Posts Tagged ‘Stress Relief’

Control Overreaction At Work and Home

March 5th, 2013

Angry Biz WomanWhen it comes to pressure in the workplace or at home, which situations trigger feelings of overload, burden, overwhelm and stress?  How do you typically react?  Do you freeze up, get angry or cranky, gossip, feel frustrated, or stop working and start complaining?  Do you overreact?

The next time pressure and overload land in your world, shift your old pattern to a more constructive response.

Consciously choose your reaction. Begin by acknowledging to yourself that wave of despair, annoyance or overwhelm as it starts to surface.  Then, take a moment and identify your preferred response.  If you need the benefit of another perspective, speak with your manager or a trusted friend.  Discuss the necessity of a shift in priorities.  Seek out their advice about ways to proceed. You can also solicit suggestions from a colleague.  Or, if need be, take a brief walk to clear your head, release tension and get a fresh perspective.

The trick to handling pressure more effectively is interrupting your auto-pilot, patterned response. Consciously choose to replace overreaction with emotional intelligence and you’ll feel the change ripple through your life.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

Boost Trust in Your Relationships

October 16th, 2012

Are your relationships resting on a strong foundation of trust?  If so, you may be among the 49% of people in the US who say they have a high level of trust in others.

But, here’s the rub:  if 49% trust others that means 51% aren’t so trusting.  What’s that about?  While I can’t account for the whole story, I believe I have a useful perspective on part of it because trust is at the heart of what makes relationships work.

When trust is present in a relationship there is a sense of ease, reliability and predictability.  The presence of trust helps us to relax and feel safe.  We need trust in our relationships – at home, in the workplace, in our communities.  Trust is its own social capital and it’s value – priceless.

You may be in an important relationship where you want to strengthen trust.  It’s not bad, but it certainly could be better.  Or, perhaps you’re forming new relationships – in your love life, in a new or extended family, on in your professional life.  Or you may be facing the uphill challenge of needing to repair trust and credibility in a damaged or broken relationship.

When clients talk with me about their challenges with building or repairing trust, and ask how to proceed, my recommendation is often the same.  It’s a straightforward, simple suggestion:  going forward, keep your word.  Say what you mean.  Promise only what you intend to deliver.

Even when you’re uncomfortable saying “No,” don’t agree to anything you know you’re not going to do because you don’t want to, don’t have the authority to execute, or because of some other constraint you won’t or can’t follow-through.

Broken agreements are at the heart of most damaged and dysfunctional relationships, both in the workplace and at home.  If you’re not going to keep a commitment you made, tell the affected person or parties, as soon as possible.  Offer a sincere apology for not following through on what you said.

Keeping your word is an act of honor and accountability.  It makes you stand out as trust-worthy when people know they can count on you to keep the promises you make, and when you can’t, they know you’ll give them the respect of informing them directly and early.

Boost the trust level in your relationships.  The trust you earn by keeping your word will open doors and keep them open.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

You’re Busy, Busy, Busy! But How Productive Are You?

October 2nd, 2012

Are you among the many people for whom working long hours, multitasking and pressing to meet deadlines have become a way of life?

In the short-term, these are practical solutions.  But, research tells us that this pattern, over the long-term, increases stress levels and results in lower levels of productivity.  Eventually, even though you’re plenty busy, you begin to accomplish less.

To accomplish more, you have to find ways to leverage your time and resources more effectively.  Here are 3 quick and simple strategies that can help you accomplish more, with less stress.

Organize your work life – email, files, drawers and desktop.  Doing so will enable you to more readily find what it is you need, saving valuable minutes, as well as the cost – time and dollars of unnecessary redos and purchases.  Just as physical mail and papers can be placed in project folders, so can email.  That puts their access at the ready.

Tackle your most challenging tasks when you’re at your best.  For example, if you’re a morning person, take on important projects that require thought during those hours.

Activity logs can provide important insight into how you spend your time.  For one week, jot down how you use your time.  Each time you begin a new activity, make a note of what it is and how much time it required.  This will help you get a handle on whether you’re spending your time on high-value, high priority tasks or wasting more time than needed on low-priority meetings, interruptions or other distractions.

