Posted on Oct 9th, 2006

During the Katrina Hurricane disaster, I read about a couple who migrated from Louisiana to the State of Florida. They were very fortunate that their home and cars were untouched but because of the threat of disease due to flooding and the lack of drinking water, they were forced to leave. The husband was in the Navy and he, his wife, children and what belongings they could salvage to stay with a friend. Their car was parked in a lot within view of their motel dwelling unit. The next morning, the wife noticed that the car was missing and another parked in its place. They had placed over $10,000 worth of their belongings in the vehicle. Later, the car was found and returned without too much damage but their belongings were gone including his Navy uniforms. He said that he was beginning to feel angry bit realized that he could do nothing about the occurrence. Then he indicated that he needed all the energy he could muster to do what needed to be done for his wife and children in light of the circumstances.

A “double whammy”! How much stress can people endure? In my research and work with people to help them manage the stress in their lives, I was always amazed at the resilience of the human spirit in the midst of misfortune. Although they were hard pressed to realize it because of the trauma of whatever befell them, most people demonstrated amazing strength and endurance. It seems that the thrust of the stress that they experience enables them to muster their resources in a manner so as to deal forthrightly with whatever the circumstances might be. It might be after the fact that they will feel very vulnerable and incapable of functioning for a time but not during the episode.

I remember a time when, as a new parent, I could hear my son thrashing in his bed upstairs shortly after we had put him up for the night. I ran up the stairs two at a time to find that he was having a convulsive seizure as a result of a spiked temperature. Now, I had never experienced anything like this before but somehow I remembered reading about placing the child in the bathtub in lukewarm water. My wife followed me upstairs and although she was a pediatric nurse, she panicked. I told her to tend to the child while I drew the bathwater. I took him from her and placed him in the tub, splashing the water over his body in a methodical manner. In the meantime, she ran to a neighbor’s home for help. When they returned, my son was fine and I handed him over to my wife who had since calmed down. However as I sat on the tub’s edge, I began to feel faint and my neighbor grabbed me to stabilize my balance so that I wouldn’t fall into the tub.

How interesting! I don’t know how I remembered reading that piece about how to treat a convulsive reaction but I know it had been some time previous to the incident that I did. I don’t know how I had the presence of mind to calmly implement the solution in the midst of what was a very frightening episode but I did. I don’t know why my wife was prone to panic while I was calm and why I “folded” when she recovered but it all happened as I described it. Now, I know that the endorphins that come into play offer a physiological explanation but there is also a psychological element that takes over enabling those kinds of reactions as well.

I would define stress as the result of an event that occurs over which we have little or no control. It would seem that the keyword here is “control”. The more that we need to maintain our need to be in control, the less able we are to deal with whatever the stress is that might come our way. The reason for this is that our control tends to limit our ability to accept what has happened “for what it is”…something that is quite necessary in order to bring whatever forces to bear that are necessary in order to deal with a given situation. The reality of the occurrence is, of course, very difficult to accept…perhaps even to imagine as with the Katrina disaster. However, it did happen! Once we can accept reality for what it really is, we can then begin to apply whatever remedies to the occurrence that might be necessary.

Many of us, though, have a great deal of difficulty accepting reality and try to change it…if only in our minds and emotions. We call that avoidance. It’s like a “temporary fix” that helps us to feel better for a short period of time…or maybe even for a long period of time. Avoidance is a normal, natural phenomenon that allows us to recover from certain traumas. However, I’m not talking about an initial psychological reaction to stress. I’m talking about those who tend to use avoidance as a “way of life” that can severely interfere with their life adjustment/management process. We need to be aware that avoidance doesn’t change the reality of what happened at all and, if time is of the essence in dealing with a situation, then we’ve “boxed ourselves in” by doing that.

Sometimes we can practice a sense of avoidance from the time we are very young. Perhaps a vignette about a man that I worked with will illustrate more this point more effectively.

VIGNETTE

He was the eldest of seven children in a family that demonstrated very little emotion in their relationships with one another. A particularly important facet of his growing up was the manner in which his father treated his mother. She had a drinking problem and was constantly belittled by her husband in the children’s presence. As a result, the children had little respect for her either as a mother or as a person. Essentially, she was persona non grata in the family. My client unknowingly brought that sense of a woman’s role into his adult life.

He was a very good athlete but no one from his family ever came to any of the many competitive sports in which he engaged. To add insult to injury, on one occasion he tried out for the school basketball team and was invited to be a part of the newly picked team’s introduction to the student body. Everyone who was to make up the team was introduced and recognized except for him. This was just one more experience that reinforced his sense of not being “good enough”.

He dated several women before he met his wife. His description of those relationships tended to approximate the treatment of women to which he was accustomed. His wife-to-be was a very attractive, warm, loving, intelligent and expressive woman. As it turned out, both partners had some reservations about whether to get married because of the problems that he had expressing feelings and attuning himself to her emotions. However, love prevailed and they married despite those reservations. Now, several years into the marriage with children, the problems persist on an even more intensive level. Despite several suggestions made for him to try, it proved to be extremely difficult for him to relate to her on an emotional level despite his deep love for her. The issues that were discussed would leave him feeling very vulnerable and exhausted. He would often say that he was overwhelmed by it all and felt that when his wife would let him know what she needed that he wasn’t “good enough” and rejected by her.

