'General Articles' Category Archive

Posted on Jun 7th, 2006

Best Rx? Quick Strategies to Handle Small Hassles!

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

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

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

Sag your shoulders. Take a deep breath

Smooth your forehead. Take a deep breath.

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

Sagging the shoulders relaxes tension held there also.

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

Now, how fast did you resume your old tension?

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

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

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

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

Be aware of cool air in, warm air out.

Can you feel loose and heavy while doing this?

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

Repeat frequently.

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

Change the thought to change the feeling.

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

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

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

Do the same with shoulders, neck and head.

Breath away all your tensions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat.

Add color and the Four S’s.

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

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

Awareness gives me choice.

Now how fast did you pick your tension back up?

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

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

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

Posted on Jun 6th, 2006

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

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

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

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

Answer yes or no to each question.

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

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

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

4. Am I spending quality time with my family?

5. Do I have a hobby?

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

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

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

Find Balance and Reduce Stress

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

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

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

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

5. Take energizing breaks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on Jun 5th, 2006

It is widely accepted that degenerative diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease have an underlying emotional component.

Indeed, according to the American Institute for Stress, our number one health problem is stress. It is responsible for approximately 75 percent of doctor visits.

Regardless of the source of your stress, taking the time to relax is an essential part of staying healthy and happy. Here is a proven method to help you do just that:

Add aromatherapy in your environment:

The science for using essential oils is commonly known as aromatherapy. It is used for physical, psychological, and spiritual well being. The scent of an oil makes a vital contribution to its natural healing properties.

Although they are the tools of gentle therapy, essential oils have the power to reach deep into the psyche and to relax the mind and uplift the spirit.

Sesquiterpenes, found in high levels in essential oils, such as Frankincense and Sandalwood help to increase the oxygen in the limbic area of the brain, which, in turn, "unlocks" the DNA and allows emotions to be released.

In her new book entitled, Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils, Carolyn Mein explains, "Emotions are stored in the body in its organs, glands, and systems. Disease occurs when the body’s vibrational frequency drops below a certain point. Essential oils can raise the body’s frequency, and therapeutic (medicinal quality) oils are able to do this because they vibrate at a higher frequency and transfer that frequency to the body."

Here are a few ways that we can use essential oils in everyday life, to enhance our physical and emotional well being. Unlike drinking, smoking, or other stress relievers, these tips will only do your body good:

Increase memory and stamina: Drink a glass of water with 2-3 drops of lemon, orange, or peppermint essential oil in it. The action of these oils is similar to what happens when you drink coffee or soda, but without caffeine’s deterimental impact on your adrenal glands.

Enhance your Mood: Wear a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil as a perfume. Pleasant smells put people into better moods and make them more willing to cooperate and compromise.

Ease Stress and Muscle Pain: First, draw a bath. Then mix 3 drops of lavender, 2 drops of Petitgrain, 1-2 drops of Frankincense with a tablespoon of milk. Add this mixture to the bathwater, swirl with your foot, get in the tub and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not get the bathwater in your eyes, as the oils will sting.

Increase Driver Alertness: Place a cotton ball or tissue with a few drops of peppermint or cinnamon bark essential oil in your automobile to feel calm, yet alert.

As a Study Aid: To increase your focus and concentration, diffuse one of these essential oils near the study area: lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, bergamot, or pine.

Essential oils are non-greasy, yet, soft and soothing. They are nature’s perfect solution for the problems that stress and poor nutrition have added to our lives.

Although essential oils are generally considered without risk. it is wise to respect their powers and to become well versed in their use and safety. Efficacy can only be realized when proper care is given to protect the chemical structure of the essential oils during the distillation process. Generally speaking, the essential oils that you find in department stores and, even in some health food stores, are of uncertain quality and not meant to be ingested. For best results, only pure and natural oils should be used.

When choosing an essential oil, select and use those scents that you find particularly appealing. Experiment and find the scents that evoke positive emotions and introduce those scents into your everyday life, to enhance your health and well being.

Faye Durham is a former chemist and pharmaceutical clinical research associate. She has monitored clinical research studies in most of the major diseases of our day. In her present career, she is a health care consultant, writer, and independent distributor. She chooses to use Young Living Essential Oils for their physical, psychological and spiritual healing benefits. She can be reached through the website at http://www.youngliving.org or 1-800-371-3515, #703949.

Posted on May 25th, 2006

Human beings will worry away at a problem in much the same way as a dog behaves with a bone.

If a dog keeps its jaws firmly clamped around a bone it is because there is always another dog, or human killjoy, hovering, waiting for their moment to steal it.

