'Stress Management' Category Archive

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 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 14th, 2006

What is the definition of the word "mistake"?

Well many think it’s doing something that is expected of them but incorrectly so.

I would like to suggest however that a more fundamental definition might be; "Doing something that is not right for you".

Doesn’t that resonate with you at some deep level? At the same time it might also make you feel uncomfortable because you might start to realize that perhaps your entire life starts to feel like a mistake.

What do I mean by this? Well if you look at how you choose to live your life, how happy or stressed you are generally speaking from day to day then I think you will understand what I’m getting at.

If not let me make it clearer. If you are doing what is right for you then it should make you feel happy, calm, at peace, fulfilled, and satisfied should it not?

Is this how you feel most of the time? Not likely correct?

So you see by my definition mistakes abound in your life, don’t they? Now I’m not trying to make your life more difficult than it already is. In fact I’m actually trying to make you more conscious of the consequences of the choices you make for yourself in every moment.

I hope you can see that, even if at first it may make you feel a bit irritated.

So if you have been making "mistakes" by my definition, why is that? Well probably because somewhere in your life you became conditioned into accepting certain beliefs about what was right for you that were false. In other words you allowed yourself to become "programmed" much like how a computer gets programmed.

A computer is told what to do and does it without question, whether it likes it or not. Of course a computer can’t feel anything so it doesn’t matter how unpleasant a task it is given.

But you are not a computer or robot are you? So why are you choosing to behave like one?

Well likely because much of the programming that runs your life is so deeply buried in your unconscious mind and body that you can’t even see that it is there.

The only measure that you have to know that it is however is the level of unhappiness or stress you feel in your life. This is the measure that tells you whether you are going where "you" want to or not.

That’s what makes you different from a computer or a robot. If you want to reclaim you power and your human-ness and stop all of these pre-programmed automatic behaviors that are killing you please 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

Personal URL: http://www.telecoaching4u.com/Spirituality_And_Science.htm

Posted on Sep 6th, 2006

Rest.

It’s a good thing to do. As the story goes, even God rested one day out of seven.

Yet our culture treats rest like it’s a dirty four-letter word.

Benefits and suggestions

1) Relaxation: You can say you heard it here first - it’s OK to relax. Yet many of us act as if it’s a dangerous or wrong thing to do. Rest brings the relaxation of your mind and your muscles.

2) Recreation: You do not have to stay still to rest. Recreation means to re-create your energy and your life. Make a list of the things you do to relax and for recreation. Now, how many of those have you done in the last month? Not many I bet. To change this, all you have to do is pick one activity, do it, pick another, do it, etc. That’s not too hard, now, is it?

3)Energy: "Runnin’ on empty, runnin’ blind. I’m runnin’ into the sun, but I’m runnin’ behind." Many of us live out these lyrics from the Jackson Browne song. We run on empty from pushing so hard, and then push harder still. True rest restores the energy to run ahead and stay there.

4) Ease: I see this in many of my counseling and coaching clients - an inability to be at ease with themselves, others and their surroundings. We get so revved up in our lives, we become uncomfortable with ease. But as Matthew Broderick said in the movie "Ferris Beuller’s Day Off," "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to enjoy it sometimes, it will pass you by."

5) Simplicity: I can always use a little more simplicity in my life, and I’m betting that you can too. Schedules to keep, deadlines to meet, bills to pay, etc. We get seduced into believing that the more scheduled and complex our lives are, the more productive and successful we will become. Quite the opposite is true, however.

6) Solitude: While you do not have to be alone to rest, solitude can certainly be restful. Remember that there are two words for the state of being alone. One word is lonely, not a good or desired state in which to be. Another word for the state of being alone is solitude, which is the enjoyment of being alone.

7) Time: Rest requires time. If you believe you do not have enough time to rest, you have just proven how badly you need to rest. There are times when you must carve out some time to rest. Write it in your calendar and then protect it just like you would any other important appointment. The fear is that when you rest you lose time. The curious paradox is that rest gives you more time.

8) Temple: It’s been said that the body is a temple. If that’s true, then treat your body well.

Rest it.