Essentially, he never resolved the feelings he had in reserve regarding his relationship to his mother. Even as an adult, he would avoid her in much the same manner in which he avoided his wife’s expressing her emotional needs to him. In addition, the guilt that he unknowingly suffered as a result of his treatment of his mother did not allow him to change the adult pattern that plagued him and their relationship. This was truly a sad situation especially in light of the love that each partner felt for the other. It is, however, an example of how avoidance can be carried on for many years resulting in the pattern becoming so rigidified that changing it was nearly impossible. Thankfully, the couple resolved their differences and did not split. Fortunately, the wife was not only supportive but insistent that her husband “come around” to deal with his feelings toward her which he was able to do albeit with great difficulty

And so, as we experience stress one of the vital issues demanding our attention is the role that our emotions play in any given situation. Despite the fact that we may have dealt with all of the other factors surrounding the event, if we don’t pay attention to the feelings that we experience, there cannot be complete resolution. I have an adolescent granddaughter living in Vermont who is going through some relationship problems. She uttered these words in an e-mail: “Life can be sooooooo hard at times.” I replied that that was a true statement but “sometimes we tend to make it much harder.” I also pointed out that instead of her looking to others to tell her what the “right thing” to do might be that she “make herself proud” by listening to her feelings instead. Maybe we all need to practice that philosophy.

REFER TO PREVIOUS BIO

Posted on Oct 9th, 2006

Have you been feeling so stressful and almost losing your patience over anything? Everything seems to be shattered and you think that you cannot handle it anymore. This is definitely the perfect time to lighten the burden! Aromatherapy is a great conclusion. Some scented aromatherapy candles will help you out! What are aromatherapy candles anyway? Let’s find out about them in here.

However, before we jump into aromatherapy candles, it’s better to get to know what aromatherapy is and how it works. Aromatherapy is a body healing treatment that uses essential oils with certain scent or aroma with the intention of physical as well as psychological comfort.

Candles are just one of the varieties of aromatherapy diffusers. The aroma of essential oils will be dispersed by the candles and therefore will fill up an area or a room with the natural fragrance. You can also use other diffusers available in your household equipments like clay pot, electric heat, and fan. Of course each has different advantages and disadvantages. You can pick up what suits you best.

Aromatherapy Candles Benefits

One clear benefit you can get by using aromatherapy candles is that you won’t need batteries or electricity. Moreover, aromatherapy candles are not expensive. In short, it’s definitely economical. However, you should be careful with the risk of fire while using this candle diffuser as you do the same to other usual candles.

The scents or aroma you’ll get from aromatherapy candles are widely varied. You can ask for particular scents that offer certain help for your body and soul. For example, lavender is a recommended aroma for relaxing, while you can have jasmine for sensual atmosphere.

Where do you get these aromatherapy candles then? They’re absolutely easily found in beauty outlets, especially those that offer health and beauty treatment. You can also get them at online stores. Just search on what you need and you’ll soon get the answers! Live healthy with aromatherapy!

About The Author: Martha Carles knows aromatherapy very well. She has helped people with aromatherapy. You can visit her Website: MyAromatherapyGuide.com at http://www.myaromatherapyguide.com

Posted on Oct 8th, 2006

Perhaps it’s due to a boss who seems to be making unreasonable demands. Or it’s the result of a co-worker who seems to routinely pass her work onto you. Or maybe you’re in a profession where tension is great, such as medicine or law. While a little bit of stress on the job can be healthy, too much can be a killer—literally. It’s been shown that there appears to be a direct correlation between stress and heart disease.

As a result of this, it is important that you learn to deal effectively with stress on the job. This can be difficult, because a number of stress-inducing factors may be out of your control. For instance, you have no say in who your boss is or who your customers are. You may not be able to determine when you start your day, or how much time you have for lunch.

Are you one of those people who wishes you had a 30-hour day? Do you long for having enough time to homeschool your children, cook gourmet meals, tend a garden, care for a large, five-bedroom house, play the piano, and sit by the fire reading a good book? The fact of the matter is many Americans today are operating under a time crunch.

We simply don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that we want to. However, it is important for you to recognize that job stress is a serious health problem.

The statistics tell the story. A study conducted in 1999 discovered that we are working longer hours.One out of five of us works as much as 49 hours a week. We are a nation of workaholics. This can cause a great deal of stress, not only on the job, but on the homefront as well.

A number of divorces are attributed each year to the workaholic syndrome.To put things in perspective, consider this: the average American works three months more each year than workers in Germany. The U.S. leads the industrialized world in the number of hours worked.The workplace has become so competitive in the U.S.

In order to help reduce your stress on the job, you need to make a realistic assessment of your hours. Is it possible for you to cut back and still perform your duties? Are you wasting time on the job that would be better spent at home? Can you delegate some of your duties to someone else in the office? If you design a more workable work schedule, you might find your job-related stress decreasing significantly.

It is entirely possible that you will actually become ill working those extra hours. Over a four-year period, from 1996 to 2000, the proportion of employees taking sick time due to stress rose by three fold. Each day, as many as a million American workers have called in sick because they are under too much stress. This absenteeism is costing American companies money and productivity.

