'Stress Prevention' Category Archive

Posted on May 11th, 2006

Life is challenging. We all know that. On a good day the challenges make life exciting and fulfilling, but on a bad day those challenges just wear us down.

One way of effectively coping with the many challenges that life throws every day is to come up with a bottom line gut check rule to apply to those challenges. It can help you put life, and all its challenges, into perspective.

Most days I am living the American woman’s dream. I have not one but two fulfilling careers plus a husband, child, and home. I have a great balance of fulfilling work that I can (mostly) complete while my child is in preschool or asleep so I am able to spend lots of Mommy time baking cookies and constructing complicated train layouts plus volunteering at school. However that dream is pretty fragile and it only takes one miscalculation to turn into a nightmare. Snow days, sick days, or overlooked school holidays can throw everything into disarray and heaven forbid if I get too sick to work the hours I need to keep my frail vessel afloat.

I know there are many people much more stretched than I am. Many of them are my friends, my co-workers, my clients, and my students, so I see it first-hand and know how lucky I am that even though my juggling act requires delicate balance much of the time if I drop a ball here or there it bounces without anything being broken. I know plenty of people balancing those twirling plates and we all know how that can end up!

One way I have managed to move from the twirling plates to the rubber balls is through careful prioritizing. Not every unexpected event has the potential for catastrophe and your stress level will go through the roof if you treat it as such. Placing the unexpected in its proper priority can give you perspective and give you more control over your life.

You are the only one who can do this though. No one else can tell you what is important. I find it useful to have a bottom line gut check rule to help me prioritize when life gets hectic and challenging.

My rule is pretty simple — How much will this matter when I’m dead and gone?

For me this means that when it comes down to dealing with urgent matters my child comes first. When I am dead and gone I don’t ever want him to remember being neglected or ignored or untended. I’m pretty sure (with as much insight as anyone can have into a 5-year-old’s mind) that he knows he is the most important person in the world to me but there are times when I have to stop myself from whirling off to attend to other plates.

In truth, the rule means that people always come first for me. Obviously in some order of rank. My husband comes before my students who come before my clients, for example. But I hope to be remembered for the lessons I have taught. I know I don’t have a prayer for being remembered for my housekeeping skills. I bet you can guess where vacuuming falls on my priority list. I don’t like living in a messy house and I like a well-cooked meal more than most people, but I’m pretty sure when I’m sitting at the pearly gates that I won’t look down at Earth and wish I’d kept my house cleaner. I do know for sure that I don’t want to look down (or back) and wish I’d been a better mother or teacher. So that’s how I prioritize!

You don’t need to use my rule. Probably the world would be dull if everyone prioritized just th e same. Another good rule that I sometimes employ when dealing with interpersonal conflict is — What would Jesus do? If you have studied the Gospels then you can have a pretty good shot at answering that question in most instances and you could probably make your corner of the world a much better place for it.

So now, before life spins out of control again (denial is not a bottom line) spend a few moments thinking about your own bottom line. I bet you find that gut check rule will help you work through the challenges throws your way. Good luck and good day.

You can enjoy more inspirational articles by Deanna Mascle at http://dawggone.net, http://justfolks.net, and http://officialwisdom.com.

Posted on Apr 6th, 2006

If stress is low then energy is high, if energy is high then stress is less likely to affect us.

So one of the most important, and easy, ways to reduce and eliminate stress is to stay energetic.

So how do we keep our energy high?

Physical fitness always springs to your mind when you talk about energy levels. Well it is one way to improve your energy stores. It isn’t the most efficient way though.

Physical fitness helps to keep energy high from an external source. Your ability to physically function is determined by this type of energy. So go for a walk, jog or run, play sport and keep active. Energy will increase and you will benefit from it.

One warning …

Play sport or do exercise that you enjoy. Why?

If you enjoy it, it will create more energy. Don’t get sucked into the ‘this is the best exercise for fitness’ jargon. The best exercise is the one you enjoy, not the one the person who wrote the book or article enjoyed. The exercise they mention is the one they enjoy and find most beneficial. You may not be the same person; hence a different exercise may or will be better.

