Posted on Nov 3rd, 2006

The Law of Decision and Question - Every day we have to make a decision and answer a question about stress. Is it going to beat us or are we going to beat it? Each and every day.

The Law of Recovery - We can handle any amount of stress, if we have an equal or greater amount of recovery after the stress.

The Law of Laughter - The law of laughter states that “if you can laugh about it, you can handle it."

The Law of "Manageable Chunks" - Often what seems like overwhelming amounts of stress can be managed if it’s broken down into small enough chunks. This is when the old saying "one day at a time" may be too big a chunk. So we go to 1 second, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, one lifetime.

The Law of Diamonds - If you have a diamond anywhere near you at the moment, take a look at it. Did you know that the beautiful gem you are seeing is nothing more than a lump of coal that handled stress very well?

The Law of Reframing - Reframing means to put a different frame around something, in order to look at it in a different way. An example would be instead of saying to yourself “how I am I ever going to return all these phone messages", reframe it into “I’ve worked very hard for a long time to have this many people who want to talk to me!"

The Law of Dead Roaches - Too many times we take the "dead roach approach" to stress. You know what I mean, just sort of rolling over with your feet in the air, allowing stress to stomp on you. Get up and get moving!

The Law of NO - One great way to manage stress is to learn how to say no, especially when no is the very best thing to say.

The Law of Challenge - It’s important to challenge yourself each day to handle stress in a way that will allow you to thrive and to shine. My personal challenge to you is to take these universal laws and use them to successfully manage the stress in your life.

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Posted on Nov 3rd, 2006

Are you a worrier? Do you frequently spend time and energy worrying about your finances, your children, your career, world politics? Worry can be a highly useful, brilliantly engineered cue to action or a useless and destructive energy drain. The challenge is to decide which it is, on a case-by-case basis, and manage yourself accordingly.

Here is a quick and dirty, but highly effective way to manage your worrying habit.

1. Learn to recognize when you are worrying.

This takes practice. You may not recognize yourself worrying until you’ve been at a particular worry for days or weeks. But whether you catch yourself in the first minute or the first month, the most important step is recognizing the pattern. You can develop your “witness” over time and become more proficient in noticing when you are worrying.

2. Determine if something needs to be done.

Ask yourself, “Is the worry a cue to action?”

  • For example, if you are worried that your toddler will get lead paint poisoning from the lead paint on your windows, there is indeed something that needs to be done. You need to get the lead paint removed from your windows. And keep your child well supervised in the meantime.

  • If you don’t know whether or not something needs to be done, find out. You need to get more information – THAT’s what needs to happen.
  • 3. If something needs to be done, get it done as soon as possible.

    Often just deciding to take the action can loosen worry’s grip on you. But it’s critical that you follow through – take that action as soon as it is feasible.

    • Call the state agency that deals with lead paint removal and get the names of contractors who do that kind of work. Get moving with hiring and scheduling a contractor. Call your pediatrician and get advice about how to protect your child during the removal process and follow up on every detail.

    4. If nothing needs to be done, release the worry.

    • If the lead paint removal is scheduled, your child is adequately supervised, and you’re following all of the pediatrician’s instructions, there is nothing more to be done. Your job in this case is to re-focus your attention elsewhere.

    For most people, relinquishing the worry is the hardest part. If you generally let worry run unchecked, you know that it’s a very greedy energy that will take as much of your attention as you let it. It will reduce your effectiveness and productivity. Some serious boundary setting with yourself is required here.

    Experiment with the following strategy. In your mind, respond to the worry with something like this: "Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your concern (this is important). But there is nothing more to be done right now, so I’m going to stop thinking about this.” Then get yourself to focus on something else – find something else compelling and engaging to think about. You might line up some contenders in advance. Just about anything that works for you will do.

    Sooner or later, the worry will return. Repeat steps 1 through 4 as needed. This is an iterative process. Hang in there!

    Here is a short list of some of the worries that my clients have learned to deal with more effectively:

    • Personal finances. My client regularly pictured herself as a bag lady, penniless and homeless, despite her current (and past) circumstances, which were nothing of the sort. The action that was called for was to develop a strong and detailed financial plan with an expert.

  • Global warming. My client, a self-proclaimed “tree-hugger and dirt worshipper” was sick at heart and frequently anxious about global warming. The action called for was to get involved with conservation and political action organizations.
  • Career. For one of my clients who worried she was failing in her current job, the solution was to identify where she needed to improve her performance, and to get training in that arena. Another career-anxious client determined there was no action required. She learned to respond to the angst by listing for herself the ways she was effective in her work; this activity served to change her state of mind.
  • Do you need help figuring out whether a worry merits action or how to disarm a stubborn worry-habit? Invest in yourself and get the help you need. Coaching can make a difference.