Americans are also feeling stressed out because they no longer think they’re jobs are secure. Over a ten year period, the number of employees who were afraid they would become unemployed doubled. And a survey conducted in the year 2000 discovered that half of all workers worried that they could lose their jobs.

The dot.com burst, corporate bankruptcies, and massive layoffs have scared the American workforce.With little job security, workers live in fear of being tossed onto the unemployment line.A number of people have come to realize that they cannot expect to retire from the company for which they are now working.

It would be wonderful if the economy could be changed so that long-term employment at a single company was still possible, but that may be wishful thinking. As a result, workers need to try to lessen their stress—knowing that they may be in a volatile position. For many workers, this might mean making sure that they contribute to a 401-K plan so that they have money socked away for retirement.

For others, it might mean starting their own businesses so that they do not have to rely on someone else for their employment. If you try to think ahead, chances are you will lessen your stress level.You have to realize that you are ultimately responsible for your own fate.If you are in the driver’s seat, you will feel a sense of control which could lessen your stress level considerably.

For more related information visit: http://www.AnxietyAttacksCure.com - a site that offers advice for avoiding, coping with anxiety and panic attacks. Get professional knowledge on dealing with symptoms, drug side effects and improving your life!

Posted on Oct 8th, 2006

Voice: Bill!

Bill: I thought I heard a voice.

Voice: Bill! This is a Message from Heaven.

Bill: I don’t believe this. Is Heaven on speaking terms with the world?

Voice: Not often.

Bill: Why me?

Silence

Bill: Speak, Lord. I listen.

Voice: We created all things in the universe – the vast reaches of galaxies and the magnificent life on earth. Among all life forms, We endowed man with a superior intelligence, to recognize events around him and to fashion an immense host of feelings. Feelings warn him of danger, drive him to work and make him love and protect his children.

Bill: But, Lord, feelings drive us mad. We cry in sadness and weep in shame. We are burdened by guilt and goaded by ambition. Feelings torture us in our waking hours and chase us in our nightmares. Could you kindly take back this gift of feelings? Not wanting to hurt Your feelings…

Voice: When you were a young civilisation, you needed feelings.

Bill: Nobody could ever need all that pain.

Voice: Aeons ago, feelings guided men. Fear made him run away from the roar of the lion. And love prevented him from eating his young. But, across millenniums, you have grown and accumulated wisdom. Now, you really don’t need the crutch of painful feelings. You can walk free!

Bill: Save me from jests, Lord. How can mankind ever be rid of pain and fear, anger and jealousy? Those emotions take hold, even before we realise it.

Voice: Yes. That is the order of things – the way the system works. Your purpose in life is to live it fully against its immense odds. Left unsolved, those difficulties caused you pain, anger, or frustration. Emotions were the supreme gift, which forced you to solve those problems. But, across centuries, you have accumulated wisdom. That wisdom resides within you.

Bill: But, Lord, where does such wisdom reside within me?

Voice: Within your nerve cells. We gifted you with more than a hundred billion. Each cell perceives, remembers, recalls and recognizes. You see and remember the sunset to recognize the approach of night.

Bill: But, Lord, I feel anger and hatred, pain and disgust. Where do these reside?

Voice: Nerve cells fire to stir your emotions. If one fires, you feel dread. If another fires, you feel pleasure. Your own scientists discovered these age old secrets. The nerve cells of your limbic system lie at the core of your joy and delight, pain and anger. Their patterns of firing decide your feelings and emotions.

Bill: But, Lord, that limbic system drives us out of our minds.

Voice: The memories of your limbic system carry the experiences of all of living history. It recognizes the pattern of events in your environment and responds with fitting feelings. Those feelings drive you to action. It is called pattern recognition.

Bill: You mean pattern recognition moves us? One region recognizes events from the patterns in the environment. The limbic system recognizes events and triggers feelings. And the motor system recognizes the pattern of feelings and triggers actions?

Voice: Exactly. Pattern recognition. Most of your scientists still believe nerve cells compute. Actually, they don’t compute. They fire when they recognize patterns. But the views of science will change. Understanding and peace of mind will follow.

Bill: But, Lord, if the nerve cells merely recognize patterns and respond automatically, are we just automatons? Did you not grant us a free will?

Voice: Of course you have a free will, residing in your pre-frontal regions. Those regions recognize the whole picture. It is just that you are ruled by your limbic system, rather than the free and measured will expressed by your pre-frontal regions. Raw emotions, rather than dispassionate views of the whole guide you.

Bill: You mean this gift of wisdom is available only if my limbic system is switched off?

Voice: The limbic system can never be switched off. It is the final switching point for action. It is designed for your protection, to prevent your will from doing anything foolish. Many feelings compete there. But, the most powerful feeling rules. Pattern recognition again.

Bill: I don’t understand, Lord.

Voice: Will yourself to nudge your neighbour while standing in a crowded lift. Your will failed. Your elbow remained frozen in space. Why? Because it was improper. Opposed to the norms of your herd. Your limbic system decided and over ruled your will.

Bill: So, I really don’t have a free will! I am just an automaton, driven by my animal memories! This is unfair!

Voice: Cherish the love that protects you from harm. We gave you a guardian angel in your limbic system. But, that region is but a safety valve. You still have the broad road to wisdom in your pre-frontal regions.