So enjoy your exercise, you will do it more often that way and it will be better for you.

If you are low in energy, physical activity is usually going to be hard, arduous and not likely going to be a long term habit.

If you are low in energy then injuries are easier to occur, habits are harder to form and your motivation and enthusiasm for activity is low. So getting your energy up will help you become fit and active.

This is not the physical energy but internal energy. Internal energy is your ability to heal, your ability to resist disease, your ability to think clearly, be motivated and enthusiastic, your ability to live long and live happy.

How do you raise this energy?

Become healthy, not fit but healthy. Use techniques that are self-help related. Techniques that change your internal habits. Techniques that improve internal and external energy. This is the domain of natural therapies such as Acupressure, Reiki, Mudra and others.

They are able to be used on yourself, by you to help you gain the health and vitality you want. Is there other things you can do?

Do what you enjoy most.

If you do enjoyable activities, the internal energy will increase. What activities should you do?

All the books, magazines etc on why certain activities are best, won’t help. You are going to like a different activity. Because you are different, in your likes and dislikes.

So do any activity you enjoy, whether it is running, walking, swimming, cycling or whatever. Just make it a habit, enjoy it and watch your fitness levels improve as well. If you enjoy the activity then your energy levels will increase faster than if you did a less enjoyable activity.

Remember, fitness is not health. However, enjoying the activity you do while you become fitter, helps your health as well. The activities that raise your energy internally raise your health. They don’t have to be fitness related.

Remember the saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’, it applies to activity also. The most enjoyable is the most beneficial.

So do activities that increase your energy … things that make you happier and brighter.

Such as …

Go fly a kite … looking up at the sky lifts your spirits and helps to release stress. Go and lie down on the grass on a sunny day, in a park, or at home, if you live in an apartment go to the roof and lie on your back. Watch the sky and the clouds floating by. Look at the shapes that they make. Let your thoughts drift away with the clouds.

Just play as many child-like games as possible. Get together with friends and play hide and seek, or chasing. Kick a ball around and have fun.

Go to funny movies, or see a comedy festival. Generally have more fun. Laughter is the best medicine, especially at an energy level. Have you ever seen someone high in energy being sad or unhappy.

Energy raises the spirits, drops the stress levels and improves your health. All by being happier and higher in energy.

So get out there and enjoy life, you only have one to enjoy so don’t waste it.

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Posted on Apr 5th, 2006

For last few decades, every author or speaker on management and self-help has said something about time management. Allocate time, analyze the work pattern, list out the priorities and assign time limits. After all time is life, and one must try to get maximum out of time.

What every one is advising is to streamline the life like a machine. Decide to achieve goals, allocate time, and try to achieve the best in that much time. What about life and living? If these people were to advise the lions in Africa, they would have prepared a time chart for hunting, relaxing, eating sleeping and so on. The lion would have got bored and run away from that consultant. The lion enjoys life on his own terms. He does what gives him joy and forgets the rest. This desire to get best out of time is taking a big toll on very young and old alike around the world. In India, parents give very little free time to a child to be him/her self. It is either school, or classes or homework or a hobby teacher. Everything is structured for a young child. He/she must live life like that and forget the joy of exploring life and enjoying it. Sometimes I wonder that if a time management is appointed to analyze the relaxation patterns and give advice on how we should relax, they will make our life hell. What about creativity? What about enjoying life, the nature, the nights and the sunsets? What about living?

I don’t say that time is not important. I don’t say that time should be wasted. But I do say that we should not live like machines. We are not made to do like that. We fail to enjoy the pains and pleasures if we live a very structured life. We get stressed. And the stress may at times so overwhelm us that despite all the time management, our performance will suffer beyond repair. No inventive or original thinking can be done in given time. Ask a scientist to sit on a chair and think of a good idea in the given time. He/she will fail without doubt. The mind works and produces best results when allowed to be free of the artificial shackles.

Please manage time, please dont waste time in useless ways of working, but please enjoy your life. Do new things, think, imagine, daydream and watch the stars. We are after all human beings and not machines. Please dont get stressed by these theories of time management. Get the best out of them and enjoy.

