Archive | Stress

Ineffective Ways to Deal With Stress – When Positive Speech Fails

When you are stressed, you try to make yourself feel better. One very common technique is to change your speech into more positive language. It seems helpful and sound–what could be wrong with being positive? You’re not indulging in the obvious bad ways to deal with stress–over eating, alcohol, chocolate, yelling at your kids. You know these are destructive, and you don’t need an e-zine article to tell you these stress responses are not good.

So you decide to be more positive.

But does it work?

It is very “hip” thinking to re-phrase many misfortunes into language that appears to be positive. Problems are challenges or opportunities. You don’t admit a boss treats us poorly; you look for the lesson the universe is trying to send you. Every difficult period in your life is an opportunity for growth or a transition.

The truth of reframing is that our attitude goes a long way into how you interpret your situation. Undeniably, contentment is present in every moment, in every situation. Only your attitude obscures it.

The destructiveness in reframing is in the denial of reality . Sometimes you really are angry, sad or discontented. Sometimes you feel rage. Choosing different words for your feelings doesn’t change the core emotions.

In fact, choosing false words to describe your emotions creates even more stress. Falsely reframing shows a lack of acceptance for what is really happening in your life. You are resisting and fighting it. You have a discomfort with darkness and a preference for light.

You see, while it is good to invite a positive outlook into your life, simply changing your vocabulary doesn’t do it . It can be a piece of the puzzle but it is not the whole picture.

Instead, one of the effective ways to deal with stress is to take the role of kind observer. Watch yourself for negativity and stress. Observe when it happens. Then, and this next step is the hardest– accept whatever is happening . Let yourself be stressed. Let yourself go through the experience in the same way a loving parent lets their child make a mistake.

As you observe the stress and whatever difficult emotions are behind it, experience it and become aware of all the ins and outs. In doing this, you will automatically become aware of the fool-hardiness of it. You will become more positive from your core. Your vocabulary will change to reflect this, only it will no long be artificial.

Sometimes it is important to “act as if.” You can act as if you are not stressed, and if that is working for you, if your body truly relaxes, keep at it. But when these ways to deal with stress repeatedly fail, when you have reframed and refocused and rethought every emotion you have, maybe it is time for a new plan. Maybe you should accept yourself, stress and all, and through acceptance you will find relaxation.

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The Connection Between Time and Stress Management

You’ve probably heard before that stress is the most common cause of aches and pains, as well as time missed from work. That’s because stress doesn’t just affect us mentally. It’s hard on our bodies, too. That overwhelmed feeling many of us have at work and at home is a big source of that stress which is why understanding the connection between time and stress management is so important. Below are some strategies that can help you achieve both.

Learn to Delegate

The people who seem the most stressed are the controllers. You know the type – you may even be one. These are the people who have to personally handle everything because no one else is capable of achieving the same standards. As a result, they end up being overwhelmed with tasks that could easily be done by their subordinates and that leaves them with less time to deal with the really important projects.

If you fall into this category, you have to learn to go a little. Start out small by delegating a few minor projects. You’ll be amazed how much time it frees up in your schedule.

Take Breaks

One of the worst things to do if you’re worried about time and stress management is to work yourself too hard. No matter how much work you need to get done you must take breaks. Those breaks don’t have to last for hours but ten or twenty minutes here and there can be great for recharging your mental batteries and for keeping you motivated.

If you start feeling stress, go for a walk around the office or do some deep breathing exercises at your desk. You’ve got to fight back that stress because it will interfere with your productivity.

Remove Distractions

Don’t try to deal with your stress through distractions from work. Playing solitaire or watching Internet clips might seem to be helping but your mind still knows you have plenty of work left to do and that’s going to cause you to feel stressed even while you’re enjoying yourself.

If you have trouble resisting distractions on your computer, have them removed or blocked by the IT staff or delete the shortcuts from your desktop. Other distractions, such as chatty co-workers or text messaging, can also be easily removed from the picture. Just remember that focusing on getting your work done and meeting those goals is going to make you feel good and will alleviate a lot of stress.