    Copyright 2005, Sharon Teitelbaum.

    Sharon Teitelbaum, http://www.stcoach.com, a Work-Life and Career Coach, works with high achieving women with young children, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction and work-life balance. She coaches by phone and in person in Boston. Her newsletter, Strategies For Change, offers practical tips for work-life success.

    Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance, Sharon’s first book, was published in 2005.

    A motivational speaker, Sharon also also delivers keynotes & workshops on work-life issues. Clients include Children’s Hospital Boston, SunLife Financial, Arnold Worldwide, and many parent and alumni groups. She’s been featured in national publications including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Working Mother Magazine.

    Contact me for an initial consultation at no charge.

    Married for 30 years, she is the mother of two amazing young women.

    Posted on Nov 2nd, 2006

    Why do we so often find it so hard to switch off and relax? What is it that makes us feel tense and twitchy just when we need to sleep or recover from all that hard work and stress? It seems that our own bodies are working against us at times – and in a way, they sometimes are.

    Our Nervous System

    A part of our neural equipment, the autonomic nervous system, which controls organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines, is made up of two even more specialised sections. These are the sympathetic nervous system, which sounds friendly but is actually what causes us to become tense in times of danger, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls relaxation. The PNS causes your blood pressure to decrease, your heart to beat slower, and makes digestion easier. It sounds like a neat trick, but the trouble is that this auto-relaxer operates involuntarily, as an unconscious process – almost as if it has a mind of its own.

    Actively Relaxing

    So, relaxing isn’t just what happens when we’re not tense, but is in fact a separate, active process. It’s like what happens when you’re driving a car and you take your foot off the accelerator - the car may slow down or not, depending on the slope of the road, but if you actually want to stop, you have to hit the brakes.

    That might explain why I’ve sometimes spent an evening sitting around doing very little but I haven’t really felt more relaxed as a result - just leaving a gap in your activity isn’t the same as actually relaxing. All we have to do is…

    So how does the parasympathetic nervous system work?

    Basically like all nervous activity: a mix of electrical and chemical messages brings a signal that tells the system to do something. In this case, it instructs specific muscles to let go and relax. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? All we have to do is tell ourselves to relax and we have a little system that will make it happen.

    The unconscious – our personal assistant

    So why isn’t it as easy as that? Why do we get so stressed when it should be so easy to be calm? The thing to remember is that all of this activity happens out of our conscious awareness. Consciousness is only a small part of our lives and we only have room for a few thoughts at a time in our awareness. Meanwhile, the unconscious mind takes care of all our automatic activity, like walking, digesting, breathing, doing familiar tasks and reacting to the things we encounter with learned responses. It’s like having a personal assistant to deal with the routine stuff.

    Think of all the times you have travelled home and not consciously noticed the journey, or done a job you do every day while your mind is on something else. It’s a wonderful way of working - once you have learned how to do something you can free your mind to focus on something else while you do it. The only snag occurs when you have learned a habitual response that works against you.

    Here’s an example

    I’ll give an example: back at school I was physically small, which is not really a problem were it not for my unfortunate habit of speaking my mind. Naturally I attracted the attention of bullies, who made my life pretty unpleasant at times. As an adult I noticed I would sometimes tense up and lose confidence when in the company of physically large men, even if they were being friendly. I came to realise that my unconscious was automatically creating a fear response to warn me because it had learned that big males were dangerous. Because the unconscious is not logical, it made no difference what I told myself, it just kept on giving me the response it had learned.

    I got so annoyed with some of my habits that I decided to do something about it, so I started a journey that has involved learning hypnosis and NLP. Hypnosis is all about being really deeply relaxed, so I get plenty of practice. Now I help others to swap old habits for new ones that work better for them. Along the way I have helped many people to overcome stress by learning how to relax actively.

    We can all learn to relax

    The good news is that we can all learn the relaxation habit. Even though we might be unable to simply tell our unconscious to cool it (it thinks it knows what’s best for us) we can teach it to do what we want by connecting an outside stimulus with a relaxed state. One example is music, which has been used throughout history to adjust our moods. A new kind of relaxation music is emerging that is carefully designed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, causing the brain to operate in a calmer way.

    Of course, if you want to be really thorough you can learn meditation or yoga, both of which can have a profound effect on our ability to be calm. Many of us find it hard to find the time to explore these disciplines and for us there’s always the option of putting a calming CD on and letting our bodies respond naturally to the sounds.

    Graham Smith’s album ‘Calmtime, relaxation music for all the family’, is available from http://www.calmtime.co.uk You can read about how he uses NLP and hypnosis to help people live the lives they want at http://www.smithandfriends.co.uk

    Posted on Nov 2nd, 2006

    Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress reducers.

    Rhodiola Rosea, also known as Golden Root, is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.

