Archive for September, 2006

Posted on Sep 30th, 2006

As one year slides into the past, another whole new chance to create a better life dawns.

Was your holiday period all about buying party food, dressing up and before that maybe cleaning the house for good luck and to impress the guests? Many people have very definite rituals and routines that will help them see out the dust and grime of the old year. They make their homes beautiful and welcoming to allow new energies in.

Normally, in the work I do, I deal with ‘internal’ solutions to help people move from stress to bliss, but there is something to the whole concept of energy in the home that really appeals to me and now that a new day and year has dawned, it’s the perfect time to have a look at how your home reflects who you are and who you want to be.

We tend to be so connected to our homes that we don’t notice what they ‘say’ about us. So, try this as a Stress Management Technique… Go out of your home (even if it’s only a single room), take a few slow, steady breaths and play a little game of ‘pretend’. Imagine you’re coming in to your space for the very first time and it can talk.

No, I haven’t gone completely crazy – I don’t mean literally talk. If you walked into your apartment, room or house with an open mind and heart, what would you see, feel and hear? Do it now – walk out and then back into your space, looking around. What does it tell you of ‘you’?

What do you ‘see’? This is not a matter of personal taste - clutter really does increase stress, as does an environment full of useless, unused, broken and even dirty things. Letting go of what you no longer need means making space for something new. Having a clear, harmonious space doesn’t just mean less searching and dodging, it also means creating inner peace and a free flow of energy.

Look at the colours in your home and the images on your walls. Even if you don’t believe that they exude energy, you will agree that certain images have very specific affects on the subconscious mind. For instance, where the intention is to create a soothing, conflict free environment, it wouldn’t be helpful to put up pictures of battle scenes. This example may seem very obvious, yet we often overlook the more subtle images and what they convey. When you look at the colours and pictures in your home, do they represent who you want to be and how you want to live?

What do you hear? You can’t always control what goes on around your personal space – your neighbours, the road outside or your fellow lodgers – but you can decrease stress through silence in your home. Is the television or radio constantly on? If you don’t have some external silence, then how can you achieve inner peace? Many people feel lonely when they turn off the background noise. Becoming comfortable with yourself in silence is a very important part of achieving inner peace. Occasionally, you could of course compromise and play some soothing, gentle music in the background. Or, if you feel down, get yourself some CD’s of your favourite happy music and sing along. Let your home sound like a happy place; with a balance of serene silence and a bouncy tune.

What do you smell? Stale air laden with dust… food smells from days gone by? Or is it fresh, inviting and uplifting? Even if you live close to a road, find a suitable time to air your home for a few minutes every day. Open all the windows just for a little while and put your intention on letting out what you no longer need and letting in a fresh day that brings you new opportunities. Another very simple stress management technique is to burn some incense or essential oil in a lamp. But please, do yourself a favour and buy ‘the real thing’ – pure essential oils and natural incense. Otherwise you’ll just pollute your space with more chemicals and will probably get a head ache.

What do you feel? I mean feeling as in ‘touching’. Are there things in your room that you love to touch - a silk cushion maybe; the leaves of a healthy plant? What about a beautiful crystal or a piece of wood that holds a special memory? Stimulate your senses and soothe your mind by surrounding yourself with a few objects that really bring back good memories or motivate and uplift you.

Then, there is the other kind of ‘feeling’, which is a most effective stress management technique – how many objects are there in your space that make you feel really good? How many are there that bring back unpleasant memories? And what does it ‘feel’ like to walk into your home. Notice what you feel in your body and then make the changes you need to. The subtle sense of ‘feeling within’ can often tell us so much more than the pre-conceived ideas on taste and style we often follow automatically.

And now, with all your senses stimulated and hopefully a few ideas on how to create a harmonious, energising home that is the perfect place for starting a brand new year from, I wish you a successful, energising and happy New Year.

Annett Tate helps people achieve ultimate wellness and health. She teaches Emotional Freedom in her EFT seminars and shares her thoughts, inspiration and advice at Stress2Bliss.com

Posted on Sep 30th, 2006

Probably the least appreciated form of stress is college stress. This is mostly due to the fact that adults simply see a lot of college students sitting on their rear ends playing video games and drinking, instead of seeing students who are under pressure to succeed all the time. In addition to classes, homework, research, reading, paper writing and problem solving, there are now the problems of how the heck to pay for college and whether there will be any jobs waiting after graduation. Thus, with all these forms of college stress weighing students down, it is no wonder that things tend to get ugly when they “blow off steam”.