Become a Planner

Another great way to deal with time and stress management is to start planning your day in advance. Take some time before you go to bed each night to make a list of everything you want to accomplish the next day. By planning this out, you’ll go to bed with a sense of what needs to get done and you’ll wake up feeling ready to get those things done. Make sure to write down your list so you’ll remember it the next day.

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How to Manage Stress – The ABC Technique

Many of us complained about how hard it is to manage stress, how difficult it is to maintain that stress free lifestyle that all programs talk about. We nag at what stress relieving techniques is not working. But what we don’t know is that we just lack the ABC strategy of how to manage stress. This ABC strategy is an adaptation of Albert Ellis, a psychologist, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) model that he calls the ABC step model.

This strategy has 3 steps, thus the name A-B-C that anyone can follow. The A here is the potentially stressful situation, while B is your beliefs, thoughts, or perceptions about that stressful situation, and C is the consequences, which results to your stress. An example of this is getting stressed from always waiting and sitting in traffic. You have this situation wherein you have to wait for a long time, then your thoughts and perceptions about waiting comes in like being late and all those negative things, then the potential stress you can get from it arises.

Now that you can identify the ABC of your stress, you can now start changing it. Start with changing your A, which means modifying your environment whether it is your work place or at home. You don’t like waiting and sitting in traffic? Go and leave earlier to avoid it. If you can’t modify your environment, change your B by altering how you perceive them. To properly manage stress, you must always focus on how you could change the way you view things. Think positive. You won’t get anywhere if you stuff yourself with negative thoughts that only result in aggravating the stress you are already feeling. If modifying your situation or thoughts about the situation can’t be done, change your C. Learn how to relax and quiet down your mind and body. Meditation and self-affirmation can be the simplest strategy.

Do remember also that feeling stressed is a two way process. You need something that would trigger your stress, and then you need to perceive that as something stressful. After both this steps you will feel stressed. You can empower these external events and situation by the way you want to view them. This means that most of our stress and self induced, and that means we have the control to change them. Stop all the what-if-ing that you always do, minimize those can’t stand it thoughts, stop jumping into conclusions without a reasonable amount of truth and facts, cut off all those unrealistic expectations and stop negatively comparing yourself to others.

Trying different techniques, enrolling in different stress management programs, and reading a bunch of health magazines can not entirely help you manage your stress if you don’t change your attitude. Stress will always be a part of life. You’ll need to start with taking a look at your life and finding out what stresses you, and how stressed out you really are. Then you can start the conversion process as simple as ABC.

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Stress Management: Never Get Too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, or Scared

One of the best professional experiences I have ever had was working for an adolescent drug treatment center for a good part of the eighties. I certainly didn’t make much money there, but what I learned during those six plus years was priceless.

HALTS is an acronym commonly used in substance abuse treatment that can be very usefully applied to stress management. A HALTS approach to managing our stress recommends that we avoid getting too Hungry Angry Lonely Tired Scared.

Hungry – Although food comes immediately to mind (when doesn’t it?), there are many other things for which we can “hunger.” We all need a sense of worth, connection to others and to something bigger than ourselves, appreciation, and many others. Miss out on some of these basic emotional needs for very long and we can end up sad or depressed.

Tip:Angry – I get angry, you get angry, we all get angry. No problem there. The problem comes when anger is our most common emotion and our first response to most situations. Recent research has demonstrated that constant anger is not only not good for you, it can kill you.

Tip: Pay attention to and deal with the emotions that anger typically grows out of: fear, frustration, hurt.

Lonely – In spite of all the modern ways we have to communicate with each other, we still live in a culture where it is incredibly easy to become isolated. Most people don’t know the names of their neighbors on either side or across the street. I know of people who are “just too busy” to spend the time to connect with other people. These folks are way too busy for their own good.

Tip: Take the time to connect and stay connected to others. Walk next door and introduce yourself. Call an old friend you have not spoken with in a while. Stay connected.

