Archive for July, 2006

Posted on Jul 31st, 2006

Rachel looks in the mirror and notices a mark on her cheek. Immediately her breath becomes shallow, her heart races, her chest tightens, and she feels nauseated. She checks the spot more closely, and sees that it’s just a speck of dirt. She washes it off and tells herself firmly that she is fine – it wasn’t the beginning of skin cancer, it was nothing. It’s gone. She is okay.

Although she keeps telling herself she is okay, hours later, Rachel still doesn’t feel okay. What if seeing that spot was a “sign”? What is she is about to develop skin cancer? What if she already has skin cancer and she just hasn’t seen it yet? Should she go see her doctor? Recurring thoughts of cancer hover in the back of her mind for the rest of the day. Weeks later she notices she is still spending an increased amount of time inspecting her skin for unusual marks or blemishes.

Like an estimated 13-16.5% of adults, Rachel has an anxiety disorder. Types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.

At times the symptoms of anxiety can become so debilitating that those affected will not leave their home or attend social functions – and their lives may become consumed by the effort to avoid people, places or situations which are likely to trigger feelings of anxiety.

Traditional treatment for anxiety disorder has involved medication to help to lessen the symptoms of anxiety, and behavioral therapy to assist with coping and challenging irrational thoughts. Treatment is generally expected to be long term.

Zensight Process offers new hope to those with anxiety. In many cases, a practitioner who is very skilled with both Zensight and in working with those with anxiety, can help someone to experience dramatic improvement – and in some cases a complete elimination of symptoms – in just a few sessions.

In most situations, many individuals will be able to use Zensight on their own – without ever consulting a practitioner at all – to considerably improve and sometimes even eliminate their symptoms altogether. Those who do choose to work with a therapist or practitioner to help support and accelerate their healing will also benefit from doing Zensight self-healing in between sessions, in order to obtain the best results.

How to Use Zensight Process

Zensight Process involves working with the subconscious mind in a way that is similar to hypnosis – and yet no hypnosis is actually used. Instead, we begin by creating a “healing symbol”. This symbol can be a word, picture, or colour. Some people choose to use a symbol such as “ocean”. They then can focus on the word “ocean” when that feels right, and at other times may actually visualize the ocean.

When this healing symbol is used or focused upon with intent, it allows the fears, concerns, and “blocks” that someone is experiencing to gently heal and transform.

The healing symbol is then used together with healing statements and visualization, to soften, dissolve and release the concerns that are being experienced.

In a situation of anxiety, the individual is instructed to stop and notice any visual image that comes to mind when she or he thinks about one of their specific concerns – and then focus upon this image while connecting with the healing symbol that was chosen.

This use of visualization helps to greatly accelerate healing because it does not rely upon the limits of our conscious mind and awareness. The visual image that comes up may be an actual representation of a specific fear or issue that is being experienced, or it may be something that is metaphorical in nature. I have had people tell me that they suddenly see a picture of themselves with their leg caught in a trap, or that they see a large grey object that they can’t identify or make sense of. The different images that come up are highly variable and are not always understood by the person. The beauty of it is that they don’t need to be understood. The image is simply focused upon while connecting with the healing symbol, and is allowed to transform.

What generally happens is that the image spontaneously transforms in a way that feels healing. The individual watches as the trap that was holding the leg simply dissolves and disappears. They see themselves then being able to move about freely and with a sense of contentment and peace. The big unexplained grey object morphs into a big egg which opens up and releases light and a feeling of peace that the person senses themselves absorbing as she or he watches.

If the picture doesn’t change, if no picture is seen, or in order to resolve any remaining upset, the individual uses healing statements. After each statement, the person takes a deep breath and lets it go, and focuses upon the healing symbol. Upsets are then healed and transformed, as positive feelings grow and strengthen.

Examples of healing statements are:

I heal all of the fears that any parts of me have, that I can’t get free of this problem

I heal any and all feelings that any parts of me have, that I am trapped.

