Archive for September, 2006

Posted on Sep 20th, 2006

Innovative Power Therapies Provide Simple Techniques to Deal with Trauma

Recent years have seen the development of a family of therapies that offer clinically effective alternatives to traditional, long-term treatments. These Power Therapies only require one to three sessions, but the results are usually permanent. Each of them provides noticeable relief from negative emotions, pain, and trauma by "rewiring neural pathways" in the brain.

It doesn’t matter whether the pain suffered is physical or emotional. These methods bring relief from fears and traumas such as: phobias, depression, grief, rape, natural disasters, crime, childhood sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress. Although their methods differ from each other in emphasis and approach, Power Therapies all work by interrupting old habits and reflexes that were established around the painful incidents.

Painful reactions are replaced with non-distressful ones. These methods work by triggering brain activity below the level of conscious control. Emotional intensity also goes down. Relieving lifelong problems in moments seem to defy logic, but a body of documented scientific studies prove the benefits are real. Fortunately, a person doesn’t have to believe in these techniques for them to work.

EFT is Easy Enough for a Person to Learn to Do in Minutes

It doesn’t matter whether their pain results from something recent or from long ago - or whether or not the cause is known. EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy) works on both the emotional level and the physical level. The mind focuses on the pain or problem at the same time that another response is introduced, whereby a neutral response replaces a painful one.

Everyone suffers from self-limiting fears to some extent. But some people are paralyzed by them. The most powerful fears are the unconscious ones. During the tapping sequence, after one fear gets cleared, another one comes up to be healed.

EFT Always Taps Exactly the Right Place

It was developed by Gary Craig, who simplified Roger Callahan’s revolutionary Thought Field Therapy (TFT). TFT therapists follow complex tapping sequences (protocols) for numerous symptom categories. By contrast, EFT taps on the same meridian points on the face and body for every problem.

Once people learn how the tapping is done, it’s simple enough for them to use on themselves whenever they sense fear or pain. Find more information at Gary Craig’s extensive EFT website, http://www.emofree.com He offers a free, downloadable instruction manual on that site, with tons of how-to and case studies.

Rather than focusing on the traumatic memories (as with most talk-it-out therapies), EFT addresses the true cause, the disruption of the body’s energy system. It’s unnecessary for a person to relive the painful memories.

EFT works directly on the energy points (meridian system) of the body. Like acupuncture, relief comes (in part) from stimulating the meridians. Only, instead of needles, the person’s meridians are tapped with the fingers. Whether EFT is performed by a therapist or self-applied, over 80 percent of people achieve noticeable improvement or complete cessation of the problem.

EFT Applies the Same Steps to Any Negative Emotion

Craig’s system is based on the concept, "The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system." He reasons, since every negative emotion has the same cause (an electrical disruption - a "zzzzzt") they can all be relieved in a similar manner. It’s unnecessary to focus on diagnosis (or delve into the old wounds) to be successful with EFT.

EFT Simplified Sequence:

- Identify the problem

- Apply the Basic Recipe

- Relief - Complete; Partial; None

- Test and re-apply if necessary

- Apply Adjusted Basic Recipe

Each element must be performed precisely as described, and in the proper order. Every round of tapping takes about one minute. Tapping can be done by either hand, on either side of the body. Tap solidly with the index and middle finger on each tapping point about seven times.

The Basic Recipe Starts with the Setup

The person starts by identifying their fear, negative emotion, or trauma.

THE SETUP SENTENCE "Even though I have this __________, I deeply and completely accept myself." Fill in the blank with a short phrase about the problem being addressed, for example: "anger toward my father" or "nightmares."Sometimes a person can’t "accept themselves," so we might tap on just that at first - as in, "Even though I can’t accept myself for this and I hate myself right now, I am willing to be willing to accept myself."

Repeat the statement out loud three times, while simultaneously tapping the "karate chop" point on the side of the hand (or two specific points on the chest). The "karate chop" point (abbreviated KC) is located at the side of the hand about an inch below the baby finger. Vigorously tap the point with the fingertips of the index finger and middle finger of the other hand. While either hand will work, it’s usually most convenient to tap the KC of the non-dominant hand with the fingers of the dominant hand.