The author CD Mohatta writes on life, management, motivation etc for ecards and desktop downloads. You can view his messages in free desktop wallpapers, free greetings and love and romance ecards.

Posted on Apr 5th, 2006

We all have many things to do within the hours of each day. With so many opportunities available, it is hard to not over do it and put more into our schedules than we can handle.

Not only are we over scheduled, there are always many unforeseen situations that come up in life that we have no control over: loss of employment, accidents, health problems, loss of a loved one, daily unplanned events, and more. Because of these situations, we can become stressed, angry, frustrated, feel rejected and depressed which can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, headaches, loss of sleep, indigestion, stroke and more. We will always have these types of situations - a part of life - but we can learn to avoid stress as we become aware of what is causing it or fueling it and by choosing to face the situation instead of reacting to it.

Does nutrition and what we eat have anything to do with stress?

It actually has a lot to do with it in the way it is handled and managed. When we get so involved in life’s activities, we often times forget about eating well. In fact, we usually tend to grab high-calorie, high fat, empty-nutrition foods, turn to sweets or caffeinated beverages, or even forget to eat at all. This actually creates more stress on the body because we are lacking the vital nutrients to function properly and our blood sugar levels fluctuate. Thus, we become depressed, lethargic, lack energy and concentration, and even experience mood swings.

Why do we have a tendency to crave the empty-nutrition foods while under stress? Our brain has a way of needing balance and while under pressure it makes us do something that will release neurotransmitters that will cause us to relax. Usually the quickest and easiest way to achieve this is by indulging on pleasure foods: candy, pastries, sodas, fried foods, etc. The smells, taste and textures actually excite the chemicals within the brain that will give us this short-term satisfaction. With this instantaneous gratification, we continue to do it over and over again.

However, we must keep in mind that in order for the body to function properly (physically, mentally, and emotionally), it must be properly fueled. Just as an automobile must have good fuel to perform properly, so must our bodies. Our fuel for high energy and performance comes in the way of nutrients from good quality foods. If we have diets of highly processed foods (white flour, white sugar, high fats and salt) with little nutrient value, then the body cannot function to its capacity, becomes stressed, over loaded, and it becomes sick and diseased.

If we will include the following suggestions in our daily eating and drinking habits, we will be much more capable of handling stressful situations.

1) Think of the foods God gives us in their whole food form: raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes (beans and peas). These all have a higher nutritional content than processed foods. They are naturally high in fiber and provide the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. We must have good nourishing foods at every meal for the body to have the nutrients to perform properly. As we do, we are able to think and react logically to the pressures and situations that we face. What we eat really does make a difference in how we act and think!

2) Take the time to eat and chew your food properly. Good digestion of foods ultimately begins in the mouth as the saliva breaks down the chemicals in the food in conjunction with the chewing process. Onto the stomach, the digestion process works for your body to get the nutrients and energy it needs from the food you eat. Give yourself at least 20-30 minutes to eat a meal, sitting down and relaxing while your body goes to work and does its job.

3) Think and prepare ahead so that, in this fast pace world, you always have good nourishing foods to grab in a moment’s notice. Easy-to-grab foods are: fresh fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas (which all come “pre-packaged”), raw nuts (you can carry these in a baggie in purse and car), fruit leather, dried fruit and raw nut mixes, whole grain rolls and crackers, whole grain health bars, etc. Of course, you will find many of these in low and high quality brands, so read labels and choose those minimally processed. There is a lot you can grab on the run that has good high quality nutrition. Take the time initially to plan, purchase and prepare.

4) What we drink is just as important. Drinks such as alcohol, sodas, coffee, hot chocolate, and most fruit juices (frozen, bottled) are dehydrators and de-energizers. What we really need is good pure water! Every function in the body greatly relies on water. Lack of water causes us to become dehydrated, which restricts the activity of all these functions. Our best body’s performance comes from having a clean system. Good, pure, distilled water is our best cleanser, therefore cleansing and energizing to the system.

5) Set aside time each day to exercise. Exercise is the absolute best medicinal cure for those times that you start to feel stressed or avoiding it altogether. It is necessary for the body functions to work optimally, and within 20-40 minutes, exercise can easily correct stressful situations.