Tired – Vince Lombardi said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” It’s not that most people don’t have the time to rest, it’s that most people have actually forgotten how. When it comes to the ultimate form of rest, sleeping, when was the last time you got the recommended 8 – 10 hours? You can stop laughing now. We can push ourselves just so far before the body takes over and forces us to rest. I’ve worked with clients that have told me that it’s actually a badge of honor among their colleagues to have been hospitalized for exhaustion. Go figure.

Tip: In addition to getting enough sleep, schedule time to rest. Put it in your appointment book, and protect it and keep it like you would any other important appointment.

Scared – In the Tarzan movies I watched as a kid, there were these natives with blowguns who would shoot darts coated with poison that would render a person temporarily paralyzed. Fear can do the same thing – paralyze us into inaction. Fear of failure, of rejection, of success, of the future, you name it, we get too scared and we freeze up.

Tip: Facing your fears and taking action is spite of them can reduce or eliminate your fears. Remember that fear stands for forget everything and run and false evidence appearing real. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being afraid of something and doing it anyway.

For better or worse, we may have too much of one of these on any given day. Consistently having two or more can indicate a situation in need of change. Practice these tips to successfully manage your stress or you might want to get with someone who can coach you on making your stress work for you.

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Emotional Stress and Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms

There is a clear and direct connection between stress and autoimmune disorders such as Ankylosing Spondylitis. Painful or repressed emotions put stress on the body, but natural methods of stress relief can help reverse the pain and symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Recently, a client of mine who has Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) had an enlightening “aha” moment when she suddenly realized her autoimmune symptoms raged out of control whenever she had an argument with her adult son.

Until then she had never recognized stress as an issue for her AS pain and symptoms. Now she clearly gets it. She has come to realize that as her stress ramps up, so do the chronic pain and symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis, an autoimmune disorder similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

This is a common for my clients, and I see it frequently. A considerable aspect of my work involves helping clients identify and eradicate the mental and emotional triggers that worsen the pain and symptoms of AS.

Think about it. When you suppress your guilt, anger, resentment, and other difficult emotions… can it make you sick?

The latest medical studies overwhelmingly conclude that yes, negative emotions do affect our health. Toxic emotions significantly compromise immune function, and mental stress weakens our built-in defenses against premature aging and disease.

Stress and stress-related illnesses account for over 90% of the issues that patients report to their doctors. This means that, in a very real sense, our thoughts and emotions hold the key to our physical health.

For example, medical studies conclude that stress can disrupt the normal function of the human digestive system. Mental and emotional stress can cause loss of appetite, ravenous eating binges, and alter the proper absorption and elimination of nutrients. Alleviating the mental and emotional stress that causes these problems will usually result in restoration of proper gastrointestinal function.

If you suffer from and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other GI tract disorder, alarm bells should be sounding off in your head. Let me repeat: Reverse your stress and toxic emotions, and you’ll restore proper gastrointestinal function.

Study after study proves that what we think and feel has a profound effect on our health. Here is the good news: Tests conclude that patients who expect positive results from their medical treatments are more likely to have them.

Stress relief helps to reverse the pain and symptoms related to autoimmune disorders including Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthiritis, Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and many others.

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Hip-Hop Dancing For Stress Reduction

Hip-hop dancing is the “in” type of dancing for teenagers and young adults but did you know it can also be beneficial for helping to relieve a little stress? Exercise in general helps to reduce stress because when you exercise, your body produces endorphins (happy hormones), your blood pressure is lowered and you feel much more relaxed. An added benefit is that you are also building muscle. Well, I would like to present to some and introduce to others, hip hop dancing as a form of exercise!

What is Hip Hop Dancing?

Hip Hop dancing is a refreshing and high powered type of dance consisting of dance movements that will energize your body. It originated in low income neighborhoods with kids making up dance steps to rap music. The birth of music videos and rap music has increased the number of individuals wanting to learn this new form of dance. As a matter of fact, hip hop dance is now internationally recognized and is even available in many dance studios.