Bill: But, Lord, fear and anger, shame and jealousy still torture us.

Voice: Your emotions give you partisan views of your environment. That is how intuition, the algorithm that controls your neural system, works. Intuition identifies a pattern by eliminating every other pattern, which does not fit the context. When you are angry, you cannot feel love for your opponent. Emotions blind you.

Bill: How can I control those emotions?

Voice: Wisdom. You have expanded your knowledge across millenniums. Thunder frightens you no more, because you know its true cause and effect. Your civilisation has expanded the boundaries of your knowledge and stilled your primitive fears and anxieties.

Bill: But that same civilisation has created new pressures and tensions. We fear earthquakes and typhoons, wars and nuclear bombs. Threatening patterns constantly surround us. Angry bosses and traffic hazards.

Voice: Your limbic system constantly triggers bodily responses to threatening events. Those adrenaline responses make you feel bad. But, you can cope. Just pump your stomach. The released adrenaline will be dissipated in minutes. Remember to pump your stomach, when you feel uneasy about something. Minor irritations will soon fail to bother you.

Bill: I tried that and it works. It makes me feel much calmer. But, Lord, stomach pumping only stills minor emotions. When I am faced with real problems, emotions still torture me. I am going to lose my job and that fills me with dread.

Voice: You can still even those emotions. They occur with distinct physical symptoms, which dramatize the emotions. When you become aware of the physical symptom of your emotion, you break the link. You weaken the emotion and destroy its power to dominate. Identify the tightness in your chest and the dread will fade away. You will see the event without the painful patina of the emotion. The loss of a job will not fill you with dread. You will see it as merely another problem to be solved by your wisdom.

Bill: But, how can I identify the physical symptom, when I am filled with dread?

Voice: That is why, across centuries, your sages have praised the benefits of prayer and meditation. Become still and aware of the workings of your mind. Explore the vast territories of your mind even as you explore the world. You will then become aware of emotions and their towering effects. You will learn to still them. Go forth and tell this to the world. That way lies your freedom from the primitive systems you inherited. That way lies peace on earth.

Bill: Peace has been in short supply on earth.

Voice: This Message will bring peace.

Bill: Will anybody listen?

Voice: Probably not.

Bill: Do you mind repeating the Message?

Abraham Thomas is the author of The Intuitive Algorithm, a book, which suggests that intuition is a pattern recognition algorithm. This leads to an understanding of the powerful forces that control your mind. The ebook version is available at http://www.intuition.co.in. The book may be purchased only in India. The website, provides a free movie and a walk through to explain the ideas.

Posted on Oct 7th, 2006

Most of us can attest to the fact that stress is reaching epidemic proportions in modern society. Balancing work, family, health, money, etc. is a challenge that many of us feel ill equipped to face. Eighty percent of the doctor visits in our country are stress related. Our quality of life and health is largely determined by how we adapt and relate to daily stressors. Here are a few ancient techniques for eliminating stress, increasing energy, and creating emotional balance. These are some of the most powerful tools we have for achieving optimal health and preventing future disease.

1) Meditation: Practiced for thousands of years in many Asian cultures, meditation has long been recognized as one of the most powerful tools we have for cultivating peace of mind and balance. Numerous studies have proven the incredibly positive effect that meditation has on stress reduction. There are literally hundreds of meditation techniques taught around the world. For beginners, the most helpful approach is to start with basic mindfulness techniques that develop both relaxation and alertness. Once a basic ground of awareness has been stabilized, then more advanced meditation practices can be undertaken. If you need help getting started, go to http://www.havinghealthnow.com/meditationcd.html

2) Yoga: This ancient practice has also been utilized by millions of people throughout history. Yoga is typically considered a form of meditation that involves putting the body into a variety of poses in combination with deep breathing to induce mental clarity, increased energy, and physical strength and flexibility. The healing benefits of yoga have been repeatedly documented by a variety of clinical studies. There are many forms of yoga and it is best to experiment to determine which form feels the most helpful for your needs.

3) Acupuncture: One of the pillars of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been practiced for at least 2,500 years. Perhaps one of the last truly holistic forms of healthcare remaining on the planet, acupuncture works with the Qi (life force ) of the body in order to induce a variety of therapeutic effects. The safety and efficacy of this practice are well documented which accounts for its incredible surge in popularity in the Western world. Acupuncture is considered one of the most powerful treatment options for stress reduction. Only seek acupuncture treatment from licensed acupuncturists ( as opposed to chiropractors or MD’s who practice acupuncture).

4) Herbal medicine: There are a variety of both Chinese and Western herbal formulas that have been clinically proven to reduce stress and create emotional balance. Herbs are much less concentrated than pharmaceuticals, which is why they have far less side effects (but can still be as effective). If you are interested in this treatment option, many acupuncturists can skillfully prescribe herbal formulas. This is recommended over buying herbs over the counter with little knowledge of their intended usage.

5) Nutrition: Eating a diet high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and low glycemic carbohydrates can go a long ways in healing stress. The standard American diet (high in processed foods, saturated fat, sugar, and transfats) has been linked to anxiety, depression, and increased stress in numerous studies. Change your diet to an organic, whole foods approach and both your body and mind will reward you beyond measure.