Where your stresses, anxieties worries and hurts are concerned, nobody is going to do that to you.

Curiously, human beings act as if there is something to be gained by turning their stresses and worries etc. over and over again in their mind, and keeping a weather eye on them at all times - like they’re going to run off somewhere, if you don’t.

Well, the fact of the matter is, there’s no chance of that. Stresses and anxieties and worries and hurts are grotesque creatures. They have huge, bloated bodies and two teenie weenie, spindly legs. They can’t go far and they certainly can’t go fast.

But because they don’t want us to realise that, they tend to be very big on the social graces. Biddable is their middle name. Their manners hark back to a bygone age.

You only have to say to them: "I say, old chum, would you mind if I just tether you to that post over there for 15 minutes while I take time out to smell the roses?” or whatever, and they’ll reply: "Not at all, old fruit. You just carry on. I’ll wait here for you." And so they will.

Try it sometime. Human beings hold on to their worries, because they are frightened that their worries will run away with them. Not possible with those spindly little legs!

But you can choose to walk, float or dance away from them for 15 minutes at a time, whenever you choose to savour the sunshine, or soak in a bath or listen to your favourite music.

And then you start to think like the resourceful person you are: "If I can do it for 15 minutes, what’s to stop me doing it for 20 and 30 minutes, and an hour?" Just ask them nicely. The answer will still be: "Of course, old fruit, we’ll just sit here quietly in the shade and wait for you. You take your time."

What’s to stop you offering your stresses some ‘me’ time in the shade of a big old tree?

(C) 2006 Annie Kaszina

Annie Kaszina Ph D, is a coach and writer who has helped hundred of women to rebuild their confidence and their life after an abusive relationship. Annie is the author of "The Woman You Want To Be". This ebook will teach you how you can love yourself first, so that you can create strong self-belief and build the fulfilling future you’re looking for on firm foundations.

To find out more and sign up to Annie’s free bi-monthly ezine visit http://www.joyfulcoaching.com You can email Annie at: annie@stressmanagementarticles.com

Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your ezine, just include the resource box.

Posted on May 22nd, 2006

Everything is moving super fast these days. Our culture has left no meaning to the saying, "Patience is a virtue". In the hustle and bustle of today’s society, are you stopping to smell the roses?

There aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the things done we’ve hastily jotted down on our ‘to do list’ and slipped underneath the magnet on the refrigerator the night before.

We wake with a start every morning, rush through our morning routine,making sure the husband and children are organized, finish getting ourselves ready and then off to work we go.

The fast pace doesn’t stop there. Traffic is crazy, deadlines at work are approaching and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, What’s for dinner?!

So, before things get to out of hand, here are some tips to help slow things down just a bit:

1. Savor the quiet time.
Enjoy the quietness of the house after everyone’s gone to bed or wake earlier in the mornings than the rest of the family. The peaceful yet familiar environment will allow you to think more clearly. There are no distractions.Feel honored, this is your time. Enjoy a chapter in that book you’ve been promising yourself you’d start reading.

2. Be Proactive
If you’ve been preparing clothes, lunches and other items needed to start the day in the mornings, try doing it the night before. This can save 30 to 45 minutes of valuable time in the mornings. Allow the kids to help. Placing socks, shoes and outfits in one area. No more, "I can’t find my shoes!".

3. Take Your Breaks
Don’t miss your morning, lunch, or afternoon breaks. Although you think you can’t afford to take a break when working, you can’t afford not to. Breaks are almost like power naps. You only need a few minutes and it’s amazing how refreshed you’ll be.

4. Pull Out The Crock Pot
Steer clear of the fast food restaurants. The crock pot was an awesome invention. Invest some time in researching crock pot recipes. This will save time and money and provide way more nutrition than those fast food burgers and fries.

5. Do Something For You
At the days end, treat yourself. Don’t just hop in the shower and hop out. Light a few scented candles. Run a hot bubble bath. Slip in and let the relaxing warm water and candlelight wash away all the events of the day.

There is no exact science when it comes to developing methods or ideas that will make life easier, less stressful and more enjoyable. But sometimes, the little things make all the difference in the world.

Roschelle Nelson is the founder and publisher of WAH4life.com. She lives and works at her home with her husband and two sons. http://www.wah4life.com

Posted on May 21st, 2006

It dawned on me the other day that some of our stress may be as a result of other people’s bad manners. I keep hearing that as a society we have become less polite and that good manners are a thing of the past. I’d hate to think that has really happened but perhaps the hurry up of our lives has increased and maybe courtesy is falling by the wayside.

