising fun. Go hiking or biking with a friend. Develop a routine by exercising at the same time of day. If you join a fitness club, find one close to home. Nothing worse than finishing work and having to spend unnecessary time commuting to the fitness club. Weigh yourself to keep on track and create motivation. If you have a dog, walk it. It’s not that hard to exercise. Even a brisk walk around the block will help. With a healthier body stress will not affect you nearly as much.

In Summary

What we eat and drink fuels our body. Eat and drink healthy foods through simple planning.

Realize that our past imprints heavily influence our mind and the way we see the world. Try to look at the world in a neutral and empty way. This allows the mind to relax a few precious seconds and shift towards peace and goodness.

Exercising the body isn’t that hard to do. Make it fun.

Please consider this article for your website, blog or ezine. Permission to reprint if by-line stays intact and links are activated on the Internet.

Terry Vermeylen is one of those rare people that is passionately driven to help others unlock their own barriers toward fulfillment, meaning and purpose. He is the founder of http://www.mylifechanges.com/, an Internet value identification and goal setting enterprise.

Posted on Jun 8th, 2006

“Do you want to be a lump of coal or do you want to be a diamond?” That’s the first question I ask to begin my stress management seminar called “A Diamond is Nothing More Than a Lump of Coal That Handled Stress Very Well.”

We seem to have some interesting misconceptions about the stress in our lives. The most common is that stress is something to be avoided at all costs, and true happiness comes from being totally stress free.

That’s just not true in the real world. If you don’t believe me, check out the results of a study conducted into the effects of stress on performance. In the study, subjects were instructed to watch trains pass at a crossing and to write down a five digit number on the side of the train. At first the trains came by slowly, then continued to speed up until the numbers were just a blur going by. The researchers then counted the number of errors in copying down the numbers on the train. Here’s the results - when the trains were going very fast, there were many errors, as might be expected. The interesting thing is that there were just as many errors when the trains were going by slowly. The best scores were when the trains were going by at a moderately rapid rate.

One of the lessons for us in this study is that a certain amount of stress, managed properly, not only does not harm us, it’s necessary for optimum performance.

Back to the question with which I started this column - “Do you want to be a lump of coal or a diamond?” There are questions, beliefs and actions that go along with being a lump of coal, and there are questions, beliefs and actions that go along with being a diamond. Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories.

Lump of Coal Questions and Beliefs

Why does this always happen to me? A good victim question that takes away all your power to do anything about the situation. This shouldn’t be happening, it’s not fair! Another victim belief. Same result - no power or strength fo change. If it’s stressful, I shouldn’t do it. Then you may not do much, because stress is an indication that you are still alive.

Lump of Coal Actions

Giving up. The worst thing we can do when dealing with stress. An old quote helps us understand why we do this - “when you’re up to our posterior in alligators, it’s difficult to remember your original intention was to drain the swamp!”

Taking it out on others. Stress seems to roll down hill onto the other people around us.

Becoming “stressed out”. Becoming stressed out freezes our creativity and sense of humor, and leaves us stuck.

Diamond Questions and Beliefs

How can I make this work for me? Another old quote applies here - “when life hands you lemons, the only winning choice is to make lemonade.” While that my sound too nice and easy, think about it for a moment. Simply asking the question “how can I make this work for me?” opens up our mind to the possibilities and creative choices available to us.

I can handle it. When it comes to handling stress like a diamond, this “the phrase of champions.” An even better phrase is “in how many ways can I handle it and enjoy the process.”

Diamond Actions

Living a life of fulfillment and purpose. Managing stress well allows you to live a life well lived.

Confronting stress head on. Seeing stress as a challenge allows us to be proactive and creative in designing a “diamond life.”

Making stress work for you. The number one way to make stress work for you is to take action. Taking action allows you to sharpen your skills and become a diamond. Now, just to be clear - am I saying that stress is always good for you? Of course not. There are certain types of stress as well as certain times in our lives when the healthiest thing to do is remove ourselves from the source of stress.

Am I saying that there are ways to handle the stress in our lives that can make it work for us, that allow us to thrive instead of just survive? You bet I am!

A lump of coal or a diamond. Which will it be for you?

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 Jun 7th, 2006

Best Rx? Quick Strategies to Handle Small Hassles!

The Four S Strategy! What is the Four S strategy for quickly handling stress! Smile. Slack. Sag. Smooth.

Smile and make your eyes sparkle. (Maybe think of your kids.) Take a deep breath.

Slack your jaw. Do it. Release the tension held in the jaw. Take a deep breath.

Sag your shoulders. Take a deep breath

Smooth your forehead. Take a deep breath.

Smiling breaks the tension in facial muscles, as does letting the jaw hang slack. (Go through the day with some space between your upper and lower teeth.)