6) Turn on peaceful music to soothe, calm and relax you. We all need times of relaxation throughout the day. Also take time to meditate and focus on worthy goals, your blessings, and the peaceful things of life. Watching the flowers and grass sway in the breeze is so relaxing to the soul (so much more than television). These exercises help put life into the perspective of what’s really important and help avoid unworthy thoughts and feelings.

We cannot just simply eliminate all the pressures of life. Yet we can learn to manage and eliminate the effects of stressful situations by applying principles of good nutrition, eating, and drinking in this manner. Focus on the real whole foods and pure water and you can expect the body’s best performance!

Erleen Tilton Author, Speaker, and "Master Body Mechanic" Start today on your "new body" overhaul with a free 15 minute phone consultation! Nature’s Healthy Choices http://www.erleentilton.com http://www.healthandnutrition.blogspot.com contact@stressmanagementarticles.com 480-326-5233 phone 480-988-9045 fax

Posted on Mar 23rd, 2006

To beat anxiety you need to keep yourself in a high life state. Most people who suffer from Anxiety, Panic Attacks or Agoraphobia tend to link their symptoms with certain situations: crowded shops, being far from home, elevators, freeways etc. These associations are of course completely erroneous, they are just our minds trying to make sense of something we don’t properly understand.

Anxiety disorders seem to develop when people undergo great stress, hardship or fear at a time when their lives are already at a low ebb. Life stressors which tend to create the conditions in which anxiety disorders take hold include:

bereavement
work stress
illness
divorce
physical/sexual/psychological abuse

And many more. Anxiety disorders also often seem to spring out of a period of depression.

Unsurprisingly, if being in a low life state helps us fall into an anxiety disorder, getting ourselves into a happier, higher life state greatly helps us climb out of the anxiety and fear cycle. So how do we get into a higher life state when we feel so anxious and rotten? Let us examine two options:

Firstly I recommend looking for the good in your anxiety. Whether you have religious faith or not you probably believe things happen for a reason. “What good can possibly have come of anxiety?” do I hear you say? I suspect that if you look hard enough you will find that you have benefited from your anxiety. I did.

In my case:

1.Anxiety caused me to find true happiness because I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
2.It made me a fighter – overcoming anxiety left me feeling invincible.
3.It saved me from a dull career in the financial sector, where I would have become a clone.
4.It made me understand the true value of friendship. I would not be the person I am today without it.

I could go on but my benefits are not useful to you, we all have our individual benefits. Try and understand what your anxiety has told you, and what you have gained from it. Try to be grateful for it. That is not as ridiculous as its sounds. When you are grateful for your anxiety and you see it as a part of you that is trying to help you, it becomes easier to release.

The second step of gaining a higher life state it to deal with the people who make your life miserable. These are the people you fear, the people who you feel you need to impress, and the people that control you and put you down. Whether you change your relationship with them or remove them from your life is up to you. There are no short cuts or magic wands here. If someone is making you feel rotten then the situation has to change, and you can’t hang around waiting for them to act in your best interest. The action you take depends on your particular scenario, in many cases coolly and calmly becoming more stubborn and less guilty pays a lot of dividends. It may take time for friends and family to adjust to the new you, they may even resent the fact that you are willing to put yourself first for once. This is all part of the process, relish every second: because you’re worth it!

A word should be said about domestic violence and bullying at school or in the workplace. If standing up to your aggressor will put you in danger then don’t do it. Instead, speak to someone else. You do not have to suffer on your own. When you speak out people can help you in all sorts of ways that you can barely imagine, and your anxiety will improve in droves as you take further control of your life!

In part two of this series I will examine several more ways of raising your life state to beat anxiety.

Anxiety 2 Calm looks at various techniques to overcome anxiety, panic attacks, phobia and stagnation. It includes sections on the Sedona Method, EMDR, and much more. All information is free and there is also a blog and a forum and many more interactive features. Feedback on experiences with medication and those expensive programmes and CD courses that are always advertised is useful to help others who are in a similar predicament to yourself or your loved one.