For more tips and tools for stress management and mastery, visit ToolsforSuccessfulLiving.com

Posted on Sep 5th, 2006

David Bowie once sang, "Ch-ch-changes, tryin’ to face the strain."

And though working on changes in our lives can be difficult at times, it really doesn’t have to be such a strain.

Where did we get the notion that change has to be such a struggle? And what would it be like if we could make change easier?

That’s what I have spent most of my career doing, finding the simplest, fastest and most effective ways to help people get the changes they want and need.

With that in mind, let’s look at one of the major roadblocks to achieving lasting change, and then look at what to do about it.

Perfection vs. Progress

The failure to understand the important distinction between perfection and progress is a major stumbling block to lasting change.

Far too many people get stuck in demanding perfection from themselves and from others.

This leaves little or no room for appreciating the progress that might be happening.

So let’s take a look and discover whether you are demanding perfection or appreciating progress. And then most importantly, how to focus on progress.

Demanding Perfection

So many people are stuck in the myth that in order to change, you have to do it perfectly, with no slip-ups. That’s just not reality.

Here are some signs that you may be stuck in demanding perfection:

If you slip up just once, i.e., you go off your diet for one night, you say the heck with it and trash the whole plan.

You feel constantly defeated when trying to change.

You try to change too much all at once. There is just no way to get rid of 30 pounds in one month without amputation.

Appreciating Progress

Even the smallest amount of progress is still progress. It’s still change. Here’s how to focus on appreciating the progress:

Celebrate all improvements, even the smallest changes.

If a change looks too big to accomplish, break it down into smaller, more manageable parts, i.e. Just for today, I will …

Do a little bit more, go a little bit further, each day.

There’s the story of a middle-aged man who decided to take up running. The first day, he could only make it past his own house before he had to stop. The next day he went one house further, the next day another house further and so on. In less than a year, he entered and completed a marathon - that’s 26-plus miles.

Recognize the process of change. Most folks think that once they learn something new, the changes happen all at once. Sometimes that’s true, but more often change happens in four stages:

1. You learn some new skills, but do the same old thing that doesn’t work again.

2. You catch yourself in the middle of doing the same old thing that doesn’t work, stop and then do something new and different.

3. You stop yourself before you do the same old thing that doesn’t work, and do something new and different.

4. You just naturally do something new and different.

Change does not have to be a strain, or even very difficult at all. You just have to enjoy the progress and keep at it.

Remember, in the battle between the rock and the river, the river always wins because the river just keeps at it.

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

Posted on Sep 3rd, 2006

"I’ve got too much to do, I’ve just got too much to do!"

We have all said it and we have all lived it. I call this particular kind of stress Too Much To Do stress, or TMTD stress. When we feel TMTD stress, we typically have one or both of the following reactions. We either just say the heck with it and let everything pile up. Or we try to do it all and make ourselves and those around us miserable.

Another, more powerful and useful solution is to write it down, break it down, and knock it down.

Write it down

When we take the time to write down all the things we have to do, we reap at least two key benefits:

1)We keep it from running around in our heads over and over again.

2)We are able to put it outside of ourselves, which allows us to step back and get a better picture of what is in front of us.

It’s a cop-out to claim you don’t have time to write it all down. You are right that it will take a few minutes, but they are minutes well-spent that will save you time and stress.

Get a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. In the first column list all the things that you need to do. They are now on paper, which makes them much more manageable than when they are taking up space in your head.

When we continually say "I’ve got too much to do," we see all of our tasks as one huge unmanageable job. It’s like trying to eat a pizza in one big bite. You choke and can’t do it. We eat a pizza by cutting it into slices and then eating it a bite at a time. Do the same thing with your to-do list.

After you have written goals down, the next step is to break them into manageable pieces. You can get a lot done a little bit at a time.

So now, back to your sheet of paper. In the first of the four columns, you have written down all the tasks you want to complete. The next three columns are for each of the next three days, over which you are going to divide all the tasks on your to-do list. Break your tasks down by scheduling some on day one, some on day two and some on day three.

In this way, you have taken this long list of things to do, and broken them down into manageable pieces that you can do over three or more days.

Once you have written it down and broken it down, you will have renewed energy to get things done, to knock these things down.

If you notice that some of these items no longer seem as important, discard them and move onto the next task.

