Archive for August, 2006

Posted on Aug 6th, 2006

Every job has stress. Some stress is due to the nature of the job, some stress we apply to ourselves, and some stress is caused by those around us, be it demanding bosses, unreasonable customers or unproductive and scheming co-workers.

Malcolm S. Forbes once said, “If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job.”

So if workplace stress is a given, then how we handle this stress has a large impact on how well we perform and how much we enjoy our job.

The fact is that living and working with others is not always easy. You don’t have to like the people you work with, but you do need to be able to co-exist and co-operate with them. You can start by remembering that everyone has their place and the more harmony you can bring to the situation the more enjoyable it will be for everyone.

Why not try bringing a little harmony to the workplace by imagining your job as being a member of a choir. In a choir some people sing too loud, others too softly and some out of tune, but you’re all still part of the same choir. If you sing louder to compete with the loud singers or sing so softly that you are not heard or sing out of tune just to fit in, then you do nothing to help the choir-you don’t add anything to the harmony.

You can’t change how another sings, you can only do the best that you can and hope that others follow your lead.

The Roman philosopher Sallust said, “Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.”

Wise words, indeed. Whatever you do, don’t add to the disharmony, this will only make matters worse and drag the choir further out of tune.

Your performance should be based on how well you perform, and not the performance of others. The more harmony there is in a choir the better it sounds. The more harmony we can create at work the less stressful our job becomes. Don’t let someone else singing off key ruin your song.

Gary Mosher is co-author of the award-winning ‘Buddha in the Boardroom’, the business book that shows you how to excel in today’s chaotic and stressful workplace environment, available from Bodhi Tree Publishing, LLC at http://www.bodhitreepublishing.com

Visit Gary’s blog at http://www.buddhaintheboardroom.blogspot.com

Posted on Aug 6th, 2006

Did you know that more than half of our adult population has an anger problem? Have you experienced them? They act all flustered and pitch a fit. Can you believe it that some of them actually throw things when they get mad? And not only that, they cuss up a storm, rant and rave, and carry on like they are a child.

We all have probably experienced people like this on occasion. But what about the people who do this on a regular basis? How do we manage them? How can we confront them in the office space? What if this person is our boss or our partner? We know that they need anger management or counseling, but babies don’t have the ability to see that about themselves. Perhaps passing them this article will help you along!

Okay you people who have an anger issue.. listen up!!! You can’t physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys you; laws, social norms and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take all of us us.

According to my research, “People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive - not aggressive - manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others. Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour. The danger in this type of response is that if the anger isn’t allowed an outward expression, it can turn inward - on yourself. This may cause hypertension (high blood pressure) or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behaviour (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticising everything and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships.

Finally, you can calm yourself down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behaviour but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down and let the feelings subside.” (resource – internet) If you are a person who is working with a BABY, perhaps you’ll start by having a short conversation just explaining that sometimes he/she is somewhat difficult to talk with because they get so frustrated and act out. Sometimes just calmly stating a fact can be less intimidating than a formal “lets talk about something” kind of meeting.

One client recently was asked by his partner why one of the associates didn’t call her directly. He explained to her that she had a tendency to go overboard with stress and neither had the time to deal with her drama at the moment so she was bypassed in the decision making moment. Because the conversation took on a sort of apologetic tone, yet, was also explaining the situation, the partner seemed to GET it, that her outbursts had caused more stress on others and not just herself. For the next week, my client has noticed that his partner hasn’t stressed openly and has seemed to get a hold on her anger.

Since my client is on a friendly basis with his partner, I’ve given him some exercises to help his partner get to the root of her anger. While I’m not a therapist, and neither is my client, there are a few exercises that aren’t so intimidating to a person who is willing to explore the original source of their anger.

When the person is obviously upset, ask them to calm down and sit down and agree to talk about it. You can say, “You’re obviously upset. Let’s sit down and discuss what our options are, and just tell me everything”. Don’t argue. Don’t talk back. Don’t disagree. Just listen. Take notes if you can and just listen intently with your eyes. Try to understand. This is what the person needs, to be understood.

