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The Stressful Movie

What is stress exactly?  Although it is a heavily used word today, most of us don’t have a grasp of what stress exactly is, nor how to manage it.  We all can agree, however, that when we feel stressed we are not happy, and we want the experience to be over as soon as possible but do we know what is happening inside of us, the dance between our mind and body, that is feeding the stress response?  Chances are the answer to that question is no, and so we feel we are victim to stress.

Stress on the Fishing Line of Life

I picture stress in the same way as I do the tension on a fishing line tethered between the pole and the hook.  Like us, the fishing line is built to handle a certain amount of strain, and if this is too great (because the ‘fish’ is too big), then it is subject to deterioration and breakage.  Not surprisingly, when a person is stressed they will use words such as tense, stretched, or strained, similar to how one would describe the fishing line.

Interactions between humans, particularly emotional interactions, are like the interplay between the fishing line and the fish in the above metaphor.   These human interactions affect both our biological and psychological functioning in overt as well as subtle ways.  Easily identifiable stressors in life (the big fish, so to speak) are things like divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, and illness.  Even chronic daily stress such as dealing with traffic congestion and facing excessive workload demands that can wear away at our wellbeing.  Understanding the relationship between our emotional and physiological environment is critical to our health.  Unfortunately, despite decades of groundbreaking work in the area of the mind/body connection, the chief medical approach to health and illness continues to suppose that the body and the mind are not connected.

Higher Perspective of Stress

When we relax and observe the experience of stress from a higher perspective, we get some interesting insights.  We can see that stress typically has three distinct and related components.  First, there is the stress event itself, which can be either a physical or an emotional moment.  The second element is the processing of the experience, the interpretation of the event, which gives it meaning and codifies it as stressful by the individual.  The third and last element is the response to the event, which involves various physiological and behavioral reactions.

The determination of a stressor (or stressful situation) depends predominately on the second component, the processing by the individual.  The processing is based on the beliefs held by the individual, generalizations about the world, and opinions of it. These beliefs form the rules about what we think we can and cannot do and what should and should not happen.

Further, the interpretation of the event is dependant on the personality and the psychological state of the individual.  For example, the experience of the loss of a job can create different reactions in different people.  A person for which the experience does not create financial hardship may still respond with high stress if their deep-seated beliefs about self-worth or acceptance are tied directly to their job title and status.  These less tangible feeders to stress are resonant from a person’s past, and even though the stress event is experienced in the present, it is the past that determines the response and its intensity.

Change The Movie

The area of study under neurolinguistics supports the realization that individuals’ past beliefs no longer need to be a legacy that carries forward unchallenged or unchanged.  These beliefs can be modified and even eliminated to support a person’s desire for a more peaceful, harmonious, and less stressful life.  Working with the power of language, mind mapping, the unconscious mind, rapid and healthy improvements to how life events are interpreted can be realized.   Life events may be out of our immediate and direct control however, the interpretation of these events is significantly within one’s control.

We are the moviemakers of our life.  We are giving our life direction straight from the Director’s chair every day.  The problem is that so many people are creating the same type of life “movie”; a fear-based, stress-filled movie.  I believe that type of “movie” has been oversold and overdone in today’s society. Why not change your movie into a more relaxed and enjoyable one and with scenes that give you pleasure and joy?  Your blockbuster is just waiting for you, the Director, to show up and take over.

If you are interested in how you can begin making your desired life movie today, go to my website and book your complimentary consultation today.  I look forward to chatting with you.

Surrender

Do you believe that life is a struggle and that you have to fight to get what you want? Do you worry about losing control of your health, wealth, relationships and career? If you said yes to either of these questions, this may be because you have a strong belief that is holding you back from attaining the life you want. Bottom line, it is keeping you from enjoying happiness and ease on a daily basis.

Limitations

Whenever you experience limitations in your life, the cause is most likely rooted in your past. It shows up today as patterns and in thoughts such as “I always struggle with…”, “I can never realize…”, “I must be…”. These experiences of struggle and of feeling “less-than” go against your natural state of infinite joy, love and resourcefulness.

Consequently, this struggle and the feeling of no control causes anxiety or even panic. What would it be like if you could see and do life differently, without anxiety or panic? What if you were willing to surrender and give up the struggle so that you could achieve peace now?