Of course, there are better ways to deal with stress than to drink an entire case of beer in one day. In fact, abusing your body with any number of chemicals does not really help that much, aside from the fact that people generally relax when they do such things. However, they are usually relaxed before partaking of the latest work of ancient and modern chemistry, so the substances themselves really do not make much of a difference.

Unfortunately, college stress is often the first encounter that some students have with persistent stress, and it is hard for them to deal with it. However, it is also the first time that many of them have had experience with almost complete freedom, so college has a double threat. Complete freedom means the ability to simply ignore the cause of stress, which is usually the classes they need to stay in college. Thus, the problem of freshmen retention in many universities.

Unfortunately, most students don’t even attempt to find help for their stress problems. In fact, the most common effort to help students through their stress is to tell them to either just get their work done or to get used to it. Of course, this advice usually comes from their friends and, though there is a certain set that could use this advice, many other students are struggling to keep up simply because they are unable to cope with their stress. Thus, by relieving their own minds of their concerns, they could help their grades and help keep themselves in school.

The best place to start looking for relief from college stress is by talking to an advisor. They are more than happy to help students because they want to help them and, for the most part, nobody ever visits them. Thus, they are very eager to help, but very lonely, so they will be more than happy to give a hand to anyone who needs it. If you are a student under stress, they can help you deal with the classroom concerns and direct you to people who can help alleviate your stress concerns. It doesn’t matter how personal the problems might be, advisors are very private, very discreet, and they are more than happy to provide you with assistance.

For those who need more regular relief from college stress, there are other options to the usual cure of barley and hops. In fact, colleges are a wealth of opportunities to learn new stress-reduction methods. For instance, there are yoga clubs, meditation classes, and even courses in tai chi that can help you learn how to cope with stress and ease its effects on you. As well, many colleges will provide stress-relief seminars every so often, simply to help their students keep their stress at bay. By all means, look for these seminars and make use of them.

Another way to keep college stress at bay is to simply budget your time properly. Yes, that means that you should actually perform that time-honored and often-overlooked stress reduction method known as “getting work done early”. This not only means getting your homework polished off and done before the day it is due, you should also attempt to start long-term projects more than one day before they are due. By spreading out projects, you can actually relieve a lot of stress. This is because you will actually be giving yourself less work to do later and you will not have to freak out at the last minute because the work is not done. Yes, I know you’ve heard this all before, but if you want to avoid college stress, you need to actually do it for a change.

College stress is a major problem for university students, but it is mostly ignored by the students who are actually under stress. In fact, they usually just try to press through their stress without considering that it does not need to keep them under its thumb. However, that does not need to be the case. Students can help themselves by simply recognizing their own college stress and making a few efforts to alleviate it.

Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton

LowerYourStress.com is a categorized resource directory for everything to do with stress. Get a free ebook to help with your stress levels: http://www.loweryourstress.com/stress-book.html

Posted on Sep 29th, 2006

How can we eliminate stress? That is one of the most common questions asked in the twenty first century with one of the most elusive answers!

Well, in order to eliminate stress we should first realise what it is and where it comes from.

A typical dictionary definition explains stress as: “a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part.”

Well when we experience stress in our lives it often feels as though an external (or sometimes internal) force is pressing against our lives. This causes a great deal of anguish and frustration to the person suffering which mainly comes from unwanted harassing thoughts and negative emotions. These thoughts and emotions cause imbalance, to a greater or lesser degree, within the mind which if persisted in will eventually cause an imbalance in the body!

So when connected to people we can give a clearer definition of ‘Stress’ as “a state of heightened emotional and mental imbalance caused by internal or external forces in one’s life”.

So what internal or external forces can cause this emotional and mental imbalance in one’s life?

At first this appears to be an almost impossible question to answer. There can be numerous causes of stress. They range from the more trivial – having a bad day at work – to the more serious – dreading an impending catastrophic event. However, if we look at all the apparent causes of stress closely we can see the root cause, which is always the same! What is it? Well it’s very simple.

Stress is caused when we want things, situations or people to be different from they are! Basically, it’s when we want things to be the way we want them to be but they just don’t change. Remember the dictionary definition of stress - “a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part.” We are desiring things to be different and when they stay the same (regardless of our actions) we experience stress. Our force of ‘will’ i.e. our ‘wanting’ the situation to change is exerting force on the situation. However, the situation remains the same and you know what happens when two forces in opposite directions collide - the stronger force wins! In such situations it is our desire that becomes compressed or twisted.

Ok, now we know that stress has its roots in ‘desire’ it becomes much easier to find a way to eliminate it.