This is followed by the Sequence of tapping again. Modify the Setup statement, based on the new issue(s) that might present itself. Then tap another round. Do as many rounds as necessary until the problem is gone. That may require several sessions.

Example of a Client Session

PROBLEM: A woman in her 30’s is afraid to have some mandatory surgery. She’s terrified of them putting the anesthetic tube down her throat, as in a previous surgery.

FEELING or BELIEF: "I will choke to death" is the belief. FEAR is the feeling that she experienced. The woman rated her level of fear a ten (on a one-to-ten scale), as she recalled the prior operation when she thought she was choking.

First, EMDR (another Power Therapy) lowered the fear. She said after processing with the Eye Movements that the fear went down to a level seven. The belief was, I will be alone (and die that way).

When we started EFT, I had her tap the set-up point on the hand and say three times: "Even though I am afraid I will be left alone to die, and that I am helpless, and I judge myself for having this fear, I completely accept myself right now."

We did one round of tapping on "This FEAR." Then she reported feeling cold and alone. She remembered a skiing accident when she was lost in the snow for a few hours (where she felt she was surely going to die alone).

We tapped on different aspects of this incident for several rounds. Then she recalled other fears she’s had in her life, which we tapped on. Then we tapped on the humiliation she’s felt for having certain fears. Events that are attached to the same feeling (this type of fear) all come up, one after another.

After we had tapped on each one until it was gone, she measured her level of disturbance around that issue. It was now down to a two. We tapped on "this remaining fear" and it came down to a zero.

Then she made a deep sigh, and her face registered a sense of relief and peace. The new belief: "I am strong and have survived many things that would kill most people." We tapped this belief in with several rounds. This strengthens the belief even more.

We went back to the memory of the FIRST operation, where she got her tube phobia. She focused on this memory (and checked inside her body for the feeling that went with it). She reported she felt no fear at all.

I had her "run a movie" in her mind of this first operation, from beginning to end; and at the same time, she was to monitor her body for any feeling of fear. I asked her to tell me if she felt any sense of fear as she recounted the experience in detail. At one place in her story, she felt fear of about six. After several rounds of tapping on this, the fear went to zero.

We then repeated this process with her "running a movie" of the original experience in her mind. This time she got all the way through the story with no feelings of fear. At the next session the fears were at zero as well.

Two later sessions Future Paced how she’d deal with the surgery with her family and office mates. Future Pacing is a way to create the behavior we want to have in a future situation, through imagery enhanced with EMDR and EFT. She called me several months later to report that she’d gone through the surgery with very little fear.

Eliminate Everyday Fear and Frustrations as they Arise

The most amazing thing about EFT - clearing these fears removes scary and self-limiting beliefs that have been driving a person their whole life. The beliefs that have the most power are unconscious, so they have to be carefully teased out.

EFT techniques are easy to learn, even by children (who are very good at this). It’s a wonderful tool for managing their anxiety and other negative emotions. People who learn how to discharge their fears right away are pleased to discover they don’t have to be afraid of them any more.

© 2006, Susan Quinn

Susan Quinn, MA., MFT, Certified Life Coach - Power Therapies and Coaching - Newer methods for faster healing and growth in all areas of your life. Subscribe to my free monthly E-zine, Power Therapies E-zine http://www.susanquinn.net 310-600-3458

Posted on Sep 20th, 2006

Q:We recently had someone come to our company to talk about stress management. All he did was talk about the physical results of stress and tell us we need to not be so stressed and to relax. It really wasn’t very helpful, and I was wondering if you could offer some tips on how to handle stress.

A:You’ve run into a problem I see all too often in the field of stress management, as well as in any other area that involves change.

Anyone can describe the problem for you, sometimes in great detail. Then a few others can describe the problem and tell you what you should do about it. What you need is someone to tell you the how of managing stress.

Three Tools

To get you started on managing stress, here are three tools that you can use right away.

Tool of relaxation.