When they are through, ask questions. Ask specific questions to get clarity on the situation. Let them talk until they are through. Take a minute before you answer. Think about what you are going to say. Start by acknowledging their feelings such as, “I understand why you are so upset. I’m sorry that you are upset. Let me see if I understand how you feel.” Now, read back what you wrote down so they know you understand. Now, go through your side of the story. (Hopefully without interruptions). Don’t yell or be confrontational. Just explain the other side of the story.

Be careful to pause between listening and talking. Pausing is a great indicator of being thoughtful about what you are listening to and saying. It is a great communication tool!

Regardless of the outcome, you’ve now coached your partner through being able to explain their side of the story without completely exploding. Practice makes perfect. Tell them that they did a good job. Endorse good behavior and encourage them.

Working with a baby is a hardship on many. If you have the guts or the power to tell the person to go get THERAPY, then do it. If that isn’t a possibility, then learning to coach them through dealing with their own emotions may be a logical next step. It’s going to take some energy on your part, but it might save your work environment in the long run.

Having difficult conversations are somewhat stressful, so having a coach to help you through it might be a good next step for you. We can work together to help your partner mature into a thriving adult who expresses his/her feelings in a healthy way. I don’t know about you, but I think it sounds fun! So don’t cry about it! Just give me a call!

To learn more about Mary go to: http://www.marygardner.com/

Mary Gardner is an Executive Communications Consultant and Coach. She works with, coaches and trains individuals, sales teams, executives, and celebrities. She enjoys seeing the best come out in people and has fun in the process. Mary is married to Sway and is mommy to Jeremy 5 and lives in Orlando, FL.

Posted on Aug 5th, 2006

In my days at the Stress Management Centre in Harley Street it never ceased to amaze me that so many clients didn’t see there every day lives as particularly stressful.

Many saw stress in terms of an event like death of a loved one, divorce, becoming unemployed and so forth. The reality is the modern world is very stressful and although our nervous systems are extremely well adapted to bouts of stress, as exhibited in a fight or flight situation, we are less able to rid ourselves of the slow build up of stress which we take on board daily.

How many of us succumb to colds and flu whilst on holiday or are just beginning to feel the benefit of the holiday when its time to return? The flu comes because we let our guard down too quickly whilst on holiday and because our immune system has been damaged by cortisol, one of the Adrenal’s hormones, the other scenario being that it takes 2 weeks to slowly unwind to a more normal situation. In other words if we are stressed internally no amount of lying on the beach will relax us internally.

Daily Strategies

To avoid a build up of stress here are some simple but effective strategies which will help you lose more than you are taking in. 1. A long hot soak….dim lights…a bit of gentle music…some aromatherapy scents…..candles even…..no phone calls….

2. Sauna: A marvellous detox on the one hand and a great relaxer on the other. The two are not exactly unconnected. Once a week would be good, 2 or 3 times a week would be ideal.

3. Massage: Ideally by a professional, but even your partner could give you a worth while massage. You giving massage to your partner or your children would be equally useful as a relaxant and to them too of course.

4. A 20/30 minute gentle walk, preferably in a park, countryside or woods but if none are available, round some pleasant town area, especially one which has lovely house, trees, shrubs, flowers etc. During this walk you can let your mind wander freely or maybe before that you can tell your boss, colleague, partner what you think of them, and then let your mind run free (gently). Take some deep breaths while you walk, hold for 8 and release slowly….takes in more oxygen and rids the body of Carbon Dioxide. (Also good just before you go into that difficult class or interview.)

5. Exercise is a great way to relax and release pent up tension and energy.

You will easily be able to see ways of combining several of these in one session. That would probably be your main session of the week, the hot soaks and/or gentle walks could be filler sessions between those main sessions.

6. And finally, promise your self a weekly treat and sick to it. It might be cinema, a good meal (or both), a night in with your feet up, a glass of red in one hand and those chocolates in the other, with the family off hang gliding, white water rafting or abseiling down the face of the town’s tallest building, who cares, just relax.

But one thing should never be underestimated, the power of stress. It can kill and it does make us ill. This piece is too short to give you chapter and verse on how it harms us but we have all the evidence we need to know that it does. We also know it can cause up to 40% permanent damage in the Hippocampus because of high amounts of glucocorticoid hormones in the blood…this not only impairs memory it makes new learning more difficult. The Hippocampus is involved in the laying down of new memories along with the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. Damaged hippocampus means fewer new memories laid down, destroyed hippocampus means no new memories ever.