    The first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza (renamed Rhodiola Rosea) was made by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, in 77 C.E. in ‘De Materia Medica’. Rhodiola Rosea has been included in official Russian medicine since 1969.

    Despite its long history, the Western world has only recently become aware of the health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. It has come to the attention of many natural health practitioners because of studies which tested its affects on combating anxiety and stress.

    Rhodiola Rosea is considered an adaptogen. This means it has an overall stabilizing effect on the body without disrupting other functions. Its ability to normalize hormones may be effective for treating depression and anxiety.

    Studies of Rhodiola Rosea show that it stimulates neurotransmitters and enhances their effects on the brain. This includes the ability for the brain to process serotonin which helps the body to adapt to stress.

    Since adaptogens improve the body’s overall ability to handle stress, it has been studied to identify it’s effects on biological, chemical and physical stress.

    A study was performed to test the effects of Rhodiola Rosea when stress is caused by intense mental work (such as final exams). Such tests concluded that using Rhodiola Rosea improved the amount and quality of work, increasing mental clarity and reducing the effects of fatigue.

    The effects of Rhodiola Rosea have also been tested on stress and anxiety from both physical and emotional sources. A report by the American Botanical Council states that "Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity." They also report on a study that indicated Rhodiola Rosea could increase stress tolerance while at the same time protecting the brain and heart from the physical affects of stress.

    This report included details of studies which highlight the overall health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.

    The generally recommended dose is 200-600mg/day. The active properties should be a minimum 0.8 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavin.

    It is important for consumers to know that Rhodiola may be sold using other species that do not share the properties of Rhodiola Rosea, or at ineffective strengths for treatment. Anyone with depression or anxiety should also check with a health professional when treating these symptoms.

    The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

    Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.

    Posted on Nov 1st, 2006

    Perhaps it’s the result of having a new job, a new mate, or a new baby. You are overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement. Yet, you feel inadequate as well. As a result, you are under a tremendous amount of stress. At times, you might feel as if there’s no relief in sight—as if you’re on a treadmill which shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

    However, the secret to effectively dealing with the stress may be to get your body onto an actual treadmill. Exercise can be the key to stress relief. It’s an obvious antidote to fatigue. It can make you feel more energetic, improving your strength and resiliency. It has been shown that individuals who are more physically fit often experience fewer health troubles. In addition, exercisers are less likely to suffer from psychological problems such as depression, binge eating, or insomnia.

    Without exercise, you are increasing the likelihood that you will be afflicted with colds, flu, or other medical problems. Aerobic exercise in particular can improve your cardiovascular system and decrease your anxiety level. Some studies have shown that, during aerobic exercise, a chemical is produced in the brain which helps to heal the body from stress-related conditions. You should exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes at a time in order to improve not only your health but your mental outlook.

    If you find it difficult to become motivated to exercise, there are a number of steps you can take. To begin with, you can join an exercise club. Knowing that you’ll have to pay dues to a gym may make it more likely that you will actually end up exercising. You might also consider enlisting the aid of a personal trainer. A trainer can provide powerful motivation, pushing you to complete exercises you never thought possible. Another idea is to join an exercise class. There, you’ll meet other people who are in a similar position. The camaraderie that develops between exercisers can help to reduce your stress level.

    In general, exercise should make you feel less anxious. Your muscles become less tense and you will be less shaky after a round of exercise. It has also been shown that exercise leads to an hour and a half to two hours of relaxation response. This has also been referred to as the endorphin response. As a result, your mood will improve, enabling you to deal more effectively with stress.

    Exercise can also improve your self-image. You’ll experience greater self-worth, which will, in turn, reduce your stress level. A confident person is an individual who knows how to handle stress without becoming flustered. As a result of exercise, you may also end up eating better. Your improved menu may also prove to be a stress reliever. For instance, if you give up caffeinated drinks, you might become less jittery.

    In addition to your sessions in the gym, you should be looking for additional opportunities to exercise. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to work instead of driving, or playing touch football in the backyard with your children. The point is to get moving—and keep moving—at every available opportunity.

    Exercise quickens the blood flow to your mind, offering the brain additional sugars and oxygen which can be important if you are concentrating. Exercise can also clear out waste products from the brain which can result in unclear thinking. You will also feel a greater sense of well-being as a result of exercise.

    As has been shown here, exercise is beneficial for both the body and the mind. As a result, it can relax you when other techniques fail. By engaging in exercise, you free up your mind, enabling you to concentrate better and work more efficiently. Chances are you will not only feel better, you will look better as well. With your brain under control, you should experience less stress. Granted, exercise takes time and requires discipline, but it is well worth the exertion. The good feelings you get from a powerful exercise session can actually last for days. You may find that you actually look forward to working out because of the tremendous benefits it brings with it.