Surrender

Surrender means that you are willing to turn your focus off of the struggle and the outcome that you think you so desperately want, and you become willing to consider that there may be a different approach. Just going that far will give you a sense of peace and freedom almost instantly. When you take your focus off of the end result that you are fixated on, what shows up in your awareness is a new perspective, new options and new alternatives. A way forward begins to come into view that before was obstructed by your beliefs.

Since many of us were told repeatedly by our caregivers and other influential people that hardship and sturggle is the only way to support ourselves and our families, that has become the only way that we see the world. It is the lens that we see the world through. Suffering and sacrifice seem like the only way to achieve happiness. Guess what, that is not truth!

Making a decision to experience life, with all of its ups and downs, without fighting so desperately for the way we think things should go, can bring us exactly what we are looking for – peace right now.

Yes, the world is going through turbulent times, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We may be experiencing suffering in some areas however, we still have the power to choose how we show up, how we think, and to have openness about the experience. We still are creative and resourceful creatures. By surrendering to the experience, we set ourselves up to perceive and experience differently. The amazing realization is that we gain control by letting go.

Let’s Connect

If you are curious about how my coaching services can teach you how to surrender and how to put an end to limiting beliefs, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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Best Stress Management Techniques

It is hard to cope with stressful situations, especially when they happen on a regular basis. Over the long term, stress can have devastating impacts to one’s overall health. This can in turn lead to heart disease, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Finding ways that you can deal with stress so that it doesn’t knock you down is a smart, proactive step towards overall management of both your mental and physical wellbeing.

The tips that are offered below require some practice and dedication but if you stick with it, before long you will get the hang of it. Eventually, you will be enjoying a much more calm and peaceful daily life.

Tip #1:  Slow Down and Step Back

Remind yourself to slow down and to either mentally or physically step away from the stressful situation in order to gather perspective and allow the situation to have a chance at naturally resolve itself. Do this by:

Gathering your thoughts

Talk to yourself or journal out your thoughts. This activity will open up perspective where in the heat of the moment you were unable to see it.

Reflect

Allow yourself the benefit of time to think about the stressful situation. Ask yourself to view both the problem and potential solutions from all perspectives.

See the Big Picture

Put yourself in the position of a neutral third party and then ask that party how they see the situation. What comes up may surprise you.

How Important Is This?

We cannot afford the time, money or energy to be invested in everything that give us discomfort. Ask yourself if this is really the issue that you want to be engaged in. Will this issue matter in a day from now, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now? Ten years from now, will it matter at all? Probably not worth getting stressed out about.

Tip #2:  Breathe Deep and Relax

Breath is such an important contributor to reducing stress. This is because when you breathe deeply, you are sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Your brain then sends this same message to your body and as a result, your muscles start to relax, and your overall tension reduces. My favourite way to breathe deeply is to inhale for the count of 6, hold for the count of 6 and exhale for the count of 6.

Tip #3:  Walk Away

If you feel that your stress is triggering anger that involves anyone else, end the conversation and take some time and space. Stay way until you are mentally strong enough to deal with it or until the situation naturally works itself out. Realize that stressful situations can lead to your constantly re-thinking and re-playing things over and over. Mentally walking away means that you put an end the that rumination as well.

Tips #4:  Concentration on Something Else

Stress can consume your thoughts. It can be helpful to kick it out of your mind and replace it with something more positive, calming and fruitful. Go for a walk, read a book, meet up for a coffee with a friend, catch a movie, etc. The idea is to give your mind a break and to think about something other than what is stressing you.

Tip #5:  Burn Off Energy

When your body sends out a stress response, it thinks you have something to physically respond to. Often, we don’t have anything that needs running away from like a charging animal or anything of that sort. Still, your body needs to respond to burn off this extra energy. Physical activity can be a great way to relieve stress. Go for a walk, take a jog or hit the gym, whatever you feel up to.

Tip #6:  Talk It Out

One of the most important things to do in a stressful situation that involves another person is to communicate effectively. This involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want without demanding that you must have things your way. The basic message is “we both matter so let’s work this out.”

