'Stress Management' Category Archive

Posted on Oct 4th, 2006

Are You Too Stressed?

Is your stomach all tied up in knots? Do you have trouble concentrating or remembering things? Do you have trouble falling asleep, or do you sleep too much? You can handle a certain amount of stress, but when you get overloaded with stress, it lowers your ability to function. That is when you need stress relief – and you need it fast. These 12 stress busters will show you how you can reduce stress, and some of them work in an instant.

Stress actually takes the joy out of life. It saps your energy. In its extreme, stress can immobilize you. Stress also aggravates physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, back pain, and many others.

If you are stressed at home, it also affects your work. If you are stressed at work, it affects your relationships with your family. You aren’t much fun to be with when you’re all stressed out. Instead, you can be grumpy, irritable, angry, impatient, distracted, jumpy, and impulsive. This in turn makes other people tense and uncomfortable.

Stress is caused by the anxiety that comes from fear, and many of these fears are caused by your unrealistic expectations. To alleviate the stress you need to determine whether your expectations are creating peace of mind or causing anxiety.

For example, if you expect life to be without problems, expect that relatives will get along just because they’re related, or expect that your work will always be perfect, you’re being unrealistic, and you’re creating your own stress. Try having only one expectation - be yourself, do the best you know how, and accept your limitations.

If you are still experiencing stress after you have evaluated and changed your expectations, try these stress busters.

A Dozen Stress Busters:

1. Look for humor in the situation. You can pretend you are making a TV sitcom. You can imagine difficult people as very small, wearing diapers, or clothing from a different era. In your imagination you can make them very skinny or short and fat.

2. Create a safe haven in your mind by thinking of a place in your life where you were happiest. Take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself in that happy place. When you are ready to return to reality you will have calmed down, and you will be able to think more rationally.

3. Choose a cassette tape of music that has a calming effect on you. Keep it with you so you can use it at a moment’s notice.

4. Start your day on a positive. Listen to motivational audio tapes every morning. Then, several times a day take a few minutes to read inspirational books, poems, and quotes.

5. Call a friend. Sometimes just getting things off your chest can relieve your anxiety. It is also helpful to join a support group for people with similar problems.

6. Focus on your major goal and do something to move it forward. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, and your stressful situation will occupy a smaller place in your life.

7. Do something that is fun. Having fun is how we recharge our battery. If stress has drained our energy, it is important to schedule activities that are fun for you so that you can recharge.

8. Spend time with nature. Take a walk in the park. Look at the trees swaying in the breeze. Watch the squirrels chase each other from tree to tree. Nature has its own way of putting things into perspective. Just by realizing that there is an innate intelligence in all living things can help you to let go and let nature do its part. If you are a religious person, turning to God can help you be at peace with any situation.

9. Change what you can control in the situation and accept the rest. For example, your stress may involve other people. You may have tried to talk about a stressful situation with the other people involved, but nothing has changed. One thing you can control is how you respond to what others are doing. Study your situation and change one aspect of your own response to a more peaceful response.

10. Susan Jeffers, in her book, "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway," says that you should ask yourself. “What is the worst thing that can happen, and could you handle it?” Just knowing that you can handle the worst possibility will lower your stress.

11. Create a peaceful corner at home where you can have quiet time. Decorate it with your favorite pictures, stuff that make you feel good, and fresh flowers.

12. Do something physical. Either do some exercise, play a sport, or clean out your closets, weed your garden, rake the leaves, wash the windows, etc. When you do anything physical it reduces stress.

If none of the above works, get help from a professional who can give you expert guidance.

In short, stress is created in your mind by your own fears. A more peaceful mind will lead to a more peaceful perception of your situation, and the result will be lower stress. Just by changing the way you think, you can lower your stress even if nothing else changes.

If you look at every stressful situation and ask yourself, “What can I do that will create peace of mind instead of stress?” you will start replacing the stress in your life with serenity and happiness.

Are you Happy at work? The author of this article, Harriet Meyerson, founder of The Confidence Center, has a special gift for you.

Take the F.r.e.e. Employee Morale assessment, and learn how you can help your company raise Employee Morale in 7 key areas. Also, sign up for the - Employee Morale and Confidence Tips - newsletter. Both are F.r.e.e on her web at http://www.ConfidenceCenter.com

At The Confidence Center we work with companies who want to raise employee morale and confidence – on a shoestring budget. We offer seminars, telephone seminars, books, eBooks and many more resources.

* Editors, you have permission to reprint this article in its entirety (including this sentence) in your newsletter, or post this article on your web with a live link please. Copyright Harriet Meyerson.