Hip-hop dancing can be a form of freestyle dancing that reflects your personal style but is also often choreographed. You can learn a choreographed dance routine as part of an exercise regimen to help you get in shape and reduce stress.

Hip Hop Dance as an Exercise

Hip-hop dance uses the entire body (upper and lower) which makes it a wonderful full body exercise. Balance is important when you do these moves because the abdominals get a lot of work. Besides that, it is fun and upbeat. When you see kids doing it, does it look like they are exercising (work)? Of course not!

You can buy videos and tutorials in the store to learn how to hip hop dance so there’s no excuse not to get out there and see what you’re working with. Of course, there is some real skill involved that I believe is inherent so while you may learn some basic moves (enough to get in shape and reduce stress), don’t go trying out for any P Diddy videos. You may get your feelings hurt:-)

Hip hop dancing for just a mere thirty minutes is enough to get that heart pumping, lower your blood pressure and release some stress. You will discover this dance as an exercise is really fun and really effective. Now get out on the dance floor (or your living room to start)!

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Simple Stress Management Techniques: How to Calm Down and Cope

When confronting a tiger, a surge of adrenalin, cortisone and other stress hormones sets us up to get away and survive. But when confronting a traffic jam, an angry customer or an overdue bill, the same inherent stress response becomes counterproductive, even damaging.

We need ways to manage our stress which reduce these automatic reactions and enable us to think calmly and clearly about the best way to resolve the problem. Fortunately, such simple stress management techniques do exist.

A Simple Technique for Managing Your Physical Stress Reaction

Often at the lowest level of our awareness is our physical reaction to stress. Our heartbeat speeds up, our breathing becomes fast and shallow, our blood pressure rises and our muscles tense. Our bloodstream is flooded with a mixture of chemicals to help us survive a physically dangerous encounter intact. None of which helps with that dreaded phone call or late essay.

To calm yourself physically and move back into a state of calm readiness, simply become conscious of your breathing, take control of it, deepen it and slow it down.

The parts of the brain that control breathing usually function by themselves. By taking conscious control, we reestablish our command over our physical reactions and shift our mental and physical state.

A Simple Technique for Managing Your Emotional Stress Reaction

Emotional reactions to stress can be the most distressing. Often, too, our stress is interpersonal (to do with other people), and becoming emotionally upset can make the situation worse.

Emotional stress reactions include anger or irritability, anxiety or dread, and depression or helplessness.

Building on the simple stress management technique for the physical reaction, slow and deepen your breathing as you become aware of how your emotion feels in your body. As you notice your body’s reaction, name your emotion and acknowledge it. Then remind yourself that in this situation, it’s more useful to have a wider range of resources available to you, and that a calm body and mind will help to bring that about. As you do so, your emotional reaction starts to recede.

A Simple Technique for Managing Your Mental Stress Reaction

Physical stress reactions arise from emotions, and emotions arise from thoughts. Having calmed your body and emotions down, you can take a moment to notice the thoughts that led up to it. Keep a record and discover what thoughts typically send you into a stress response. These are what is called “automatic thoughts” because they turn up by themselves, probably having been put in your head during your childhood by someone well-meaning or otherwise.

When you have a good idea of what your automatic thoughts are, you can start to modify them.

Write down logical, adult, non-blaming counter-thoughts for each of your automatic thoughts.

Set aside a few minutes and calm yourself down by slow, easy breathing, thinking of a pleasant, relaxing place.

In a calm and reflective state, first say the automatic thought as if quoting it to someone, then follow it with the new thought. Repeat this a few times, allowing the conviction to leak out of the automatic thought and flow into the replacement thought.

Repeat this exercise until the automatic thought is dealt with.

These simple stress management techniques can help to shift your thoughts, feelings and physical reactions in the direction of the calm competence which is your best state for handling life’s challenges.

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Benefits Of Being Stress Free

Stress has a dramatic impact on every aspect of your life. It can affect your ability to fall asleep at night, get out of bed in the morning and can even cause physical symptoms such as headache and heart problems. The benefits of eliminating stress can help you to get your life back under your control and live a free and happy life.