I let all of the parts of me know, deeply and completely, that I am safe.

All of the different parts of me now experience a growing sense of peace and comfort.

My entire body is relaxing now.

Sound simple? It is – extremely simple, and yet powerfully and deeply effective. Best of all, the effects are lasting - providing that energetic imbalances are addressed and healed, results will in most cases be permanent.

Energy Balancing

Zensight can be used for much more than simply targeting specific symptoms. In the case of anxiety – especially experiences of pervasive fear and anxiety – it is best to begin by targeting energetic imbalances that are most likely being experienced.

Someone who experiences frequent and/or pervasive feelings of fear has an imbalance in his or her triple warmer meridian. The energy meridians have been widely recognized in Eastern medicine as impacting upon our emotional, physical, and mental concerns. Acupuncture is only one of many modalities which focus upon bringing healing to the energy meridians.

The triple warmer meridian is the meridian in the body which governs the fight/flight/freeze response. Sometimes – often in response to an original event or series of events in which the individual felt intense fear or terror – the triple warmer meridian becomes overenergized. In the case of anxiety, the emphasis will be upon the “flight/freeze” response, and the individual will quickly respond with fear to many situations which may to others appear innocuous.

Trying to talk someone out of their fear often has little effect. Rachel rationally knows that the mark on her face was simply dirt and was no more an indicator of cancer than is a stain on her jeans. However, in spite of this awareness, and in spite of her logical mind which tells her she is safe and is overreacting, Rachel can not let the fear go.

The problem that Rachel is experiencing is not in her mind so much as in her body and in her energy system. Often patterns of triple warmer overenergization begin in childhood, in response to repeated experiences of terror. Sometimes this may be due to experiences of abuse that were either experienced or witnessed, and sometimes it may be connected with less obviously traumatic experiences that were nevertheless fear-producing for the particular child involved.

Rachel knows that she is safe – but her body and energy system need to know it too. In a sense, they need to be reprogrammed. With Zensight, this “reprogramming” can occur gently and easily during a rapid yet extremely relaxing process.

Other energetic imbalances may also be involved. Homolateral energy (where the energy runs straight up and down the body rather than crossing over it) may also be involved. Once any energetic imbalances that are involved are addressed, many symptoms of anxiety will lessen immediately. The work then becomes focused on targeting the concerns more directly.

Bringing Healing to the “Whole” Person

The emphasis which Zensight Process places upon using both visualization and verbal “healing statements” ensures that both hemispheres of the brain are involved during the healing process. This assists people in linking logic with emotion. After using Zensight, not only does Rachel logically understand that the spot on her face was not a sign of impending doom – she emotionally “gets it” as well.

Zensight also addresses the experience of parts of self. All of us have parts of self. In many situations where healing is not experienced even when highly effective modalities are being used, the issue is that the person on some level – in some small part of them – may believe that it’s not safe to heal the concerns. Rachel may be afraid to completely heal her anxiety because some small part of her may fear that if she stops worrying about and expecting to develop cancer, that she will pay less attention and will miss warning signs and thus be unsafe. Zensight allows the individual to access and bring healing to – through the use of visualization and targeted healing statements – to even those parts of us that are afraid to heal, or believe it is not in our best interests to do so.

By ensuring that the individual is treated at as a whole – physically, emotionally, mentally, and energetically – Zensight enables even concerns that are usually considered to be difficult to impossible to resolve, to be as gently and quickly healed as possible.

Carol Ann Rowland, MSW, RSW is a psychotherapist, Reiki Master, and the creator of Zensight Process. Carol Ann is internationally known for her expertise and skill with energy work. Zensight can be used to hear fear, traumas, relationship concerns, unwanted patterns or habits, emotional issues, as well as many physical concerns.