Here’s something I call push-button relaxation. Picture yourself somewhere that is very relaxing and peaceful. See, hear and feel everything as if you were there. Create your own personal button to create this picture/feeling. For some people it’s a snap of the fingers, others use a word or phrase - whatever quickly takes you there in your imagination. Use your push-button when you’re feeling stress and notice the difference.

Tool of battle.

This does not mean grab your sword and shield. It does mean to pick your battles wisely. It’s vital to ask: Is this a battle worth fighting?

Many of us tend to major in minor things. We let too many little things upset us. The more you ask this question, the less you’ll have needless battles, and you’ll have less stress and more energy.

Tool of fun and spontaneity.

We’ve just about killed off fun and spontaneity with our over-scheduled, day-planner-run lives. I’ve even seen one friend’s daily schedule that had a 15-minute block that reminded him to "have fun."

Here’s my challenge to you: Sometime in the next week, do something spontaneous and fun.

If you really want to mamage and master stress, use all three of these tools.

For more tips and tools to manage and master stress visit Tools for Successful Living

Posted on Sep 19th, 2006

EMDR Uses a Person’s Eye Movements to "Rewire" the Brain

New techniques gaining respect among therapists can easily reduce or eliminate painful emotions, altogether. These methods (known as Power Therapies) bring relief from fears and traumas, like phobias, depression, grief, rape, natural disasters, crime, childhood sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress. They’ve proven themselves to be effective whether the pain is physical or emotional.

Power Therapies usually produce marked results in three to eight sessions. And the results are usually permanent. So people don’t need to wait for years to eliminate intrusive thoughts or memories. Respected scientific studies prove the benefits are real and long-lasting.

Each of the Power Therapies reduces negative emotions by redirecting neural pathways in the brain. Although each method differs in its approach, Power Therapies work by interrupting old habits (reflexes) that developed from painful incidents. During treatment, a person focuses their mind on the pain or problem - which is desensitized. As that happens, a new belief about the self emerges, and the new belief (along with the feelings of well-being) are strengthened and built upon.

A person need not have any confidence in how these techniques work for them to be effective on their pain. It also doesn’t matter whether the trauma results from something that happened recently, or from long ago. The precise cause of the distress needn’t be known. These treatments work by triggering brain functions below conscious awareness.

EMDR Works Below the Level of Consciousness - Deep in the Brain

Studies suggest that memories too painful to deal with consciously are processed while the person is asleep. During the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep the eyes move the same way as they do during EMDR treatments.

Intense fears are "learned" at the cortical level of the brain, which is inaccessible to talk-it-out therapies. Activities that interrupt and replace those negative emotions and reflexes, allow less painful responses to take their place.

EMDR treatment involves back-and-forth eye movements, alternating sounds, and/or vibrations that stimulate the brain to resolve disturbing emotions. It was developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro, to help patients deal with disasters and post traumatic stress reactions. It was thoroughly researched with Viet Nam veterans, and shown to be 80% more effective in processing trauma than other therapies. But EMDR works just as well with less dramatic, hurtful events, or self-limiting beliefs that cause low self-esteem.

Language is a left brain function, and emotions are held in the right brain. This has been shown with SPECT Scans developed by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. (http://www.amenclinic.com). Dr. Amen specializes in working with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and measures activity in the brain with this imaging scan. Looking at the brain with this instrument, the patient is asked to recall an unresolved trauma. When this happens the right hemisphere of the brain lights up in the image (it gets heated).

This information was discovered about the same time that the mind-body therapies were developed. Focusing on where the feeling is held in the body, while having alternate bi-lateral stimulation (as in eye movements, alternating sound, etc.) causes strong feelings to get desensitized. They loose their intensity.

The theory why this works - this alternate-bilateral stimulation engages the right hemisphere of the brain, as well as the left hemisphere. Without engaging the right brain as well, the trauma is not processed. Only mental health professionals are trained in EMDR, and sessions are conducted within a therapeutic setting.

My Typical EMDR Treatment Session

When working with a client, I allow one hour fifteen minutes for an EMDR session. While the person relaxes, the sounds play in the background. As in hypnosis, the client goes into a light trance.

