'Stress Management' Category Archive

Posted on Jun 21st, 2006

File this one under the category of “watch your language.”

The language we use when we are trying to change something simply amazes me. We say things like I can’t - it’s not fair - I’ll never be able to do this - etc. And then we wonder why we are frustrated and don’t feel so good.

One of the most limiting things we say to ourselves is “I have to.” Our brains hear I have to and tend to automatically rebel.

Perhaps it’s a holdover from childhood.

A much more useful way to talk to ourselves is to change our “I have to” into “I get to.”

You might say that this is just semantics. I would answer by saying it’s almost all semantics.

Here’s why - “I have to” usually leads to little motivation, avoidance, and grudging obligation. On the other hand, “I get to” often leads to motivation, excitement and opportunity.

So let’s practice turning your I have to’s into I get to’s.

I have to take out the trash. I get to contribute to and serve my family.

I have to get up in the morning. I get to spend another day above ground and see what I can make of it.

I have to go to work. I get to go do something I love and provide for my family.

I have to go to class. I get to have the privilege of getting an education.

I have to pick up my kids from practice. I get to spend time with my children. In the car, which is a captive audience where we don’t have the pressure of just staring at each other. Maybe we will be able to talk.

I have to finish this project for the office. I get to contribute to something I believe in.

I have to go to the gym. I get to take care of my body and maybe even have some fun.

I have to finish this column and get it in on time. I get to have the privilege of helping (hopefully) more people.

These are just a few examples. Simply fill in the blanks with the ones from your own life which will be most helpful to you.

I invite you to practice watching your language this next week I think you will be surprised how often you use the phrase “I have to.”

Have to vs get to is your choice.

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 Jun 20th, 2006

As a coach, I often have new clients start off by sharing what they perceive as problems by beginning a statement with: "Jim, the problem is …" or "See, my problem with …" (Do you know people who begin their statements with these phrases? Lemme guess — they ALWAYS seem to have lots of problems, don’t they?)

Whenever I hear this as an opening gambit, I immediately halt their attempt to get into some long-winded "whine-fest" by saying forcefully, "EXCUSE ME — you don’t have a problem, only a situation … would you like to know the difference?"

They are usually taken aback at such abrupt rudeness on my part, but I’m intentionally interrupting a useless thought pattern — that of thinking about the inevitable challenges of life as problems. The online dictionary has this definition of the word problem: "an intricate unsettled question; a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation." And I don’t want my clients to reflexively think that anything they’re dealing with cannot be relatively easily overcome with the proper attitude combined with clear thinking.

When they answer yes to my question, I share the story of my friend Laszlo Nagy. Laszlo was the stockbroker in my Business Networking Group. In June of 2002, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. I visited him several times in the rehabilitation hospital shortly after he arrived there. With his head in a halo brace, his body swollen from trauma, and his Darth Vader–like speech wheezing through a respirator, it was not a pretty sight.

Subsequent to the accident, Laszlo’s finances were totally drained by burgeoning medical bills. Under the continual financial and personal strain, his wife decided she could no longer hang in there with him and filed for divorce. In 2004, Laszlo had a pacemaker installed in his diaphragm muscle (the same operation that the late actor Christopher Reeve had) to help his lungs work without external stimulation, and he spent the next seven weeks relearning to breathe.

I then say to my clients, "So, LASZLO has a PROBLEM — YOU only have a SITUATION … GOT IT?" It’s AMAZING after that how quickly people catch themselves. When they start to say, "I’ve got this problem …" they quickly go, "OOPS! I mean, I’ve got this situation …" So the point is well taken.

By the way, the most surprising revelation in my conversations with Laszlo over the past few years is when he one day confided in me, "Y’know Jim — in some ways this accident is THE BEST THING that’s ever happened to me." And perhaps even more amazing, Laszlo does NOT think he has a problem! A challenging situation? Yes, unquestionably. But in his mind it’s definitely surmountable, which he demonstrates on a daily basis at a level I can only imagine.