This piece is too short to go into much detail but safe to say, stress affects our ability to think, our relationships and of course our work. It is so important for our students that we learn to relax because they much prefer a happy, relaxed teacher with a reasonable lesson plan than a stressed, irritable teacher with a world beating lesson plan.

But not only do your students deserve to have a happy relaxed you, your family and friends deserve it too, but above all YOU deserve to BE a happy, relaxed you.

Final point, I used to a recommend a CD called the Study Relaxer for students in Harley Street. If you require a quick fix then this is it. Although it’s taken from the student angle of sitting exams, 97% of it is relevant to you as teachers. You can download it from: www.edinburghtechniques.co.uk And I really will get down to making a relaxation CD just for teachers, hopefully by April.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill formerly of the Stress Mangement Centre Harley Street and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Accelerated Learning. Currently lecturing in the Far East and conducting business through his educational website: http://www.edinburghtechniques.co.uk

Posted on Aug 5th, 2006

It’s summertime and chances are you can remember a summer vacation when life moved at a slower pace. It felt so good to just enjoy the days and nights. No pressure from school schedules, work schedules, volunteering and more.

Vacations serve an important purpose – time to recharge our batteries and more. I see many clients living from vacation to vacation, weekend to weekend or day to day leap-frogging between time off. If you’re always looking ahead to what time off is next for you, you may want to learn how to lily-pad!

Lily-padding is the art of enjoying where you are in the moment. Not just a resting place and not just the place between vacations, it’s your life every day. And you get to choose how best to use it. If you’re a seasoned leap-frogger, lily-padding may seem like sitting on your own hands. With practice you can learn to enjoy exactly where you are and what’s available to you in the moment and everyone gets the best of you.

I can hear the objections already! So just stay curious about lily-padding. Here are 3 strategies to get you started:

1. Start with the belief that things can change.

Before the Berlin Wall came down how many people could even imagine it not existing? How many accepted that it would be there forever? What’s your Berlin Wall? Try this –‘ I’ll see it when I believe it’. An important twist on ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’. The first version invites you to see things differently, to envision your life as you want to see it. It encourages you to take action. The second invites you to wait and see what will happen. Life on the lily-pad isn’t about doing nothing.

2. Out with the old to make room for the new things to come into your life. Pay attention to what in your life you just tolerate. Make a list. What are you saying yes to that doesn’t feed your soul. What would you like to have instead?

3. Practice being in the moment – try some meditation.

Previously associated with hippies and yogis, meditation is mainstream and there’s good reason for it. Just as daily exercise strengthens and trains your body, daily meditation trains and strengthens your mind. And the benefits go well beyond the minutes you spend in your daily practice. Over time, meditation ‘exercise’ builds your capacity to detach from the emotional reactions that cloud our thinking. With practice you can deal with stressful situations with very natural composure. A recent study by Richard Davidson , at the University of Wisconsin, identified that regular meditation is not only good for your mind, but great for your health too. His research found that regular meditation supports a healthier immune system, reduces anxiety and increases positive emotions.

There are a myriad of teachers, books and online resources to get you started. My introduction was to a simple breathing meditation. Get comfortable then concentrate on the breath going in and out of the tip of your nose as you breathe regularly. Initially I couldn’t sit for more than a few minutes, peaking at the clock to see if I was ‘done’ yet. Every time your mind strays from the breath, you notice this and gently pull your attention back to the breath. Eventually, you’ll spend less time thinking and more time being. Like any sport training it all seems so stilted at first until you hit that perfect drive, ski the flawless run or swim 800 metres with ease. Keep at it and eventually it’s second nature. You may want to try a few different techniques before adopting your own daily practice. The thing is just to start somewhere.

The world needs more lily-padders. What will you do to get started?

Need support to get started? Visit http://www.avirtualretreat.com/inspirations for a free guided meditation. Debbie Kemp and Cynthia Wright offer resources and support to help you move from stress-full to stress-free.

Posted on Aug 4th, 2006

Are you somebody who always seems to be under stress? Do you worry most of the time and feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? For the first twenty-two years of my life, I was constantly down and depressed and used to feel very sorry for myself. This article describes how I managed to break free of this depression to have a fairly stress-free life.