I start by strengthening positive feelings, and feelings of times when they felt strong, confident, peaceful, and proud of something they’d done successfully. I intensify these feelings using imagery and Eye Movements.

The alternating sounds let the person close their eyes, and go more deeply into their experience. More importantly, they can move through the problem much faster than with traditional therapies. I guide them with my voice into the traumatic or painful experience to be desensitized. The topic was previously decided upon between us. Any specific event leads inevitably to what’s connected to it; and that, too, gets addressed.

I ask the person to name the emotion they’re feeling, as they see themselves in this event. Then they rate the amount of charge they feel about it (on a scale of one to ten; ten being the highest). That’s their starting point (usually six or higher). I have them place their hand on the part of their body where that fear/emotion is held, and ask them to visualize any pictures related to the emotion.

The person continues the reverie, as connected experiences and images come up. As we process these images or emotions felt in the body (with the Eye Movements and the alternating sound) they report the intensity of the feeling going down, to a one or two. Intense feelings are no longer attached to the event.

When this happens, I ask, "What belief do you have about yourself now as you look back at that event?" A common example is to go from the belief that, "I’m helpless," to, "Whatever happens I can/will handle it."

I end by intensifying and "Future Pacing" the good feeling that goes with "whatever happens I will handle it." I have them see and feel themselves (using imagery and suggestion) going through the day and into the future with this feeling fully activated in their body. This exercise implants tangible imagery into the person’s mind, so it affects their daily activities.

At the beginning of the next session I have them check inside their body, to see if there are any remaining feelings surrounding the incident we have desensitized. If not, we go on to the next incident (or memory) to be desensitized.

The Essence of Counseling is to Combine Methods that Best Serve the Client

The client-centered approach I use brings in a variety of therapeutic methods. The Power Therapies are powerful and varied (also read about EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques, which I teach to all my clients (http://www.quintal.net/subjectPages/efttherapy.htm).

Each person has unique emotional needs, so a range of treatments, like hypnosis or coaching, may all combine to support their emotional growth. The beauty of Power Therapies lies in their ability to alleviate lifelong problems so rapidly.

© 2006, Susan Quinn

Susan Quinn, MA., MFT, Certified Life Coach - Power Therapies and Coaching - Newer methods for faster healing and growth in all areas of your life. Subscribe to my free monthly E-zine, Power Therapies E-zine http://www.susanquinn.net 310-600-34

Posted on Sep 19th, 2006

Have you ever considered sewing a handbag as an act of meditation or as a way to get in touch with your self and reduce stress? Let’s look at the process In order to see the connection to inner peace.

To make a handbag, the sewer needs to focus on the immediate – you need to be precise and concentrate on what you are doing at the present moment. There are no distractions tolerated and your mind calms because it is focused – the breathing evens out into a regular rhythm. The previous stress you may have experienced fades into the distant past as you look at this perfect piece of fabric in front of you; something you have lovingly picked out from the vast array of other fabrics, making a special bond between you and this beautiful organic object waiting for your unique input.

You carefully place your handbag pattern on the fabric and focus on cutting as evenly as possible around the outline of your purse. The anticipation builds as the faint beginnings of your new bag take shape. Diligently, you focus on the task in front of you, cutting in careful precision with total deliberation.

Sewing your handbag is where the actual shape starts to form and you realize you are close to finishing. Keeping the line of stitching straight requires your full attention as the row develops with the edge lined up perfectly and each stitch attains harmony with it’s neighboring stitch. Be aware that there is great peacefulness in this degree of full intensification of thought.

As the bag is nearing completion, you may start thinking about how the fabric texture suggests a pleasant memory such as the feel of your Mother’s dress against your skin when you were little or a soft Summer day. Your mind peacefully wanders to that special time when you were younger and life seemed so simple.

The calmness and inner peace you attained through the process of creating your own handbag changes to happy pride as you display this unique work of art to friends and family and bask in their words of praise for your talent and dedication. You now have a physical reminder in the form of your bag that you are special and talented with a gift of creation. Look at your new handbag and remember the calmness you felt when you were in the midst of evolving this piece of fabric into a special work of art and know that you can carry this peace with you always.