For more information about Zensight, to sign up for a free introductory Zensight ecourse and ebook, or to access Zensight downloadable audio healing sessions, please see http://www.zensightprocess.com

Posted on Jul 31st, 2006

"Watch your language."

We all heard this admonition as kids and probably say it to our own kids as well.

Did you know that it is also a great stress mastering technique?

The words we use to make sense of both our day and the stress that confronts us make a huge difference in how well we handle our lives. Many times the words we use can make us feel even more stressed.

The funny thing is, it’s usually just a very small distinction that can make all the difference. One of the best examples is what I call the "got to vs. get to" difference.

Saying "I’ve got to" is so prevalent in our language that most of us don’t realize just how much and how often we say it.

Pay attention to how often you think and say, "got to." You’ll notice that it makes you feel tighter, heavier and more rushed. Actual physiological responses in your body take place as your muscles tighten and your breathing becomes shallower.

Activities and tasks that are simply a part of life, or perhaps even a privilege, then become burdens to be carried and gotten through.

Instead of enjoying the day and the blessings that come with it, we focus on just getting through. Doesn’t sound very compelling does it? Yet we do it all the time, every day.

Here’s what I suggest you do. Over the next few days, watch your language. Pay attention to your language. Notice how often you think or say, "got to." I’m willing to bet you’ll be surprised, and you’ll begin to understand a part of why you feel so stressed.

Now that you’re aware of how much you say "got to" and how much it effects you, here’s what you can do about it.

Remember earlier I pointed out it was just a small distinction between "got to" and "get to"? Well, the distinction is small, but the difference is huge. You can look upon the same day, with the same tasks in it, and take a "get to" approach. You’ll notice that you will feel lighter, less stressed, more motivated and more blessed.

Here’s a recent example from my life. On a recent Thursday afternoon, I found myself in the middle of a "got to" binge. It was past the time I prefer to send in this column. We just got the news that my wife would require more surgery following her recent pregnancy. And I had a full load of clients to see that afternoon.

Here is one more suggestion - imagine what it would have been like to lay in bed this morning, thinking about all the "got to’s" that were coming in your day. What does that feel like? Now, imagine the same scene, but focusing on all the many things that you "get to" do that day. Notice how different you feel? Which one do you like better?

It takes some practice, and with practice you can learn to avoid the "got to’s" and focus on the "get to’s" in your life. A small distinction, yes. And a huge difference.

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 Jul 30th, 2006

These ten points are very common and effective tools for managing stress and anxiety, however, it is a good idea to seek the opinion of a health practitioner as sometimes these issues can be indicators of deeper physiological or psychological problems.