    Author is the editor of Special Feature section of newkerala.com, the Online newspaper published from India. Read more articles by the author at http://www.newkerala.com

    Posted on Nov 1st, 2006

    The predominant role human conditioning plays in a stressful environment. Perspective, reaction and remedy. How music can help.

    Creating music for stress management can be a rather complicated process. Due to the nature of stress, music must promote and sustain a therapeutic ambience and provide a calming influence that opens the door to reflection, corrective action and ultimately, inner peace. Consequently, creative effort in this genre often leads to considerations that have more to do with psychology than music per se.

    In its development stages a musical sequence may point to possibilities for music therapy, but to successfully complete the final sequence, one must consider the variables of human nature.

    Whether or not these musical possibilities grow into something of benefit depends upon many factors, not the least of which is the creation of sound structures that are compatible with and beneficial to the human organism.

    Another extremely important issue that must be considered during the composition process is that all humans are conditioned since birth and there is little that humans experience throughout their lives that is not filtered through previous layers of conditioning.

    At first glance, human conditioning may appear to have little if any relationship to stress management, anxiety, burnout - or for that matter, music. But a closer look reveals the connection.

    To understand how this connection works, we’ll need to dig into some information that may seem a bit ‘heavy’. The subject of conditioning is extensive and of necessity, comment here must be confined to only a few of its more prominent twists and turns.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with the statements presented here, the following is the result of years of observation, study and application. Its presentation here is intended to promote a better understanding of how and why we so often react in counter-productive ways when dealing with stressful conditions.

    Admittedly, this information is but a small part of a much deeper subject. Nonetheless, it is my sincere hope that what is presented here will provide some insight for those who suffer from the unpleasant, debilitating and unhealthy conditions of stress. That said, please read on and it will become apparent that where human conditioning is concerned, almost everything is related.

    The problem

    When one studies the work of men such as Roger Sperry, Freud, Jung, Wilhem Reich and others, it becomes clear that (1) general reaction to stressful conditions tends to be aberrant and (2) the manner in which humans perceive and react is, for the most part, a learned behavior.

    This learned behavior has much to do with how we view ourselves and our place in society. The picture that we present to the outside world is our identity, or image, of who we think we are and that image is the direct result of everything we have been taught and everything that has ever happened to us.

    Consequently, each new encounter or situation we experience is filtered through previous conditioning and in this way, previous conditioning becomes the measurement we apply to all future experience. Unfortunately, this measurement is often flawed and when used to evaluate and respond to stressful conditions, tends to produce reaction rather than remedy and this in turn can lead to errors in judgment that may actually make matters worse.

    Why don’t we recognize these reaction patterns when they occur?

    Well, for most of us, the basic underlying causes of conditioned reaction have been lost to conscious memory. Yet, without realizing why, we often continue to react in a sort of robotic way to the emotional stimuli of circumstances that occurred long ago and which contain little if any corrective value for resolving the here-and-now problems of today.

    How does this relate to stress management?

    The relevance to stress management lies in the fact that conditioning is like a one-way street, paved with beliefs, opinions and prejudgments that often lead us in very subtle ways to the wrong destination. In other words, when belief, opinion and prejudgment are used as a measurement of stressful conditions, the results of that measurement will most likely be erroneous due to a lack of facts.

    Stated another way, one might say that in lieu of facts, we are more likely to create and / or contribute to the stressful conditions that we seek to resolve.

    Truth or Belief?

    Belief, opinion and prejudgment indicate a lack of fact or truth. One reason this lack occurs is because of a widespread assumption that the word ‘believe’ is synonymous with the word ‘truth’. When we say we believe in something or believe something to be true, what we are really saying is that we do not possess all the facts. Conversely, if we possessed all the facts we would no longer believe - we would know.

    Thus, the disparity between ‘belief’ and ‘truth’ becomes one of the main reasons we react to stress rather than take remedial or constructive action to minimize it. In other words, the tendency is to make judgments ( based on belief or opinion ) before obtaining all the facts in a given situation.

    According to statistics, the sources below are most commonly mentioned as a cause of stress:

    The boss Not enough sleep Family pressures The workload Not enough money Societal pressures Co-workers Not enough time Marital issues Traffic Health crises Divorce

    When stress enters our lives, the tendency is to blame someone or something other than ourselves. In some cases we may be right. But many times stressful conditions are of our own making. One example would be stress created as a result of maxed-out credit cards or a lack of financial discipline.

    Another cause might originate with any one of the sources in the list above, but because of our tendency to misunderstand and mishandle these experiences we often proceed to make the problem worse and thereby increase the level of stress. Regardless of the causes, how we deal with these conditions is of paramount importance if we are to resolve them successfully.