Making these lifestyle changes may not be easy in the initial phases and it is often helpful to seek out the support of a health care practitioner to guide you through these transitions. Once you start feeling the enormous payoff of making such changes, there truly is no turning back. Your stress will dissolve, your weight will decrease, and your energy will skyrocket. Isn’t that enough to warrant making a few changes?

Kevin Doherty, L.Ac., MS is a licensed acupuncturist in private practice in Superior, Colorado and the staff acupuncturist for the integrative care department at Exempla Good Samaritan hospital in Lafayette, Colorado. Kevin treats a variety of stress-related health concerns in his practice. For more information, please visit http://www.havinghealthnow.com

Posted on Oct 7th, 2006

Why do we resist change?
As the saying goes, the only people who like change are busy cashiers and wet babies. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, the unease visitors to an alien land feel because of the absence of the familiar cues they took for granted back home. With an established routine, we don’t have to think! And thinking is hard work.

Change is a business fact of life
Is your company is currently undergoing major changes that will affect the lives of all of its employees? These changes are probably in response to the evolving needs of your customers. They are made possible because of improvements in telecommunications and digital technology. They are likely guided by accepted principles and practices of total quality management. And you can expect that they will result in significant improvements profitability–a success that all employees will share. Because our customers’ needs are NOW, we must make changes swiftly, which means that all of us must cooperate with the changes, rather than resist them.

How do we resist change?
We tend to respond to change the same way we respond to anything we perceive as a threat: by flight or fight. Our first reaction is flight–we try to avoid change if we can. We do what futurist Faith Popcorn calls "cocooning": we seal ourselves off from those around us and try to ignore what is happening. This can happen in the workplace just by being passive. We don’t volunteer for teams or committees; we don’t make suggestions, ask questions, or offer constructive criticism. But the changes ahead are inescapable. Those who "cocoon" themselves will be left behind.

Even worse is to fight, to actively resist change. Resistance tactics might include negativity, destructive criticism, and even sabotage. If this seldom happens at your company, you are fortunate.

Take a different approach to change
Rejecting both alternatives of flight or flight, we seek a better option–one that neither avoids change nor resists it, but harnesses and guides it.

Change can be the means to your goals, not a barrier to them. Both fight and flight are reactions to perceiving change as a threat. But if we can change our perceptions, we can avoid those reactions. An old proverb goes, "Every change brings an opportunity." In other words, we must learn to see change as a means of achieving our goals, not a barrier preventing us from reaching them.

Another way of expressing the same thought is: A change in my external circumstances provides me with an opportunity to grow as a human being. The greater the change is, the greater and faster I can grow. If we can perceive change along these lines, we will find it exciting and energizing, rather than depressing and debilitating.

Yet this restructuring of our perspective on change can take some time. In fact, coping with change follows the same steps as the grieving process.1 The steps are shock and denial that the old routine must be left behind, then anger that change is inevitable, then despair and a longing for the old ways, eventually replaced by acceptance of the new and a brighter view of the future. Everyone works through this process; for some, the transition is lightning fast, for others painfully slow.

Realize your capacity to adapt.
As one writer put it recently:

Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them. The next time you feel resistant, think about them and about what they faced–and about what they fashioned from a fraction of the options we have. They blended old and new worlds, creating family, language, cuisine and new life-affirming rhythms, and they encouraged their children to keep on stepping toward an unknown but malleable future.2

Human beings are created remarkably flexible, capable of adapting to a wide variety of environments and situations. Realizing this can help you to embrace and guide change rather than resisting or avoiding it.

Develop a coping strategy based on who you are.
Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:

  • Analytical Style – technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoys problem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone.

Conceptual Style – creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgment, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision.

Behavioral Style – supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurtures others, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts.

Directive Style – aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievements.

Read once more through these descriptions and identify which style best describes you. Then find and study the strategy people who share your style follow to cope with change:

  • Analytical coping strategy – You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through.

Conceptual coping strategy – You are interested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process.

Behavioral coping strategy – You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions the change process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis.

Directive coping strategy – You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals. You resist change if the rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined.

Realizing what our normal decision-making style is, can enable us to develop personal change-coping tactics.

How can we cope with change?
1. Get the big picture. – Sometimes, not only do we miss the forest because of the trees, but we don’t even see the tree because we’re focused on the wood. Attaining a larger perspective can help all of us to cope with change, not just the conceptualists. The changes underway at my company are clearly following at least four important trends, which I believe are probably reflective of businesses in general:

  • Away from localized work toward network-based work,

  • Away from a feast-or-famine working environment toward a routinely busy working environment,
  • Away from site-limited approaches toward approaches that are consistent company-wide, and
  • Away from vertical, top-down management toward a more horizontal management structure, with shared accountability.
  • Getting at least this much comprehension of the big picture will help us to understand where each of us fits.

    2. Do some anchoring. – When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to find something stable that isn’t going to change, no matter what. Your company’s values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you. Ours include the Company Family, Focus on the Customer, Be Committed to Quality, and Maintain Mutual Respect. These values are rock-solid; they are not going to disappear or rearrange themselves into something else. Plus, each of us has personal values that perhaps are even more significant and permanent. Such immovables can serve as anchors to help us ride out the storm.