Many mystical and religious traditions have told us that in order to achieve enlightenment or attain our fondest dreams we need merely achieve a desire-less state! Unfortunately not many tell us how to do this! Many tell us that in order to have something we must first stop wanting it!

This seems a strange concept but it does have solid foundations. If we desire something to the point of stressing ourselves about it, then our behaviour becomes grasping and we have little or no chance of gaining that which we desire.

Fortunately though, there is a simple effective way of eliminating such grasping desires from your life called ‘releasing’. This technique is not new but it is highly effective and little known in the western world.

Let us look again at our new definition of stress and how we can use it to eliminate stress on the spot in any situation. Our definition states that stress is “a state of heightened emotional and mental imbalance caused by internal or external forces in one’s life”. So how do we use this? Well firstly, the next time you experience a feeling of stress (try to pick a time when you are only slightly uptight until you get the hang of this), stop what you are doing for a moment and ask yourself “what do I want to be different in this situation/person/event?” – you are identifying your thoughts behind the stress.

Then, once you have identified these thoughts, ask yourself “how does that make me feel?” – you are identifying the emotions behind the thoughts.

Let’s take an example. You are at work and the boss wants you to get all your work finished by 5 o’ clock but you know that this is impossible but feel a mounting pressure to succeed at the task. You find yourself rushing around doing ten things at once all the time feeling more and more stressful. So, you ask the first question - “what do I want to be different in this situation/person/event?” The answer may be, “I want my boss to stop putting me under pressure”. - You have identified some the thoughts behind the stress.

Next you ask “how does that make me feel?” The answer to this may be “I feel unappreciated!” – You have identified one of the feelings behind your thoughts.

Now for one moment stop trying to suppress that emotion and fully feel it. Allow yourself to delve into that feeling and experience it and then ‘let it go’. Imagine it is a spent force escaping through your stomach. Do this several times, as it takes seconds to perform. Within a few repetitions you will start to feel your stress ease away effortlessly. Keep asking the questions as there may be several reasons behind your stress or you may need to ‘release’ a particularly deep-seated emotion a few times before it is gone. Try it, you may just be surprised at the results!

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Posted on Sep 29th, 2006

What do you think of when you see that word? Envy? Vague nostalgia? Familiar comfort? When did you last feel truly rested, and woke up feeling recharged, content, and ready to enjoy the day? If you’re having trouble remembering, then read on.

Rest is more than just going to bed at a good hour. When it comes to starting your day truly rested, three areas come to mind … resting your body through sleep, resting your soul (heart) through contentment, and resting your spirit (mind) through relaxation. How well do you take care of yourself in these three areas?

First of all, where does sleep fall on your priority list? Is resting your body last and least? Do you collapse into bed at night exhausted, feeling badly that you didn’t cross everything off of your list for the day? Do you wake up feeling like you need several more hours to feel recharged? Many of us (myself included) feel that we need more sleep, need to go to bed earlier, and wish we didn’t have so much crammed into each day. If sleep falls at the very bottom of your list, you likely won’t ever feel rested. Simply deciding to go to bed earlier won’t happen either, unless you change a few other things. I discovered this month that it was a great idea (and joy!) to cross things off of my somewhat insane to-do list, without doing them! I chose to put it there, I can choose to take it off. How simple is that?

Speaking of simple, ever hear the proverb "Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath"? I find it to be very true in my own life … sleep just isn’t worth the time you spend on it if you go to bed angry or frustrated. Phyllis Diller puts a twist on it saying "Don’t go to bed angry. Stay up and fight!" That takes us to the second point … resting your soul. How often do you set aside time to pray, meditate, or simply feed your heart? It’s not so much about how much time you spend on it, but how well you maintain a sense of contentment and peace with your life and your choices. Are you always needing something else to change before your heart can rest, or are you happy where you are? We may imagine that it takes a monastic life or misty mountain sunrises or an abundant bank account to achieve true peace, but we choose to be content (or not) every moment of every day. What are you choosing?

The last piece of feeling rested is relaxing your spirit. Do you defer all relaxation to an annual vacation? The occasional weekend? Resting your mind is a daily need, just as much as food, water, and sleep. What if you slept as often as you took vacations? Resting your mental batteries (read: turn them off) should happen often, even if it’s only a few minutes at a time. My digital camera has the amusing habit of shutting down and saying "replace battery pack" while gasping out a last shrill beep. Turn it on two minutes later and voila, it takes another half dozen shots! Rest means ceasing from all conscious activity. Obviously ceasing ALL mental activity would leave you dead, but you get my drift. Pause. Stop moving. Working. Thinking. Clear out your thoughts and tasks and lists and just let go … zone out if you will … and enjoy the silence. Find that a challenge? I’ll admit that I do. Even sitting still and doing nothing for ten minutes can be very difficult, my coaching clients often balk at the idea! Start the easy way and just find an activity that totally relaxes you and requires no effort … listen to music, watch TV, read a book … whatever genuinely disconnects you from any responsibility or work and frees you from conscious thought. You need that downtime, and failing to take it only builds up tiredness and stress.