    Generally speaking, we react emotionally to stress when we have something to defend and when we allow defensive emotion to get out of hand, we’re not being rational - we’re merely reacting. By reacting we compound the problem because our reaction tends to produce a counter-reaction.

    Why a counter-reaction? Well, if the object of our wrath happens to be another person, that person will most likely have something to defend also and our emotional display may therefore be interpreted as a threat. Remember, that other person is conditioned too!

    The Sky is Falling!

    Conditioned reaction also indicates a fear of something. Eugene Albright, the author of Unichotometrics-A New Way of Life, once said, "There is only one valid fear - a direct threat to survival of the organism. All the others can be traced to false concepts of one sort or another."

    If this statement is true, then another reason we have difficulty dealing with stress has been exposed. Excluding a direct threat to our lives, it suggests that we allow stressful situations to provoke aberrant fears of losing something, exposing something, or fear retribution for having done something. The oddity is our seeming inability to consciously recognize this when it is happening.

    Conditioning influences our interpretation of everything we see, hear and project to the outside world and yes, it even influences our choice of music. Generally, we are not aware that we live our lives according to the beliefs, opinions and prejudgments of others, (peer-pressure among teenagers is one example) nor do we realize that by accepting these viewpoints, we are perpetuating them.

    Thus we place ourselves in a loop wherein we often repeat the same mistakes over and over.

    Now here’s the good news: It is possible to break out of the loop when one realizes that (a) over-reaction to stress does not work and (b) there must be a better way - and then takes action by proceeding to summon the courage, stamina and discipline to search out and reveal the truth according to fact. In this way one begins to take responsibility for one’s own actions.

    Aw, do I have to do that?

    Accepting responsibility is the first step we take on the road to a less stressful and more productive existence. By taking control of our lives, we’ll sometimes move against the grain of the status quo and because of that, we’ll most likely meet a measure of resistance along the way. But if we persist in our quest for fact and truth, our ability to deal constructively with stress will become much easier.

    There will be times when we may slip and fall back into the old ways - meaning, when the pressure of stress becomes too much to handle, the general tendency will be to get into someone’s face, blow off steam, antagonize imagined enemies, or worse - meekly swallow the problem and risk a bigger stomach ache in the near future.

    Sure, that’s quite a bumpy, cumbersome and questionable way to move forward and a lot of people bear the scars to prove it. Nonetheless we usually end up learning something from our stressful encounters and when we don’t - well, we’ve fallen back into the loop. If that happens, its not a disaster. It just means we haven’t quite gotten a handle on how to respond to stress in a constructive manner.

    A friend once commented, "If you don’t want to be crucified, don’t hang around crosses". That simple logic may also be applied to stressful conditions. For example, we must learn to recognize and walk away from dead-end situations that are beyond our ability to improve. Next, we must fully understand that resolution of stressful conditions does not come about from trying to change others. Instead, we must change ourselves.

    We may stumble, bruise egos and make mistakes but however inept our approach, if we persist in our search for the facts or truth in all situations, we’ll eventually learn how to live our lives in a more efficient and productive manner.

    Help is out there

    Fortunately, there are tools and methods that can help lighten the load as we optimize our chances for a less stressful tomorrow.

    Among them are inspiring books by authors such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer and others that may provide a better understanding of oneself. Employing one of the various methods of meditation may also work. When the need is acute, seeking the guidance of a professional counselor may be an appropriate choice.

    Of course, music is one of those tools mentioned above. One of the nice things about music is its synergistic quality - it often works well as an adjunct to other stress management tools or methods. When we introduce music to the conditioning / stress management equation, some interesting and unexpected results may occur.

    For example, when listening to properly crafted music, it is sometimes possible to by-pass one’s conditioning temporarily. When this happens, the listener may experience strong feelings of freedom, inner peace, and a profound sense of well-being. In other words, the exact opposite of stress.

    We’re speaking here of major changes in perspective. Consciousness may become altered to the extent that conditioned reaction becomes temporarily suspended. Some may describe their musical experience as ’spiritual’. Others may have meditated on a particular personal problem and see it in such clarity that the necessary corrective action becomes obvious.

    At times, people may be moved to tears. Others may find it difficult to put their experience into words. In some cases, the combination of empathy, understanding and emotional release can be life-changing and yes, there will be a few times when a listener may be so rigid and structured as to be unable to get in touch with their own feelings.

    Whatever the response, the point to remember is this: It is the energy of music that initially helps to unlock and open the door - that we might enter a place where peaceful reflection will allow us to sort out things and possibly develop a new, more positive and constructive perspective.

    You mean, It didn’t come from outer space?

    To be sure, music possesses many beneficial qualities but we should be mindful not to attach elements to music that it does not possess.