    3. Keep your expectations realistic. – A big part of taking control of the change you experience is to set your expectations. You can still maintain an optimistic outlook, but aim for what is realistically attainable. That way, the negatives that come along won’t be so overwhelming, and the positives will be an adrenaline rush. Here are some examples:

    • There will be some bumps along the road. We shouldn’t expect all of the changes ahead to be painless, demanding only minimal sacrifice, cost, or effort. In fact, we should expect some dead ends, some breakdowns in communications, and some misunderstandings, despite our best efforts to avoid them. We may not be able to anticipate all of the problems ahead, but we can map out in general terms how we will deal with them.

  • Not everyone will change at the same rate. The learning rates of any employees will distribute themselves along a bell curve. A few will adapt rapidly, most will take more time, and a few will adjust gradually. Also, many younger employees may find change, especially technological innovations, easier than those older. The reason may be, as one observer explains, "Older people’s hard disks are fuller."4 On the other hand, you may find some younger ones surprisingly reluctant to take on a new challenge.
  • The results of change may come more slowly than we would want. As participants in an "instant society," conditioned by the media to expect complex problems to reach resolution in a 60-minute time frame, we may find the positive results of change slow to arrive from the distant horizon. If we are aware of this, we won’t be so disappointed if tomorrow’s results seem so similar to today’s. 4. Develop your own, personal change tactics. Get plenty of exercise, plenty of rest, and watch your diet. Even if you take all the right steps and follow the best advice, undergoing change creates stress in your life, and stress takes energy. Aware of this, you can compensate by taking special care of your body.
  • Invest time and energy in training. Sharpen your skills so that you can meet the challenges ahead with confidence. If the training you need is not available through Bowne, get it somewhere else, such as the community college or adult education program in your area.

    Get help when you need it. If you are confused or overwhelmed with the changes swirling around you, ask for help. Your supervisor, manager, or coworkers may be able to assist you in adjusting to the changes taking place. Your human resources department and any company-provided counseling services are other resources available to you.

    Make sure the change does not compromise either your company values or your personal ones. If you are not careful, the technological advances jostling each other for your attention and adoption will tend to isolate you from personal contact with your coworkers and customers. E-mail, teleconference, voice-mail, and Intranet can make us more in touch with each other, or they can keep us antiseptically detached, removed from an awareness that the digital signals we are sending reach and influence another flesh-and-blood human being.

    Aware of this tendency, we must actively counteract the drift in this direction by taking an interest in people and opening up ourselves to them in return. We have to remember to invest in people–all of those around us–not just in technology.

    The "new normalcy"
    Ultimately, we may discover that the current state of flux is permanent. After the events of September 11, Vice President Richard Cheney said we should accept the many resultant changes in daily life as permanent rather than temporary. "Think of them," he recommended, "as the ‘new normalcy.’"

    You should take the same approach to the changes happening at your workplace. These are not temporary adjustments until things get "back to normal." They are probably the "new normalcy" of your life as a company. The sooner you can accept that these changes are permanent, the better you can cope with them all–and enjoy their positive results.

    Notes

    1. Nancy J. Barger and Linda K. Kirby, The Challenge of Change in Organizations: Helping Employees Thrive in the New Frontier (Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publ., 1995). This source is summarized in Mary M. Witherspoon, "Coping with Change," Women in Business 52, 3 (May/June 2000): 22-25.

    2. Susan Taylor, "Embracing Change," Essence (Feb. 2002): 5.

    3. Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason, Managing with Style: A Guide to Understanding, Assessing and Improving Decision-Making (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Management Series, 1987) cited in Witherspoon, "Coping with Change."

    4. Emily Friedman, "Creature Comforts," Health Forum Journal 42, 3 (May/June 1999): 8-11. Futurist John Naisbitt has addressed this tendency in his book, High tech/high touch: Technology and our search for meaning (New York: Random House, 1999). Naisbitt co-wrote this book with his daughter Nana Naisbitt and Douglas Philips.

    * * *

    Copyright ©2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.

    Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has been a book editor, newspaper reporter, news editor, and public relations consultant. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.

    Go to his DeeperStudy.org for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve’s free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."

    Posted on Oct 6th, 2006

    With the hectic pace of life today, most people experience stress on a daily basis. The debilitating effects of stress are such that corporations provide employees with free stress management programs, an increasing number of people are seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder, and medications are being dispensed for people who experience an anxiety attack. In this age, new therapies for stress relief are being developed, such as hypnosis and self-hypnosis.

    There are those who believe that Americans aren’t actually experiencing more stress, but rather that we just can’t handle it as well as our forefathers. While it’s true that the rate of anxiety attack and anxiety disorder is increasing, there’s also scientific evidence that there are a greater number of stressors today than there were in years past.

    About 20 years ago, a study was performed to gauge how stress had increased in the prior 100 years. In a nutshell, the study found:

    * You have over one thousand times the number of stressors each day that your great grandfather had.

    * You experience over 300,000 individual stressors daily that your body processes unconsciously.

    * Only ten percent of those stressors are psychological or social; the rest are physical, chemical, and electromagnetic.

    * There are 500,000 synthetic chemicals in our environment that didn’t even exist 100 years ago. They permeate our food supply, water and the air inside and outside our homes.