When stress is reduced in your life, you will have the ability to enjoy times with your friends and family. The little things that cause you to feel irritated won’t bother you as much and you will get a good night of sleep for once. Eliminating stress can have a dramatic effect on your life.

Of course, there will always be pressures and stress in your life. Paying the bills, children, your job, all lead to stress and anxiety. While you may not be able to eliminate these causes of stress, you can change the way that your body reacts to it. A good stress elimination or reduction plan allows you to handle these everyday worries with ease.

Stress can sometimes make it difficult to concentrate and think of clear resolutions to your everyday problems. When you are stress free, your thinking will clear and you will come up with the answers to your problems much faster and easier.

Physical pain can also be caused by excessive amounts of stress in your life. When you are on the road to a stress free life, those aches and pains that can be attributed to stress will go away and you may feel like a whole new person.

Overeating is a symptom of stress. Many people eat to help themselves feel better. However, overeating causes more stress and problems than it helps. While you may feel temporarily better when you overeat, the problems quickly come back and you may develop weight problem as a result of this poor stress management tool.

Everyday life doesn’t have to get you down and cause you to feel the symptoms of stress. There are positive steps that you can take to reduce the amount of stress that you are feeling. Remember to take some time for yourself once in a while and relax. Meditation and exercise are excellent stress relieving tools to use when you are facing a particularly stressful time.

A stress free life will feel as though a weight has been lifted or a dark cloud has finally cleared away. Life should not be spent under a constant cloud of stress and anxiety. With the proper stress relieving treatment, you can enjoy the freedom of a stress free life. Take the steps necessary to get started down that path and finally find out what life looks like without your constant stress and anxiety.

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Understanding Your Stress Levels

In order to understand stress better, it is a good idea to understand that there are different stress levels. These levels vary in the form of stress they take and they can often provide an indication of how to treat the stress. Furthermore, there are tests available that can help people understand their own, particular brand of stress and, with this knowledge, they can also understand themselves better. Then, with this information, a complete stress management method can be constructed. So, when you examine your own stress, keep these stress levels in mind so that you can come to grips with yourself and learn the proper methods for keeping your mind balanced.

These stress levels were found and characterized by Dr. Hans Selye and Dr. Richard Earle of the Canadian Institute of Stress. Thus, the names and types are theirs.

Type 1 – The Speed Freak

This stress level is characterized by an incessant need to be giving 110% at all times. They are often perfectionists, they tend to speak quickly, and they are very impatient. Generally, Speed Freaks have learned that it is necessary to work hard in order to succeed, so they figure that, if they are working hard all the time, they are certain to succeed. This, of course, is not necessarily the case, since running full-bore all the time will only lead to stress over minor issues.

Speed Freaks need to learn how to relax and they need to clarify their goals so that they will work hard on things that really matter, while relaxing while they are working on more mundane tasks. By doing this, they can get up to speed when they need to put in the effort and conserve energy the rest of the time.

Type 2 – The Worry Wart

The Worry Wart stress level is characterized by an inability to stop thoughts, but an equal inability to put thoughts into action. They tend to overanalyze things to the point that they paralyze themselves. Thus, they simply end up spinning their wheels as they get nowhere. True to the name, Worry Warts tend to spend a lot of their time worrying and this only leaves them even more incapable of action.

Worry Warts need to think very specifically about the problems they are facing, write down every possible thing that can go wrong, then think about just how likely these events are. Then, once everything is treated with a philosophical distance, the worry will decrease and the Worry Wart can move on toward their goals.

Type 3 – The Drifter

Drifters are people who keep so many options open that they are incapable of actually developing any skills in depth. Instead of focusing their energies on specific life goals, they end up putting effort into a variety of tasks so that none of them every really get done. Thus, their hours are spent productively, but their hours rarely produce anything concrete. In fact, they create a paradox of complete freedom in which they are trapped by their own inability to use that freedom effectively.