So the next time YOU think you’ve got a PROBLEM … take pause … it’s probably only a situation.

Jim Rohrbach, "The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business," has coached hundreds of business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals on growing their clientele. He is a featured contributor to Horsesmouth.com, a daily ezine for Financial Advisors, and writes the Coach’s Corner column in Nightingale-Conant’s AdvantEdge magazine.

You are invited to use the free success tools available at Nightingale Conant. Please visit nightingale.com to complete your Mission Statement. and for a free subscription to their Motivational Quote.

Posted on Jun 20th, 2006

On a beautiful summer day years ago, I went water skiing with some new friends. I hadn’t skied in a while, and as I floated in the water with long pieces of wood strapped to my feet, here’s what I remember thinking:

“I wonder if I remember how to do this.” “Will I be able to get up?” “How soon will I crash?”

The rope tightened and I got up like I’d been doing this for years, began to ski and sure enough, the next thing I knew - crash - face full of lake.

Here comes the point of the story - As I floated in the water, waiting for the boat and the rope to come back around, I realized that the only reason I had crashed was because I had expected to crash.

The Power of Expectancy

The power of expectancy shapes our lives. I’ve found that most of us have either a negative expectancy (things won’t work out) or a positive expectancy (things usually work out). There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.

Expectancy controls what we focus on, and what we focus on usually comes about.

Eeyore Expectancy

I call people that always focus on the negative “Eeyores.” For those of you who do not have kids or don’t remember the story, Eeyore is a donkey in the Winnie the Pooh story that mopes around, head hung to the ground, moaning and groaning about life.

The Language

“It’s just too good to be true”

“I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop” There are times when we are so sure that the other shoe is going to drop that we throw it down ourselves.

“If something bad can happen, it will, and it will happen to me.”

The Outcome

The outcome of “eeyore expectancy” is usually fairly lousy. Even if good stuff does happen, it’s easy to miss with your eyes dragging the ground. You get what you focus on.

Positive Expectancy

Here’s what positive expectancy is not:

burying your head in the sand and saying “everything will be all right.”

a glorified form of denial

a new term for “positive thinking”

I don’t believe in “positive thinking”, at least not in the way it’s commonly portrayed. Example: while it’s pouring rain, walking through the rain saying “It’s not raining, it’s not raining, it’s not raining,” will get you soaked!

Positive expectancy IS an attitude. It’s an attitude that goes something like, “whatever happens, not only will we figure out a way to handle it, we’ll also find a way to make it work for 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.

Posted on Jun 19th, 2006

An interesting quote surfaced recently in the "Science of Being Well" newsletter. The wisdom comes from Jack Canfield, co-author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. He says, "You either create or allow everything that happens to you."

My experience with this kind of statement is that most people hear it and say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah… I certainly didn’t ask for this illness, all these bills, the leaky roof over my head," or whatever their gripe of the moment might be. They have a valid point.

Who you be + what you do = what you get.

People often don’t see the connection between their day-to-day choices and what shows up in their lives because nobody’s ever explained how it happens. They never took "Create the Life You Want" in school because it wasn’t offered. Mom and Dad didn’t explain it because they didn’t get the picture either. How’s a person to learn?

Well, things are about to change. In this article, we’ll explore how just one "everyday" choice can mold your material world and your future.

Your everyday actions choose your future.

My premise is that in any situation, you always have a choice of how to respond. When you follow the voice of wisdom, you create power in your life. When ignore that inner voice, you create stress. The voice of wisdom, by the way, can be called by many different names.

You may call it:

* common sense

* the right thing to do

* your conscience

* what [the wisest and most compassionate person you can think of] would do

* your inner knowing

* instinct

* intuition

* a gut feeling
I sometimes refer to it as "the voice of the Shaman," meaning that higher-level wisdom we all have access to.