    * There are over 200,000 electromagnetic frequencies in our environment that didn’t exist in nature 100 years ago.

    Combining stressors like chemical pesticides, electromagnetic smog, impossibly busy schedules, a demanding job, family obligations, and accelerating change creates a cascade of physiological responses that will lead to disease if not properly removed or discharged.

    Stress relief is crucial, but it doesn’t have to take the form of pharmaceuticals to ameliorate anxiety disorder and anxiety attack. New Age stress management techniques can lessen anxiety and provide stress relief. The first step in utilizing New Age stress management techniques is to have a thorough understanding of why our minds naturally cling to old ways of dealing with stress.

    When you encounter situations or people that threaten or challenge you, you experience stress. When you experience stress, a change occurs in your brain chemistry that favors quick thinking over rationality. This same response dampens what you feel within your body. Although this fight or flight mechanism served our ancestors well when they were living in the wild, today it can cause serious health disorders and disease.

    When you’re stressed, you move unconsciously and continuously into a state of readiness (for the "attack" that never happens) that prevents you from noticing the stress and strain you are under. Your conscious mind denies the effects of stress and relies on the powerful subconscious mind to defend against the onslaught of imagined physical harm. As a result, your mind sabotages any real progress toward deep and skillful relaxation, as this seems dangerous to a mind under perceived threat.

    Ironically, you find yourself fighting against your own self-defense mechanism. And there’s no way to win the battle until you retrain yourself to respond differently to those things that cause an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Retraining yourself does not require a change in external circumstances. It simply means that you must alter how the external situation affects your inner world of thoughts and feelings, since these directly affect your physical body and health.

    This is where stress management new age solutions come into play. In this age, new stress relief techniques can alleviate the harmful effects of stress through relearning a new response to stress triggers.

    Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Visit this New Age Website and Majon’s New Age directory.

    Posted on Oct 6th, 2006

    To combat modern day stressors, you need to realize that things are going to go the way they are going to go, so you may as well just relax. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to practice extreme self-care which means putting your own needs first. We have had it backwards for far too long, taking care of yourself first is not selfish, it is essential. Invest in yourself in all areas of your life, to include: personal services, massage therapy, body workers, counselors/coaches. Develop daily rituals that keep you feeling good. You must take care of yourself first or you will be no good to anyone else. Self-care is simply loving and honoring yourself. Loving yourself is giving to yourself. Giving to yourself allows you to share with others more fully. Being more fully present means you naturally develop less of an attachment to what goes on around you, and can instead be more relaxed and at peace. Releasing the need to control yourself, other people, and/or situations, will greatly reduce the amount of stress you experience in your life. Also helpful is relaxing, refreshing, and rejuvenating your body, mind and spirit.

    Relax Your Body

    Your body is your temple, and can easily get run down by stress, strain, and struggle, take care of it with regular relaxing activities.

    Get good sleep

    Swedish massage, hot stone massage

    Foot or hand paraffin

    Body treatments: aromatherapy body wraps, body scrubs, etc

    Reflexology

    Rigorous and regular exercise

    Healthy sex

    Refresh Your Mind

    Your mind is your guide, it can easily get distracted and off course, so take care of it with regular refreshing activities.

    Take long walks

    Spend time in nature

    Read inspirational messages

    Learn new things

    Talk with a good friend

    Take care of your pet

    Therapy or personal coaching on a regular basis

    Rejuvenate Your Spirit

    Your spirit is your connection with Source, and can easily be forgotten in the busyness of life, so take care of it with regular rejuvenating activities.

    Meditate

    Pray

    Sing, dance, express yourself

    Consciously slow down

    Be fully present

    Know and live by your values and beliefs

    Surround yourself with supportive, loving, and accepting people

    Stress-Free Activities

    Connect with nature, it restores homeostasis to your system.

    Make a list of your favorite things. Read it when you feel down.

    Rely on friends and animals, they are great sources of support.

    Create a pleasure drawer. Stock your drawer with personal momentos or simple indulgences— favorite scents, textures, and tastes to create your own multi-sensory stress-relief treatments.

    Be colorful. Color stimulates your eyes and your brain. When used properly, color can make you feel happy and energized. Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow increase heart rate and circulation. Cool colors, such as blue or lavender act like sedatives.

    Deep breathe. Taking deep breaths will soothe your nerves, it sends oxygen to your brain and refreshes your mind. Inhale through your nose and count to eight. Fill your belly not your chest with air. Exhale through your mouth to the count of 10-16. Repeat five times until you feel calmer. Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine for stress. Find humor in the situation.

    Imagine. Use visualization and guided imagery to take your mind off the situation.

    And when you find yourself in a really challenging situation, remember the serenity prayer:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    ***This article was adapted from Michelle’s Living a Balanced Life Workbook: How to Eliminate Stress, Enhance Your Energy, and Enjoy Life.

    Michelle L. Casto is a Whole Life Coach, Speaker, and Author of the Get Smart! LearningBook Series. She lives on north padre island. Her coaching practice is Brightlight Coaching, she helps people come up with bright ideas for their life and empowers them to freely shine their bright light to the world.