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

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/

    Posted on Sep 25th, 2006

    I learned a valuable lesson recently. A short while ago, my mentor coach made this powerful request of me. She asked me to book 24 hours to myself within the next 30 days and to email her when I had booked this day. During this day (which she referred to as “Karen Day”) I was not to do any work of any kind. It was to be 24 hours for myself and whatever I felt like doing. If I felt like sleeping in, going for a walk, watching TV, or taking a hot bath, that was exactly what I would do. I also had to monitor my "I shoulds". You know the ones: "I should be working", "I should be marketing", "I should respond to my email and voice messages".

    Why did she request I schedule a “Karen Day”? Because I was trying to give to too many people both professionally and personally and the result was I ended up catching a cold, which developed into a sinus infection.

    So, I was to schedule this “Karen Day”. When would I have time for this? The truth is it wasn’t that there wasn’t enough time. It was that I felt guilty about taking this time for myself when "I should" be doing something else.

    As helping professionals, we are very good at giving our time and energy to others, but we are not so good about freely giving that time to ourselves. However, the lesson I learned is that the key to being able to give to others is to take time for ourselves to rejuvenate our energy.

    I finally scheduled the day on day 27 of my 30-day deadline. It was an extraordinary day! I had gone into the day with the intention of keeping my commitment to myself and doing whatever I felt like doing. It worked because afterwards I found I felt more relaxed, clear-minded, energized, and joyful.

    My request of you then is to schedule your “Me Day” within the next 30 days. Here are some tips to help you:

    1. Put your "Me Day" into your schedule.

    2. Keep your commitment

    3. Set your intention on that day

    4. Let go of your "I shoulds" for the day

    And most importantly, have an extraordinary day!

    I can already hear your objections: "I’m too busy for that", "I don’t have time for that", "This is not a good time", and on and on. The fact is, there will never be a good time and there will never be a time that isn’t busy. You make a choice to put yourself first for 24 hours. Consider hiring a life and career coach to help you incorporate self care into your busy day and balance into your life without compromising your time. Working with a coach can be the difference between burnout and happiness in your career.

    Karen Cross is a life and career coach and founder of Pathfinder Solutions. She specializes in personal and career transitions, self-care, creating balance, and finding greater passion in work and life.

    A FREE 30 minute consult and FREE copy of her "14 Simple Strategies You Need to Know to Revitalize Your Energy" special report is available to the first 10 people who email karen@stressmanagementarticles.com with FREE Consult in the subject line. Experience the benefit of coaching first-hand and discover how it can help you achieve career happiness quickly and easily!

    Posted on Sep 24th, 2006

    STRESS & TIME MANAGEMENT: Stress is either the source or the catalyst for many emotional and physical disorders, all of which can lead to absenteeism on the job. It is a major factor in the whopping $125 billion America spends on health care for employees — a figure that will rise 15 percent this year. According to the American Medical Association, it is estimated that 93 to 96 percent of all psychological and physiological diseases and disorders are stress related. The situation is complicated further by the fact that not all stress is harmful. Complete elimination of stress eliminates the drive to succeed. The ideal situation is to maintain the creative stress — realistic deadlines, the chance for advancement and recognition, the sense of challenge — and eliminate the stress born out of frustration; the undue stress that saps energy.

    The workers most affected by stress in the workplace are in middle management. Several psychological studies bear this out. Men and women engaged in climbing the corporate ladder, or responsible for the performance of a section or department, are in an inherently stressful situation. They often have tremendous responsibility, sometimes without the control that would make it manageable. There always seems to be someone else who makes the final decision, and who sets the challenges. Upper management executives who have come up through middle management are often the next most stressed population. Long-time habit or distrust of the ability of others can make it difficult to delegate responsibility for tasks that they are no longer directly responsible for. This will usually result in a manifestation of the famous Peter Principle, or in an energy-sapping attempt to do it all, a path to burnout.

    WHO TO BLAME FOR STRESS BURNOUT? Many people misplace the blame, and call time the enemy. That is like a peace activist saying that plutonium is the enemy, not the uses to which it is put. Time is simply the resource we always seem to be “using up” too soon. Since this resource is both endless and insufficient, it’s clear that the answer to some of that pressure is time management — learning how to use the time you have available to better effect.

    EFFICIENCY: Time management is not simply being “efficient" .Efficiency alone can actually subvert a person’s effectiveness. A full training in time management should actually change the way you perform on the job, and enrich the time you spend off of it. When time and stress management skills are employed, the results speak for as well as pay for themselves. Ironically, the major objection we run into when we suggest a training to our clients is that they’ll send their subordinates, but they don’t have enough time in their schedule to attend it themselves!

    Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

    CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

    Posted on Sep 22nd, 2006

    So many of us live a stressful life. Unfortunately, when we are unable to take the time that we all need to nurture ourselves we fall victim to self–pity, depression, or burn-out.

    What we all really need to snap-out-of-it is a few minutes or a few hours of self-serving attention and pampering. (Or maybe more like an extended vacation!)

    We live in such a fast-paced society that we are not always permitted the time that we all require to be whole, happy and healthy human beings.