Sagging the shoulders relaxes tension held there also.

Smoothing the forehead may be the toughest of the four to do.

Now, how fast did you resume your old tension?

Breath! Breathe in to a count of three, hold it for three seconds, exhale to a count of three. As you breathe in, think the word "Calm."

Shallow breathing actually enhances an adrenalin/cortisol endocrine bath for body, so I have the hormonal platform online for an over reaction to something my children do, for example. Breathing deeply changes that hormonal bath to DHEA, the anti-aging hormone.

Cool Air In, Warm Air Out. Close your eyes, and become aware of your breath passing the tip of your nose. Become aware of your breath moving into your nostrils and the sensations of your breath moving out of your nostrils.

Is the air coming in a bit cooler than the air being exhaled?

Be aware of cool air in, warm air out.

Can you feel loose and heavy while doing this?

Break up the long chain of stressful thoughts, and change your feeling.

Repeat frequently.

Heavy Feet Take a short period of time to imagine your feet (or your hands, or both your feet and your hands) becoming heavier and warmer. Imagine that heaviness and warmth spreading throughout your body.

Change the thought to change the feeling.

Remember the brain creates an interpretation of sensory data in 1/18th second, so many relaxing thoughts like these need not take us away from our daily chores, and they sure can make a difference in our energy levels.

Breathing Tension Away. Close your eyes and focus your mind on legs and feet. (Are you sitting at your computer?) Take a slow deep breath and imagine all the tensions in your legs and feet being drawn up into the lungs, and imagine expelling the tensions with your exhale.

Then take a second deep breath, and imagine all the tensions in your hands, arms, and trunk being drawn into your lungs, to be expelled with the exhale.

Do the same with shoulders, neck and head.

Breath away all your tensions.

Take as many breaths as you need to clear your body.

Now you can breath in a color you like, and let it spread throughout your body.

Diaphragmatic Breathing. This strategy will get your belly button moving. Stand or sit straight and put one hand on your chest and the other on your navel.

Now breath in so the hand on your belly button moves out. When you exhale the hand on your belly button should move in, and the hand on your chest should not move much.

(Mantak Chia refers to this exercise in his book, "The Multi-Orgasmic Man".) With practice you can begin to breath so that the lower lungs are filled first, and then the upper lungs, and the exhale will follow.

Deep breathing allows the body to more effectively remove toxins. If toxins are not removed effectively, they can become stress inducing by themselves.

Couple your stressful thinking and toxins, and you have a recipe for disease.

Breathe Through Tension. Gently focus attention on a tense area of your body. Imagine breathing fresh air to that spot.

Exhale the air and imagine tension from that spot leaving the area.

Repeat.

Add color and the Four S’s.

Create Your Own Breathing Visualization. Many brief relaxations reduce the cumulative impact of stress while actually increasing productivity. However, I know that as a young man I was taught that when the going gets tough, the tough get rigid, which is not quite what that old saying was about.

The way to handle stress is with flexibility and relaxation which can happen as often as every other breath, depending on how sophisticated I choose to be.

Awareness gives me choice.

Now how fast did you pick your tension back up?

http://www.frazzled-family-finding-change-growth-wellness.com

My name is Michael Logan. I am a 57 year old father of a seven year old boy and a one and one-half year old daughter. So I am grandfather age and changing diapers too. I am a husband, and a business owner, a mid-life career changer, who is partnering with Julie in the creation of Logan Family Counseling.

I believe deeply in the process of change, having done it myself, and I am blessed to be able to walk with other folks who are deeply involved in the transformative process. We invite your response.

Posted on Jun 7th, 2006

Q. I work in an office with several people, all of whom I get along with quite well. There is one person, however, that really gets my goat. He gladhands everyone, smiles and schmoozes with the boss and acts like everyone’s friend. The problem is this person steals other people’s ideas, talks behind your back and is basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I love my job, and I would not leave it for the world. So what do I do? Do I go to the boss and complain, do I rally my co-workers, do I confront this person myself?

A. I’m often asked this question, probably because there seems to be one of these folks in just about every workplace.

What you’re dealing with is what I call a shark. And what’s worse, it’s not a shark that’s big and obvious as in "Jaws." This one looks and acts like a dolphin.

The problem here is that when you are in the water, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Let’s take a quick look at the difference between dolphins and sharks at work, and then we’ll put some "hands and feet" on these notions.

Dolphins are the people you can trust. Sharks are the people that, at best, you can’t trust, and at worst, you have to protect yourself against.

DOLPHIN TRAITS

They do what they say they will.

You can confide in them.

They are team players.

Their behavior matches their words.

They take responsibility for mistakes.

They can be trusted.

SHARK TRAITS

They fail to follow through.

You can’t confide in them.

They’re out for themselves.

Their behavior doesn’t match their words.