    Visit virtually: http://www.brightlightcoach.com or http://www.getsmartseries.com

    Call for a Complimentary Coaching session (361) 232-3939

    Posted on Oct 5th, 2006

    Because of the fast paced nature of our society, overcoming or reducing stress has made it to the list of top ten New Year’s Resolutions. Approximately 19 million Americans suffer from stress related illnesses. The hormone, cortisol, is released during stressful events. When stimulated constantly, over time, it can lead to mental disturbances and a risk of infection and disease. Learning to manage stress leads to healthier and happier living. Here are seven solutions for regulating stress.

    · Adequate Sleep. Sleep is the number one defense against stress. It allows the mind and body to rejuvenate. When we awaken refreshed, we are more able to handle stressful situations. For the average person, adequate sleep is eight to ten hours of uninterrupted sleep.

    · Meditation. Meditation is the opposite of the fight or flight mechanism. It is a deep state of restful awareness that counters stress. Practicing twenty minutes a day helps us to remain calm is stressful situations. Deep breathing, relaxation techniques or visualization are all helpful in lowering cortisol levels.

    · Exercise. Resistance Training or lifting weights has proven to be very effective in controlling stress. A high intensity workout, of no more than sixty minutes, is a successful strategy in stress management. A moderate aerobic workout, such as walking or bicycling for thirty to forty minutes, three times a week, is also effective. A balance of both types of exercise is optimal.

    · A Balanced Diet. A healthy diet containing B vitamins and magnesium helps to relieve chronic tension. B vitamins are essential for stress management. Magnesium helps to ease muscle tension, stress and anxiety. When exercising to reduce stress, a balance of carbohydrates and protein is necessary.

    · Laughter. Laughter boosts the body’s immune system and reduces the amount of hormones, such as cortisol, that your body produces during stressful times. One way of using laughter is to picture the ridiculous. The next time you feel that you are losing your mind, picture your brain flying out of your head and landing someplace silly, like in the soup. Go to a good comedy show or rent a tape. As well as reducing stress, laughter has healing properties.

    · Attitude. Chronic stress is a factor of how we perceive the events surrounding us. We can remain optimistic when confronted with challenges or a new situation. How we perceive situations is a choice. When looking at a situation, break it down into manageable components. Instead of making sweeping negative statements, look at the situation realistically and create steps for resolving it.

    · Be social. Studies have shown that people who are more active socially are better able to handle stressful situations. If you don’t have one, set up a network of friends and family who are listeners. When you feel stressed, call someone in your network to talk or set up a date to do something fun. Allow your friends to be supportive.

    Try one or more of these solutions if your New Year’s Resolution is to reduce stress in your life. Any one these will aid you in reducing stress levels. Choose one that is slightly above your comfort zone but workable for your lifestyle. Learning to manage stress will lead to a happier, healthier you.

    Constance Weygandt is a balance mentor, speaker and author. For more information on health and wellness or to sign up for Constance’s newsletter, visit her website at http://www.balancedwellnessonline.com.

    Posted on Oct 5th, 2006

    The number one most popular issue that users of a self hypnosis cd or clients of a hypnotherapist seek help with is stress. Even if their presenting issue appears different, such as a phobia or lack of confidence, somewhere in the mix will be a stress issue. So helping anyone to reduce their stress can be a great and effective way of reducing the symptoms and often the cause of any issue.

    Self hypnosis either with the use of a self hypnosis cd or without any aid whatsoever is a technique that can not only assist stress reduction and encourage more and longer lasting feelings of relaxation it can also help alleviate the cause of the problem or issue.

    Most often the causes of any issue whether physical, mental or emotional is incorrect thinking about life’s events. There is no doubt that we are different from each other for many reasons. One of the main differences is being to perceive an identical and often the same event than someone who experiences that event at the same time.

    A well-known example is what I refer to as the "2 Half Pints of Beer Scenario". This is the story of two men in a bar who have been drinking beer. They both have the same amount of beer left to drink: a half of a pint. One the men thinks to himself "oh no, my glass is half empty". The other man thinks, "Great, my glass is still half full".

    Now both these chaps are in the same situation and have the same physical stimulus in front of them. Yet one is obviously having a better time of it than the other. Most often these to chaps are referred to as the pessimist and the optimist.

    So it is not necessarily what happens on our world that causes us to have an issue or stress, most often it can be the way we perceive a situation and ultimately how we process that situation and store it away as a memory.

    As you know, some memories just give us a neutral feeling, or no feeling at all when we think about them. An example would be writing a note or driving to the shops for most people. When you think about that memory of driving to the shops or writing that note, it does not bring up any strong feelings.

    Thinking about a memory of being laughed at by your whole class when in senior school can bring with it a decidedly uncomfortable feeling. On the other hand, the memory winning that egg and spoon race when you were only 3 years old can bring happy and carefree feelings.

    Changing the way we think about past and what appear to be negative events can give us a sense of release and prevent us subconsciously sabotaging future opportunities. Coupled with a relaxation regime such as listening regularly to a self-hypnosis cd can really pay dividends. After all once you have learnt the lesson of the past event (which might be to make sure you prepare for a speech) why do you have to carry the unhelpful feelings around. There really is no need to be burdened anymore is there not?

    Steven Harold
    Hypnosis Cd - Relief from Stress

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