I was raised by an Irish Mother and an English Father. Good manners and being polite to others was high on the list of things to be learned and practiced in my home. Good manners indicated a thoughtfulness of others and the message was that if everyone behaved in this manner, the world would be a more civilized place overall. Kindness and consideration of others would abound and being amongst one another would be a pleasant experience. Not a bad theory if practiced by all.

Email is the one area, for those of us who indulge in this technology, where good manners can be scarce. As a businesswoman, I send and receive hundreds of emails over the course of a week. I am in love with the written word, so you can imagine my glee when email came along. “Now there will no excuse for people to not respond”, I foolishly thought to myself. "All they have to do is hit “reply” type a few words and then hit “send”. Well, it seems the same people who were loathe to put pen to paper, are equally as loathe to hit “reply” and “send”. I am not speaking of the joke senders and receivers, although it’s nice to let someone know you are receiving and sharing in their on line giggles. I’m primarily speaking of business related emails.

What happens with me is I will get an email from the corporate world asking if I would be available for a particular date for either a keynote address, a workshop or a laughter session. I reply asap, thanking them for their interest and suggest we talk on the phone. I give them phone numbers, times I’ll be available and hit “send”. It will sometimes take them 3 weeks to respond. The courteous thing to do of course, would be to reply immediately indicating a more detailed response could be expected later, should they not have the time to deal with it immediately.

After I’ve done a presentation, I send an email to the organizer, thanking them for hiring me, and then asking for feedback from either themselves or their participants. A quick acknowledgement of my request would be the polite thing to do. Those who know and value the importance of professional business etiquette respond quickly. But it doesn’t always happen. I have spoken with other business people who are experiencing the same no-response phenomenon. The absolute beauty of email is that you can be as concise as you wish as it takes mere seconds to respond.

Granted, this is when email is up and running smoothly. Recently my email server was out of commission for 5 – 7 days, so I had to resort to the old fashioned method of communicating by telephone. Now there’s another topic, voicemail and the stress it can cause.

Acknowledgement of others in a timely fashion is not only polite, but it really does help to diminish the stress in their day. Oh, thanks for your time!

Carole Fawcett is a Stress Management Consultant, having worked as a Crisis Intervention Counsellor for over 25 years, plus she is a Laughter Therapist and Freelance Writer. She lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. Her web pages are: http://www.afunnybusiness.ca

Posted on May 20th, 2006

Okay, lazy is an exaggeration. I’m a work-oholic when the need be, but I can also relax when appropriate. I’ve been employed in some capacity for the past forty- five years, a lifetime for some of us. During that lengthy stretch, I’ve realized a few things about the work ethic. It boils down to a single area: coping. No employer or business situation is perfect and therefore it is rarely an ideal environment. I was lucky enough to work for companies that treated me fairly well. For the instances where I felt I was having a hard time, I formulated a strategy that allowed me to survive. It revolved around working smarter. So, how does on work smarter?

Lesson one: To begin with, I followed orders. On the surface that sounds easy enough, but I took it very seriously. When I was given a chore, I did so immediately and to the ‘T.’ I neither procrastinated nor whined about the project. I dove right in and got it over with. Why? Because there is more stress associated with thinking negatively or agonizing over a condition, than actually getting it out of the way. Think about any problem you have faced and how much better it felt after it was behind you. Tackle the issue and dispatch it quickly and efficiently.

Lesson two: I got organized. When I had my own advertising agency, I learned to set up a filing system for each account so I could rapidly find what I needed, thus saving time and frustration. So now I do the same. When I got a new position, I created a simple system I could follow in order to organize my work life. I had files for memos, manuals, and whatever I needed. I even had my own ‘In’ and “Out’ box for new, or completed, chores. Once I established a working routine, it saved hours of searching and confusion. It also allowed my superiors easy access, and my co- workers, a solution for filling in when I went on vacation. In addition, I planned every day using a basic calendar, as best I could, to help accomplish everything needed for that day.

Lesson three: I kept business and my personal life separate. I tried in earnest to leave my office problems at the office. I also attempted to bypass office gossip and not listen to negative gripes by co-workers. That way, I also avoided the accompanying stress. When I got home, I had a clear mind and could appreciate my leisure and family time.

Lesson four: Quit your job and start a home-based business. Then hire people to do the bulk of your work. You will make more money, save on commuting, and have a far more stress-free life. That’s the ultimate lazy-man’s solution to working smarter. I did, I love it, and I know you can too.

Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master’s Degree from Monmouth University. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, "Pursuit of the Phoenix," available at http://www.amazon.com. His latest book is, "Inside the Yellow Pages." Currently, he is the Marketing Director for http://www.thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.

Posted on May 20th, 2006

Is it time that alternative methods of combating stress should be given a higher priority by employers wanting to get the very best from their staff, whilst protecting their productivity and profits?

We live in pressurised times, it’s not safe on the streets, our finances feel threatened, our time seems to be on a permanent fast-forward, and with recent events, the whole world seems to have been plunged into an insecure, knife-edge existence.

When we eventually grind through the traffic to work, it doesn’t get a lot better, stress is on the increase, that’s official, but then you don’t need to be a social psychologist to work that one out. Ask yourself honestly, do you feel more or less relaxed at work now than you did five years ago?

Undeniably, for many people, the levels of stress experienced today are far in excess of those from only a few years ago, this is largely due to advances in technology and communications. Industry has also seen increasing competitive pressures forcing up personal productivity requirements, and our average working hours to further increase.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive recently reported that over 13.4 million days were lost to stress in a single year, costing British industry 370 billion pounds, - a huge chunk of profit spent financing our love-affair with stress.

The evidence behind the figures is everywhere if you look for it. Increased employee turnover, increased sickness absence, increased injury claims, managerial burn-out; this is going on in virtually every office, in every town and city nationally.

So what can be done about this modern day phenomenon?

Although by no means a total solution to workplace stress, many companies are finding the use of holistic therapies a cost-effective and powerful preventative measure to the accumulation of stress, and its many associated problems.

Holistic therapies have been around for centuries, but have only recently been adopted by businesses as a viable part of their stress management strategy.

In a workplace scenario, a large range of massages can be chosen, depending upon the specific nature of work being carried out and the logistics of how many staff are employed and the frequency of treatments required.

Many companies ask about the real benefits of holistic therapies, but interestingly, very few who adopt this method of controlling stress, go back to being without it as the benefits become apparent, both in terms of staff motivation and decreases in sickness absence.

The adoption of holistic therapies within the workplace demonstrates to staff that they are valued and that their best interests are at the heart of management. This is then repaid in increased productivity from energised staff, increased retention as staff value the treatments as an incentive, and a decrease in costs associated with covering staff sickness absences.

It is becoming obvious to most businesses that they need to rethink their strategies on coping with stress, and new health and safety regulations are making stress management a legal requirement. Holistic therapies may be just the kind of natural solution that can break the cycle of stress, and in the process, save businesses and the health service millions of pounds.

Philip Ashforth is a business coach and Director of Synergy Coaching Limited in the UK. See more about phil Ashforth and Synergy Coaching services at http://www.synergycoaching.co.uk

Posted on May 19th, 2006

Jack, 60 years old, is a client of mine. Jack had been in a very difficult, codependent marriage with Stella - a marriage where Jack completely gave himself up in his attempts to avoid Stella’s anger, threats and blame. Jack sought my help regarding extricating himself from this very unhappy relationship and was finally able to end the marriage. Subsequently, Jack sent me the following email:

“Hi Margaret, I hope all is going well with you. I thought you might be interested in a health change I have noticed. In my last year of marriage to Stella I started having pressure in my chest when I started exercising. I went to several cardiologists. I felt the first one was an alarmist. He wanted to do an angiogram immediately and he wanted permission to do angioplasty at the same time if necessary. I told him that I would get back to him. I immediately went on a better exercise program and took additional supplements for my heart. Over a period of several months I visited three other cardiologists. A very well respected cardiologist had the great idea of doing another stress test on me. When he finished the stress test he said he did not see any reason to do anything different that what I was doing. The pressure I was feeling was still there at the start of exercise but it would go away as I continued to exercise.

“On December 31, 2005 I made my last support payment to Stella. I have not felt any pressure in my chest since then at the start of exercising or any other time. I actually feel an upward shift in my energy level. I know that stress has a lot to do with health and with the last payment I must have released a lot of stress.

“I am interested to hear your opinion about this. Stress can be so silent that I do not know if I am always aware of it.”

I responded to Jack, telling him that recent research indicates that stress may be behind at least 90% of illness. Currently, Jack is in a loving relationship with Andrea, but even that relationship did not stop the stress until his last support payment to Stella. Yet Jack did not realize that the heart pain was related to his stress.

Too often, when we have physical problems, we seek a purely physical answer. Yet if stress is the underlying cause of 90% of illness, it is very important to open to learning about the fact that we might be stressed and about what is causing the stress.