Growing up I felt rather hard done by, that life had not dealt me a good hand of cards. These were the reasons I felt sorry for myself:

I had a speech impediment, known as a stutter

I have a bald patch on my head the size of a ten pence piece

Due to comfort eating, I was overweight

I am quite short for a male at five foot four

Some of the above you may think are quite trivial issues, however for me especially as a teenager they caused me a lot of stress.

Stuttering was the major thorn in my side causing me many problems and traumas. I suffered with this speech impediment for eighteen years before finally managing to beat the problem. I now help other people to achieve fluency.

At the age of twenty-two I started to read a lot of books about positive thinking and also started to take more of an interest in world affairs. This gave me a huge wake up call as it made me realise that I was actually dealt a very good set of cards. There are not many countries I would rather have been born in, the things above that I felt were so terrible are in fact very trivial compared to people who live in parts of Africa, as an example.

I had stressed so much that by the age of twenty-one my hair had already started to turn grey. A colleague at work was also to have a huge affect on my life without him even knowing it. He was a man (I will call him Peter) who had many of his own issues. Peter had learning difficulties, had what I call the shakes, did not have many friends and did not have a girlfriend in the six years that I knew him. I would meet Peter for lunch on most days and he would always have a beaming smile on his face. One day I thought to myself, what have you got to smile about? I then decided that if he could smile then so could I.

I now am very happy with who I am, and if people do not like me, I don’t care. Life is so much easier now!

Stephen Hill has a number of websites including:

stuttering

stress relief information

stress management game

Posted on Aug 4th, 2006

Preparing for sleep the night before is the place to start. Quality sleep vs quantity is vital. A busy mind leading to broken sleep does not allow for a fresh mind on waking. Try some of these simple steps to help you sleep well and then wake well.

1. Use essential oils like Vetiver or Sandalwood in a vaporiser at bedtime to help you switch off and ground yourself so that you can enjoy quality sleep. Try vaporising my own “Sanity Saver” blend contain Vetiver, Geranium, Australian Sandalwood, Patchouli and Ylang Ylang. This simple and earthy blend stops your mind racing so that you can focus on one thing at once like sleeping. It helps to restore some peace and balance to your life during the busiest of times.

2. Reduce intake of alcohol the night before.

3. Sleeping in a cool and dark room, allows you to enjoy a more restful sleep.

4. Not too many heavy refined foods at night as they can lead to sluggish feelings in the morning.

5. Before you go to bed, write a quick note on any thoughts that are in your brain, getting them out allows you to release them until the next day.

6. The most common time for heart attacks is Monday morning, get the works stresses out of your mind before you go to sleep and keep the pressures off your body.

7. If you wake and you are sluggish, start with a cold shower or a brisk walk around the block, they both bring energy quickly to a tired soul.

8. Roll over and enjoy a moment with your partner, don’t just race off to get into the work day, even if you are busy and have to go take a moment to be with them and make your heart smile.

9. Vaporise citrus or leaf essential oils like Orange, Lemongrass, May Chang or Grapefruit to enliven you and give you the maybe needed kick up the bum start to the day. These essential oils will help lift you physically and emotionally. Re-gain the feeling that you are really living and not just existing. Try vaporising my favourite morning blend I call it “Play More” and it contains Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, May Chang and Ginger essential oils.

Life Balancing expert Jennifer Jefferies is one of Australia’s best-known authors and speakers. Jennifer’s simple, practical and proven 7 Steps to Sanity can help bring balance to anyone who wants to have it all without sacrificing their health, sanity or sense of humour along the way. Jennifer is a qualified health practitioner, who speaks to corporations throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, sharing practical real-life strategies that help people to improve their health, wellbeing and productivity by finding balance in their lives.

Jennifer has also written numerous books and e-books and life balancing products. You can contact Jennifer at:

Jennifer Jefferies International Pty Ltd
Po Box 4298,
Elanora, QLD 4221 Australia
Phone: +61 7 55986035
http://www.jenniferjefferies.com

Posted on Aug 3rd, 2006

Music has many uses in modern society because of how effective it can be. Horror films use music to amazing effect by creating a sense of fear or foreboding and television adverts use them to promote items. Music can stir up memories but it can also be used to promote certain feelings. This is in no small way true of relaxation music. The correct style of music can greatly aid relaxation and assist in meditation, hypnosis or simple relaxing. Classical music utilizes the calming effects of string instruments like the violin and is probably one of the oldest and most utilized forms of relaxation music available.