If you find yourself regularly cutting your sleep short, staying wound up all day, and popping the Tylenol to get rid of those perpetual tension headaches, then you’re not taking care of yourself … body, soul, or spirit. You need rest to function properly, and it’s NOT a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Bethany Rule is an experienced personal and professional life coach, championing human development, encouraging change, and helping you break your own rules. Based in NYC, she works with clients all over the world. Please visit http://www.bethanyrule.com to sign up for your FREE Trial Session, FREE monthly newsletter, or to learn more about coaching with Bethany.

Posted on Sep 28th, 2006

My interest is in bringing wellness to life and overwhelm inhibits wellness. Some people are naturally good at managing their lives. Others appear to lack simple self management skills so their effectiveness is reduced and their stress levels are increased. This latter group are often impulsive, they fail to plan, they are disorganised and they are frequently overwhelmed to the point of stasis and eventually they manifest physical illnesses as a result.

This article gives tips and techniques which, when adopted into the lives of the serially overwhelmed, will assist them to organise themselves, their lives and their possessions thereby freeing up time, energy and mental capacity; ensuring they have the best chance of enjoying Wellness for Life.

1. When feeling overwhelmed resist the temptation to initiate large changes in your life. When you are overwhelmed you are not in the right frame of mind to make important decisions.

2. Free up some time for you. This is thinking time, relaxation time or planning time.

3. Find a cleaner, an ironing lady or a babysitter anything which buys you a little more time and energy

4. Eliminate energy drains in your life. These may be situations, people or your own procrastination

5. Reduce your expenditure and save extra money. Even if money appears to be the root of the overwhelm it is important to build a reserve even the smallest sum saved each week is better than nothing

6. Resist the temptation to set yourself new goals. Focus on reducing the current situation of overwhelm to immediately improve quality of life before taking on any new challenges

7. Give yourself permission to put yourself first. Delegate tasks where possible at work and at home

8. Make a commitment to leave your place of work at a reasonable time every evening. This will allow you time with your family and friends and time to relax. You will find that you will get more done in less time as your commitment to leave at a specific time will make you more focused and more productive during the working day

9. Arrange fewer meetings. These may be business or social. Do not cram your calendar full of appointments allow yourself some buffer time to catch up

10. Recognise that there is more to life than your career or your work. Avoid the trap of investing too much of your time in work searching for something that cannot be found there - your life

11. Ensure you get enough sleep. Tiredness is the shortest route to feelings of overwhelm

12. Eat a balanced diet and eat regularly. It is essential to provide fuel for the body if the body is to supply you with sufficient energy for the day

13. Always take your holidays from work. Resist the temptation to accept payments in lieu (even if it’s offered). You need this holiday time to recharge your physical, emotional and spiritual reserves

14. Recognise that the acquisition of more is a myth. Having it all is not all it would appear to be - it does not bring happiness, instead it brings high levels of stress and lots of responsibility

15. Make friends with yourself again. Get to know yourself again. What makes you tick? Start a journal, choose a journal which pleases you, something which gives you pleasure. Use your journal to start a dialogue with yourself. If you find it difficult to get started, think about acknowledging the things you’re most grateful for or most afraid of or most challenged by

16. Book an appointment with yourself one evening every week. Make this a regular date and use the time for self care. Write the appointments in your diary or Mark your calendar - this is a non-negotiable date

17. Make your health a priority. Do not wait until illness strikes before you start taking care of yourself. Prevention really is better than cure

18. Take care of your emotional health. Know what makes you feel good and build it into your day

19. Take care of your relationships. Spend time with people who are important to you

20. Take care of your spiritual well-being. This will mean something different for everyone from regular religious worship to meditation or simply spending time close to nature

21. Have fun. Having fun is not frivolous it is just as important as the time we spend working. Use your journal to explore where and how you are bringing fun into your life

22. Be generous with your “self”. This is not a large request for action or a large time commitment. Demonstrate a generous spirit in small ways perhaps by holding a door open for someone or assisting an elderly person with their shopping anything which will encourage a smile in return

23. Slow down. Be aware of your whole body throughout the day. Avoid the temptation of just residing in your head. Keep your attention on the here and now. Talk more slowly, write more slowly and walk more slowly