    Of itself, music does not ‘cure’ anything. It does not ’solve’ anything. And contrary to the more bizarre claims one may find on the internet, it certainly does not ‘originate’ from an "unknown composer who resides on a planet in a distant galaxy"… or other similar nonsense! As a point in fact, the composition "GROVE SUITE" ( offered at http://www.channel1records.com ) was pirated some years ago by a metaphysical organization that actually made that claim!

    What properly created music DOES do, it does very well. It possesses the ability to put our hearts and minds at ease and in so doing, facilitates entrance to a clearer understanding of ourselves, reality and finally - inner peace. By any measurement, that is remarkable!

    That music can be an effective tool for stress management is a given. It has been known for centuries that music can be therapeutic and there are many references in art and literature that attest to its soothing qualities. The therapeutic capabilities of music have been proven many times over and its success as a stress management tool is well documented.

    That fact alone proves that music is able to minimize the disturbing and unhealthy effects of stress, anxiety and burnout! Who knows, it may even take the edge off some of that conditioning.

    Copyright © 2003-2005 Channel 1 Records All rights reserved

    Bill Reddie is the owner of Channel 1 Records, a company that has been producing music for stress relief and stress management since 1972. Further information regarding the beneficial effects of music and its potential for relieving stress, anxiety and burnout may be found at: http://www.channel1records.com

    Posted on Oct 31st, 2006

    "All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you."
    - Rainer Maria Rilke

    1. The Law of Time

    The highest payment you can ever make in life is the payment of time. Is it worth the limited time you have to hand it over to “stress” so it can mess up even more of your time that you say you don’t waste on “useless things” in the first place?

    2. The Law of Willingness

    In order to break the chain of stressors in your life you absolutely must be willing to experiment with and accept new ways of thinking, doing, talking, walking, behaving, and surprising yourself further with how the old knowledge can’t stay in your way of success any longer.

    3. The Law of Flexibility

    A closed-minded 50 year-old person may feel more strain in life then an open-minded 80 year-old neighbor. Who is more flexible? And, it’s not in the age, is it? The more flexibility you allow yourself to have, the more choices you create, the less anxiety and stress can pollute your new and flexible field of expanded awareness.

    4. The Law of The Past

    The blueprint from your past (fortunately) does not outline your future at all. That is, if you watch it! Planning for and judging your future based on your past may feel like living in “the past” indefinitely. Bring up your dreams in vivid, life-like imagery, sounds, textures, feelings, smells and touches to mastermind a new blueprint that you will change - again!

    5. The Law of Resources

    Learning and improving yourself every day is truly the only security you have. The more courses in The University of Life you graduate from, the more resources you have to increase your resiliency, awareness, understanding, and the craving to learn even more.

    6. The Law of Simplicity

    When a human life gets a major hit, the humbling lessons start immediately. Instinctively, we right away go back to the basics. Aim for establishing “Simplicity Rules” beforehand in your life as a prevention/protection against extremely taxing, easily avoidable times.

    7. The Law of Change

    There may be periods when you feel “stressfully stuck” and see virtually no way of bringing about the solution you need. There are two vital steps you can experiment with.

    Step 1: Start quieting your daily life, begin to quiet your mind – learn to use meditation and breathing, go for a walk in solitude; Step 2: Ask questions of your inner mind that knows the answers. With practice, amazing solutions and changes appear like magic!

    Lu Smith co-authored (with Di) a unique book. Discover over 367 Master Techniques to outsmart stress effects on health. Receive a Free 7-part e-Course

    Posted on Oct 31st, 2006

    26 ways to minimize and manage the unhealthy effects of stress, anxiety and burnout.

    No doubt about it - we live in an increasingly competitive and stressful world. In many subtle and not so subtle ways it affects us all and it’s not unusual for people to lace their conversation with phrases like ‘Stressed out’, ‘Anxiety syndrome’, ‘Panic attack’, ‘Burned out’, and more. That’s today’s reality.

    The question is, how do we go about dealing with that kind of world? What can we do to minimize the prolonged, unhealthy effects of a stressful environment? How can we prevent stress, anxiety and burnout from becoming a way of life?

    Well, first we need to take a good hard look at what exactly is stressing us out and perhaps do a bit of repair work on our perspective of the situation. A good way to do that is by reviewing some very basic and constructive advice that has always been available but is often forgotten in our daily scuffle to get ahead.

    For the most part, the advice is based upon common sense and can often provide clarity and guidance in stressful situations.

    That said, study the list below to see if it contains something that will work for you. At first glance, these suggestions may appear deceptively simple but each will, nonetheless, require dedicated effort and discipline.