Use any opportunity you can to relax using relaxation music. If you regularly workout then put your headphones on while you’re at the gym or out jogging. Listen to it while you are driving to and from work, try to forget about the day that is about to face you or the day you have just had but be careful not to be too relaxed while driving.

Relaxation is not something that comes naturally to many of us. Stresses of modern life mean that we regularly finish work and go home to worry about it for the rest of the day. This causes a lack of sleep and other problems. These are unlikely to be undone by listening to five minutes of relaxation music every three months. Relaxation music works best when listened to for a minimum of 30 minutes but if you do listen regularly then five minutes during your break at work will still have a calming effect.

Even at work or at home with your family you can effectively listen to relaxation music. If you have an MP3 player or personal stereo you can even listen to it on the bus or when you’re out shopping. Put on your headphones and, again, make sure that the volume is at the right level. If you have the volume too low you will be able to hear the kids screaming and cars passing by but if you have it too loud it will become uncomfortable.

Listening to relaxing music can aid relaxation greatly. Find a darkened room and light some small candles or burn some incense oil if you find this relaxing. Make sure your relaxation music is turned to a volume that drowns out any background noise but is not so loud that it becomes obtrusive or uncomfortable.

John Mancini has been writing about hypnosis online and offline for a long time. Visit http://www.easy-self-hypnosis.info or http://www.easy-self-hypnosis.net to read more about matters like hypnosis and relaxation.

Posted on Aug 3rd, 2006

Question 1

“How do I get more time to play?”

Answer: Schedule it in. Why? Because if you don’t schedule it you will generally let other things have a higher priority and put yourself and a life further down the list. So just write 15 minutes a day, play time into your diary and don’t change it for anything. To get started, get your diary NOW and write in one fun thing you have been hanging out to do. Call a friend and tell them that you are going to do it, and DO IT today. Question 2

“What happens when I feel guilty for not working?”

Answer: Get over it, and value yourself. Here’s why: Emotions like guilt are more damaging to your health than physical stress. So, when you feel guilty for taking a break reward yourself for noticing and tack an extra five minutes playtime onto that break. If you give yourself a hard time for feeling guilty you add more stress. Relax and realise you are human we all need a break. Even your computer gets downtime and goes into “energy save” mode. Question 3

“How do I stop myself getting frustrated with life?”

Answer: Realise your expectations are just that, your expectations. Why? Because you only get frustrated when your expectations are not met. Get over that you cannot control everything or everyone. Relax and go with the flow. Ylang Ylang essential oil helps release anger that can come from frustration. It helps you relax and enjoy life your life. Vaporise it at home and work to relax. Question 4

“Where do I get the discipline to say No?”

Answer: Realise discipline is easier to handle than regret. Here’s why: You cannot turn back time, and regret sucks the life out of you. Saying no to stuff that is draining your energy for life, feeds you the energy to keep saying no. Consider living by the rule “If its hard to do, all the more reason to do it”. If you play that game, you have self-discipline and can say NO easily.

Question 5

“How do I leave work on time?”

Answer: Make you the priority. Why? Because you are the only one in control of your life and it’s only you who can make it happen. Start telling yourself and everyone else that you finish and leave work at 5pm. If you keep saying you never get away on time, you won’t. Use positive language to get what you want. Question 6

“What happens if I ask for what I want?”

Answer: You will gain the respect of others for actually asking for help. Here’s why: People admire people who are straight and honest with them. It helps validate how they are also feeling. We all basically want the same things in life, but most people won’t show their “humanness” and ask for what they want. If you don’t ask in the first place you have no possibility of getting it. So create the possibility and ask for what you want. Question 7

“How do I get a social life?”

Answer: Get out and meet people. Why? Hiding from life only fuels the problem. Stop using work as an excuse and an avoidance tactic. Go for quality people and outings not quantity at first. If you need to be in control, bring people to your safe place like maybe home or local café and have a casual dinner or lunch. Question 8

“Why don’t I feel deserving of rest time?”