Good time management requires self-awareness and self-management.  The payback in productivity will be well worth the effort.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

100% Full Proof Guaranteed Way to Instantly Reduce Stress

July 31st, 2012

Guest Blog by Kyle Ruffin

One day, I found myself, as I often do, staring with anger at a woman in the supermarket who was wearing an outfit that was absolutely inappropriate for her.  Not only was it too tight, it was clearly designed for a girl half her age.   I stared and stared, while my mind devised insults that would put this woman in her place once and for all.  If I could just say the right words to her, she’d thank me, run home and set this outfit, and no doubt other hideous attire in her closet, on fire.  But of course, that was the least likely outcome.  So why was I investing so much emotion in this complete stranger?

How many times a day do you find yourself in this state of mind?  Working yourself up over a total stranger or a situation that you either can’t control or doesn’t concern you?  When you do, your blood pressure goes up.  Your chest tightens.  Your heart starts racing.  The tension in your face and around your eyes intensifies.  Your forehead pinches so much that your eyebrows feel like they might touch.  We ALL do it.  Waste valuable time and expend angry emotion that benefits no one – especially not ourselves.

We live in a society where passing judgment is truly our favorite pastime.  My guess is that’s what makes Reality TV so popular.  We can sit on the couch and legitimately judge the ridiculous actions of someone who will have no impact on our lives what so ever.  Why do we even care if the Bachelorette sleezes her way through the latest batch of men?  Or another has-been TV star has fallen from grace into the clutches of dysfunction.

We’ve been judging others for so long and we do it so often that it’s a reflex.  Experts (and I’m no expert) would probably say it’s a hold-over from the human evolutionary period when we needed to make snap judgments about whether the approaching thing was going to eat us.  In most cases today, it serves no purpose.  Admittedly, there are situations where it’s good to size someone up before they can do us harm.  When it comes to superficial judging, we’re better off without it.

I’ve consciously decided to turn the tide by taking control of my mind and emotions in this area.  In the same way people use Mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, I’m using these techniques to stop judging others.  Since judging is such an involuntary reaction, it’s very hard to head it off at the pass, but as soon as I realize what I’m doing, I just stop.  Instantly, I feel the tension melt away.  My shoulders lower.  My chest unclenches. My disposition lightens and I sometimes even find myself smiling ever so slightly – finding humor in the ridiculousness of self-righteous stance.

Kyle Ruffin

Kyle Ruffin

Give it a shot.  I guarantee you’ll feel the difference.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to pull out the judgment card.  So, if that heart-racing, brow-squinching feeling is something you crave, just wait a few minutes.  Real danger is bound to present itself.

 

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

Meditation 101: You’re Too Busy NOT to Try It!

June 19th, 2012

Guest Blog By Kyle Ruffin

If like me, you read the book and/or saw the movie “Eat. Pray. Love.” –  you may have gotten the impression that meditation is a lot of work!   References made to the daily reciting of the ancient yogic text “Bhagavad Gita” made it seem like school work memorization.  It looked very nice and clearly beneficial for Elizabeth Gilbert, but not for me!  Just another to-do list item that I can live without.  Thank you very much!

Then I took a Mindful Stress Reduction class, and meditation was at its core.  There were no mantra’s or memorization.  There was no ancient language.  I learned that at its most basic, meditation is about doing nothing.  It’s about stopping our racing mind long enough for it to clear and function more efficiently.  I can do that.  I can do “nothing.”  Or can I?

The facilitator (shout out to Hope Honeyman) introduced us to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s breath and body scan meditations which – as you might imagine – are all about focusing on the breath and the sensation of being in your body.  The biggest challenge was keeping our minds from going back to our insane to-do lists, our questions about “what if,” and our “Monkey Mind” that constantly chatters away in our heads.  The only learning required was learning how to silence the chatter by focusing, refocusing and focusing again on breath and the task of “being” NOT “doing.”  Each time I pushed my “to do list” out of my head, I could feel the tension melt away with it.  It felt like my brain thawing after a long freeze.