Posted on Mar 18th, 2006

Few things are more stressful than driving, I think. And to aggravate the situation, I noticed that it is behind the wheels, protected by anonymity that most people show their dark side. Most of the drivers are very nice people, whom, if you meet at a grocery store, or at a post-office parking lot, or at the video store, would certainly smile at you, at the least. Somehow, being in control of a weapon, the car, in this case, makes them unrecognizable. Jekyll and Hyde.

I find it particularly hard to take cussing. I feel a sense of violence towards me that can only be compared to being robbed or something. It hurts my soul. Now, ordinarily, people don’t curse you on a face-to-face situation. It’s too confrontational. However, they don’t even wait a heart beat to show you the finger or shout the F word or honk in such a way to wake up all the babies in town.

This week only, two instances happened to me that made my heart sink. These, by no means reflect the quality of my driving, which is not the point here. The first one, I was the next on a 4 way stop. This young man decided that he should go too, though it was clearly not his turn. Perhaps he was not paying attention as I was supposed to cross after the car in front of him crossed the road.

Anyway, both of us started at the same time. When I noticed the potential danger of the situation, I hit the break, and was immediately shown the finger while he passed in front of me. With my heart pounding at the violence towards me, I went on my way, trying to find a thought that would immediately make me feel good, to counteract the aggression. But the thought kept churning in my mind: why?

The other circumstance was close to same stop sign. This time, my son and I are coming down the little hill, at a speed of perhaps 35 or 40 mph followed by an older lady behind my car. Suddenly, a squirrel runs in front of my car. As I break for all animals, I swerved to the right – silly thing to do as this was the squirrel’s direction as well — and hit the break, very forcefully.

Well, the lady behind me, either because she was too close to my car, or either because she was not paying attention, got really scared, I think, and hence, very angrily honked at me with all her might. Well, that really bothered me, for not only I have the right to stop for an animal but also because I think it is my duty to do so.

I never did this before in my life, but this time I left the car to speak with the lady. Of course, stereotypes being what they are, I was not afraid she would have a gun in her possession and shoot me in traffic. I was right. I went to her while she opened the window and heard my words: “I prefer not to kill squirrels, that is why I stopped the car so abruptly. I apologize.” And turned and left. She waited until I was opening my car’s door to yell something at me, which, fortunately, I couldn’t hear.

See what I mean? She could have answered something when I was facing her, but again, preferred to use her aggression only after I couldn’t hear. That situation created other bursts of anger from the few drivers behind us. Even if her behavior made me feel bad and even if the other drivers were mad at me, this time, I felt better, for I was taking a stand for a defenseless animal who doesn’t know better than to cross the road in front of my car. By the way, my son told me I hadn’t kill the little creature, thank God.

Now, I have learned that, though we cannot control how others feel, we can try and control our feelings. The best way to do this is to immediately find something to make us feel better. Appreciating anything is the best bet and recollecting great memories is the second best.

© Maria Moratto 2006

Dr. Maria Moratto is the author of "The Inner Cure: Healing Your Body, Mind, and Soul." Visit Prescription For Bliss at http://www.rx4bliss.com, sign up for the newsletter and receive a free report.
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Posted on Mar 7th, 2006

From medicinal aids to mental exercises, there are lots of ways to gain stress relief. It’s very important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you, because it’s easy to get drawn into your job, home, or school activities and frustrations and not realize until afterwards that you’ve got a mega load of stress.

When you feel the stress building up in yourself one of the easiest ways to rid yourself of it is to stop and take a deep belly breath and exhale over the course of five seconds. This serves to halt whatever processes are making your mind overexcited and your body tense and gives you a chance to remember how relaxed is supposed to feel. Of course we don’t always notice in time to keep a lot of stress from building up.

Stress can cause all kinds of problems including fatigue, tension headaches, insomnia, and even ulcers and indigestion. Not to mention long term stressors can wear down your immune system and heart, which makes you sick, which gives you more stress and the cycle can be endless.

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve stress before or after you develop it. There are a range of herbal mixtures you can take to help relax your body and calm your mind. Try making up a hot tea with Chamomile, Lavender, and Catnip in it. These are herbs that you can grow in your garden with ease.