  1. Breathe - Whenever you feel yourself getting anxious, focus on your breathing. Start by taking a big, deep breath and as you exhale, let out a great big sigh. This alone can release a truckload of stress. Then, simply focus on your breathing, feeling the oxygen flood your body as you inhale and leave your body as you exhale. Slow your breathing right down and you will feel your body and mind relax.
  2. Time Management - learn to structure your time and work. Make ‘To Do Lists’, Goal Sheets and use other time management tools to provide a structure within which you can accomplish so much more. Look up ‘Time Management’ in a search engine for lots of helpful ideas!
  3. Get It Fixed - If there is something worrying you about your health or another part of your life, get it checked out by professionals. Go to your health practitioner for health problems, or your accountant for business issues rather than gnawing on it for months on end. All too often the drama we’ve created in our minds is no big deal, or if it is of concern, it can be easily dealt with the help of a specialist.
  4. Let It Go! - There’s a wonderful prayer called ‘The Serenity Prayer’. ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.’ (Author is Anonymous). Recognise that there are some things in life’s journey that are out of your control. Instead of focusing on those things, teach yourself to let it go and instead, look at what you can change in your life.
  5. Hand It Over - If you’ve done everything you can about a particular situation, you have two options left to you: Worry about it or Hand It Over to God. Worrying about the situation is only pouring negativity onto it. Allowing God (whatever your concept of God is) to take charge of it provides the greatest possible opportunity for a positive outcome.
  6. Remove the Stressors - sometimes we can hold on to relationships, jobs and other situations that we’ve long outgrown. Doing this will eventually create great stress. Look over your life and see if there are any areas where you may have outgrown your situation. Consider what you will lose by letting go of the old situation. Consider what you will gain.
  7. Balance - It can be very easy to lose sight of a healthy life balance when you are struggling and striving in your daily life. Every now and then, stop and take stock of your life. Do you set aside enough time and space to be on your own in peace? Are you spending enough time with your loved ones? Do you get out into nature once in a while to breath in the clean air and restore your energy? Do you get a regular massage or Reiki session? No matter how hard you work, there will always be more work. Make sure you include some ‘real life’ in your schedule.
  8. Easy Does It, But Do It - Procrastination is a huge generator of stress! So make sure you are moving through your list of things you need to do. If you have difficulty with procrastination, then this method may help. Choose something that needs to get done, break the goal into smaller steps then focus on and complete one step without worrying about anything else. Once that step is completed, start and complete the next step. Before you know it, you will have completed your task and be ready to move on to the next.
  9. Ask For Help - It’s a difficult thing, asking for help, but it can also be very worthwhile. If you have aspects of your life, your work, your health that you’re not coping with or don’t know how to deal with, look around for sources of help. You may need to outsource some of your workload so that you can concentrate on what you do best, you may benefit from a Life Coach or Time Management consultant or dietician. There are many wonderful experts out there who understand and can help you to deal with life in a simpler, more manageable way.
  10. Basic Needs. Sleep and Diet! It is so important to make sure you are getting enough sleep and a healthy diet! Eight hours of sleep a day and a balanced diet, will allow your body and mind the rest, recouperation and nourishment it needs to function well and cope with life!
  11. So, there you have it! Of course, these ten tips are not all that can be done for stress management, however they are very common factors to consider when dealing with stress. The most important thing to remember is that your life is important and valuable. Far more important than any job, business or relationship that you may be focused on.

    Daniella Breen, B.Sc.(Psych) has been working in the stress management industry for 9 years. Her on-line training school http://www.Shamangoddesscollege.com has many courses to train you in meditation and other empowerment techniques.

Posted on Jul 30th, 2006

Q. I’ve been told that I need to learn from my mistakes. But telling me to learn from my mistakes is easier said than done. How exactly does it happen?

A. People seem to go through three stages in learning how to learn from their mistakes:

Stage One: Get me out of this!

No one likes mistakes or the problems and challenges that accompany them. But each mistake, problem and challenge comes with a gift for us.

When we are rescued from our mistakes, we miss out on what we are to learn from them. There are certain lessons that each of us is to learn in life. If we don’t learn the lesson the first time around, the same mistakes, problems and challenges will come back around.

I call this the "taps and 2-by-4’s process of life." When we need to learn and/or change something, life begins with a small tap on our shoulder. If we don’t pay attention, the taps get more forceful. If we still don’t listen, life has a way of taking out a 2-by-4 and whacking us across the head to get our attention.

Having been on the receiving end of a few 2-by-4’s, I recommend that you pay attention to the taps, because 2-by-4’s hurt.

Stage Two: Get me through this

Instead of looking for a way out, you are looking for a way through. We begin to ask questions like "How can I get through this?" instead of "How can I get out of this?" The focus is on survival instead of escape.

The only problem is that while surviving sounds good, it’s not very compelling. How excited would you be each morning if you got up thinking, "All right, I get to go survive today"?

Sometimes it seems like the very best we can do is survive a situation, but I believe there are better responses we can choose. In the words of Dan Fogelberg: "Lessons learned are like bridges burned, we only need to cross them but once."

Stage Three: What can I learn from this?

This is when you begin to learn from mistakes. If you believe that all mistakes come with hidden gifts, then this is when you can begin to discover them. Just asking the question frames the situation in a different perspective.