Today’s example has 3 variations, each of which I’ve witnessed recently. (Perhaps you have as well.) Read each variation and see if you can distinguish the "stress" response from the "power" response. I’m rooting for you!

Variation 1: You’re eating out at a restaurant. You notice a bunch of crumbs on the table, left by the crackers you just crunched. You gather up the crumbs from your place (because they bother you) and either (a) dump them onto the floor under the table for someone to sweep up or (b) put them on the plate you’ve finished using to go back to the kitchen.

Variation 2: You’ve just tried on a bunch of clothing in the dressing room of your favorite store. You either (a) leave the items you don’t want in a crumpled heap on the floor or (b) hang them back up on the hangers and hand them to the attendant on your way out.

Variation 3: You’ve just stayed overnight at a motel. You’ve taken a shower and now have the chore of dispensing with your wet towel. You either (a) leave it wadded up in the middle of the bathroom floor to mildew or (b) hang it on a hook or rack to dry out.

I suppose it’s obvious that the "stress" responses are all first. But just in case you think it’s too obvious, I must remind you that these examples come from life - I’ve seen them all.

You could, of course, get away with any of them. It’s certainly been explained to me in each of these situations that "the person who works here is being paid to clean up my mess, so why should I bother?" You might say, as has been said to me, "Well I don’t expect to ever have that job." :-)

"I don’t expect to ever wait tables, attend a fitting room, or clean hotel rooms. This exact thing will never be done to me." (Please understand I’m not de-valuing those jobs. I’ve done two of the three myself.) "So why should I care?"

I could give you several reasons. But the simplest and easiest to understand is this: You are faced with an opportunity to make life easier for a fellow human being or to make life harder. Which do you choose?

That’s the real question. "Which do you choose … stress or power?"

Which do you choose … stress or power?

You create power for yourself RIGHT NOW by treating other people the same way you’d like to be treated yourself if your positions were reversed. If this principle sounds familiar to you, it should. It’s known to many of us as "The Golden Rule" and it’s one of the most commonly practiced moral guidelines in the world.

You may think little things like this don’t matter. Get this: They do. These very simple, everyday choices mold your material world.

How?

Again, I could suggest a number of ways. The simplest to understand is this. You never know who may be observing your behavior. You never know when the person you least expect may be in a position to make life easier for you. And they’ll be more likely to do so if they see you as a considerate person yourself.

Maybe you’ve just taken a long, hard look in the mirror and recognized yourself as a person who often selects the first option (a) in situations like these. Hey, it happens. We’re not born knowing everything. We learn. So maybe I was talking about you. Or a close "friend."

If so, let me make a few observations about your life at the moment. Your relationships with other people are strained. You’re lonely. You have to fight for every inch you get in life. People don’t understand you. Certainly, they don’t treat you with the deference that you feel you deserve.

How did I come up with that? Easy. You created it. Your assumption that the world exists to serve you will endear you to nobody. The guy you just made sweep the floor an extra time won’t be doing you any favors any time soon, that’s for sure. Better hope your car starts in the parking lot, because he’s sure not gonna offer you a jump.

Since the ability to get along with others is so closely related to your success in other areas of life, I could equally well predict that you have trouble at work, catch every bug that goes around, and are plagued by a variety of aches and pains, probably neck pain and headaches. But we won’t go into all that right now.

The fundamental message is this: It’s not just about what you know in life, it’s about what you do with what you know.

Bottom line: It never hurts to raise your standards. When in doubt, mentally trade places with the person who will have to deal with the "fall-out" of your choice. Then make the choice that will cause them to have the more pleasant experience of life!

Elizabeth Eckert is a wellness coach who supports people in creating optimal health. She is the author of the free health guide Transform Stress Into Power and creator of the Ultimate Stress Buster Kit.

Posted on Jun 19th, 2006

Resentments

A wise friend once said that holding onto resentments is like trying to crush a sandspur between your fingers. You might eventually do it, but it sure is going to hurt you in the process.