Taking vitamin supplements can support your body during times of stress. Vitamin A is good for the immune system, skin and eyes. A combination B vitamin pill with all of the B vitamins in it will be very effective against depression, fatigue and stress. It should include Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, B12 and folic acid.

Mrs. Party… Gail Leino is the internet’s leading authority on selecting the best possible party supplies, using proper etiquette, and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. Here is a place for great deals on stress relief herbal products.

Posted on Feb 24th, 2006

A college friend of mine moved from Nebraska to Mississippi. While working at the local Pizza Hut in her new town, she was her usual lively self, greeting the customers with, "Hi guys, what are you ordering today?" She was perplexed that people seemed to be offended but she did not know why. Until one lovely lady replied to her usual cheerful greeting with:"We’re not guys! We are women!". She soon learned the proper way to greet people was "Folks" not guys. And that you always say, "Ya’ll come back now!" when they leave.

According to the Webster dictionary, culture shock is: "a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation."

The key here is "adequate preparation."

Here are some tips for preparing for culture shock:

1. Do your homework. Be prepared. Learn about the culture, how they do things, how they like things, what clothes do they wear, etc. Ok, what about the clothes? Even in the U.S., tastes in clothes are not the same everywhere. What they would usually wear in Miami might look out of place or even inappropriate in Kalona, Iowa.

2. Talk to people who have been there. Or even someone who had been in the general area. Find out what the most recent local news was. An out-of-town speaker at a local conference made a joke about tornados in Kansas when she started her speech. She was greeted in silence. She was not aware of the fact that a tornado did actually hit a town in the area and had killed a relative of someone in the audience. In a small town where everybody knows everyone, they felt like one big family.

3. Leave your assumptions behind. Be open and ready to learn new ways of doing. Don’t assume that just because it was ok to stop people on the streets and talk to them, that in this new place it is alright as well. Observe first and watch how the locals interact before you resort to your usual lively self.

4. Expect culture shock to happen. Just because you were all ecstatic upon arrival, the worst is yet to come. Know that after the initial euphoria, that the anxiety and uncertainty will set in. You could start feeling irritable, having second thoughts about moving to this new place, feeling bored to death, and even start hating anything local. Acknowledge that these symptoms mean that you need to start to engage in your own self-development.

5. Find some support networks. Find a friend you can confide in. Take time to meet go out and meet new people. If you are so new that do not have friends from work or school yet, go to a church and find one where you feel welcomed and comfortable. You do not need to change your religion, but you need to have contact with real people who are interested in you. Talk to people at the grocery store, or wherever you go. You might find someone that has connections to your old hometown.

6. Remain physically active. The worst thing to do is lock yourself in your room and staying in bed. Take a walk to the library. Visit a park. Go to a fitness center. You would find how invigorating it could be.

7. Be intellectually curious. Learn about the town, its history. Visit the local museums and important landmarks and public gatherings. Ask questions, be genuinely interested in what you see.

8. Be patient. Give yourself time to get over it. Take a look at the benefits of your experience in this new culture. Be aware that if the symptoms get worse, if you continually have feelings of despair and loneliness, that it is best to seek professional help. But most of the time, culture shock can be managed, if one is adequately prepared to tackle the challenges.

Being uninformed and making assumptions can get one in trouble. As you can see from the above examples, you can lose friends, and even lose tips because of being unprepared. If you are leaving for an extended stay overseas, you might want to invest in cultural training before you leave.

Ya’ll come back now!

Marlene is a cross-cultural trainer and curriculum designer for cultural competency programs. A non-traditional student, she is completing her master’s degree in liberal studies with concentrations in Communication, Anthropology and International Business. She is particularly interested in culture shock and acculturation issues. She is currently doing a project on the cultural preparation of foreign educated nurses in the U.S.

Find her other articles at: http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-13-2005-78818.asp http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-9-2005-78456.asp

Posted on Feb 19th, 2006

Stress is a result of conflict. When faced with a struggle or decision, stress enters our lives and doesn’t leave until the conflict is resolved. Levels of stress usually get out of control when we are busy, because we consistently have too many things on our mind.

