I am transferring this content to my new site www.woadstress.com
See you all there!
I am transferring this content to my new site www.woadstress.com
See you all there!
Low Down and Dirty STRESS MANAGEMENT
Don’t you just hate those corporate, ego ingratiating, stress management seminars. The ones where you are bombarded with a truck load of “scientific data” that conveniently re-convolutes your life and quietly contradicts its self leaving you more knotty than before?
Or the mindless regurgitation of the same old blah balh schuwee feel good ideas like – eat healthier, sleep more, do yoga and wham-bam you will turn into a stress free green freak, munching on super organic – or was that orgasmic… zero polluting, everything free, tropical jungle lala-land wonder fruit?
……..Well, back in the real world, we realize that our stress is a complex and sometimes toxic combination of emotions, hormones, identity and survival responses that is perfectly tuned to get us through the day.
Yes the diet and the yoga and the sleep will all help and are worthy goals to achieve, but how can we even consider them when we are barely coping as we are now?
The only effective stress management system is one that will empower you to understand yourself better, bring your attention to yourself and your responses in the moment, and allow you to formulate a medium to long term strategy to direct you to your success.
Here are four simple things that you can do every day for 30 days.
WARNIG! Diligently following this system could just change your life!
Get yourself a diary and write in it 5 times a day.
Set an alarm on your phone to go off at 07h00, 10h00, 13h00, 16h00 and 18h00. When your alarm goes off, write down how you feel – ONE word, then three very short reasons WHY you feel like that.
As well as this, log your basic diet – what you eat and when, your coffee and tea consumption and your exercise done in the day. This forces your awareness to your self without any judgement or pre conceived ideas.
Learn to breath. Go to dance classes with your partner, try a few meditation classes to learn the techniques of meditation. Once you know how to do it, you can then apply your specific religious beliefs to your meditations. Remember that adding oxygen to your system will lower your blood pressure and will reduce your stress.
Daily exercise is important. Resistance exercise and interval training maintains a healthy body tone, fat levels and bone density and cardiovascular exercise – dancing and walking, maintain healthy cardiovascular system. Include your partner, family and friends in you exercise routine so you can help to motivate each other and build stronger social bonds.
Take some time to list your achievements and congratulate yourself for them. This will help you to define where you are in the moment and will also enable you to set and plan future goals. You will see your life more in perspective and will feel less overwhelmed.
After doing your diary observations for thirty days, take an hour or two and go through your diary. Find out for yourself how you have been living your life, what you have been eating, how your exercise regime is progressing.
Find three to five things that are negative and that are repeating in your life and write a short 300 word explanation or story around each one of those things so that you understand them fully . Then see what you can do to change those negatives into positive motivators in your life.
Your stress levels are a direct response to how you are operating in your world. Empower yourself and take charge of our life!
Remember those days as a child when the world was filled with possibility?
When a few bricks and a piece of card became a pirate ship or a space ship?
When there was no doubt in your mind that your newly imagined pirate ship could take you on an infinite adventure and that you would always be victorious!
You were always perfect in your own world.
Day dreaming is a unique behaviour that allows us to safely yet realistically explore possibility. It is closely linked to fantasy and the exploration there of, and a lot of our day dreaming may incorporate a large amount of fantasy. What day dreaming serves to do is to assimilate external experience and other peoples ideas , experiences and concepts into a single imaginary event which we then experience form our own unique perspective.
Day dreaming is a natural way of conditioning your subconscious mind to find something acceptable or unacceptable and there buy creating space or managing space in your life for the actual experience. There is also very little judgement of self or others in a day dream, and are few limitations to the imagined experience. By paying attention to our day dreams, deep insights can be gained into your self , motivations and expectations as well as into more negative areas of your personal limitations and inhibitions.
One can also re analyse trauma and other stress events in a day dream which allows us to create just the required degree of emotional separation for you from that event so we can cope better and eventually become stronger.
Dare to dream, indulge in that fantasy for a moment and alloy your mind to fine tune your experience in this wonderful reality!
What would it be like if…………?
We all want to do more, get more, achieve more….
But if we could allocate more time to X project, we would!
Most of us have already committed 100% of our valuable time to existing tasks at hand, so how do we grow our business, career and even social selves?
Have you ever played one of those slide the pieces puzzle games where you have to shuffle pieces around to get from A to B?
