Posts tagged: Stress Management

Stressed Out? Let Blue Calm You

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Feeling Stressed?Spring is such a beautiful time of the year - it’s my favorite season. Nature provides us with an abundance of colors and fragrances. Don’t all the yellows, pinks, whites and other colors of the blossoms give your mood a boost? They do mine!

You can use these colors to change your mood just by looking around you.  For example, when you’re stressed out, a color you can use is blue.  When you notice you’re starting to go into overload, find something blue … perhaps the sky, a pillow, car, picture, envelope etc.  Keep your eyes on the blue, allowing it to soak into your very being.  Focus on it, feel the blue in every cell of your body.

If you’re with others and someone happens to comment on your weird stare, just respond with “Oh I’m fine, just daydreaming.”

Breathe in that wonderfully tranquil blue color. Let it wrap you in its protective cocoon … through you, around you, within you.  Feel yourself going into a deeper state of tranquillity. Blue brings relaxation and calmness. If any part of your body feels irritated, tense or tied up in knots, breathe in and envision the blue light flowing in and out of that area.

Blue calms and cools.  Feel the stress and tension slip out of your body as you continue to focus on that wonderfully relaxing blue color. Notice how you’re slowing down your breathing and allowing every muscle group in your body to become loose and relaxed.

Immerse yourself in blue for a few minutes.  Notice how you’re not feeling as overwhelmed as you were before you started this exercise.  Aren’t you feeling more relaxed now?

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Speech needs company; silence needs solitude.
Speech wants to conquer others; silence helps conquer oneself.

Speech makes friends or foes; silence befriends all.
Speech demands respect; silence commands it.

Speech is earth-bound; silence is heaven-bound.
Speech educates; silence exalts.
Speech is subjective; silence objective.

Speech has regrets; silence none.
Speech has limitations; silence is boundless.
Speech needs effort; silence a lot more.

Speech is human; silence is Divine.
While speaking you are heard by creatures; in silence you hear the creator.

Silence leads to a stillness of the mind,
Then to introspection,
Then to self-cleansing,
Finally to liberation.

— Prema Pandurang

I live alongside a busy highway where the constant sound of vehicles, sirens and horns fills the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It is so noisy that if I leave the bedroom window open, sleep is almost impossible.  There are times when I search for silence, when I crave it. It rejuvenates my jangling mind like nothing else can.

And it’s not just physical noise that ramps up the stress levels.  There’s also the constant chatter of your own mind, racing from one thought to the next. Those thoughts that keep on going, just like the energizer bunny.  Perhaps you need some silence, some stillness of the mind. Even just a brief period of silence can lower your blood pressure, slow down the heart and lessen some of that adrenaline flowing through your veins.

So right now, find a quiet spot and for just a few minutes let go of your “to do” list and close your eyes, breathing in deeply and slowly once, twice and a third time. Find the silence and let it heal you!

I Don’t Have Time to Follow My Passions!

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”      – H. Jackson Brown, author

Ask Yourself…

  • Is this really a passion or just something that might be fun or nice to do?
  • Will you be extremely upset if you NEVER get to do “this passion”? If the answer is yes, what’s stopping you from finding the time to at least take the next step?
  • What is the benefit of choosing in favor of your passions?
  • How will you feel when you are doing something that you’re really passionate about?

Take Action …

  • Understand that it’s YOUR choice as to how you spend your time.
  • Be more conscious of how you are choosing to spend your time today.
  • Spend less time on those things that you aren’t passionate about.

It’s not always easy to choose between mundane tasks and those things that “light your fire” but with practice, it can become a habit.  When you’re fully engaged in doing a task that is truly important to you, time will appear to stand still and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.  As an added benefit, you’ll reduce your stress level!

If you still don’t know what you’re passionate about, contact me, evelin(at)blueprints4change.com, so that I can take you through The Passion Test.

WorkLife Balance: Getting the Most out of Life

During the course of every day we are faced with numerous challenges and opportunities.  Very often we react out of habit without stopping to think whether or not we are taking the best course of action.  To help you decide if you are on track, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

What is my responsibility here?
— your responsibility is to see the situation clearly, in a detached manner, without being unduly influenced by overblown emotion. Perhaps you need to involve others, perhaps not.