Henrietta is a handbag designer and author who specializes in handbag history. Her informational site is located at http://henriettashandbags.com

Posted on Sep 18th, 2006

Stress management doesn’t have to be a boring academic activity. You don’t always have to shell out big bucks to keep yourself from sinking down the tubes. Did you used to skip when you were a kid? Maybe you could try it right now.

How did you feel the last time you skipped? Did you feel happy? Did you have a smile on your face? Perhaps you were laughing.

If you’re in fairly good physical shape, you can simply put on your athletic shoes and go for it right now. Skip for a few minutes or longer. Do you feel better? How is that for stress management?

It’s a really fun way to get a good physical workout.

Heck, there’s an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for a guy named Ashrita — he did an entire marathon by skipping. He wore out a small mountain of shoes during his training period.

If you have creaky bones, like me, you can bypass the skipping and simply walk with a bounce in your step. When you do it this way you’ll always have one or two feet on the ground. You can make a little dance of it while you’re moving forward, backward, to the left, and to the right. You can swing your arms and move your body to a rhythm. This approach to stress management works for almost everyone. There’s almost instant stress relief.

Go ahead. Have fun with this.

But what can you do if you’re physically impaired and can’t do the above? I’m glad you asked!

You can do stress management wonders with your imagination. Just imagine yourself having a grand old time skipping or walking with a bounce. You can imagine yourself acting silly and having a great time. It’s amazing how quickly this simple exercise will bring stress relief and give your emotions a boost.

If you’re feeling bold, you can do this in public. It’s a great chance to get over your need for approval from others.

Some cities have skipping clubs where large groups get together and skip. You can have fun with a group of new friends.

We were talking about stress management. If you take up skipping you just might have so much fun that you’ll forget about the stress.

Copyright 2006 by Jim Kitzmiller

Jim Kitzmiller conducts self improvement workshops and retreats. He is the author of a home study stress management class.

Posted on Sep 18th, 2006

Burt Reynolds revealed his vulnerable side when he realized he was being steered into marriage. One day while browsing the furniture department with his would-be bride, he suddenly collapsed onto a bed and doubled into the protective fetal form. Moments later, he was sucking oxygen through a brown paper bag, his eyes wide and darting.

His panic attack was interpreted in a humorous way for the sake of the movie, but real panic and anxiety attack survivors know there’s nothing funny about it.

Impending divorce triggered my first major panic episode. It stirred almost daily, waiting for any event that would bring it to the surface in a full blown attack. Sure enough such an event did arise, but not from any outside force.

While I contemplated taking a shower one day, anxiety swept over me, along with an unexplained dread that something terrible was going to happen. Suddenly, I was afraid to eat, afraid to go out, afraid to stay home alone.

As I drove down the highway, uprooted trees and black garbage bags along the route took on indistinguishable grotesque shapes. Passing through overpasses was particularly alarming as I dreaded losing control and smashing into the abutment. Elevators and stairwells triggered a new symptom: claustrophobia.

Particularly alarming was the day I was afraid I’d lose control and toss myself off the 6th floor balcony. That’s when I knew it was time to get help.

Two years of psychiatric treatment eventually brought an end to those terrifying events. Until 10 years later when I decided to switch careers and return to college. I was 37.

Then, it happened again. I was in the huge school cafeteria walking along the self serve line. It began as I became intensely aware of the drone of voices echoing throughout the quadrant. Quite unexpectedly, anxiety swept over me. I thought I’d lose my mind as my heart and thoughts raced and that old familiar dread took hold.

Struggling with the attack, I made it to a seat and tried to eat my lunch but it soon became apparent it wasn’t possible. The initial fear was verging on panic. I rushed from the cafeteria to the nursing station at the top of the stairs, but at that point, I felt it might pass.

I continued aimlessly down the busy hallway. All I could think of was getting away from the noise, the bustling students and the insecure openness. Moments later, sitting in the peaceful, dimly lit student lounge, I curled up in an armchair and fell asleep. When I awoke, the attack had passed.