Here are some useful questions to ask: What was I trying to accomplish? Did it work? What ongoing themes were revealed that need to be changed? How many other ways are there to accomplish what I want? Is what I want to accomplish the right thing to do? Is it worth doing? What will happen if I keep making this mistake and/or don’t learn anything from this problem?

Making a mistake is not the biggest mistake we can make; not learning from them is the biggest mistake.

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 Jul 29th, 2006

What triggers stress for you?

Most people think they know exactly what pushes their buttons, but they’re going for the low-hanging fruit. It’s the stuff that’s hanging in the hard-to-reach branches that tends to multiply our feelings of frustration, exhaustion and disconnection.

One client–let’s call him Scott–told me that he knows very well what causes stress for him: "My boss, the fact that he won’t give me a promotion, and my stack of bills to pay."

Well, isn’t that a tidy little package? But here’s the problem: Scott looks at that package and feels that there is nothing he can do with it– "I must work with the boss who hates me." "I must work harder to get a promotion." "I must make more money to pay my bills." End of story.

When we put our stressors into a package like that, we create an obstacle–the big box marked "This is my life"–that seems impossible to change.

That’s why we need to shake up that package a bit, unwrap it and see what’s really inside.

In Scott’s case, shaking that life package revealed that the whole "My boss is out to get me" story tended to color his perception of everything about his job.

The truth was that he loved the work, enjoyed his colleagues, and felt he was making a difference. However, he didn’t feel appreciated by his boss because he did not get the promotion he’d expected due to the company’s reorganization.

Really, his whole "my boss is ruining my life" concept was a story he created to avoid looking at the fact that he was feeling under pressure to make more money to provide for his family.

Adding fuel to the fire, his young children were getting into activities–soccer, gymnastics–that required more money and created more stress for his wife, who acted as chauffeur. Scott felt he should work longer hours, which meant he missed out on family dinners and rarely attended his children’s activities.

Scott was drained. His wife was frustrated. His children missed him. "If only my boss would give me a promotion," Scott’s story went, "my life would be so much better."

With a little help, Scott was able to pay attention to what matters most–

1) Providing a comfortable lifestyle for his family while doing work he enjoyed

2) Having time and energy to spend with his loved ones

Scott recognized that his boss had nothing to do with his frustration. What was stressing Scott was the idea that he had to continue to work hard in order to support a lifestyle that was becoming increasingly expensive and exhausting.

We all do the same thing–we create stories that make it easier for us to accept what we view as unchangeable circumstances.

Scott had a heart-to-heart talk with his wife, who had believed that Scott’s boss really was the source of his frustration. Once she knew the real situation, things shifted.

They agreed that what they wanted most for their family was a simpler way of life. Together, they decided to limit their activities–more dinners home together, more time on the weekend to enjoy family outings, less strain on the family budget. The children were okay with giving up their sports if it meant doing more fun things as a family. They’d signed up initially simply because their friends were doing the same.

Many of the things we feel we NEED to do are simply things we start doing. Without paying attention to what we might be losing in the process, these activities can become an obstacle to creating a happy, relaxed home life.

Scott’s looking forward to a year of less stress, more fun, and greater awareness. He feels much lighter now that he recognizes that his boss story was based on frustration, not facts.

Things are coming together now that Scott sees what matters most, and he is surprised at how simple it was to make decisions that made life easier for his whole family.

Oh, and that package? It turns out there wasn’t much in it after all.

Sometimes, those are the best ones to unwrap.

Maya Talisman Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her playful, eyes-wide-open approach to mindfulness has been featured in over 150 publications worldwide. To read her free tips and tricks for practical awareness, visit http://www.Real-WorldMindfulness.com

Posted on Jul 29th, 2006

Q. I wonder if you could help me with a problem that just seems to be getting worse. I seem to blow everything out of proportion. I react so strongly to even small problems and always think the worst is going to happen. My friends tell me I do it, my husband tells me, and I know I do and I’m tired of it.