One way to lighten the burden of stress is by creating lists. Having our tasks set out and prioritized can take us out of the “constant decision-making” mode that often accompanies a busy lifestyle.

Follow the steps below to create lists that will reduce stress.

1) In point form, write down all the things you would like to get done. Make it a comprehensive list. Include personal and professional items, both short-term and long term.

2) Once the list is complete, prioritize the items. Put the most crucial and time-sensitive tasks near the top, and work your way down.

3) Take a realistic number of tasks from the list, and make that your daily goal. Set aside the rest of the list to be dealt with later.

4) Check off items on your list as they are completed, and add new ones in the prioritized list as they come up.

5) Long-term goals may be broken up into smaller sections.

Here is an example list (probably much shorter than your daily list would be):

- Finish report for client

- Pay electricity and cable bills

- Complete the first two sections of the budget proposal

- Take the kids to the park for 45 minutes

- Buy flowers for my wife on the way home from work

- Change the light bulbs in the basement washroom

- Tidy the shed

When you write down your jobs for the day, they no longer have to dwell in your mind. A prioritized list reduces the need for constant decision making throughout the day, and provides a sense of accomplishment as items are checked-off the list. Most importantly, you will feel more at ease, knowing that important tasks won’t be forgotten or put-off, but completed in an orderly and timely fashion.

Mark Altman is the webmaster of http://www.soundsleeping.com - an oasis of relaxing music, a website containing free relaxing music, sleep-aids, stress reducing tools, relaxation advice, and an active discussion.

Posted on Feb 9th, 2006

Internal conflict, conflict within yourself, reflects the difference between what you really feel and what you are able or choose to do about it. Interpersonal conflict occurs between you and another person when what they do or say is different to what you feel and vice-versa.

Everyone has four basic psychological needs. These are the need to be valued, to be in control, the need for self esteem or self worth, and lastly the need for consistency or stability.

1. The need to be valued or appreciated by others is a basic psychological requirement

You want others to recognize your worth and appreciate your contributions. You are more motivated when your contributions are recognized. When you feel unappreciated, taken advantage of, or taken for granted your need to be appreciated and valued has been violated and this can trigger a response of fear, anger or frequently both.

2. The need to be in control

Being in control is important for everyone, but more for some than others. The more insecure you feel about yourself, the more controlling you may become. On the other hand, if you feel secure and confident about yourself, then your need to control others will reduce.

Whenever you have to deal with an over controlling person remember their need to control comes from their insecurity. Make them feel secure and their need to control will normally reduce.

3. The need for self esteem and self worth

By this I mean you should appreciate yourself and look to your strengths rather than any weakness (we all have both). A strong self esteem gives you a powerful, solid base for dealing with all types of problems and situations.

With a strong self esteem, you have the ability to positively respond or react to any type of situation, rather than reacting negatively by panicking of avoiding the potential conflict.

4. The need to be consistent

You need to know what is likely to happen in any given situation. You need consistency from family, partners, friends, everyone in your life otherwise you are always anxious about the unexpected.

This is not to say that no-one can change their minds but someone who changes opinions or reacts differently to the same situation brings a level of insecurity in to your life and you never know how to react.

The reason some people feel the need to change comes from their insecurity. They are insecure in themselves so they try to fit in with others all the time and will agree with whoever they feel is the most dominant personality.

Whenever any of these needs are not met conflicts, internal, external or both, are produced and people usually react in one of four ways.

They can retaliate, dominate, isolate, or cooperate.

Retaliation and domination can result in extreme violence. Isolation separates the parties but does not resolve the conflict whereas with cooperation one party allows their feelings to be ignored and accepts the opinion of another over their own.

If you are aware of these basic needs and reactions you will begin to understand how and why you and others react the way you do. Considering these needs, understanding them and acting upon them will make you a more complete and therefore a more confident person and will give you strength at times of conflict.

John has 4 grown up and successful children and recently completed a writing degree. He writes on a number of topics including Building Self Esteem. Go to Building Self Confidence for another article on self help and confidence.

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