    1. Don’t try to please everyone. It’s impossible, debilitating and very stressful.

    2. Stop living your life according to the beliefs, opinions and prejudgments of others. Its your life, not theirs.

    3. Create dependable friendships with people who can be counted on to support your effort to change, learn and grow.

    4. Try to make changes gradually. Doing so will help you to maintain a more positive outlook as you progress. Attempting to change too much too soon often leads to disappointment.

    5. Establish priorities that are consistent with your own values.

    6. Examine your beliefs and goals. Are they unrealistic or unattainable?

    7. Accent the positive and learn from the negative.

    8. Focus on the present. The past cannot be changed. The future hasn’t arrived yet. That leaves you with now. Now is the time to create the future you desire.

    9. Are you a workaholic? If so, try to create a more balanced lifestyle. By so doing, you’ll minimize a lot of stress too.

    10. Choose a goal that you can be proud to work toward and which enhances and maintains your self-respect.

    11. Don’t forget to take short breaks throughout your workday.

    12. Think ahead. Always have a plan B in case plan A does not work.

    13. Mistakes happen. If it’s your fault, admit it and don’t waste time and energy with excuses.

    14. Take the time to exercise regularly. Exercise is a good stress-buster.

    15. Improve your relationships. Give up those that lead nowhere and drain your energy.

    16. Pace yourself. Know your limits. If you feel you can go the extra mile and it’s a worthy goal, then go for it…but don’t obsess or overdo. Sometimes, less is more.

    17. If a situation or workload appears overwhelming don’t panic. Instead, analyze the problem and divide it into smaller, more manageable parts to be completed in an orderly manner.

    18. Trying to be king of the hill is ok so long as it remains a game. When it becomes a stressful, obsessive and competitive desire to win no matter the cost, you’ve got a problem.

    19. A little humor can often diffuse a tense situation.

    20. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up…your friends and co-workers will appreciate it and you’ll feel better.

    21. Continual worry or guilt solves nothing. Take action by changing what you can, ignoring the rest and concentrating your effort on creating a better future.

    22. Choose work that: (a) you enjoy (b) you are capable of (c) produces results that are helpful to and appreciated by others.

    23. Get plenty of sleep and rest. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of burnout, stress and anxiety.

    24. Listen to soothing, relaxing music that provides the space you need to pause, reflect and regenerate.

    25. Unreasonable deadlines can be very stressful. Try to establish a schedule that is realistic and manageable.

    26. If a problem or situation is too complex for you to handle, seeking the aid of a qualified professional counselor or doctor may provide the help and guidance that you need.

    Copyright © 2003-2005 Channel 1 Records All rights reserved

    Bill Reddie is the owner of Channel 1 Records, a company that has been producing music for stress relief and stress management since 1972. Further information regarding the beneficial effects of music and its potential for relieving stress, anxiety and burnout may be found at: http://www.channel1records.com

    Posted on Oct 30th, 2006

    Is has rained all day here in Tallahassee, Florida. It was raining when I went to bed last night, it was raining when I got up this morning, and it’s raining now as I write this on a Saturday evening. The temperature has hung around forty three degrees all day.

    What’s your rain attitude?

    A little while ago I went up to the grocery store to do a bit of shopping. I noticed how any different ways people handle the rain.

    Some people stay in their car or in the store, as if the rain will hurt them somehow.

    Some people decide all the regular rules no longer apply and create their own parking places.

    Some couples fight each other for who is going to control the umbrella.

    I watched 3 twenty somethings, two guys and one girl, having a great time trying to juggle one umbrella.

    Some people continue on as if nothing at all is different.

    To me the rain is fun. I don’t understand why people freak out about it. It’s not that much different from taking a shower, just with your clothes on.

    When I have my boys with me and they see a puddle, I have to hit it with the car for the splash effect, or else.

    The other day I caught myself hitting a puddle and making a big splash.

    I was by myself.

    It was a blast.

    Visit http://www.TheArticleGuy.com for more leading edge tips and tools for writing articles that bring you prospects, publicity and profits. You can also subscribe to our monthly Article Writing & Marketing Tips Newsletter. You are also invited to visit my Express-Start Article Writing Program for more information on the next article writing tele-seminar.

    Posted on Oct 30th, 2006

    All people experience stress and anxiety in one form or another. Sometimes it can be helpful but if allowed to become chronic, it produces a physically debilitating, unhealthy and destructive mind-set that actually increases stress levels and lowers immune system efficiency.

    Generally speaking, helpful stress is similar to a wakeup call that motivates one to (a) do something that needs to be done or (b) accomplish something that is beneficial and constructive. It is goal-oriented and usually contains a promise of material reward or personal attainment.

    Another source of stress is that created as the result of unfortunate natural events such as floods, quakes, hurricanes, and the like.

    However, in today’s fast moving and competitive world the most commonly mentioned stressful situations are usually those created as the result of day-to-day human interaction.