Becoming more efficient is a process just like that, we have to prioritise and schedule tasks in such a way so as to get all our stuff done and free up more time.
The best way to do this is to prioritise things in your life.
It is a given that you have responsibility to your family, friends and work, and would not jeopardise any of those. All we need to do is get the order right!
I like to divide my areas of influence into three categories.
Drop everything and run emergency response
Important to attend to before everything else
Not so important, but needs attention
See if you can categorise all areas of your life into similar categories – for the family area in my life, children are 1, siblings and parents 2, others 3. For work, imminent deadlines 1, next weeks projects 2, yearly goals 3. Even vehicle maintenance can be categorised in this way – a cam-belt replacement would be 1, then a service and tyres 2, then air-conditioner re-gas 3.
We are always going to have to deal with a curve ball or two, but if we can re calibrate ourselves regularly and re focus, we will become more efficient, more pro active, less reactive and more in charge of our lives.
How long did it take you to learn to ride a bicycle?
How many times did you fall off that bicycle before you got it right?
Why then do we expect that other areas of our lives will run smoothly and hassle free on the first try?
There are so many variables interacting and influencing our lives that is amazing that we get anything together at all!
It seems that the only way that we as humans can progress along a chosen path is to assess all the variables and order them in such a way that the transaction or set of actions progresses in a specific order to get us to our desired outcome. In most cases, if something goes wrong, the whole process stops and we have to re evaluate the order in which we placed the variables and try again. Success in life seems to be all about implementing the right formula with a compatible set of circumstances at the right time.
To get the timing right, you need to observe and be patient!
Observe the outcomes of your actions as they are today. Judge for yourself if the outcome is acceptable to you in relation to your expectation. If you are not satisfied, look at the actions that you took and see where your actions can be improved. Also look at the technology available and decide for yourself if you need to upgrade it or even adapt it to suit your purpose better. It is pointless inventing an iPod like device and not having access to suitable memory technology.
Don’t lose sight of your end goal. Be patient!
Allow other important variables to mature to a point where they are compatible and can add meaningful value to the action that you need to take to successfully achieve your goal.
In most cases you will notice that a lack of success is nothing more that a timing issue. Don’t be too hard on yourself, re assess your actions and try again!
Speed-bumps and Potholes
Have you ever been cruising comfortably through life, everything going according to plan when suddenly BAM!
You hit a speed-bump or pothole and your well made plans are lying in tatters at your feet leaving you struggling to cope?
Logically we know that life is carrying on, that we are alive and coping, but things are no longer working out as planned and the feelings of joy, happiness and freedom have gone!
In this type of situation, it is vital to keep our perspective flexible and mobile. We need to be able to quickly and efficiently zoom our perspective into and out of the situation and its results that are being currently experienced. Try this zooming for a moment.
Select a small problem that you are experiencing. Focus on the minute details of it, then imagine yourself zooming out and seeing you problem in relation to your co-workers, your family, your neighbourhood or even further out if you can.
Did you notice how the perceived severity of your problem changes?
This fluidity of perspective allows us to gain different understandings of the situation and there by enables us to make better decisions about what we need to do to regain our comfortable cruising along equilibrium.
Once our perspective begins to shift, we are able to make informed and good decisions and we should usually feel empowered enough to take decisive action to get ourselves back into equilibrium.
Remember to check your spare wheel occasionally…. always be aware of your financial, moral and emotional situation and use your speed-bumps and potholes to slow you down enough to prevent yourself over committing to things that may not be necessary or appropriate for you in you life as it is now.
Speed-bumps and potholes are a wonderful way for us to slow down, take stock of our position, appreciate what we have and move decisively into our future!
“The Lord helps those who help themselves”
Don’t you hate it when people lord this phrase over you?
I tend to immediately go on the defensive with phrases like “if only….” or “I’m trying”
Taking a long hard look at the basic fundamentals of life, I soon realised that there are so many variables to consider, so many different possibilities and interconnected options, the “if only…” reason is immediately invalidated. “If only…” is only a possibility once the action or outcome has occurred. The outcome is then not liked or accepted. This position of dislike is used as the premise for the “if only”. It can not therefore be used as an excuse for anything!
The essence of life is survival. “I’m trying” has no influence what so ever on our survival. We either survive or we don not, there is no trying involved at all, just decisive action. This seems to be a hard core, blunt observation, but it extrapolates out into every single thing that we do in our lives. We can not try to do things like eating, driving, loving or typing. We either do them, or we do not. The very first time that you got behind a steering wheel of a car and engaged the gears, you were driving… possibly not very well, but driving none the less.