Life tip: Forgive. Release yourself from the pain and focus on the future.

Procrastination

"I’ll do it later" has to be the biggest con job we can run on ourselves. Procrastination fosters the belief in "someday," which never comes because it just isn’t on the calendar.

Life tip: The next time you are tempted to procrastinate, simply put it off. Procrastinate about procrastinating. Do it now, procrastinate later.

Rationalizations

While excuses hold us back from doing the things we know we need to do, rationalizations sear our conscious to allow us to do the things we know we should not do.

Life tip: Another way to spell the word rationalize is "rational lies." Tell yourself the truth. There is no good rationalization for doing something you know is wrong.

Expediency

The desire to get things done quickly can be a good thing. But when expediency takes the place of effectiveness, watch out. This happens often with parents and kids. Sure we could do it quicker and better, but what are they learning?

Life tip: Don’t sacrifice effectiveness for expediency. Slow down enough to do a job well or to show someone else how to do a job well.

If onlys

If onlys come wrapped in the package of regrets. I’ve worked with people whose entire lives were wrapped around one or two if onlys, as if focusing on if onlys could change anything.

Life tip: Take one good long hard last look at all of your if onlys. Lift out what you can learn from them to use in your future, the rest of your life. Then, taking these learnings with you, turn around and head into your future.

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 Jun 18th, 2006

Job related stress can be a real killer - both of the mind and the body and that is why many men and women are turning to laughter in order to overcome the stress they are feeling at work.

As millions of adults across the globe look for ways to release some stress, the Internet has become a major source of stress relief. Searching for online jokes and humor has helped many people get through their day.

Recent studies have shown that an overwhelming majority of adults that search the Internet do it during working hours, perhaps looking for a diversion to get their mind off of their stress or looking for stress release techniques.

Entire websites have been devoted to stress, stress relief and job related humor. There are even websites that proclaim "I work for a pain in the a…" that let you nominate your boss as the biggest pain in the rear for the month or year and give you some funny advice on how to deal with your annoying boss.

Job related humor also fills countless emails as coworkers and friends try to help their colleagues get through the day with a laugh and a smile and some much needed venting.

Another group of websites that benefit from job related stress are the countless online job posting websites that let people dream of greener pastures. Many online searchers envision the telling their boss what they have been thinking, but never saying for the past few years as they quit and never look back.

The people who seem to deal with their stress the best are those who are able to laugh at themselves and others. Perhaps, the people who get the biggest laughs of all are those creative people that create the websites proclaiming they work for a real pain in the rear.

Whether the stress is real or imagined, there is no disputing the fact that job related stress is a real concern for people. Though people suffering the symptoms of stress should seek professional assistance, a little humor may go a long way in relieve that job related stress.

David Casey, VP, SetSitesHigh (http://www.setsiteshigh.com) is a website designer and developer with no relationship with http://www.iworkforapainintheass.com or any job related or stress related websites.

Posted on Jun 18th, 2006

Excuses

We all have them. It amazes me how creative I can be when I need a good excuse for something. In life we either have success, or we have excuses.

Life tip: For one week, pay attention to how often you create excuses for yourself. You’ll be surprised by how many excuses you make and how often you make them. Then start to refute them. Ask your self "is this really true, or is it just convenient for me to believe?"

Limitations

Richard Bach offers us this great piece of wisdom about limitations - "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours."

Other than gravity, mortality and a few others, most of our limitations are self-imposed. Now why would we want to do that?

Life tip: Whenever you notice that you are imposing a limitation on yourself, ask "what would I be able to do without this limitation?" Then start heading in that direction.

I can’ts

If you believe you can’t, then you can’t. If you believe you can, you just might make it.

Life tip: Don’t focus on what you can’t do; focus on what you can.

Entitlement:

Our culture has taught us that we deserve all good things just by showing up. That’s just not the real world. We are promised only the pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself. It’s up to us to have the guts and determination for the pursuit.