Answer: You have too much fun whining about it. Here’s why: It’s easier to complain about stuff than to do something about it. If you respected yourself and took quality rest time, you would have nothing to whine about. Wow you would be happy. Shock. So, get off your soapbox about not having enough time and not being deserving and get on living the happy life you deserve. Question 9

“How do get more energy for life?”

Answer: Do something you enjoy. Why? You always naturally have the energy for the things you love doing. So just change your perception to what you are doing. If you tell yourself you are tired and life is now fun. That is what it will be. Change your perception to what is happening, tell yourself you have all the energy you need and you love life. Question 10

“What happens if I don’t plan for play?”

Answer: You won’t get it. Here’s why: It’s easier to do something for someone else than for yourself. So schedule it to the tiniest detail like you would a task at work, and focus on the joy that playtime will bring. Planning to this amount of detail feeds you energy and excites you into doing it more often. Write tomorrow’s playtime in your diary right now. Question 11

“How do I get balanced?”

Answer: Allow yourself to be human. Why? Because no one person or thing is ever perfect. You will drive yourself mad trying to be perfect. Being balanced is noticing if you are not balanced and taking action to rectify it. For instance if you have extra coffee today the world will not end, simply have two extra waters to balance it out. Question 12

“What do I do if I’m in overwhelm?”

Answer: Stop and breathe. Here’s why: Breathing keeps you alive. It really does. If you don’t breathe when overwhelmed, you will never think straight to get yourself out of it. So stop, breathe, see what is really happening compared to what you think is happening and deal with it. Question 13

“How do I take a block of time off?”

Answer: Plan ahead and schedule it. Why? Something will always come up otherwise. Commit to your health and wellness. Time away from work is the time you will get your best ideas, because your mind is free to be creative. If you don’t already have a break of at least two weeks planned for this year, do it now. If you need to apply for the time off, apply today, then work out where you want to go. Question 14

“What happens when I don’t eat properly or I skip meals?”

Answer: You increase your chance of losing your life. Here’s why: Food is the fuel that keeps you alive. It’s that simple, and the first thing that goes hungry is your brain. How can you think straight if your brain is not nourished? See food as a fuel and behave in your eating six days a week and have one FREE DAY a week to let loose. Question 15

“How do I make me the priority?”

Answer: You stop making excuses and do it. Why? You deserve to be happy and to enjoy life. Get a close friend to keep you in check. Each time you are copping out and not looking after yourself, ask for their help. And you do the same for them. Be honest with each other, plan for fun and get a life.

About Jennifer Jefferies

Life Balancing expert Jennifer Jefferies is one of Australia’s best-known authors and speakers. Jennifer’s simple, practical and proven 7 Steps to Sanity can help bring balance to anyone who wants to have it all without sacrificing their health, sanity or sense of humour along the way. Jennifer is a qualified health practitioner, who speaks to corporations throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, sharing practical real-life strategies that help people to improve their health, wellbeing and productivity by finding balance in their lives. Jennifer has also written numerous books and e-books and life balancing products. You can contact Jennifer at:

Jennifer Jefferies International Pty Ltd
Po Box 4298,
Elanora, QLD 4221 Australia
Phone: +61 7 55986035
http://www.jenniferjefferies.com

Posted on Aug 2nd, 2006

Health experts worldwide resoundingly agree that workers in all labor categories must maintain a balance between their work and social lives. The dangers of more or over work and less socializing cannot be emphasized enough especially for the Londoner. The advantages to having an active social life are many. Finding a healthy balance between our work and social lives is not always easy but some efforts towards developing that balance can assure we stay productive on the job and at the same time have a satisfying and healthy personal life.

We have all heard of the dangers of stress and overwork. But what about those of us that love to work or have to work for various reasons? There has to be more to life than working at our jobs. How do we find a balance that keeps us healthy in both these important areas of our lives? Years of research and scholarly studies from experts in the UK, London, and worldwide have found the answers to these questions.

While this article is about offering you the reader “tips” on developing that balance, it is important to highlight the dangers any one of us can succumb to if we don’t play or socialize in addition to working.