Years ago, my doctor had explained that my attacks were a result of a chemical imbalance. He also pointed out that a lack of confidence and a sense of impending loss of control were related to my anxiety.

During my therapy, I persistently plied him with questions and bombarded him with every sensation I had over the previous week. He was a man of few words, always turning my questions back on me to interpret. Through his few choice words, worries of things going wrong in my life were soon mere flashes, rather than mounting thoughts to stoke my simmering anxiety.

His advice echoed when I emerged from that major panic attack at the college 10 years later. I was in a strange environment undertaking a new career. The attack clearly was brought on by my fear of failing, along with numerous other fears.

It all made sense. I was moving into a new frontier with new faces, new challenges. In all likelihood, I would emerge a new person, but as happened with my divorce, it was a time when I feared I would lose control of my body, my mind and my life.

What saved me was something my psychiatrist said years before when he responded quite simply to one of my ‘what if…’ questions. His reply has become my ‘mantra’, if you will.

In an effort to make me focus directly on the issue and think rationally about the outcome, he merely asked, ‘So what?’ Who could have known that those two small words would become my rock? The moment a terrifying thought entered my head, all I had to do was ask, "So what? What’s the worst that could happen?" and it was never as bad as I’d imagined. And today, it always brings me back to earth. There is help for you, too.

Recently, I came across a product that I wish I had when my panic attacks were raging. This e-book provides an equally simple and highly effective solution for people who have panic attacks.

Understanding how the body reacts is the first step to knowing that panic and anxiety attacks can be cured without medication. Joe Barry has taught thousands of people to be panic free. To learn more about his successful formula go to http://www.book-titles.ca/panic.htm.

Sylvia Dickens has struggled and overcome panic and anxiety. Formerly with the Canadian Mental Health Association, she’s written, "A Guide to Teenage Depression & Suicide" and offers a book to cure panic quickly and without medication. You can learn more at http://www.book-titles.ca/panic.htm.

Posted on Sep 17th, 2006

One significant factor that contributes to excessive stress reactions is the inability to stop worrying about the potential outcome of a decision that has been committed to.

Indeed some individuals actually "think", paradoxically, that such worry reduces their level of stress because they "think" that it helps prepare them for an outcome that may, for what ever reason, not be the desired one.

They reason, without realizing it that being prepared in this way will protect them from uncertainty, thereby making them feel stronger, more resilient, safer, more secure, more alert, and more ready to address unexpected outcomes thus experiencing less stress.

So in summary they believe that:

(A) Worrying about the outcome makes them feel more resilient, calmer and less stressed than if they remained calm and detached.

Is that the truth though? Well let’s look at the actual experience of "worry". What does that feel like inside?

If you are honest with yourself I think you’ll agree that when you are “in” the worry state you feel tense, anxious, thoughts are racing or scattered, energy is being severely taxed, you are feeling insecure and vulnerable, and you are feeling a great deal of uncertainty.

In other words you are feeling a great deal of stress! Contrary to what you believe it is the "worrying state" itself that causes the stress and not the outcome itself. So clearly that makes statement (A) completely false, doesn’t it?

If you see that then I ask you now to simply admit that to yourself and then notice how you feel. At this point you might be feeling something interesting, perhaps the internal desirable shift you have always been looking for. Simply enjoy it.

So in summary what you have been doing without realizing it is holding a lie deep within your unconscious mind. The consequence was that this lie caused you to be seduced into accepting the worry into your mind and body. As a result this left you susceptible to experiencing excessive stress reactions in such uncertain situations.

You see it is your reaction that is the stressor and not the external situation i.e. the potential outcome. To drive this home you’ll remember that different individuals will react to the same outcome with different degrees of stress. That is because their "internal" attachment to it is conditioned differently.

What may interest you is that your internal reaction is "not hardwired". In other words it can easily, quickly and permanently be changed to suit you! This can be accomplished with a new modality called the Mind Resonance Process™.

If this is something that you would like to experience then kindly visit the web link below where I have a special audio message waiting for you.