Life tip: If you want something, make very sure that you are doing all the necessary things to get there. No excuses allowed.

Clutter

This one will sound more like the typical spring-cleaning tip. I include it because clutter, excess stuff laying around, is a major source of stress and actually holds us back in life. We have to move around it and through it, and it stays in our minds on the list called "things I really ought to do someday but know I never will."

Life tip: If you have not used it in the past year, and it does not have intrinsic or sentimental value, give it away, sell it or throw it out.

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 Jun 17th, 2006

Defined simply, stress is the body’s reaction to a threat or challenge resulting from a situation (called a stressor) that can be either positive or negative. The body does not differentiate between psychological and physiological stress.

Physical Symptoms:

Physical changes when under stress may include tense muscles, pounding heart rate, cold or clammy hands, headache, sweating, and a feeling of butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth, stomach ache, heartburn, colds, fatigue, constipation, teeth grinding, skin rash and back pain.

Mental and Behavioral Symptoms:

Irritability, anxiety, apathy, nervousness, depression, hostility, forgetfulness, confusion, short temper, overeating, under-eating, overly emotional, excessive smoking/drinking and withdrawal from relationships.

Other signs of stress include talking faster than normal, biting one’s nails, pacing, restlessness, hyperactivity, distractibility, and trembling. Under chronic stress the person will seem tired, restless, and feel out of control.

How to get rid of Stress?

Research has shown that best tension reliever is physical exercise. It is a great remedy for stress. No other thing comes near exercise in reducing stress. Exercise also helps you sleep by relaxing the tense muscles.

Positive Benefits:

1. Exercise is a diversion that enables you to relax due to a change in environment or routine. It also serves as an outlet to dissipate emotions.

2. It improves blood flow to your brain, bringing additional sugars and oxygen that may be needed when you are thinking intensely.

3. When you think hard, the neurons of your brain function more intensely. As they do this, they can build up toxic waste products that can cause foggy thinking. By exercising you speed the flow of blood through your brain, moving these waste products faster.

4. Exercise can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well being.

5. There is also good evidence that physically fit people have less extreme physiological responses when under pressure than those who are not. This means that fit people are more able to handle the long term effects of stress, without suffering ill health or burnout.

In addition to a regular exercise program, you can incorporate these stress reducing exercises.

1. Do some gentle neck rolls to help get rid of the tension. Let your chin drop slowly forward. Slowly roll you head to you right shoulder, back, left shoulder and front. Now do the same in the opposite direction. Do it slowly and repeat 10 times.

2. Inhale 10 deep breaths. Fill your lungs full, hold and exhale slowly, ridding all the air. Repeat. The fresh dose of oxygen will also recharge your energy.

3. Lie on the floor or sit in a comfortable chair. With your hands at your side or on the chair arm, visualize each part of your body, beginning with you toes and moving up. Take your time and feel you body relax, bit by bit.

4. Sit on the edge of your chair, and lean forward, resting your chest on your knees with your hands and head hanging loosely. Slowly unroll you back, vertebra by vertebra, until you’re sitting up nice and straight. This is an excellent exercise for unknotting your back

5. Stand and stretch with you hands over you head. Swing down to touch your toes, bending your knees if you need to. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Now place your hands on your hips, with your legs apart. Bend forward until your chest is parallel. Turn your head and body slowly to the left, then right forward. Repeat five to 10 times.

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Posted on Jun 17th, 2006

Mark Twain once said, “It’s not what we don’t know that hurts us. It’s what we know that isn’t so.”

At this point, you might be saying, “Wait a minute, if I believe I know something, doesn’t that make it so?”

Well, yes and no. (That’s a classic therapist answer, by the way.) The yes part is that in many ways, if we believe something, that can make it so for us. Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”

The no part is this - what if what you believe isn’t accurate, is no longer true, or just isn’t so?