If Jack had realized that his heart pain was stress-related, he might have been able to go inside and discover what was really causing the stress. On the surface, it appeared to be his fear of Stella’s anger and the fact that he still owed her money. But if Jack were to look deeper, he might discover some false beliefs that were actually causing the stress – beliefs such as:

• I am responsible for Stella’s unhappy feelings.

We cause our own feelings with our thoughts. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for another’s feelings.

• It is not fair that I have to continue to pay Stella money.

Jack made choices that led to this outcome. He is responsible for the choices he made.

• It is my fault that things did not work out with Stella.

Jack is responsible for his choices, but not for Stella’s choices. Thinking something is all our fault is a way of convincing ourselves that we have more control than we actually have over other’s choices.

• I will not be able to make enough money to take care of myself.

Jack does well financially, but often stresses over money.

• As long as I owe Stella money, she will be able to control me.

Jack frequently gives his power away to others due to his trying to control them through pleasing, and then fears being controlled by them.

• I have to give myself up to Stella to control how she feels about me and treats me.

Jack caused himself stress by trying to control something that he has no control over.

There is a good possibility that if Jack had explored his beliefs and come into truth with himself, his stress would have decreased long ago. Much of Jack’s stress was being caused by trying to control something that he had no control over. All of us can learn from Jack’s experience. We all have the opportunity to continue to monitor our stress and continue to look at the false beliefs and resulting behavior that are the primary underlying causes of stress.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" and “Healing Your Aloneness.” She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or email her at margaret@stressmanagementarticles.com. Phone sessions available.

Posted on May 19th, 2006

- You should have…
- I didn’t know…
- You could have told me…
- Why didn’t you…
- They could have…

When things move along nicely, we rarely rush in and ask – “Who’s responsible for this?” Only when things are not quite right do we look for someone to blame. Many people seem to think that an ok explanation can excuse a poor result. Have you ever thought of how much time you use on explanations and justifying bad, or poor results with “she should..”, “They did it..”, They wouldn’t listen to me anyway” etc.?

These kinds of answers put us immediately in a victim position; something outside our control is causing pain and stress on us. We feel powerless, and with time we lose the interest in what we’re doing. Adding to the accountability lapses is behaviour like the passive, almost in-visible yes/no nodding during meetings, gossiping at the coffee machine, venting with other colleagues behind closed doors… Just fill in the list.

Whether you’re a team leader, CEO, or a secretary, YOU have the capacity to affect the culture for better and for worse, by YOUR capacity for full and complete accountability. When you start to take responsibility for the results in your life, you will be a full time player in the middle of the champion league.

Following are 5 guaranteed shifts that immediately will move you into a feeling of empowerment, and bring clear space into any kind of struggle, conflict or dispute you may encounter:

1. Feelings
When you find yourself feeling angry, upset, sad, fearful… Ask yourself; “How can I choose ease and confidence instead?”

2. Stress
When you feel your buttons being pushed constantly… Ask yourself; “How do I keep making choices that keep this pattern going?”

3. Lack of energy
When you feel flat, no energy, no drive… Ask yourself; “What feelings and emotions have I ignored and not let myself feel?”

4. Having bad results
When you experience a stream of bad luck, poor and negative results… Ask yourself; “Do I have an unconscious intention for things to turn out like this?

5. Seeking solitude because others irritate or upset you
When you avoid certain people, being distant, or aloof… Ask yourself; “What agreements have I broken?” “What unspoken communications do I have?”

To communicate your lapses with your team, boss, spouse, kids, or whoever it is you feel is the right person to address, simply describe what you are feeling and what your perception was of the things you did to add on to the situation. Then invite each person to ask the question “What did I do to produce this result?”

It sounds so simple, but most people look for what the other person did or did not do in the first place. Share, communicate and make new agreements on how to handle this kind of situation in the future.

Keep track of yourself catching your accountability lapses, and celebrate each time you’ve stepped up and acknowledged them. You’re on your way to becoming a Master!

This is an excerpt from the course program “Eliminate Burnout and Ignite Your Career”. If you are looking for more strategies and techniques for stress management and career success, go to www.IgniteYourCareer.com and join the Tele seminar series “Eliminate Burnout and Ignite Your Career”.

Liselotte Molander, Professional Certified Career Coach, and experienced Business Professional, founder and CEO of LKM Communications AB Group of Coaching and Training Companies, Executive Career Coach, facilitator and Public Speaker. Contact via the website http://www.FromBurnoutToBrilliance.com or call: +46-40-47 08 88 (CET time zone)

© Copyright 2005 Liselotte Molander and LKM Communications AB. All rights reserved

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