    Since all humans are conditioned since birth by familial, social, religious and other forces, human interaction takes place within the confines of that conditioning. Because of this, the resolution or prolongation of stressful, anxiety filled situations will, more often than not, depend upon how we respond.

    Some people become a bit uneasy when told that their stress problems are basically a mental condition. To them, that diagnosis suggests they are flirting with the looney bin and in some manner, displaying deficiency and lack of control.

    In their view, stress is something created by someone or something outside of themselves such as a boss, co-worker, dead-end job, traffic, competition, not enough time or money, a dysfunctional family, marital issues, et al. In some cases this viewpoint may be true.

    But as the saying goes, "it takes two to tango" which is a rather old-fashioned but still valid way of saying that when stress begins to negatively affect our health and the manner in which we function, we need to take a good hard look at our own participation in what is happening around us.

    Granted, we all live in an over-stimulated, stressful world and in the midst of all that, it’s often difficult to maintain a sense of equilibrium. Why?

    Well, much of the time, our own perspective gets in the way of corrective action. When trouble brews, we tend to stoke fires rather than put them out by allowing our emotions to inflame issues and influence how we think and act. In other words, we allow ourselves to react in a manner that actually produces more stress rather than minimizing it.

    Don’t think so? Here’s a hypothetical example:

    Bob works for a company that is going through some corporate downsizing and he has just discovered that a co-worker has been spreading rumors about him that are intended to discredit him in the eyes of management.

    He doesn’t want to appeal to management for support because most likely, they will not be pleased with being dragged into what would appear to be a petty employee situation.

    He decides to ignore the problem hoping it will go away but soon, word gets back to him that the co-worker is now informing others that Bob is unhappy in his present job and will soon be leaving his current employer for a better position with a competing company. Bob becomes increasingly alarmed and emotional over the unfairness of it all.

    Added to that, his anxiety has led him to imagine that the co-worker and a member of management have become a bit chummy of late. That convinces him that management is now actually observing every move he makes and his job must surely be in jeopardy.

    He’s irritable, continually on edge, his gut hurts and lately, he’s been bringing the problem home. Not good.

    Finally, Bob snaps. He angrily rushes over to the co-worker’s desk and within hearing distance of other staff members, begins shouting and leveling accusations. The co-worker is stunned by the unexpected onslaught but to his credit, maintains a level attitude throughout the tirade.

    After Bob simmers down a bit the co-worker quietly reveals information that proves he could not have had anything to do with the situation. Embarrassed, Bob apologizes and wonders who the real culprit can be.

    After discussing the matter with his co-worker, it becomes obvious to them both that they have been cleverly manipulated by someone else in the company who had been previously turned down and by-passed for the position Bob now holds. This person had tried to cover his tracks by telling everyone that the rumors were originating from the co-worker whom Bob had confronted (a rather Machiavellian twist, don’t you think?)

    Let’s consider how Bob could have handled his problem in a less stressful manner:

    Upon becoming aware of the problem, Bob’s first mistake was in doing nothing and hoping the problem would go away. He should have immediately drawn the co-worker aside and discussed the problem in a more rational and less emotional manner.

    Had he done so, both he and the co-worker would have quickly discovered what was really going on - and he would have prevented his own conditioning from triggering an embarrassing, irrational and emotional outburst based upon non-factual and paranoid assumptions.

    By maintaining his cool, the co-worker was able to prevent further disintegration of the situation. His quiet display of reason and control was, however, an exception to the norm…because in the face of anger and hostility, objectivity often suffers.

    When people become the recipients of a verbal frontal attack, the tendency for most will be to respond in kind, thereby effectively fanning the flames. Why? Because just like the antagonist, the recipients are also conditioned, fearful and defensive and more often than not, they’ll react negatively to what they interpret as a personal threat.

    Luckily for Bob, the co-worker kept his own emotions in check and effectively brought understanding to the situation by remaining calm and sticking to the truth or facts.

    By now it should be obvious that procrastination does nothing to resolve stressful situations. A more productive way is to take corrective and positive action as quickly as possible by applying a few simple but emphatic rules:

    1. Search out the facts or truth regarding the situation

    2. Do not assume anything

    3. Get to the root of the problem!

    When stressful situations arise, don’t allow your emotions to dictate how you will respond or react - you could be going ballistic for all the wrong reasons. Observe the facts, remain objective and resolve the problem as quickly as possible. In so doing, you’ll save yourself a lot of future pain and you’ll be much happier and more able to function effectively in a stressful and competitive world.

    Copyright © 2003-2005 Channel 1 Records All rights reserved

    Bill Reddie is the owner of Channel 1 Records, a company that has been producing music for stress relief and stress management since 1972. Further information regarding the beneficial effects of music and its potential for relieving stress, anxiety and burnout may be found at: http://www.channel1records.com

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