    But who really puts those time constraints on us?

    Since when did we start letting others control our time and our destiny?

    I know that when I was much younger that there was no way possible that anyone else could tell me what and when I should do anything.

    But as many of us get older we begin to mellow and accept the fact that in order to get ahead in life we need to conform a little more. (ouch)

    In reality, that is probably a good thing for us. But sometimes we go too far, and we forget about feeding our own inner free-spirits.

    Sometimes, we just need to play.

    Let’s take a little time to get back to what is real. Let’s remember to listen to our inner voices and begin once again to feed and care for our inner free-spirits.

    Youth is wonderful because of it’s freedom and because it’s a time of less responsibility.

    Maturity, hopefully, brings security and success, due mostly to increased realization of responsibility and our acceptance of it.

    Is there a happy medium? Can we find both a care-free attitude while still fulfilling our responsibilities that lead to security?

    In our journey to achieve just that, we may indeed discover our own immortality.

    For after all, it’s through living life to it’s fullest that we all may discover our own piece of heaven, right here on earth.

    Remember each and every day to count your blessings. And remember that it is up to you to take care of your responsibilities, but also know that it is essential that you feed your own soul with the things that truly make life worth living.

    There is a time and purpose for everything. It is in achieving balance in all things that we find true happiness.

    So take a little time each day to take care of the things in your life that must be tended to. But also remember that your need to be care-free, your need to play is also part of your responsibility as well.

    Do not allow others to dictate your life. It is only by giving to others joyfully and without resentment that your true humanity is revealed.

    Be your own Master. Acknowledge your own Inner Truth. Listen to your Soul. For only you hold the ultimate power to your own personal fulfillment.

    It is by taking care of your own needs first that you can truly begin to give to others.

    You are worthy.

    Claim it. Know it. Be it.

    Copyright © 2005 Sherry Sims

    Sherry Sims has spent the last 20 years assisting people as a professional psychic, intuitive counselor, energy healer and teacher. Helping people to resolve personal and relationship issues has been at the core of her work. She gently assists her clients to accept their true power which allows them to begin taking control of their lives through healing, awareness, and self-love.

    To learn more about creating happiness and fulfillment in your life you will want to sign up for her free newsletter: SIMPLE MAGIC – Creating the Life You Want.

    For more articles by Sherry Sims please visit http://Mystic-Hearts.com

    Posted on Sep 21st, 2006

    "Learn how to turn frustration into fascination. You will learn more being fascinated by life than you will by being frustrated by it." _Jim Rohn

    Simply stated, feeling frustrated is saying that we just don’t like what life is handing us right now, today, this week, this year, this lifetime. Nothing wrong with that necessarily, but like so many other things, it’s our response to frustrating events that makes the difference.

    Let’s take a closer look at how to get frustrated and then at a few more productive responses to frustration.

    How to get frustrated

    Take each and every obstacle that is thrown in your way very personally. Be convinced that the slow driver in front of you is doing it on purpose to you; perhaps he was even sent to find you.

    Approach life with a strong sense of entitlement. Believe that you deserve to get your way no matter what.

    Blow everything out of proportion. Frustrations come at us in varying degrees: On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst, respond to every event as if it’s a 10.

    Live life in a constant state of stress, don’t slow down, and definitely don’t develop any patience.

    Get addicted to the rush of anger that comes with frustration.

    Consequences of frustration

    Live in a state of perpetual anger.

    Say and do things you later regret.

    Face the same problems over and over again without ever discovering any solutions.

    Eventually this level of stress will affect you physically in some way.

    You teach your kids to react the same way.

    How to get fascinated

    Reframe obstacles as "challenging learning opportunities."

    Ask better questions. Instead of asking "why does this always happen to me" or "how dare they do this," practice asking this question: "How can I creatively solve this in a way that I might learn something new and that will benefit myself and others.

    Another good response would be: "Well, isn’t this interesting. I wonder how we are going to solve this one?"

    Stop reacting and respond. Reacting shuts down your brain. Responding jump-starts your creativity.

    Stress management expert Tim O’Brien uses the QTIP technique: Quit Taking It Personally. I’ve actually suggested carrying a Q-tip in a pocket as a reminder. Sounds silly perhaps, but it works.

    Look at the things that get in your way as simply events, nothing more. This one really saved me recently when I had spent hours on the previous three nights updating our Quickbooks files. Later, when I brought up the file, it looked as if we had lost hours of work and eight months of data.

    I told myself, and my wife, that this was only an event. That allowed me to have the presence of mind to remember I have a friend who is an expert in Quickbooks. He showed us how to find the data. We solved the problem and diffused my urge to throw the computer out the window.

    Like most things in life, we have a choice here. This time it’s between frustration and fascination.

    Choose wisely.

    For more tips and tools on stress management and mastery visit Tools for Successful Living

    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

    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.

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