I realize this might be a lot to think about with your morning coffee, but consider this - a belief is merely a feeling of certainty about something. Some beliefs enhance and expand our lives, such as “if it’s possible in the world, it’s possible for me.”Other beliefs tend to limit and inhibit our lives. It’s been my experience that we carry around many more limiting beliefs than we do enhancing beliefs.

Most, if not all, of our limiting beliefs can be divided into three categories; I am……, people are……., and the world is…….”

I am………People are……….

These limiting beliefs include our prejudices and influence how we see other people. Some of the most common are -

That’s a man’s/woman’s job

Any kind of prejudice

People can’t be trusted

Everyone is out for themselves

Nice guys finish last

People are too busy to care

The World Is……….

These limiting beliefs influence how we see the world and our position in it. Some of the most common are -

It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

The world is a ghetto (oops, that’s George Benson, just to jazz things up a little)

Society owes me a living.

The world is falling apart.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these limiting beliefs? Can you think of other beliefs that have limited you in the past or are limiting you now?

My purpose here is twofold. First, to get you to identify and begin to consider how certain beliefs have limited you. Second, to give you some tools for changing limiting beliefs into beliefs that can support and enhance your life.

Have you ever noticed that when you buy something new, such as a car, you begin to see that car everywhere? They were there before, it’s just that now your focus has changed. It’s the same way with limiting beliefs. They point our focus in a certain direction, and we can always find evidence to support them.

But other than getting to be “right”, what good does it do? Our limiting beliefs continue to hold us back.

Here are three ways that you can begin to change limiting beliefs-

1) Begin to question them. Ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Would a camera, taking a picture, be able to support this belief?

2) Counter the belief. Sometimes, just saying and considering the opposite is enough to change the belief. For example, change “I’m too old” into “I’m just the right age to do what I want to do.”

3) Redirect your brain. For example, ask yourself “In how many ways can I be happy now, have people care about me, has the world worked?” All of these are counters to the limiting beliefs listed above.

Our beliefs can either limit or enhance our lives. With the proper tools, the choice is then up to us. What will it be for you?

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 Jun 16th, 2006

With pressure circling like a pack of vultures…pressure to excel, get the job done yesterday, meet demands, and make deadlines it is easy to feel consumed. Often when we have that feeling we forget that we are not super human and that we do need some time to recharge. Let’s face it, if you DO NOT take care of you, you can’t expect to be able to keep going at breakneck speed, be creative, have fun in what you do OR avoid burning out!

Recharging That Battery

Being good to you does not have to cost a fortune, cost you your job or cut into your family time. Frankly, not being good to you can cost you your health, hinder your ability to do your job or enjoy your family.

Here are just a few suggestions to help you avoid becoming fried to the point of crispiness…

1) If you are confined to your office, make it a point to get out of your chair, stretch your legs a bit and take a few deep breaths. Stretching and breathing is important to getting the blood flowing.

2) Try to get in some time for exercise a few times a week. A quick walk around the block will do wonders, believe me!

3) Get present! What that means…taking a moment to really pay close attention to what is happening around you. For example, if you are washing your hands, take notice of how the water feels and what the soap smells like. Being aware of what is going on around you even for a minute will help you to relax.

4) Schedule an appointment with yourself in your calendar each and every day. Make that YOUR time. Time that you will commit to yourself with no distractions.

Whatever the activity, please be sure to take some time to relax.

© 2006 – What’s Within U. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of content allowed, but must contain a link to What’s Within U (www.whatswithinu.com), copyright notice, and author’s name.

Pam Thomas is a personal and business development coach who supports individuals that are stuck or in transition in creating their best life. Her passion and purpose is to help others find the resources and wondrous assets within them and around them to excel, overcome obstacles and discover the amazing opportunities available. Pam understands what it takes to reach deep inside to overcome fears and anxieties in order to truly achieve the goals, dreams and desire that rests within all of us. For more information about Pam’s work, please visit; http://www.whatswithinu.com

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