Is this situation part of a pattern?
— many of our challenges are issues that we haven’t resolved in the past.  Do you finally need to get to the bottom of it and resolve it?

What am I resisting?
— the things we resist usually are the ones that help us grow the most. Do you need to let go of something?

What lessons can I learn here?
— are you willing to seek out the lesson, hear it and act on the subtle guidance you receive?

Have I lost focus and energy?
— negative thoughts impact our energy.  Let go of the anger, frustration and anxiety and find a place of peace.

To act or not to act?
— sometimes it’s important to let the fog clear before taking action. Don’t act out of fear that if you don’t do something, the situation will get worse.

Am I seeing the big picture?
— there is always a choice and more than one way to deal with a challenge.  Setting up expectations, conditions, demands and prejudices can keep us stuck.

Am I at peace with this?
— being at peace is the key to gaining closure and knowing that the situation is complete. You have done the very best you could under the circumstances. You are on track!

Stress: Who has Control?

This is the third post in my series of “are you plagued by stressful thinking patterns?” 

What are your beliefs about who is responsible for what happens in your life? Specifically, do you believe you have control over your life or are you being controlled by something or someone else?

We become stressed not because of the circumstance/event/situation, but because of our perception of it. If we firmly believe that we, rather than some outside force, have control over our lives, then we have internal control.  If we think that fate, luck, chance or others play a dominant role, we are externally controlled. Allowing ourselves to be controlled is giving up our power. This leads to stress. When we give away our power, it’s like waking up in the morning and asking someone else how we should feel.

Obviously we can’t be responsible for everything that happens to us but we can assume responsibility for our reaction to the situation. Acknowledging that it’s “up to us” builds self-confidence and a positive self-image.

To discover if you are externally controlled, go through this list and add up the number of times you answer “true”.  The more “trues” you have, the less you feel you are in control.

  • I need others to give me direction
  • I focus on external/material factors
  • I worry a lot
  • I feel controlled by others and things
  • The events in my life force me to be the way I am
  • I do not control my life
  • Luck and chance play an important role in my life
  • I drift through life waiting for something to happen
  • Others create the problems in my life
  • I don’t know how to do things for myself
  • I lack initiative
  • I feel a sense of helplessness
  • I feel empty and shallow
  • I eat compulsively
  • I am absent from work a lot
  • I don’t aspire to much
  • I feel demeaned
  • I experience inadequate intimate relationships

For more information about stress management techniques, contact me at evelin(AT)blueprints4change.com or visit my website http://www.blueprints4change.com

To read the first two posts in this series, go to:

Are you Stuck Living in the Past?

Do you Have a Poor Self Image?

You Have My Complete Attention!

Do you remember when you last said those words?  When was the last time you REALLY listened to someone?  When did you give your UNDIVIDED attention to what was being communicated without already forming your response?  I’d hazard a guess and say that it doesn’t happen too frequently. Knowing that someone is not listening or paying full attention is stressful particularly if it happens on an ongoing basis.  Many relationships suffer from communication breakdown related to one or both of the partners not listening.

Poor listening skills are developed throughout life.  They begin with bad habits such as not paying attention, listening but not hearing due to preconceived ideas, rehearsing a response while the other person is still speaking, interrupting and not waiting for the real meaning to be divulged and hearing what is expected rather than what is meant and so on.

So how well do you listen?  Read through the following and rate yourself:

Do I have your undivided attention?

Do I have your undivided attention?

Listening Grades:
 
F
  “HUH” - “I don’t know what you said,” (implying “and I don’t care!”)
 
D
 ”Yes - BUT” - speaker only hears “BUT.” You let the other person talk but you have been preparing your response, not listening.

C
 ”HMMMM” - just quietly passively listening.  You are letting the other person talk but not preparing a response.

B
“Aaah” - actively listening.  You are really trying to understand.

 
A
“Let me see if I understand what you just said, “…” is that what you said?” You can tell the other person just what he/she told you.  She/he knows you understand.