An awareness of your stress levels or symptoms of stress can give you a hint that you need more of a social life. Indicators of stress are many but the main symptoms to watch for are:

· Migraine’s or headaches occurring more often
· Inability to concentrate
· Not wanting to get up in the morning or insomnia
· Over-tiredness
· Sudden mood swings not normal for you
· Isolation from friends and family

The last bullet point mentions isolation. Isolating activities such as going to work and sitting at home every night, avoidance of friends and family and taking in little social outings/activities are probably the single most dangerous thing we can do for our physical and mental health. Our physical and emotional states of well being depend upon a healthy balance of work and play. The following tips will help you avoid this common danger.

· Organize a social calendar. Just like your daily “to-do” lists at work, start planning a social “to-do” list. Knowing what social activities appeal to you is essential towards organizing your social calendar. I have found www.exclusivelondon.co.uk an excellent source for researching ideas or social activities you may want to consider placing in your calendar. Find the time before or after work to get out into the London social scene.

· Dine out. Many professionals in the work force are starting to see the satisfaction and pleasure in taking the time to experience food consumption in a whole new way. I’m not talking about going to a restaurant and quickly getting your meal down your throat and into your belly. I am talking about expanding your culinary horizons. For example, try ethnic cuisine or a new food you have never eaten before. Dine for hours at a trendy restaurant and savor an eight-course meal with a fine wine or cocktail. Most importantly, take your time and enjoy the experience.

· Dance the night away. The benefits to a night out of dancing could never be overstated. The obvious benefits are the exercise and calorie burning. Dance experts have long asserted that dancing tones the body in a way no other form of physical activity can accomplish. Dancers are considered among the elite in athleticism and discipline. Dancing also offers social opportunities to meet new people. It gives you an outlet to work out aggression and the strains of the workday. Overall, dance is a complete source of exercise for the physical, social and mentally healthy self.

· Soothe your soul with music. Take in a concert or musical affair. Choose your favorite music and attend an event that will fill you with the sounds of your favorite melodies. Music has long been a part of the human experience. It has been used for centuries to allow the human being an experience beyond their physical bodies. It can be said that music will lighten your mood and nurture your soul. Music, in a form that appeals to you, can quiet your mind and release the pain of the workday.

· Exercise. Consider membership in a health or fitness club. A healthy physical body will give the hard working professional the energy needed to be both highly productive with job demands and the ability to keep up with an active social calendar. Other means of getting good exercise can be a walk in the park or bring out the child in you and dance around the house while getting ready for work.

· Take in some culture with art or theatre. Museums and the theatre are fantastic venues in which to have a quiet and reflective personal experience. The visual delight of examining a piece of art that touches you in a special way or watching a theatre performance that moves you in a positive manner can be extremely beneficial. Not every social event on your calendar has to include other people. Socializing with you, for yourself can very often be just as healthy an experience as being around hundreds or thousands of people.

· Getaway to a fine hotel or spa. From a great deal of research and personal experience, three days at a spa is just about perfect. Like many of you, I often don’t have the time for a one-day vacation much less three days however; I have found that a 3-day mini-vacation has its merits. It’s just long enough to take in the full benefits of a massage, swimming, facials and some of the other amenities the hotel or spa has to offer. If one day is all you can take the time for, then do that. Try to do this at least twice a year. P.S. Leave the cell phone off, leave the laptop at home and tell the front desk you are taking no calls.

· Go shopping. Indulge in a shopping trip every now and then. All of us need to treat ourselves to that special dress or suit. Buying that toy or electronic game we always wanted can only make life a bit better. Even shopping for food can be a great way to socialize. Take the time to say hello to the checkout clerk or butcher that has been serving you for years. A simple exchange of smiles is a social interaction that benefits all people on many unimaginable levels.

· Involve your co-workers on your social calendar. There is nothing better than the buddy system for a healthy social (and work) life. Let’s face it, engaging in some social activities is just no fun alone. Keep in mind, socializing with co-workers can also be a great way to maintain healthy work relationships.