24. Get your priorities straight. Look at where you are spending the most of your time and ask yourself if this makes sense. Define your priorities and arrange your diary around them

25. Acknowledge that you have no power to manage time. You can only manage yourself and the way you use time

26. Be aware of how often you agree to something when you would rather not. Put space between a request for your time and your response

27. Take daily breaks and allow yourself to just be. Practise doing nothing just for five minutes and teach yourself how to be still instead of always been busy

28. Identify what is sapping your energy. Procrastination often takes more energy than action

29. Deal with money problems. Acknowledge all debt and work out a realistic repayment plan. Avoid incurring further debt as debt and the worry caused by debt is one of the biggest energy drains

30. Deal with anything that has been left incomplete or unresolved from the past. These issues hold you back and leave no energy available for the present

31. Identify the people who continuously drain your energy. Either re-negotiate the basis of your relationship with them or ease them out of your life

32. Handle all outstanding communication. Return phone calls, e-mails and letters which may be outstanding

33. Maintain your home. Get on and do those niggling jobs which are annoying you. Fix the door which regularly sticks, replace the washer in the dripping tap and clear out the old newspapers and magazines

34. Sort through your clothes. Clean, repair or alter any you are keeping. Clothes which are worn out, no longer fit or are no longer required should be cleared out and either given to a charity shop, a good friend or binned

35. De-clutter your home. Go through cupboards, outbuildings and the loft. Creating physical space will also permit mental space

Donetta Harrison is building http://www.wellnessforlife.info, an information resource on all aspects of wellness in all domains of life, to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing in order that that they may live life to the full. More Information from wellnessforlife@stressmanagementarticles.com.

Posted on Sep 28th, 2006

Do you get out of your car with a queasy stomach, a headache and your blood pressure registering through the roof? If you do, that energy vulture called stress may have sent your pulse skyrocketing. In a study conducted at the University of California at Irvine, researchers found that the stress of commuting takes a major toll on health. According to the study, it has direct physiological effects of raising blood pressure and releasing stress hormones into the body. Not only that, long commutes (more than 18 miles one way) may also increase the likelihood of having a heart attack due to exposure to high levels of air pollutants, which appears to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Although there is no antidote to stressful commuting, there are lots of ways to shoo off the energy vulture. Here’s how to thrive while you drive.

1. Prepare in advance

One of the best ways to lessen the strain of road rage is to prepare everything the night before. Clothes, documents, attache cases, and even packed lunches should be set the day before to avoid the morning rush. With everything champing at the bit, you’d save plenty of time to do your morning routines, devour a good breakfast and enjoy special moments with the family. Best of all, you can dash out the highway free of traffic congestion.

2. Sleep well and wake up early

A good night’s sleep rejuvenates the body. Make it a habit to have enough sleep and to rise early. If you are already stressed out the day before, an incomplete repose takes over cumulative stress effects into your life at work and at home. Your frustration levels at work eventually rises, your brainpower falters, and your mood at home sours. You have no energy left for enjoying life.

3. Juggle your work hours

Why pack the freeways with all the other "9-to-5"ers when you can try a ten-to-six or an eight-to-four shift? Depending on your company’s work policy, try to check out other shifts that fit your lifestyle. Choose one that would help you get rid of energy-depleting stress and allow you to lighten your highway woes.

4. Share your ride

It may be a hassle to coordinate your arrival and departure with another person or two, but carpooling is worth it. Studies show that ridesharing lowers commuter stress significantly. With carpooling, there is less air and noise pollution, less traffic congestion, and you can relax more while someone else does the driving.

5. "Cocoon" in your car

Instead of getting worked up when traffic is at a standstill, utilize your time wisely. Listen to the radio or pop in some music tapes to take your mind off the stop-and-go driving and traffic tie-ups. If you like to read but just can’t have time to flip pages of a book, check out books on cassette. Many libraries have full-length books on tape as well as abridged versions. You can even learn a new language or do some car exercises like shoulder rolls, neck extensions and tummy tucks to help you stay awake and relax.

6. Pillow your back and squirm

When you’re standing, the lumbar area of your spine (the lower portion) normally curves inward, toward your abdomen. However, when you’re sitting, it tends to slump outward squeezing your spinal disks and putting stress on them. According to back expert Malcolm Pope, Ph.D.,director of the Iowa Spine Research Center at the University of Iowa, it helps to support your back by tucking a rolled towel or a pillow in that lumbar section. In cases of longer drives, since sitting in one position for longer than 15 minutes gradually stiffens you even with a back pillow, make necessary adjustments for a comfy ride. For instance, you can try putting most of your weight on one buttock and then the other. Then, shift the position of your seat or your buttocks slightly. You may even try sliding down in your seat and sit up again for fun.