A+
Same as “A” but stating the other’s thoughts in a more compelling way than she/he did in the first place.
To improve your listening skills, identify your own bad habits and make an effort to change them. Become an ACTIVE listener.  It takes mental effort and attention but you will be rewarded with more effective communication and less misunderstanding.   So remember:

  • Avoid prejudging
  • Listen with the mind, not the emotions
  • If the subject is boring, listen for information that is useful or important
  • Notice non-verbal language
  • Shut out distractions and concentrate on the message
  • Be intellectually curious

Getting Older!

Dear Grandson:

Getting Older!

Getting Older!

I have become a little older since I saw you last, and a few changes have come into my life since then. Frankly, I have become a frivolous old gal. I am seeing five gentlemen every day.

As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go to see John. Then Charlie Horse comes along, and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention.

When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.

After such a busy day, I’m really tired and glad to go to bed with Ben Gay. What a life. Oh yes, I’m also flirting with Al Zymer.

Love, Grandma

P.S. The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking of the hereafter. I told him, “Oh I do it all the time. No matter where I am, in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement, I ask myself, “Now, what am I here after?”

Stress Management: April Taxes the Body, Mind and Soul

When faced with stressful situations such as doing the paperwork for the dreaded annual tax return (which we’re probably all doing right now), studies have found that blood clotting factors associated with increased risk of heart disease are much higher than in calm periods.  Blood platelets increase in numbers as does their tendency to clump together. Levels of clot-promoting factors jump.  These changes in blood during chronic mental stress associated with increased workload may provide one of the links between mental stress and heart disease.  Blood coagulation is just part of the picture. Mental stress has other damaging effects. Arteries constrict and become more susceptible to blockage, blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase, sleep and diet patterns change.  Midlife is the time when we start to notice these health issues.

Each of us operates a machine so incredibly complex that researchers are continually making new findings about it.  We often read of things we should do to keep the machine - our bodies - running well. 

Wellness is not just a body issue.  It is a holistic concept.  Anything short of that is incomplete and ultimately ineffective.  We need to look at the whole person - the body, mind and spirit.  Just picking the dimension of wellness that you like or that is convenient and minimizing the others doesn’t work in the long run.

*** Imagine each dimension of wellness in your life like a spoke on a wheel.  Draw a picture of your wellness wheel, extending your nutrition spoke, your physical fitness spoke, your personal growth spoke, your spiritual development spoke, your play spoke, your community involvement spoke, your work spoke, etc out as far as you feel you have developed it and practice what you preach.  Does your wheel look like it would roll reasonably well?  Or does it have numerous jagged edges?  Would it not roll at all? Where do you need to put more energy to make the wheel more balanced? ***

Living only for this moment, with the intention of making it the fullest moment possible, will help you to achieve a better quality of life in all the areas of your “wellness wheel”.  There are many things that we think about in a minute of time.  We see our new experiences through glasses that have been molded by our old experiences.  We look to the future with uncertainty, hopes, fears and excitement and we tend to take things for granted if we are not fully focused on experiencing life in the current moment.  We need to learn to savor every moment as it happens, keeping our minds completely in the present, as much as possible.  This is not easy, but the payoffs are tremendous. 

The past is behind us, and if you think about it, no longer exists, except in our minds.  The future does not exist either, because we are not there yet.   Most of us base our current fears of what will happen in the future on experiences we had in the past. Some of us cannot get over the memories of past experiences. We may become fearful that these experiences might happen again.  Being in this situation only robs us of being able to enjoy life in the current moment, so we need to make a choice on whether we want to allow the past to color our current experiences, or whether we want to take control and remain focused. 

Living in the moment does not necessarily mean living as if there is no tomorrow.  You still need to plan for the future.  Conscious living means becoming aware of all the choices we have and acting on them. It involves the realization that we don’t have to run our lives on automatic pilot.

Just remember that YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU NEED TO BE RIGHT NOW.  Spend your time thoughtfully and appreciate every moment (good or difficult) and you will fill your life with value and purpose, rather than letting years and experiences go to waste.

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