Drifters need to clarity their life goals, focus on things that make them feel worthwhile, and try to build up a life that is open to more than just work. Then, once they have a place to direct their efforts, they can shed all the excess nonsense that they surround themselves with.

Type 4 – The Loner

This stress level is recognizable by the fact that Loners are unable to create meaningful relationships with others. This is due to the fact that they generally work alone, so that do not receive much feedback from others. Thus, rather than building relationships that can help support them, they tend to crawl into a shell and keep other people outside of it. Thus, as they avoid shared experiences with others, they become incapable of finding out what they enjoy and who they enjoy doing it with.

Loners should attempt to clarify their own values, then work to build relationships with people who share those values, which in turn gives Loners a way to move toward their goals. This will give them both a purpose and a support structure that can help them succeed in that purpose.

Type 5 – Basket Cases

This stress level is very dangerous, as Basket Cases are creating their own energy crises. Instead of caring for themselves, they tend to be achy, depressed, and they often decide that activities are simply too much effort. They are often in poor health and their own malaise and depression makes it hard to do anything about it.

Basket Cases need to start eating right in order to start the healing process. Then, after a few weeks, they should start exercising. Then, once they have a little more energy, they need to learn how to conserve energy by taking breaks during work and not overextending themselves.

Type 6 – Cliff Walkers

Cliff Walkers are people who are at risk for destroying their health. They tend to look worn, they often smoke, eat badly, drink too much, and rarely exercise. However, they usually figure that nothing bad will ever really come out of their bad habits, so they cause themselves even more damage. Thus, they tend to have problems maintaining their energy.

The treatment for Cliff Walkers is the same as that for Basket Cases. Eat right, then start an exercise program, then learn to conserve energy so that they are not constantly worn out.

By understanding stress levels, people can not only learn more about themselves, they can also learn how to succeed. Then, once a person’s particular type of stress is treated correctly, the very portions of the personality that were once a burden can become a boon. Thus, learning about stress levels can actually help people achieve their goals.

Copyright 2005 Trevor Dumbleton

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Stress Management Tips – Abraham-Hicks Teachings For Stress Relief

Stress can make us lose perspective. The teachings of Abraham-Hicks can help bring it back. Abraham, in case you don’t know, are (yes, plural!) a group of non-physical beings who share their wisdom with us by speaking through Esther Hicks. They have a lot to say about the need to feel good.

In fact, they said: “The most important thing is that you feel good.” I take that to mean that if you do, everything else will fall into place. Abraham also provide us with an entire collection of tools that help with that challenging task. If you’d like to learn more, you could buy one of their books. I especially love both Ask and It Is Given and Money and the Law of Attraction. Here are some of Abraham’s techniques:

a) Which thought feels better

In periods of stress or unhappiness, ask yourself: “Which thought feels better”? Always reach for the next better thought, they say. This isn’t too hard, especially once you have some practice. An example: I’m really stressed out about all those bills. Better: I’m grateful for the services that these people provided for me (including money-lending services in the case of credit cards).

Why not reach for the best-feeling thought from the start? Why not go all the way? Why not think “I’m so happy to be a debt-free millionaire!” Wouldn’t that be even more effective?

The answer is no — because it’s not possible. Have you ever noticed that when you feel in the dumps, you find cheerful people really annoying? There is a reason for that. If you feel miserable, you’ll have to go to a slightly better feeling first. Then one that feels a little better yet. And so on until you are where you want to be.

b) Positive Aspects: No matter how miserable you feel, you can always find SOMETHING positive about almost anything. Make a list.

c) What DO You Want? Instead of complaining about the things you don’t like about your life, focus on what you DO want.

Don’t whine about wanting but not having enough money. Focus on how to get more. Think about how nice it will be when you have more. According to Abraham, the Universe doesn’t understand “no.” So if you say “I don’t want to work so hard.” it hears “work so hard,” and gives you more of the hard work you so dislike.

Focus instead on the kind of job you WOULD like. Include some of the details. Reasonable hours, friendly coworkers, appreciative boss and customers, and excellent pay. And the universe will bring you more of those things.

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