From Problems to Possibilities-Get Out of Your Old Story to Get On With the New!
I love a good story and I know I'm not alone. The evil villain, the adventurer or the sheer power of words captivate us and leave us wanting more. We join bookclubs to share our thoughts on the stories we've read. Great stories aren't just in books and movies. We're writing machines! Many of us self-publish our stories daily. If only we got paid for these stories. We do get compensated and it comes in the form of negative stress and overwhelm in our lives.
The stories we write range from small vignettes to the script for a feature length film. Take super-mom for example....super-mom lives in the story that she needs to do everything perfectly for everyone and often puts herself aside. The main character is both the hero and the victim at the same time. Or how about...I'll be happier when I have more money, more time ? fill in your own blanks. I've had a few clients who, as the main character in their own story, got so caught up in the details of the story - their day to day work - they somehow missed out on getting to what was really important to themself as the main character.
Stories like these do serve a purpose. They keep us busy 'doing' things so we can avoid 'being'. They protect us from taking responsibility for what's going on. They protect us from the possibility of failure or better yet, success or change. When we're the main character in the story it's often hard to write our way out. There is a way out! Write a new story that helps you create exactly the life you deserve.
Three simple steps can help you get beyond the story and eventually eliminate them so that you make better use of your time, have happier and healthier relationships and get more or what you want.
Step 1. Notice that you're in the story?.. With compassion for yourself, you may have been the main character for so long you've forgotten what it's like to be outside of the story. Sounds like a simple step and it is. The key to making any lasting changes is awareness.
Step 2. How is it serving you? What's the story all about? Don't be overly analytical here. The story likely makes you feel a certain way. What's the feeling attached to the story? What's the truth? What do you know for sure?
Step 3. Give yourself full permission to let go and let the real story unfold.
Make a choice....stay in the old story or rewrite the next chapter. How would you like things to be different, what's the step you could take in this moment that moves you in that direction?
So what's your old story? Is it helping you to live the life you deserve? Does your story hold you, as the main character, up to be your best as...creative, resourceful and most importantly whole? Start your new story today, the world is waiting and looking for you.
Debbie Kemp works as a coach to busy women who find themselves wrapped up in the stress and sometimes overwhelm that's holding them back from having a joy-filled life.
Visit Debbie at....'aVirtualRetreat.com'....your online sanctuary for busy women
Contact me at dkemp@aVirtualRetreat.com
FEAR: How to Defeat the Monster
What is the greatest fear of man? Is it death? Pain? Poverty? Physical ailments? Loneliness? Surveys tell us that the number one fear among modern people is public speaking, of all things!
* The material presented in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or prevent any illness.
Emotional Freedom - At YOUR Fingertips!
What would you say if I told you I know of a simple method that can make emotional stress such as upset, anger, fear, concern and distress simply melt away in a few minutes and all you had to do to achieve this is simply touch a few "magical points" on your face and hands?
Stressed? Go on a Quick Getaway
Did you know that taking a short trip, such as over President's Day weekend, or anytime, can have the same stress-reducing effects as a longer one? According to a Stanford University psychiatrist, David Spiegel, our minds shift into a more relaxed state during the first few days of a trip. When we have been away from home for long trips we tend to slightly increase our stress, or dread, coming back to home or work.
Keeping You Stress Free!
We function at our best when we are free from stress, relaxed, confident and focused. Feeling the adrenalin flow and achieving a deadline by the skin of our teeth may be exhilarating in the short term but as a way of life can be detrimental to both health and happiness. Stress has a habit of creeping up on us very slowly. At first it may just show itself in low-level irritation and then possibly some sleepless nights and eventually a feeling of being out of control, time off work and, if unchecked, some form of serious illness.
Getting Rid of Your Frustrations
Punch a pillow
No More Sleepless Nights (Insomnia)
Insomnia is usually the result of the modern way of life and mental tension to which it leads. Innumerable persons suffer from insomnia. According to the available figures, sleeping pills worth millions of dollars are sold every year.
Instant Relaxation Anytime Anywhere
If there was a way of relaxing quickly and easily in any situation would you want to know what it is?
The Physiology of Stress
In the body, the stress response is mediated by the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis, or the HPA-axis for short.
Technology and Stress- How to Prevent Technology From Taking Over Your Life
1. 5-minute rule. How many times do we say, "This will only take 5 minutes" and it ends up taking 20 minutes, making you late for an appointment or client! Anytime you think that something will take you 5 minutes, add on 10-15 minutes.
Stress Management and Mastery: Breakdown or Breakthrough?
Q: "My career, though very very stressful, is one that I thoroughly enjoy and do not want to change. Because I'm under so much stress, my counselor has recommended that I eliminate all stress from my life. This doesn't seem to make sense to me, especially since I like what I do so much. Should I quit my job, or is there something else I can do?"
Three Stress Relief Techniques
There is good stress, and there is bad stress. Good stress is the type that propels a person to excel, to reach new heights or to complete a big project on time.