Everything in life is a combination of our decisions and our actions. We decide something and then take the necessary action to achieve the desired outcome. To do this, we need to be able to analyse our environment, to anticipate possible outcomes, understand the personal responsibility that we have in those outcomes, and then to have the courage to take decisive action. No matter how subtle or complicated life becomes, this core principle holds true. Observation, anticipation, responsibility, action.
Look at your life and circumstances, take responsibility for where you are right now. Decide where you would like to be, be courageous and take decisive action to get you on the path to your success!
What is life all about?
What is the one thing that we have to do all the time?
How do we get ahead in our business careers, personal and spiritual lives?
The only answer to these questions is – Talking to People!
I had the morning off yesterday and I had some business to do at my local police station. I always dread going to a government office because of the perceived inefficiency, corruption and other horror stories which I am sure are more urban legends than general common experience!
I decided, as I was parking my car, to see how many people I could talk to. Not just ask questions about what I wanted to know, but actually engage with people, talk to them as fellow humans.
My experience was astounding!
I discussed the merits of drinking hot water with ginger, mint and lemon instead of coffee and tea to help people who are reporting traumatic incidents. An old and wise sergeant debated the stages of a personal relationship as his father taught it to him – in depth insights on infatuation, love, parenting and friendship. The cashier lady discussed concepts of honesty and integrity that they encourage at that station and how that has helped her teenage children, and I sat in on an impromptu lesson given to patrol officers by a private security officer on how to approach a suspicious vehicle!
Who would have thought that there was such a depth and diversity of knowledge and human experience at a simple community police station?
What other human insights are out there that we miss in the hustle and bustle of our daily grind?
As best you can, take some time to talk to the humans around you. You will be surprised at the depth and value that will be added to your life!
Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.
The dynamics of helping people, and in turn allowing ourselves to be helped are intricate and complex. It is not just about giving someone money so they go away.
To truly help someone, one needs to have some kind of understanding of who the other person is, what their needs are, and to also understand their world view.
Helping others involves a considerable amount of courage confidence and compassion. We need to be willing to look outside ourselves, to observe others, to see where we can help, then decide to step up and do that we think needs to be done in a way that empowers those who we are helping. A basic understanding of these deeper aspects of another person are the things that allow us to compare ourselves to others and make critical decisions or observations about ourselves!
By helping others we automatically presume that we are able to help, that we have the necessary skills and expertise to enable us to do what ever it is that we have decided to do to help that person.
In essence, helping others is not just about giving to some one in need. Helping others is a wonderful social way of assessing our selves, our skills, our confidence and self worth. That good feeling that you have as a result of helping others is not necessarily some mysterious spiritual epiphany, but rather a realization of how good we really are.
In helping others you are helping yourself!
We all want to be successful, get ahead, reach the top of our profession. We all want to thrive in areas that bring us happiness, joy and fulfillment.
It is possible for each and every on of us to attain these lofty heights and not only attain them, but also maintain them.
Success is an ever fluctuating and adapting experience of excellence, like a surfer riding an endless wave, constantly making fine adjustments to stance, weight transfer and balance to maintain forward momentum. Success is not a single thing. There can be many things, both spiritual and physical, and there can be many interconnected layers to your success.
To achieve success, we need to clearly define what it is, and then to have specifically defined points on which to focus so that we don’t get lost along the way.
Consider what success means for you right now. Define what success would be if you were to be living it now.
What details of success hold your attention and why are those details important?
Be greedy for a moment and say I WANT……
Now that you know what it is that you want, you can at least eliminate the behaviours that will hinder your progress towards achieving what you want.
Look at what you need to do with the resources that you have at your disposal to get you to that success. Assess how many small achievements need to be made to get you to where you want to be. This is like reading a road map and listing all the towns that you need to pass through to get to your vacation destination. You will instinctively know where you need to stop and consolidate your gains, and where you need to push through difficulty to get to the next point on your journey.
Trouble shoot your plan, look for weak points and have possible alternatives ready to help you through should things become difficult.
This is your plan!
Draw it our as a flow diagram or a mind map and pin it up somewhere convenient so you can assess you progress and maintain your motivation and determination daily.
Once you have a plan, anything is possible!