They blame others.

They can’t be trusted.

There is the story of the beaver that was getting ready to cross the river. Just as he was getting ready to cross, he came upon a scorpion who wanted a ride. The beaver refused, saying the scorpion would sting him and he would die. The scorpion denied this and promised he would not harm the beaver, if only he would take him across the river.

The beaver, being a good-natured and trusting chap, allowed the scorpion to crawl on his back, and he swam across the river. Just as the beaver reached the shoreline, the scorpion stung him and got off. As the beaver lay dying, he asked the scorpion why he broke his promise. The scorpion replied, "I’m a scorpion; that’s what I do."

And so it can be with some work relationships.

One useful way to handle the sharks and scorpions in your work life is to play the game called "I can expect that." For most dolphin-like people, it usually comes as a surprise when people behave like sharks. It catches us off-guard.

Playing "I can expect that" simply means that with certain people, we can expect them, almost trust them, to behave in shark-like ways. Playing "I can expect that" allows us to:

Anticipate negative behavior.

Plan for negative behavior.

Respond instead of react.

Predict another’s behavior.

Reduce our stress level.

After a little practice, you can even laugh a little at what’s happening - "Here it comes, I was expecting that."

A client I once worked with had a colleague who exhibited some distinctly shark-like behavior. Whenever Mary presented an idea in a staff meeting, her colleague would shoot it down.

By playing the "I can expect that" game, Mary was able to arrive at a creative solution. Whenever Mary had an idea that she really wanted to see happen, she simply anticipated her colleague’s response and ran the idea past her at least a week before the meeting. By doing this, she gave her colleague the illusion of participation and prevented her from shooting down the idea.

Now, some may call this manipulative. I call it simply working smarter. You don’t have to confront the person, talk to your boss, or rally your co-workers. The good news here is that this technique can help you keep your head in difficult situations. And if you can "keep your head when all about you are losing theirs," you expose the sharks for what they really are.

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 Jun 6th, 2006

It’s okay to take your job seriously, to be a stickler for professionalism and sure it’s wonderful to take your responsibilities seriously. However, you have to be a bit careful when you allow your job to become your LIFE.

Give your work your best effort, stand up for your beliefs, but be careful that you don’t become a one-dimensional robot that just has his or her tape programmed to talk about how much work he has to do. If you notice people by the water cooler scatter when you come by, I’m afraid to break the news to you. They know it… they don’t want you to pass that energy on to them. They see that you have no life.

Yikes…maybe I’m being a little harsh but I’ve been there, so I know. While working at HBO as a Director, I worked long hours. My office became my second home. There was a leopard rug (don’t laugh), candles, incense, soft jazz and dim lights. My co-workers would always joke around about it being like a lounge and that I should serve martinis during meetings. LOL! But I realized I made it so comfortable because that’s where I spent most of my waking moments. It’s pathetic when I think about it now. Sure, I was getting a great salary and yeah I loved what I did, however what was seriously lacking was some ‘me time’. Other parts in my life weren’t fulfilled because of this ‘love’ for my job.

Now…being a ‘self-bosser’ for two years I cringe when I see others with this obsession, especially, if it’s not their own company. I see it sucking the spirit right out of them. I was inspired to write about this topic this month by a long time friend of mine, because he’s going through a rough period in his career where work is all he knows. Although he’s extremely successful, he’s not the same person because work is all he talks about and being at the top is all he lives for. The end result is that he barely has enough time for hobbies, family or friends. He’s only 28 and stressed out beyond belief. You can look at him and tell he has tightness in the back of his neck as his brain tinkers away thinking about "work, work, work." That tightness in the back of my neck is a feeling that I don’t miss. But even though I do get stressed out sometimes…knowing how to strive for balance and a healthy life has prevented it from occurring. Now the question for you is: Has your JOB become your LIFE? Have you changed as a person and let your spirit fade? Take this simple quiz and see if you are showing symptoms of a workaholic.

Answer yes or no to each question.

1. Do I have a ‘me day’? One day out of the week that I use to focus on me and me alone? (This means no business calls, meetings, or business reading.)

2. Can I spend time away from work and not think about business issues?

3. Do I talk to my spouse, friends and family about topics OTHER than business or my day at work?

4. Am I spending quality time with my family?

5. Do I have a hobby?

6. Do I still have friends? (outside of the office)

7. Do I laugh and smile as much as I used to?

If you answered NO to three or more of these questions I’d like you to take a seat, light a candle, close your eyes, and repeat this chant. "I must get a life. I must get a life. I must get a life." I’m just teasing ya but seriously folks, here are some real pointers to help you recapture your true self and not get lost in WORK.