Let’s Connect

I hope you find these tips interesting and helpful in managing your day to day stress.  If you are interested in how coaching can help you manage stress and ward off anxiousness, go to my website and request a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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Fall Back into Routine to Reduce Anxiety

It’s that time of year when we get back into our routines, whether it be work, exercise, eating or school, after enjoying a couple months sabbatical. Even if you don’t have children returning to school, September symbolizes a fresh start. For many people, work and school are sources of high stress and continuous anxiety. And, since ignoring them is not a practical solution, why not implement some simple and effective lifestyle habits that can greatly reduce the anxiety that may arise from daily circumstances.

In this newsletter edition, you will receive 5 effective anxiety-reducing strategies that you can start implementing right away.

Strategy 1: Make Sure Your Diet is Balanced

A poor diet deprives your body of the important nutrients it needs to function optimally. Maintaining a poor diet for an extended period of time forces the body to compensate by raising the stress-hormone cortisol. Chronic high-stress levels can wreak havoc on overall health and wellbeing. So it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Drinking enough water daily in order to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine will also help relieve anxiety. Complex carbohydrates metabolize slowly, and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, creating a calmer feeling.

If you cannot commit to eating a balanced meal every day, have a supply of meal replacement bars or shakes available as an alternative.

Strategy 2: Get Physical

There are two amazing benefits from being physically active. First, it releases endorphins immediately into the body. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that long distance runners enjoy and promote.  Any level of physical activity can start the release of endorphins meaning you do not need to be a marathon runner to get the benefits. Consider what you can commit to daily to get our body moving. Maybe it’s a walk, or a bike ride, or a short visit to the local gym. Whatever you can do to get moving will make you feel better and less stressed.

Secondly, exercise takes your focus off of whatever is stressing you out. Switching your attention to something else gives your brain a chance to take a break. You may be surprised at the perspective that comes from not thinking about your problem!

Strategy 3: Sleep Baby!

There is not enough good to say about the powerful effects of sleep. We live in a sleep-deprived society, due to our fast-paced and demanding lifestyles. And sleep deprivation is a sure fire way to generate a bad mood and feed our anxious feelings. Moreover, a lack of sleep can throw off cortisol rhythms and mix up the body’s circadian clock. Anyone who has flown internationally can relate to how difficult it is to feel good when your internal time clock is out of whack.

Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to minimize anxiety. If you are having trouble getting to or staying asleep try taking some of the natural sleep aids available at your local drug store.

Strategy 4: Set a Daily Routine

One of the best ways to avoid feeling anxious is to develop a daily routine and a to-do list. Start with a morning routine which ensures that you wake up early enough to get everything done that you need to before heading off to work or school. Waking up late is a guaranteed way to start your day with anxiety.

Many people get anxious because their schedule is either too rushed or sporadic, and there is no time for themselves within their daily activities. There should be enough time within your morning routine to either read a bit, do some exercise and/or enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Starting your day in a calm, relaxed way will set it up for success.

Strategy 5: Meditation

Meditation is more than just sitting with your eyes closed. It is the practice of training your mind to let thoughts come and go without fixating on any thought in particular. It takes practice and as with all good habits, it takes some time to develop. Be patient with yourself and encourage yourself to keep at it.

Picture yourself watching cars on a busy highway rushing past, and you have to take notice of every license plate. That would be exhausting and impossible. Now, what if you could stand there, ignore the cars, and instead focus on something in the distance. Maybe a sunset or a beautiful, magnificent tree. That would be much more calming, wouldn’t it? Meditation is an amazing skill to use when you have anxiety. As your anxious thoughts about yesterday, tomorrow, five years from now race in and out of your mind, being able to slow down your thoughts and focus on a calming image greatly reduces the level of anxiousness. Training your mind to be in the present is vital to managing anxiety.

For more discussion on anxiety, what it is, why we feel anxiousness and how it can be managed, please click on the links to either of my blogs below.

Log onto my website at www.itcanbedifferent.ca and download a free tool called Focus and Peace. This audio file will teach you how to overcome anxiousness instantly.

Come and see me at the Empowering Women to Succeed Conference on September 25th. Go to http://empoweringwomentosucceed.com/conference2018 and book your complimentary 30-minute session.