It’s important to remember that if you do not get everything done that is scheduled for one day, the course of history will probably not be affected. Just do it the next day. Remember, the point of this exercise is to reduce your stress, not increase it.

Write it down, break it down, knock it down, and send that Too Much To Do stress packing.

For more leading edge tips and tools for managing and mastering stress, you are invited to visit Jeff Herring’s ToolsforSuccessfulLiving.com

Posted on Sep 1st, 2006

What is Stress?

Stress may be defined as the three-way relationship between demands on people, our feelings about those demands and our ability to cope with them. Stress is most likely to occur in situations where:

1. Demands are high.
2. The amount of control we have is low.
3. There is limited support or help available for us.

Who is Affected Most by Stress?

Virtually all people experience stressful events or situations that overwhelm our natural coping mechanisms. And although some people are biologically prone to stress, many outside factors influence susceptibility as well.

Studies indicate that some people are more vulnerable to the effects of stress than others. Older adults; women in general, especially working mothers and pregnant women; less-educated people; divorced or widowed people; people experiencing financial strains such as long-term unemployment; people who are the targets of discrimination; uninsured and underinsured people; and people who simply live in cities all seem to be particularly susceptible to health-related stress problems.

People who are less emotionally stable or have high anxiety levels tend to experience certain events as more stressful than healthy people do. And the lack of an established network of family and friends predisposes us to stress-related health problems such as heart disease and infections. Caregivers, children and medical professionals are also frequently found to be at higher risk for stress-related disorders.

Job-related stress is particularly likely to be chronic because it is such a large part of life. Stress reduces a worker’s effectiveness by impairing concentration, causing sleeplessness and increasing the risk of illness, back problems, accidents and lost time. At its worst extremes, stress that places a burden on our hearts and circulation can often be fatal. The Japanese have a word for sudden death due to overwork: karoushi.

Medical Affects of Chronic Stress

The stress response of the body is like an airplane readying for take-off. Virtually all systems, such as the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, the lungs, the digestive system, the sensory organs, and the brain are modified to meet the perceived danger.

A stress-filled life really seems to raise the odds of heart disease and stroke down the road. Researchers have found that after middle-age, those who report chronic stress face a somewhat higher risk of fatal or non-fatal heart disease or stroke over the years. It is now believed that constant stress takes its toll on our arteries, causing chronically high levels of stress hormones and pushing people to maintain unhealthy habits like smoking.

Stressed-out men are twice as likely as their peers to die of a stroke. There are weaker such findings among women, which is likely due to the fairly low number of heart disease and stroke cases among women, rather than a resistance to the health effects of chronic stress. Women seem slightly more susceptible to the effects of stress than men.

Simply put, too much stress puts you at dire risk for health problems. Whether it comes from one event or the buildup of many small events, stress causes major physical alterations that often lead to health problems. Here is a list of some of these changes:

• Our heart rates increase, to move blood to our muscles and brains.
• Our blood pressures go up.
• Our breathing rates increase.
• Our digestion slows down.
• Our perspiration increases.
• We feel a rush of strength at first, but over time stress makes us feel weak.

These reactions helped our ancestors survive threats by preparing for either "fight or flight." Today, our bodies still react the same way, but the events that cause stress do not require this ancient mechanism.

Stress can also greatly raise our risk of:

• Ulcers and digestive disorders
• Headaches
• Migraine headaches
• Backaches
• Depression
• Suicide
• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Heart attack
• Alcohol and drug dependencies
• Allergies and skin diseases
• Cancer
• Asthma
• Depressed immune system
• More colds and infections

We have to learn ways to relieve stress, because when it goes on for very long or happens too often, it obviously can cause many serious health problems.

Resources about Stress Risks

The information in this article is originally from: the Somerset Medical Center website, http://www.somersetmedicalcenter.com; the University of Maryland Medicine website, http://www.umm.edu/patiented; the March of Dimes website, http://www.marchofdimes.com; the voice of doctors website, http://web.bma.org.uk; and the Health Ink Online website, http://www.healthinkonline.com.

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Posted on Aug 28th, 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.