Find Balance and Reduce Stress

1. Get a physical: Get an accurate assessment of your health. What’s your cholesterol count? Your blood pressure? How much do you weigh (and should you lose any to better your health)? If you are currently experiencing symptoms of stress, your physician will assess their significance and prescribe a treatment.

2. Tap into yourself EVERY DAY: Meditate, pay, chant or say an affirmation…whatever works for you spiritually can serve as a great relaxation technique.

3. Eat healthy and begin a journey towards a healthier lifestyle: Health is a buffer against stress. Increasing your physical stamina through diet, exercise and rest will help you combat the stressors in your life.

4. Improve your time management: Take a course or purchase a book to learn the best ways to manage your time AND your energy.

5. Take energizing breaks:

- If time or money doesn’t permit you to take a full-fledged vacation, then escape to a location close to home for a weekend retreat. Make sure people call you only for an emergency!

- Treat yourself to a day-spa for some pampering. A massage or facial will always do the trick!

- You can also do something as simple as going to your public library or book store. Browse the travel section, photography books or fiction. Peruse anything that lets your mind go on a mini-vacation.

- Take a walk in the park and bring a book and just relax. (Non-work related reading only guys!)

6. Day Dream!: "When you think about pleasurable things like sex or food, PET scans show different patterns lighting up in your brain than when you think about work or something unpleasant," says Mehmet Oz, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, in O Magazine.

Realize you aren’t perfect, you aren’t a machine. Humans are incapable of perfection so stop beating yourself. Free yourself to ignore some of the social pressures that have been holding you back from your hopes and dreams. Your ambitious nature may get you to the top, but you might just be waving down at everyone you let fade out of your life. You’ll have no one to share your successes with. Remember that friends and loved ones suffer those weekends and late nights you are home answering e-mail or constantly checking your office voicemail.

Don’t turn your focus away from what is truly important. Instead, learn to measure your success by the balance and happiness you achieve in your life on a whole. I wish you luck in achieving that life that you want and need!

Simone Kelly-Brown is author and founder of Gots To Have It, Marketing, a firm that specializes in marketing and empowering entrepreneurs with a series of workshops and networking events. Please view her company web sites here: http://www.gotstohaveit.com and http://www.giventakenetwork.org

Posted on Jun 6th, 2006

One of the best professional experiences I have ever had was working for an adolescent drug treatment center for a good part of the eighties. I certainly didn’t make much money there, but what I learned during those six plus years was priceless.

HALTS is an acronym commonly used in substance abuse treatment that can be very usefully applied to stress management. A HALTS approach to managing our stress recommends that we avoid getting too Hungry Angry Lonely Tired Scared.

Hungry - Although food comes immediately to mind (when doesn’t it?), there are many other things for which we can “hunger.” We all need a sense of worth, connection to others and to something bigger than ourselves, appreciation, and many others. Miss out on some of these basic emotional needs for very long and we can end up sad or depressed.

Tip:Angry - I get angry, you get angry, we all get angry. No problem there. The problem comes when anger is our most common emotion and our first response to most situations. Recent research has demonstrated that constant anger is not only not good for you, it can kill you.

Tip: Pay attention to and deal with the emotions that anger typically grows out of: fear, frustration, hurt.

Lonely - In spite of all the modern ways we have to communicate with each other, we still live in a culture where it is incredibly easy to become isolated. Most people don’t know the names of their neighbors on either side or across the street. I know of people who are “just too busy” to spend the time to connect with other people. These folks are way too busy for their own good.

Tip: Take the time to connect and stay connected to others. Walk next door and introduce yourself. Call an old friend you have not spoken with in a while. Stay connected.

Tired - Vince Lombardi said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” It’s not that most people don’t have the time to rest, it’s that most people have actually forgotten how. When it comes to the ultimate form of rest, sleeping, when was the last time you got the recommended 8 - 10 hours? You can stop laughing now. We can push ourselves just so far before the body takes over and forces us to rest. I’ve worked with clients that have told me that it’s actually a badge of honor among their colleagues to have been hospitalized for exhaustion. Go figure.

Tip: In addition to getting enough sleep, schedule time to rest. Put it in your appointment book, and protect it and keep it like you would any other important appointment.

Scared - In the Tarzan movies I watched as a kid, there were these natives with blowguns who would shoot darts coated with poison that would render a person temporarily paralyzed. Fear can do the same thing - paralyze us into inaction. Fear of failure, of rejection, of success, of the future, you name it, we get too scared and we freeze up.

Tip: Facing your fears and taking action is spite of them can reduce or eliminate your fears. Remember that fear stands for forget everything and run and false evidence appearing real. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being afraid of something and doing it anyway.

For better or worse, we may have too much of one of these on any given day. Consistently having two or more can indicate a situation in need of change. Practice these tips to successfully manage your stress or you might want to get with someone who can coach you on making your stress work for you.

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.

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