We did outdoor walking meditations – taking slow deliberate steps, feeling the ground beneath our feet and scanning our bodies from head to toe, becoming aware of how each body part felt at that moment.  We did an eating meditation.  Too often we gobble down our food, never taking the time to enjoy the flavors and sensations of the things we crave.  There’s all kinds of evidence that says people who practice mindful eating eat less because they enjoy their food more.

Just closing your eyes and listening to everything within earshot is a great mediation – shutting out everything else is a way to train your mind to focus.

My favorite was Kabat-Zinn’s body scan meditation, which always left me feeling centered, calm and able to complete full sentences in a single bound.  That’s my demon, my mind races so much that I forget my point before I get to the end of my sentence.  We live in a “what’s next” society, rushing ahead in our minds and rarely, if ever, enjoying where we are right now – even when we’re doing something we love.  We wonder why we don’t enjoy life as much — why we need more and more stimulation and stuff to make us happy.  I’m here to tell you there is a cure.  It’s free, non-invasive and requires no prescription.

At the end of the 8-week program, the women along for this great journey raved about how much better life was after incorporating meditation and awareness to their every day existence.  Blood pressure was lower.  Reactions were calmer.  Attitudes were more positive and coping skills were more integrated.

Wanna try it out?  Here’s a little dose. After reading this, get into a comfortable supported position.  Close your eyes.  Relax your face and shoulders.  Then focus on nothing else but the coolness of your breath entering your nostrils and the warmth of your breath as it exits.  Take 20 long breaths.  When your mind starts racing, shut it down. It’s okay — the to-do list will be there when you’re done.  But more importantly, you’ll have restored and refreshed your mind in ways that will put that to-do list in perspective and make tackling it much easier.  I guarantee it!

IF YOU WANT MORE…

Search online for “free guided meditations,” or check out Jon Kabat Zinn’s Guided Mindfulness Meditation – which offers 4 meditations that are great for beginners.

If you’re in the South Jersey area and want to learn more about Mindful Stress Reduction classes, contact Hope Honeyman, LCSW.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark

GUEST BLOG: Remember How Good It Felt to Swing?

May 15th, 2012

By Guest Blogger Kyle Ruffin

It felt like you were flying.  There was something about the simple movement of swinging back and forth, somewhat out of control, that brought about amazing joy when you were a kid.  So much so that writing about it is bringing back a little of that sensation.

One day recently, while going about my humdrum routine of tasks and obligations, I walked by a watercolor painting of kids crowded onto one of those 4-person swings.  They had so much joy painted on their faces.  I thought, wow, I remember feeling that way.  A bunch of friends, or maybe even strange kids I didn’t really know, not caring that we were touching and sharing germs as we enjoyed in the simple act of swinging.  It was before all our phobias had kicked in.  Before Dr. Oz showed us how many germs are on the average kid’s toy.  Or before we became obsessed with engaging only in things that would grow our bank accounts.  Before we became afraid of embarrassing ourselves or looking silly.  Before we started experiencing life vicariously through our kids.  It’s just not the same thing.

All the while, we wonder “Where’d the joy go?  Why don’t I get the same excitement out of simple things in life?”   The kids are having all the fun and we’re feeling empty.   I find my excitement these days is pretty limited to sharing a bottle of wine, a meal and good conversation with my friends and family.  I do love that, but it’s time to diversify the things from which I derive pleasure.  All my physical activity is focused on getting or staying fit – not the joy of movement for it’s own sake.

There’s a lot to be gained by engaging the body in fun stuff.  It’s actually good for our precious mind.  It shakes loose all those cobwebs and gets the blood flowing to parts that haven’t seen blood in a while.   It’s hard not to be present and fully in the moment when you’re throwing your body around.  Not to mention how good those endorphins feel.

I applaud you if you’re one of those people Electric Sliding or Chicken Dancing on the wedding reception dance floor?  Or if you ski — wind in your face, moving at a speed that’s just out of control enough to feel exhilarating but not dangerous.   Okay…maybe a little dangerous.   Time for me to join you!

I’m heading down to the playground to see if that swing set my association dues paid for will hold my weight.  If not, I’ll track down a hoola-hoop to throw my body into.   Some simple fun.  I consider it my reward for all the time I’ve focused on my bank account.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.