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

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Aug 27th, 2006

Q. I’ve suffered a few setbacks and disappointments in the last year and seem to be bogged down in them. A business that I began failed, and my long-term girlfriend left me for someone else.

I want to move past this but just don’t seem able to bounce back. What can I do?

A. Let’s pretend for a few moments that we are in a seminar, and let me ask for a show of hands:

How many of you have ever been rejected by anyone, for anything, at any time in your life?

How many of you have ever suffered a defeat over something large or small, for any reason, at any time in your life?

All of us have suffered rejection and defeat at some point in our lives: loss of jobs, broken relationships, deaths, disappointments, or just the ups and downs of everyday living.

Motivational speaker W. Mitchell has been quoted as saying,

"It’s not what happens to us that matters; it’s what we do about it that makes a difference."

With that thought in mind, I’ve noticed that when presented with rejection and/or defeat, most people have one of two reactions:

They either let it beat them, or they rise above it.

I call these two responses "dropping dead" and "bouncing back."

How to "drop dead"

Believe that this event defines you and your life now and forever. In other words, it’s a final judgment of who you are.

Lose perspective. Focus only on what happened to you and nothing else.

Organize your thoughts, feelings, what you talk about - in other words, your whole life around what has happened. Talk about nothing else. Bore your friends.

Take a "dead roach approach": flat on your back with your legs in the air, no power.

Quit. Give up. Throw in the towel.

Believe in your heart that you have failed. Even worse, define yourself as a failure.

Focus on the past, something you can do nothing about.

Go it alone.

How to "bounce back"

Decide to. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "People are about as happy as they decide to be." I think it’s the same with bouncing back. I realize that sounds so simple, but that’s really where it starts.

Implement the principle of NEXT!!! This one comes from the world of sales. The top salespeople in any field have trained themselves to handle rejection by saying "next" to themselves. In this context, "next" means to move on into the future and not get stuck in the past, not even the recent past.

Implement the principle of Open Doors. God never closes one door without opening several others. We have to look for them, however.

Focus on the present and future, two things you can do something about. The best way to predict the future is to create it as close as you can to the way you would like it to be.

Install a new belief that says I can only fail if I quit or if I don’t learn something from the experience. In this way, you have to try really hard to fail, sort of like failing gym class.

Get the support you need.

Make these two crucial distinctions:

1. Make a place for what has happened in your life. It may stink, not be fair, and you may hate it. But it did happen and denying it will only come back to bite you later.

2. Put it in it’s place, which is behind you, in the past. Think of the event like a chapter in a book that you do not have to read again and again.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

Posted on Aug 26th, 2006

The moment I read the story I’m about to share with you, I knew it would make a good article. It has one of the best approaches to managing stress, change and, for that matter, life and its living that I have ever read. Give it a read, and then we’ll put some hands and feet on it to make it immediately useful.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well one day, and the farmer, hearing the mule braying, rushed over to see what had happened. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

At first the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back … a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up.

So this he did, blow after blow.

Shake it off and step up … shake it off and step up … shake it off and step up,’ he repeated to encourage himself.

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered, dirty and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well. What seemed like it would bury him actually blessed him, all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

Can’t you just imagine how the average person would handle this situation today?

The first thought after falling in the well would be, "Who can I sue?" followed closely by, "This is just not fair!"

And who wouldn’t panic? You don’t have to have claustrophobia to feel extreme terror in this situation. It brings to mind the opening lines of one of my favorite jazz songs by sax man Wilton Felder:

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you can inherit the wind."

Respond to what life throws at you with an attitude that allows you to make it work for you, no matter what.

Notice also that the mule came out beat up, dirty and worn out. If it had been a superhero action figure in the well, he or she would have come out of the well shiny clean, with every hair in place.

Have you noticed that real life is usually a whole lot messier?

One of the least-spoken but important lessons of life is that there are times when you can’t save your face and your rear end at the same time.

The really nice thing here for us is that there was nothing extraordinary about the mule in this story.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is when you are scared silly and still decide to make the right choices at the right time.

I’ll close with a couple of action questions and a quote from the e-mail from which I found this story:

We all have wells in our lives. What are some of the wells in which you have found or now find yourself?

What would it take and how would it change your life to shrug it off and step up?

The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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