7. Work out after work

Since the evening rush is worse than the morning rush because of the compounded fatigue from the workday, it is best to wait out the traffic. Work out at a gym near your office or take meditation classes to relieve your stress. If you plan to go to dinner, see a movie or go shopping, try to do these things near work, delaying your departure enough to miss the maddening rush.

8. Give yourself a break

It may be a good idea to give yourself some day off from work. Many companies today offer compressed working hours or longer working days to give way to work-free days for you to unwind.

9. Move your office

If your job is a long drive ahead everyday, inquire at work if the company would allow you to work at home some days of the week or if you can work near your place. An alternative work schedule would make you feel less tense and in control thereby reducing stress.

10. Occasionaly change your routine

An occasional change of commuting habits may be advisable too. Try walking or bicycling sometimes for a change. There’s nothing like a good walk to ease tension especially when it means you don’t have to get in your car and fight rush hour traffic.

By lessening the stress of getting to work, you are conserving enormous amounts of energy that may be lost over stressful commuting. It doesn’t only leave you a lot more energy to do your job and become more productive but it also makes you feel good and gives you a good reason to always start your day right.

© 2005 Rachelle Arlin Credo. All rights reserved.

Rachelle Arlin Credo is an entrepreneur and relationship coach. She also works as an image consultant and part-time writer. Her literary works have been published in various magazines and online publications. For more info, visit her website at http://www.rachelle.co.nr

Posted on Sep 27th, 2006

Some men may experience the fear of being alone. There are many ways to overcome this fear, however the main thing is to remember that there is nothing wrong with being alone. In addition, here is a short list of techniques that a guy can use so that the fear of being alone doesn’t become a major issue in their lives.

The first step is to find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people. For instance, joining a group activity such as a volleyball group, women’s club, or making Crafts can be a great way to meet people. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

Spending time with animals can be a great source of companionship. Whether you have a dog or you go to your local shelter, spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better. Animals can be of good company to all of us whether we are alone or not.

Helping others through community service can be of some help. There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Helping others can give you a source of pride and accomplishment and also can lead to friendships.

It isn’t fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things. For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable. Not only do you have to live with this person, but there is no way to get out of the relationship because of various financial or personal reasons. As a result, you are stuck living with someone that you can’t stand and makes you depressed every single day of your life. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn’t sound that bad.

For those of you who believe in God, spending time with God and praying to him can help us in our lonely situation. Spending time with God and asking God for help in our time of loneliness can be of great comfort. You never know how God will work in ones life. Ask him for help and trust that he will help you.

As a Layman, the important thing is to do something constructive. Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better whether its dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear” an easy to read book that presents a overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com

Posted on Sep 27th, 2006

The fast pace of life is taking toll on every city dweller, right from students to home makers and workers to managers, every body is hit by the bug of the stress. Modern technological development and communication aids are adding to the stress because of their high speed. Traveling, exams, admissions etc. at times are too stressful for students as well as parents living hectic lifestyle. Stressed individuals are paying heavy toll in terms of health and well being as they are more prone to stress induced diseases such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Most people get trapped into the vicious circle of stress induced diseases and find it difficult to tackle it at later stage. Hence it is very important for us to learn to manage the stress.

So what is stress?

Stress is an individual’s perception and assessment of the environment. It depends on how one perceives the situation. The positive perception is called eustress while negative perception will lead to distress. The amount of stress at which each individual functions most effectively is unique to each individual and it is known as optimum stress level (OSL). Any response, mental or physical, which adversely affects performance, is called negative stress response.

That which creates stress is called stressor. There are different types of lifestyle stressors: Performance Stressors: These are situations where one is stressed to perform, viz. Driving a car, public speaking, performance appraisal, big events in one’s life viz. Exams, marriage etc.

Threat Stressors: These are situations perceived as dangerous, viz.: Riots, War, High risk sport, accidents etc.

Boredom Stressors: These are situations which are perceived and assessed as lacking in physical or mental stimulation, Viz. Household chores, Routine factory work etc.

Frustration Stressors: These are situations which are perceived and assessed as being undesirable but beyond one’s power to control, Viz. Govt. Taxation.

Bereavement Stressors: Loss of relationship, Death of loved one, losing a Job, possession or Reputation, dignity etc.

Physical Stressors: Actual physical damage viz. breaking limbs, suffering from disease or infection, working in conditions where extreme temperature and pollution exists which can not be avoided.