A. Whether you call it blowing things out of proportion, making a mountain out of a molehill, or some other phrase, it all comes down to turning every event into a potential catastrophe. This is called catastrophism.

It’s a learned response. Most people who practice catastrophism have either had it modeled for them by someone else, received a great deal of attention when they go the high drama route, or both. Sometimes the problem can even get solved, which greatly reinforces the response.

Symptoms of catastrophism

Total or near total loss of perspective on the relative importance of events.

Turning the simple into something complex.

Viewing most, if not all, problems as potentially life-threatening.

Going from 0 to 60 emotionally in response to life’s challenges.

Demanding that others see the situation the same way you do.

Frustration with others when they don’t see it the same as you.

Catastrophism can be a very draining experience. Going from 0 to 60 all the time wears you out.

Imagine a meter that measures from 0 to 10, with 0 as rest and 10 as the strongest possible reaction. When we are faced with a challenge, we are designed to go from rest to some number on the meter and then back down to rest. But when we make events a catastrophe, we respond by shooting up the meter and never coming back down to rest.

Fairly soon we live at an intensity level of 5 and rarely get back to rest.

Another negative consequence of catastrophism is that people begin to not take you seriously. When everything is a big deal to you, then nothing is a big deal to those around you. So, when something really is a big deal, others will think you are crying wolf.

Another consequence is people tend to shy from the intensity and drama, so again, when something is an actual crisis, nobody’s around to take you seriously.

Fortunately, there are many ways to intervene in this process and get the changes you want.

Practicing perspective

The first thing I recommend is to practice some perspective. Perspective is something you either use or lose. I worked with a client whose motto in the face of challenges was "Well, they can’t cook and eat me." There might be some wisdom there. While you may not want to use those exact words, telling yourself "this is just an event" can calm you down and allow you to respond more effectively.

A fun way to get a different perspective on a problem is to think of a character whom you admire in a book or movie and ask yourself "How would this person respond to this problem?"

Another practical strategy is to consider how you see the problem vs. how a video camera would see the problem.

Here’s a strategy that can aid you in your perspective practice: Either write down or imagine two scales from 1 to 10, with 1 the lowest and 10 the highest. The first scale measures the importance of the event; the second scale measures your response to the event.

I’m betting you have a history of responding to lower-scale events with some dramatic, higher-scale responses. You may want to get some help from your husband or a close friend with charting the importance of an event. What you want to do is practice responding at or near the same level as the event. If the event is a 3, instead of shooting up to a 10, practice responding at a 2, 3, or 4 level.

Given time and some practice, most people are able to respond in more effective ways to the events of life. One of the best payoffs is that life becomes more fun and enjoyable.

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 Jul 28th, 2006

Having Acute Stress Disorder can be very frustrating. You have been through something terrible, you don’t feel like yourself, and, you want to get back to your normal life. The problem is, your regular coping skills are not working.

A person may develop Acute Stress Disorder if they:

  • have experienced actual or threatened death or serious injury
  • have witnessed actual or threatened death or serious injury of another person
  • We tend to associate Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with people who have been in wars. However, life-changing traumatic events can occur anywhere and include: car accidents, severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes, and violent crimes such as robbery, rape, and murder.

    If you have experienced the stress of a traumatic event, you might experience the symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. These symptoms include:

  • feeling numb, detached
  • lack of emotions
  • being in a daze, not really aware of the surroundings
  • familiar things seem strange
  • unable to recall important events related to the trauma
  • thoughts, dreams, and/or flashbacks of the trauma
  • avoiding anything that might remind them of the trauma
  • easily startled
  • problems with sleeping and eating
  • increased attention to safety: constantly checking locks and doors
  • the person has trouble doing normal or routine things
  • These symptoms will normally last from a few days to a few weeks. If the symptoms last longer than one month, the Acute Stress Disorder may have become Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People with Acute Stress Disorder also have a real sense of dissociation (feeling numb, out of body, in a fog, etc.), which may or may not be present in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Some people get through a trauma without experiencing many side-effects, while others devleop Acude Stress Disorder. If you have several of the following factors, you are more likely to develop Acute Stress Disorder:

  • high stress levels prior to the trauma
  • lack of good support systems
  • the trauma is unexpected
  • there is a history of trauma
  • the trauma was very grotesque
  • your individual coping style and personality can contribute to Acute Stress Disorder
  • Even though most people who have experienced a trauma don’t want to think about or talk about the trauma, talking is one of the best ways to heal. Find a therapist in your area that specializes in trauma or anxiety issues. A therapist will help you talk about what you have experienced. Additionally, some therapists provide Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or hypnotherapy, both specialized treatments that can be very useful for treating trauma. Support groups can be helpful to share your own experience and hear the stories of others who have had similar experiences. Some people seek medical help and find anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety medications helpful in treating the symptoms.

    You can recover from your trauma. The first step is to recognize that you have been through something very difficult, that your symptoms are a normal response to trauma, and that help is available.

    © 2006 Cynthia McKenna - All Rights Reserved Worldwide

    Cynthia McKenna is a therapist and life-coach who helps people transform their lives. Her goal is to help people have more joy and peace in daily living. Cynthia works with individuals, couples, and groups in the Texas Hill Country. She also works with clients online and by phone. For more information or to make an appointment, visit Cynthia McKenna’s website http://cynthiamckennacounseling.com/.

    Posted on Jul 28th, 2006

    Q: Someone told me that the Chinese symbol for crisis means danger and opportunity. I just lost my job, and I see nothing but bad stuff in this. Where is the opportunity?

    A: When you are hit with a life crisis such as losing a job, it’s easy to focus on only the dangers and bad things.

    Here are five questions to ask yourself when life hands you something you don’t want or like. They are designed to get you through the crisis and to help you manage your thoughts and emotions as well.

    1. In how many ways can I make this work for me?

    The language of this question is important because it contains what is called a presupposition. I think that the first people to really understand the human brain and emotions were not psychologists, but those in advertising and sales.

    For example, when you are shopping for a new car a good salesperson will ask "Do you want to buy the red car or the blue car?" The presupposition is that you will buy one of them.

    Our question presupposes that there is a way to make this work for you, and it also assumes there are several ways to do this. It may take a great deal of creativity, but creativity is simply the ability to look at something that has always been there and see something that has not been seen before.

    2. What’s good about this? What does this allow me to do that I might not have done before?

    One of the many results of losing a job is you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands. While this can be scary, it also can work to your advantage. Are there projects around the house you can now complete? Are there members of your family with whom you can spend more time?

    One of the best uses of this time can be to step back and consider what it is you really want to do in life. If you have been doing something that is not your passion, losing your job could be your ticket to living and working out your passion.

    3. What would you love to do?

    If there is not a job like that around, how could you create one in a way that would add value to the lives of others? The happiest people I know are those who are doing what they love for a living.

    4. What does this force me to do that I might not have done before?

    When our backs are up against the wall, we sometimes have to face issues we have been avoiding. Do you need to improve your job skills? Go back to school? Sometimes being out of work can expose financial areas of your life that have not been taken care of. Once you are working again, do you need to get out of debt, take care of retirement, or something else?

    5. How many ways can I make this work for me?

    I know I asked that question once already. But questions 2 through 4 prepare you to better answer the question the second time around. See what other useful answers you can come up with at this point.

    It comes down to a sometimes difficult choice: Am I going to focus on all the ugliness of what has happened, or am I going to focus on how to come out of this better, stronger and wiser than when I went in?

    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 Jul 27th, 2006

    If you feel like every time you turn around the universe trips you up or smacks you down, you may be right. The universe might be trying to tell you something important, like, “Hey, you! You’re going the wrong way!”