Dr. Nick Arrizza is trained in Chemical Engineering, Business Management & Leadership, Medicine and Psychiatry. He is an Energy Psychiatrist, Healer, Key Note Speaker,Editor of a New Ezine Called "Spirituality And Science" (which is requesting high quality article submissions) Author of "Esteem for the Self: A Manual for Personal Transformation" (available in ebook format on his web site), Stress Management Coach, Peak Performance Coach & Energy Medicine Researcher, Specializes in Life and Executive Performance Coaching, is the Developer of a powerful new tool called the Mind Resonance Process(TM) that helps build physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being by helping to permanently release negative beliefs, emotions, perceptions and memories. He holds live workshops, international telephone coaching sessions and international teleconference workshops on Physical. Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Well Being.

Business URL #1: http://www.telecoaching4u.com

Posted on Sep 17th, 2006

The day wasn’t going well already. You know how it is, you wake up in the morning with that migraine or the pounding headache in the back of your head. The kids are up at the crack of dawn (literally) and they keep coming into the bedroom to “help you” wake up. You fumble your way down stairs to a screaming chorus of, “Daddy, she won’t quit looking at me!” And then you have the old reliable “Hey! That’s my stuff!” And what are those comments without Back-up Plan ‘B’: “Hey! That’s my spot!” was bellowed out as the kids fought over the fluffy pillow in my office while watching Little House on the Prairie.

Now don’t get me wrong, my kids are great and I love them with all my heart but they do have their days. ;)

I wiped the sleep from my eyes as I fixed my morning lifeline, a steaming cup of Joe (which was destined to be spilled all over my desktop, keyboard and carpet!). After cleaning up the mess, I headed back into the kitchen but stopped half way there to remove the tiny doll shoe embedded in the bottom of my bare foot. The kids were at it again. That was it! I was at the boiling point and I could not tolerate this any longer!

I limped into the kitchen and there they were…lined up like little soldiers waiting to be disciplined. They looked as if they longed for, no, were begging for the stern discipline that they had coming…the bag of flour, the sugar bowl, and the salt shaker.

I threw the ingredients together in a powdery fury to the chorus of a clanking, ceramic bowl. There it was. The sun peeked through the partially drawn shades in the kitchen, gently embracing the soft, pale contents of the mixing bowl. The dough stared back at me, yearning to be thrown, rolled and disciplined.

I picked up the gooey substance and slammed it on the countertop! Pounding, pushing, pulling and kneading until it begged me for the rolling pin. I glanced at the built-in drawer under the oven and quickly produced a rolling pin. Without mercy I rolled, bunched up, and rolled again until the dough cried out, “I’ve had enough!”

For the ‘Coupe de Gras’, I placed the submissive heap in a bread pan and threw it into the oven. “There now”, I said to the unbaked loaf. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Forty-five minutes later I was rewarded with a delicious, toasted aroma that crept through the house like fog on a cool morning. Peace at last. The stress was gone. I felt great.

Next time you are stressed out, walk into the kitchen (or limp if you must), grab the bag of flour and its companions and administer a little discipline. You’ll feel better and be rewarded with a delicious, healthy treat!

Terry Stokely is a twenty-five year veteran of the baking industry. After being permenantly laid off in December of 2004, he enjoys spending time with his family and promoting his new ebook Home Baked Goodness with Bread, Rolls and Muffins. The new ebook, which he co-authored with his wife Dawn, can be found at http://www.homebakedfavorites.com

Posted on Sep 16th, 2006

Stress Management can be frustrating when we keep repeating the same patterns. We can spend years with the same old situation recurring in our lives. We make ourselves suffer.

We have patterns. Ten years ago we were stressed out by creditors. Today we’re still stressed out by creditors.

Or perhaps the pattern is impossible deadlines. We’ve been buried under different deadlines for years. You might wonder if stress management means nothing but techniques on how to cope with being miserable.

Have you ever had a chance to stand back and take a wider, longer term view of how you expend your attention and energy.

Perhaps repeating patterns mean that we get some kind of "juice" out of the stressful situations. Subconsciously we might be enjoying the thrill of the hunt — even if we’re the ones being hunted.