Effect of Positive Stress:

As we have seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives. Our goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help us. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave us feeling bored or dejected; on the other hand, excessive stress may leave us feeling "tied up in knots." What we need to do is find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm each of us. If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level; you need to reduce the stress in your life and improve your ability to manage it.

So, how do we manage stress?

As there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require work towards change. As stress is an individual’s perception and assessment of the environment, one needs to look into the possibility of changing one’s perception and the reaction to it. In fact, the ideal change will be to convert our reaction to response. So what is the difference between reaction and response? Reaction is habitual, uncontrolled, and impulsive while response is well thought, contemplated act with awareness. A responsible person responds and never reacts. Responsibility is one’s ability to respond.

How do we proceed?

1. Awareness of Stressors: Become aware of your stressors. Watch your physical and emotional reactions to stressors. Do you become nervous or physically upset? Notice the situations and events that create high levels of stress. Understand how your body responds to the stress.

2. Breath awareness: Bring your attention to your breath. Breath awareness will make you more aware to notice various aspects of stress, situation and its effects on your body-brain system. Breath awareness will bring the understanding of the dominant nostril. At any given time, we have one dominant nostril and one blocked nostril. The dominance and the blockage can be of varied degrees.

3. Change the dominant nostril: This is one of the oldest secret of “Shiv Swarodaya” or Swar Yoga. As you become aware of stress and the dominant nostril, simplest thing to do now is to block the dominant nostril by pressing thumb on that nostril and breathe through the other nostril for twenty one times. Normally this is sufficient to change the nostril and stop the setting in of the stress. This simple method works in a miraculous manner to manage stress!

4. Practice “Nirmal Kriya”: Nirmal Kriya is one of the most powerful methods to eliminate stress instantly. It takes only half a minute to practice it. Here is how you go about it… Start with a couple of deep breaths. Now start with four short breaths and end with a long breath. During the long breath exhalation, create friction in the throat region. (This is known as Ujjayi Pranayam). This makes the train of five connected breaths. Repeat such train five times and you have completed 25 connected breaths Nirmal Kriya. You can do it standing, sitting or sleeping positions. You can repeat it every hour or anytime you feel you are drifting into the stressful situation.

5. Change your Attitudes: Become more positive towards stress management. Look at every situation in a positive manner, including the stressful situations. In fact we learn our best lessons of life from the worst situations!

6. Set your Goals right: Practice SMART Goal setting. Let each of your goal be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share.

7. Manage your Time: Practice Time management techniques and manage your life accordingly. Prepare the list of things to do every day morning. Set your priorities right. Follow your own system to the extent possible and also be flexible to change your system to suit your new environment.

8. Improve your EQ: Emotional quotient is based on Emotional Intelligence. Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress. The stress reaction is triggered by your perception of emotional danger. Are you viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms? Are you over-reacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent? Work at adopting more moderate views; try to see the stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you. Put the situation in perspective.

9. Take care of your body: Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week Moderate, prolonged rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging. Practice Yoga regularly. Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals. Maintain your ideal weight. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants. Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible.

10. Take it easy: Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away whenever you can. Develop some mutually supportive friendships and relationships. Frustrations, failures, and sorrows are part of our life, for learning lessons. Always be kind and gentle with yourself — be a friend to yourself.

For more information please visit http://www.premnirmal.com/stress_management.htm

Mr. Prem Nirmal teaches “Stress Management” at various B-Schools and also conducts Stress Management programs regularly at TAO, 209, Krishna, Laxmi Ind. Complex, Vartak Nagar, Pokhran Road-1, Thane (W).Mumbai. India. For more information, log on to http://www.premnirmal.com Or e-mail to prem@stressmanagementarticles.com or call 9224127682.

Posted on Sep 26th, 2006

We are a nation of stressed out mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, wives, husbands… you get the idea.

It’s easy to get caught up in the spiral of everyday life and forget to honor your spirit and body. Studies have shown that stress causes or exacerbates ailments such as strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, etc.

But do any of these facts, slow you down?

Chances are the answer to the question is “no”. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to unwind, until it’s too late and they are lying in a hospital bed.

Stress reduction techniques vary. Below are four easy stress management techniques:

• Take five minutes out of your day and sit by yourself with your eyes closed. If you are a busy parent, student or working stiff like the rest of us, it may prove difficult, but it’s important that you find some time for yourself.

The five minutes can come at the end of the day, right before you go to sleep. This is also a great way to unwind before bedtime.

During these 5 minutes, think of happy thoughts. A vacation that you enjoyed or a good joke – anything that makes you happy and content.