    Warning Signs Your Universe is About to Explode

    Here are some sure signs that something is wrong: repeated vague illnesses, feeling lost all the time, constant headaches, crying jags, severe depression, painful loneliness—even when you are with friends, constant or repeated nightmares, when you really have been rejected by your friends and family, the feeling that “this just isn’t working.”

    What’s THE Solution?

    Other than an intention to back off, to start taking care of yourself, to give yourself space and time to breath and heal and grow, there isn’t one solution to all your problems. I was ill for a long time and went from doctor to doctor to doctor. Most of them were worse than useless but eventually we sorted out a combination of muscular dystrophy, migraine, food allergies and a bad gallbladder—four problems! I didn’t really feel better till ALL those problems were addressed. If you have headaches, they might be migraines from chocolate or cluster headaches from TMJ. Crying jags and depression might be from suppressed memories, low vitamin B6, a job you hate or from taking the wrong medicines. Nightmares might be a warning from the Gods, or a sign you aren’t getting enough air when you sleep. You’ll need to workout the details one at a time as you go.

    To Feel Better, Plant Acorns of Kindness

    Give yourself the gift of time and compassion, then try being kind to those around you. Little acts of kindness and compassion help change your mindset, and will one day allow you to accept the help you need. These seeds or acorns are so valuable, you might want to make a note every time you catch yourself planting one. That may not sound like much of a solution when you keep getting smacked upside the head by one of life’s 2×4s, so, don’t forget to duck! But don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be. Small acorns have a surprising way of growing into majestic and protective oak trees.

    About the Author Rodney Robbins is a novelist and quality expert with experience in manufacturing and restaurant management. Visit http://www.lulu.com/rodneyrobbins to learn more about his first novel and read his Laughing Buddha Blog. Go to http://www.lulu.com/qualitydining and check out his Real World Quality Blog or learn how to "Save $15,000 Creating a Restaurant Quality System that PAYS!"

    Posted on Jul 27th, 2006

    Author and speaker H. Stephen Glenn has said,

    "In terms of the entire world, if, when you wake up in the morning, you have a choice of what to eat, a choice of what to wear, a job to go to and a way to get there, you have abundance."

    And yet we squander that abundance so often by not making choices in our lives. We allow life to just happen to us, instead of choosing what we believe to be best for us. We have enough abundance to create and live our best life, and yet we lose out by choosing not to. We have very weak choice muscles.

    So the question becomes:

    are you a chooser or a loser?

    If that sounds harsh, well, so be it. It’s a harsh reality.

    How to be a loser

    Allow life to just happen to you.

    Play the victim role.

    Complain without taking any action.

    Believe you have no power to influence yourself or others.

    Take the "dead roach approach" to events that occur in your life _ lying flat on your back with your legs wiggling in the air and whatever happens, happens.

    Believe in silly sayings such as "waiting for the other shoe to drop" and "bad things always come in threes." These are classic self-fulfilling prophecies.

    Take a reactive approach to life - do not use you brain.

    Ask really useless questions like "why does this always happen to me?" while whining "this is not fair!"

    Play it safe and don’t take risks _ prefer the safety of mediocrity over the chance to go for want you want in life.

    Set very low expectations for yourself and then consistently fail to live up to them.

    How to be a chooser

    Realize - get it - that you have choices!

    Take a proactive approach to your life.

    Expect success and for things to go well and go your way.

    Set high expectations for yourself, higher than others expect of you, and then exceed them.

    Pick a direction in which to head and then pursue it with all you have got.

    Be creative. So many people limit themselves by telling me that they are just not creative. My response is "Do you worry?" Answer _ "Yes, of course. All the time." Then you know how be creative. Worrying is simnply being creative in a negative, limiting way. Creativity is simply this: "looking at something that has always been there and seeing something that has never been seen before."

    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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