· Breathe. This may sound simple and unimportant because it is a natural activity we take part in every second of the day. Let me assure you, we can often stop breathing for several seconds at a time. The biological and rhythmic breathing pattern of humans often gets interrupted for many reasons. Stress and automatic response to difficulties in life are just a few of the reasons this occurs. Why is this important? One reason is because we need to maintain a regular and healthy breathing pattern throughout our bodies for optimal oxygen intake. Lack of oxygen can be responsible for depression, fatigue and damage at the cellular level of our bodies, to name a few. Good breathing flow and control can keep you loaded with energy as well as provide a healthy balance between mind and body. It will also make your work life much more tolerable.

These ten tips are by no means the only ways to build a social life and maintain a balance between work and fun. These tips are many that have been provided by the best experts on work and social life. Those experts being you or those like you, the workers. Be creative, discipline yourself to organize your life towards a whole and healthy you both on the job and socially.

Remember that it’s not always about where, how or how long or with whom you socialize. Socializing can be as simple as sitting alone and enjoying the flavors of good food and libations, exercising a couple hours a week at a favorite gymnasium with friends or standing front and center at a major rock concert. The point is to get out and be social. Taking these suggestions will get you out. No matter what profession you work in a healthy balance in work and social life will keep you mentally healthy and energized, stress-free and socially empowered.

This article was written by Maryse Mignott, Corporate Strategy & Communications Executive for Exclusive London. Balance your work and social life by taking part in the London entertainment scene. For the hottest London events, restaurants, clubs, fashion boutiques and more, visit http://www.exclusivelondon.co.uk Reproductions of this article are encouraged but must include a link pointing back to http://www.exclusivelondon.co.uk

Posted on Aug 2nd, 2006

Of all the sources of stress in our lives, faulty emotional rules are one of the most debilitating. These faulty emotional rules are typically ingrained during childhood and become a part of how we live. Because they are largely unquestioned, we rarely stop and consider how they might be influencing our lives. If unchecked, these rules can even run our lives.

"How can I know what these rules are if I’m not aware of them?"

Good question. Perhaps a few examples can illustrate what I mean.

Let’s consider a person who appears to have his life together. He is financially secure and fulfilling most of his dreams. Yet he always feels there is something missing.

If this scenario seems familiar, you’re not alone. It’s a fairly big club.

Now, check out what we discover about this person’s faulty emotional rules for life. The rules are:

I have to be perfect.

If I’m not perfect, then I make a fool of myself.

Then I will never forgive myself.

That’s not exactly a prescription for enjoying life, is it?

Let’s look at another example. This person is in and out of bad relationships and has a history of being taken advantage of by others. Here are the rules this person lives by:

I have to please everyone around me.

If I don’t, then I am bad.

Then people will abandon me.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Faulty emotional rules typically involve three steps or parts that look something like this:

1) I have to (fill in the blank). This usually involves some kind of command, with no choice allowed.

2) If I don’t, then I’m (fill in the blank). This is usually something bad and difficult to change.

3) Then (fill in the blank) will happen. This is some terrible event that will dramatically affect your life, maybe even threaten it.

Now that the pattern of these rules has been established, you can look at the faulty emotional rules that interfere with your life. Just ask yourself these three questions:

In order to be a good person, what is it that I believe I must do?

If I don’t, then what does that make me?

Then what will happen to me?

The answers to these questions can help clarify the faulty emotional rules you might have accepted in your life.

So what should you do with this information? This is one of the rare times when you are being encouraged to break the rules. And you’ll be breaking them for a good reason.

One way to begin to break and then change faulty emotional rules is to ask lots of challenging questions. For instance:

Where did these rules come from?

Who taught them to you?

In what "emotional classroom" did you learn these rules?

Are they useful?

Do you want to keep them, change them or get rid of them?

Are they outdated and no longer applicable?

Are they like training wheels on a bike - necessary for survival at one time but no longer needed?

These questions can begin to loosen the hold that these rules have over your life.

The next step is to begin to construct and create your own emotional rules that fit your present life.

One way to do this is to ask friends and family about what rules work for them. They might look at you strangely at first, but if you keep digging, you might find out some interesting things.

Another way is to think of someone you admire and either guess about their rules and/or ask them.

Still another way is to ask yourself: "What do I need to believe in order to feel the way I want to feel, take the actions I want to take," etc.

All of us either have or have had faulty emotional rules in our lives. The trick is to identify, challenge, break and then, most importantly, change them.

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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