There is a certain thrill involved with heroically pulling off a miracle and averting disaster at the last minute. We can get an emotional rush from the challenge of diverting impending doom.

Will stress management do any good in this kind of situation? Perhaps we can get relief by stepping back and seeing what we’ve been doing. These patterns keep repeating themselves for a reason.

The first step is to notice that there is a pattern. Sometimes it helps to write down a description of your current stress challenge. You can simply keep writing whatever comes to mind. Writing like this clears out the mental cobwebs and brings mental clarity.

After you’ve written a bit, you can write about other times when you’ve had a similar stress management challenge.

If you do this for a while, you’ll start noticing a pattern. Are you always in a rush to get things done with a nearly impossible deadline? Are you pressed by impending financial doom?

Once you see the pattern you’re in a better position to do something about it.

The surprising thing is that we get a certain thrill out of the whole stressful situation. There is some sort of hidden advantage, or possibly many hidden advantages to the stress.

Perhaps the "uncomfortable" feelings make us feel alive. Perhaps there is the thrill of the adventure.

Perhaps the struggle is an excuse for avoiding responsibility for following up on our life mission. Stress management can go way beyond the level of living in spite of our misery. Once we go beyond the bottom level of living on the edge, we can go to a much larger plateau of excitement.

You might say that you’re advancing to a higher quality problem. Instead of skating on the edges of disaster, you could have the thrill of the challenge of pulling off some huge project.

Perhaps you remember …

College Term Papers

My professors liked to make term papers due on the first day after a holiday break. My pattern was to procrastinate as much as possible. The result was a total lack of enjoyment over the entire vacation. There was the illusion that "I’m going to work on it today." But I would keep procrastinating.

The vacation was miserable. I turned down social opportunities and felt stressed because of the task at hand. This finally resulted in an all night struggle just before the deadline. And there was a greatly compromised result.

However, there was a fellow student named Dave Klattman. He always did his college projects immediately — he turned them in before the start of vacation. He actually got to enjoy his vacations!

Now there is true stress management.

And he graduated with honors. My guess is that he’s enjoyed a pretty stress free life.

What does this mean?

A powerful stress management tool is to step back and find patterns. Just sit down and be the observer of these patterns in your life.

Do you get some kind of thrill with the challenge?

Are you preventing yourself from doing things that would stretch your limits?

Once you see the patterns you can let them go. You can get things done early. That way you’ll have a lot of free time to enjoy the goodies that life had to offer.

You can be your own stress management expert.

Copyright 2006 by Jim Kitzmiller

Jim Kitzmiller conducts self improvement workshops and retreats. He is the author of a home study stress management class.

Posted on Sep 16th, 2006

This summer, get away, without going away. Take a mini vacation right in your own home. You owe it to yourself to practice the 3 R’s - recharge, relax and renew.

*Have the post office hold your mail.

*Turn off your cell phone. I know it’s hard, but let the answering machine pick up your calls.

*Turn off your computer. This is tough too, but you must take a break from business.

*Rent a couple of travel videos of places you’ve wanted to see. Don’t watch the news or regular TV shows.

*Rent a yoga, tai-chi, or meditation video.

*Arrange for catering or take-out delivery.

*Have plenty of fruits, healthy snacks and fresh drinks stocked.

*Get a relative to take the kids (you can reciprocate later).

*Take a long bubble bath and read this summer’s hottest novel.

*Arrange for a reputable massage therapist to make a house call.

*Send yourself a gift basket.

*Burn summer scented candles like Cantaloupe, Ocean Mist, Creamsicle, Hawaiian Paradise, Watermelon or Lily of the Valley.

We all need to get away for a short while and have time by ourselves or with a loved-one. Spending time relaxing can have an enormous effect on your well-being and reset your mind and body for increased productivity.

Deborah DeLuna is a professional Massage Therapist and has been in the luxury hotel and hospitality business for over 25 years. Her love of candles came out of using them everyday in business and her personal life. Visit her website at: http://www.createamood.com

« Prev - Next »