• Take time to treat yourself to the good things in life. Visit your local day spas or take a nice vacation. Life is short and as the saying goes “you can’t it with you”.

• Designate a relaxation day, every three months. This is only four days per year out of 365 days. Use this day to get a therapeutic massage, a facial or manicure. Take your husband, mom, sister, best friend with you or get them a gift certificate so that they can also enjoy the experience. This is an especially wonderful gift, if they have a special occasion coming up such as an anniversary, graduation, new birth, mother’s day or valentine’s day.

Delia Galley writes about stress relief techniques. Visit http://www.dayspafan.com to find your local day spas.

Posted on Sep 26th, 2006

There are many kinds of daily grinds. In the U.S. Corporate world today, to be busy working 12-16 hours a day is a sign of importance and ambition. The more time you spend at your job, the more you are envied—the harder you work, the higher you rise up the corporate ladder.

Somehow we’ve gotten this work thing all wrong. Originally, work was not intended to be a grind, where we are crushed, pressed, mashed, and pounded into completing tasks and satisfying responsibilities. It was intended to be an object of pleasure, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

The Work Relationship

People play an essential part in any business. The activity they engage in is called work. Work occupies about one-third to one-half of our lives; therefore, we must exercise diligence and care when establishing work relationships.

Diligence is at the heart of the work relationship. Those who work are called employees or workers, and those who manage or oversee these workers are called leaders or bosses. The work relationship is somewhat symbiotic. Bosses and workers co-exist for mutual benefit based upon certain conditions, promises and agreements with one another. As a result, the work relationship can be severed when either the boss or worker takes advantage of or hurts the other. A failure to live up to the agreement will cause the boss to terminate or fire the worker, or the worker to quit or resign from the boss. In fact, employee survey research has consistently shown that the number one reason why workers leave a company is poor boss quality.

Making The Work Relationship Succeed

  • Respect. Bosses and workers must acknowledge and show consideration and respect for each other.

  • Trust. Both workers and bosses must learn to trust so that challenges and obstacles may be overcome.
  • Interpersonal Communication. Bosses and workers are to communicate with each other in ways that promote mutual understanding.
  • Collaboration. Workers and bosses are to cooperate with one another and use collaborative ways to solve problems and make decisions.
  • The Benefit of the Doubt. Bosses and workers are to practice “2S1Q” (slow to speak and become angry; quick to listen), and to refrain from prematurely passing judgment on each other.
  • Finding Happiness In Your Work

    There is more to work than just paying your dues from nine to five working out the daily grind. So, if you’re going to spend an average of eight to twelve hours exerting energy on a task or two, you must find ways to enjoy it! Here are a few:

    1. Choose to delight in your work. It’s important to have a positive attitude towards work and reject a critical and complaining one. This means you must make a deliberate choice to be satisfied with your work. There are no perfect jobs because there are no perfect people. It is unrealistic to believe that the grass will be greener in another department or company. Job satisfaction involves choosing to commit to and be in harmony with your work by consistently carrying out your duties and responsibilities. Remember that work is a prime developer of your character and ability to successfully interact with others in society.
    2. Never stop learning and acquiring new skills. Do your work with wisdom, knowledge and competence by keeping skill levels sharp and fresh. Don’t wait for the company to provide opportunities for professional development. Instead, take responsibility for your own training and career growth by investing time and resources in further education and skill acquisition.
    3. Work smart as well as hard. Hard work can give meaning and purpose to life. When you work hard, you use your whole being—mind, body, and spirit. Working hard includes a total focus of personality, skill, and intellect—all parts of the body working in harmony to accomplish a task. You know that you have worked hard, when at the end of the task, there is a balanced result of sweet exhaustion and satisfaction of completion.

    Do you want lasting solutions to handle stress and maintain successful work relationships? Then re-ignite your enthusiasm for your job, restart your relationship with your boss, and re-invigorate your career.

    Althea DeBrule, entrepreneur and seasoned human resources executive, has focused for more than 30 years on helping people achieve their career goals. Creator of The Extreme-Career-Makeover™ and a founding partner of RADSGroup Organizational Consultants, she is recognized for her bottom line and practical application of career development and management strategies in a way that penetrates hearts and compels action. She speaks and teaches with inspired talent, humor and contagious zeal at management conferences and leadership retreats nationwide, and has been featured in CFO Magazine, Strategy@Work, Human Resource Executive Magazine. Althea is the author of Bosses & Orchards, a compelling and candid book about how to make your work relationship with your boss succeed. To discover how you can take your career to a new level, visit http://www.extreme-career-makeover.com/

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