Create Reserves for a Stress Free Life
One of the ways I have avoided a lot of stress the last two years is to have a stockpile of birthday and all occasion greetings cards in my filing cabinet. When you work at home like I do, you try to have the least interruptions to your day as possible. These cards have saved the day on many occasions. I get them when I am out shopping, I look for the ones I love and sometimes I am able to make the most of sales and cut price items by buying them in bulk. Of course I make sure I also have a big reserve of stamps to go with them.
How To Stop Computers Stressing You Out
Of all the forms of stress in today's world, computer stress is the one that is on the rise the fastest. Computers are wonderful machines, but they can also stress out workers by their sometimes confusing demands, their constant presence and their simple inability to work properly. Thus, computer stress must be understood and it must find an outlet or computer users will find themselves even more stressed out than they already are.
Have you ever said the words, "This job/my life is so stressful!" Or something else along those lines?
Haris Stress Inventory
Conceptualizing stress: Stress often has a negative connotation. Failure, illnesses, distress are often marked as stress. Stress can also be a result of factors like job promotion, transfers, first love and the like.
Stress Managment: How to Beat the Get By Syndrome
I'm sure you have heard of IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, a painful and difficult-to-treat digestive disease.
Stress Causing People to ?Super Size?
Stress Causing People to "Super Size"by Georgianna Donadio D.C., M.Sc., Ph.D. It is currently reported that two out of three adults is either overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to climb. As a result, statistics demonstrate that a significant portion of our population is being diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Even more shocking is that we are experiencing these conditions at earlier ages than previously reported. It is not unusual today, to hear about a young person in their 20's diagnosed with mature onset diabetes, normally developed during middle-age. On May 7, 2004, a controversial and award-winning movie aimed at exploring the obesity epidemic hit theatres. In "Super Size Me", a tongue-in-cheek look at the legal, financial and physical costs of our hunger for fast food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the horrors of school lunch programs, declining health education and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight. As a centerpiece of the film, Spurlock puts his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald's for 30 days following three rules:1) Eat only what is available over the counter2) No supersizing unless offered3) Consume every item on the menu at least onceIn the end, Spurlock has a weight gain of 24 pounds and experiences harrowing visits to the doctor. The issues that are explored in "Super Size Me" beg the question, what has changed in our environment to cause this obesity problem to reach epidemic proportions? Furthermore, what is causing people to overeat as we do? A groundbreaking study, reported in 2003 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants. In particular, portion sizes for salty and sugary foods, essentially, "comfort foods" experienced the most dramatic portion size increases. For example, the USDA's recommended serving size for a cookie is half an ounce, while the average cookie sold in restaurants was found to be 700% larger. The by-products of our affluent American society, envied by many around the world, have a definite dark side, our obesity rate, for starters. In a culture where more is better and disposable income is abundant, when it comes to eating we have developed a "more food, more conveniently and more often" attitude. Stress: A Pre-Cursor to Obesity Certainly, no one forces us to eat more than our body needs, so what is driving this "hunger" for more? Over the last two decades, almost proportionally to the dramatic increase of food consumed and chronic disease diagnoses, the amount of stress in our society and on each of us individually has increased significantly. Stress is the term medical researcher Hans Selye, M.D., PhD, gave to the experience our bodies go through when we have to adjust or adapt to the various changes our bodies experience during the course of the day. While many of us think of stress in relationship to emotional states, many other factors can exert an equally detrimental effect on our bodies as well. When we do not get enough sleep or rest, work or exercise too much, nutritional status, have an infection, have allergies, injuries or trauma, undergo dental or surgical procedures, have emotional upsets, or deal with any aspect of reproductive function such a pregnancy, menopause, etc., our bodies must chemically and neurologically adapt in order to survive. Part of this adaptation process relies heavily on the nutrition that is available for the kidney's adrenal glands to produce the adaptive hormones. It is often this aspect of stress that can lead to overeating, and what's more, overeating the types of foods that cause unhealthy weight gain. How it works Thanks to the work of M.I.T. Professor Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called Serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain. Serotonin along with other neurotransmitters, are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-sooth" by behaviors that lead to the increase of Serotonin. Overeating of carbohydrate and fatty-rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, etc. significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are also attempts to self-sooth and increase Serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially acceptable and as easily available as over eating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating. In addition, our bodies need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and minerals, skyrocket when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or do not appropriately supplement these nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demands for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing. For a period of time, foods that comfort, sooth or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of Serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves, yet again. Then, we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrate and fatty rich foods until we feel better. This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload. As a result, it is no wonder that within the last year, low-carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans or 20 million people are currently on a low-carb diet. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over consumption of carbohydrates, therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. The real issue, however, is how long can we reduce are carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place? Causes of Stress Prior to the early 1970's, the majority of family units were structured as a one wage earner household where the male worked and the female stayed at home, taking care of the house and family. Driven largely by social and socio-economic factors, all of that has changed. Now, the overwhelming majority of families include both parents working and we find ourselves on a treadmill of more work, more responsibilities, more demands and non-stop scheduling that has many of us in a state of physical and, at times, emotional exhaustion. Added to the mix is our competitive culture, which often leads to isolation or a "them against us" thinking. Isolation of this nature causes additional "hidden" stress. A Hindu Vendata truth is that "the whole world is one family". It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness; separating oneself from the awareness that as members of the human family, we are one living organism. The drama created by a "one-up" or "one-down" dynamic, that we find in competitive societies, can lead to the exhaustion and the psychosocial behavioral issues which can contribute to overeating. Understanding Exhaustion and its' Effect on Obesity The tipping point at which our bodies can no longer compensate or adapt from the stress it is under, is based in large part on the threshold of nutritional competency and the state of integrity of our nervous system. When our central nervous system, which governs every cell in our body and makes life possible, is not working efficiently, we have a decrease in bodily function and the ability to adapt to the world we live in. Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, CFS, are rampant in our culture today and growing at an alarming rate because of the over stimulation and increased demands placed on our nervous systems. Add to this inadequate nutrition and a decreased ability of our bodies to digest and absorb properly because of the stress, and we see the foundation of the epidemic of chronic diseases being currently reported. What is so shocking for us, as Americans, is that while we live in one of the most affluent societies ever to exist on earth and have one of the most technologically advanced medical systems we are raked at approximately twenty-sixth in the world health Olympics. This is not the failure of our medical system, but in fact, the failure to live in our bodies mindfully and respectfully, taking time for rest, proper nutrition, reflection, intimacy with self and others and serving the common good of society. It is this imbalance that leads us to chronic stress, which leads to physical and, if you will, spiritual exhaustion that is producing the levels of chronic diseases and the rampant obesity we see today. Self-Esteem and Health We have an innate understanding of how we need to choose to live to be healthy.Yet, adages about health i.e., "early to be, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise", are often ignored in place of our instant gratification or immediate comfort.Physical labor has taken a back seat to "mind work", and today we work harder than ever before to have the money to buy a membership to a gym or spa so we can do the physical exercise we need to be healthy and attractive. However, rarely do we actually have the time to go to the gym we pay membership fees to. Statistically, the average gym membership is used for the first 4 ? 6 weeks after signing up and then falls off dramatically. Workout facilities count on this phenomenon when planning their recruitment and enrollment numbers. Likewise, diet plans and weight loss centers know that 90% or more of their customers will continue to have body weight issues, in spite of their best efforts to re-direct to a different way of eating. Why? The Oprah Syndrome One of the most powerful, successful people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a brilliant example of the "super size" syndrome in our culture. With every possible service, care and expert available to her, Oprah has continued to struggle with significant weight gain and loss for many years. In 2001, a chart published in a popular magazine, documents her weight gain and loss over the previous 20 years. Even during the height of her popularity and professional success, her body weight rose to dangerously elevated levels. The reasons most of us give for not taking care of ourselves include; not having enough time to shop for or cook the right foods; not being sure what's best for our body type; not enough money for domestic help so we can exercise, meditate or relax; stress over money and achieving success. Oprah is an individual who has more than enough money and success to eliminate all those concerns, yet in spite of that she still does not consistently maintain a proper body weight. Driven by personal history and ambition, Oprah offers a perfect example of the potential outcome of Serotonin driven self-soothing, which invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem and the serotonin connection, it becomes quite clear that what is at the core of our "super sizing" is not solved by the "diet of the month" or the next "how to" bestseller. Rather, an examination of our personal worldview, our ego state, our treatment and regard for nature and for others, what we value, what we believe in, how much we consume and how much we accumulate. When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produce balance rather than extremes, that debunk the thinking that "more is better", we then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from the fast food menu. In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world's resources, we have come to accept excess as a way of life and a standard to subscribe to. In the 1980's, Robin Leach's television show, "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous", tainted our appetites for a standard of over consumption that has brought us to where we are today ? obese and chronically diseased. Take a Tip from the Gurus Eastern philosophies offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Quite opposite from our "in your face" attitude of self-manifestation, Eastern wisdom invites us to ponder, "how much do I really need; to do; to have; to eat; to own; to control; to be content with my life; and what is the role of gratitude in my life?" Shouldn't having a calm, well functioning nervous system, the source of all life in the body, be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what we want with the latest diet craze or vitamin pills available? Change the Question It may be time to change the questions we not only ask ourselves, but the questions we are asked as consumers. Maybe, if when making his fast food purchases, Morgan Spurlock was asked the question "super size or down size, sir?" the choices he might have made could have resulted in significant weight loss rather than weight gain, but then Spurlock would not have a movie to make, or the millions that will be realized from it.
8 Practical Methods to Remain Empowered During Stressful Times
1. Acknowledge that requesting support, guidance and partnership is not the same as being needy. Allowing someone else to give freely to you primes the pump in the universal law of giving and receiving. There are as many blessings to the giver as there are to the receiver: being open to receiving invites flow as well as empowerment for all.
Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy
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.
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