Give the Gift of Your Presence

Me and Cinderella
Me and Cinderella

Be Here Now

In the US, we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday.  My own mother died when I was 21, after a long terminal illness.  I still miss her delectible meals, artistic talent and haunting beauty.  While she ill, I was cared for by an incredible woman named Cinderella. I was so blessed to have her in my life. She gave me my love, my hugs, my values and my unconditional support.  Sadly, she died a few years ago of Alzheimers. I am so grateful I got to see her before she died, and she knew who I was.  Those moments meant everything.

We’re in the season of so many celebrations, weddings, graduations, birthdays.
Be sure you give a meaningful gift, one of your physical presence.  Without distractions, your presence can meet more to someone than any store-bought gift.

How to Make Your Visit More Memorable

• Turn off your cell phone, beeper, and any electronics when you are with your loved one. No TV’s either.

• Make eye contact most all the time you are there.  Lean in and let the person know you are truly listening.  Feed back what they have said and ask them questions about it.

• Spend some meaningful time.  10 minutes is not enough.  You know what is.

• Do things for this person that they can’t do themselves.  Help them out with grace and dignity.

After this kind of visit, both of you will feel the love.

 

 

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Dignity and Respect- For Yourself and Others

Helping Others Needs to Be a Two Way Street

Most of us have been raised thinking it’s appropriate to be generous, kind, loving and helpful to others.  In in today’s world with so much suffering, we are increasingly asked to reach out and help. And if we can and are willing to do so, without strings attached, we should. Sharing the wealth of heart and wallet is a good thing.

But the key here is to do so while allowing the other person to have dignity.  Every human being has a sense of pride and self-worth, and truly no one wants to beg for assistance if they can help it.  When giving aid in any form, whether it’s advice, money, clothing or food, be sure to allow the recipient to have dignity.

Kevin Hall, in his wonderful book Aspire, explains it eloquently when he tells the story of Pravin and “genshai.”  Genshai means never treating another person in a way that would make them feel small.  So if you are giving money to a beggar, you don’t toss a coin to them, you get down to their level, look them in the eye and smile. Then you give them the money and say “bless you.” You are treating them with respect.

An interesting twist on this is to practice genshai with yourself.  Never treat yourself in a way that would make you feel small.  And most of us do this regularly. We criticize ourselves mercilessly, judging our actions and finding fault.  All that does is lower our self-esteem and create guilt and resentment patterns against ourselves.  If you feel you did something in a less than perfect way, forgive yourself and move on.  Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

___________________

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Recharge Your Brain with Down Time

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly -spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” Susan Taylor

Access Your Creativity Through Quiet Time

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressMost busy professionals have very little time for themselves. Deadlines, quotas, meetings, family, life obligations all take a toll on our personal time. Your brain never turns off.  You probably have “cerebral congestion.”

Recent study  by LexisNexis of 1,700 white collar workers in the U.S., China, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia showed employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing data rather than using it to do their jobs; 50% confessed that they were reaching a breaking point.
Most of our best ideas come from quiet time. Many great concepts that later became life-improving products originated in the shower.  Several companies  encourage employees to take one day a week to work on whatever project they want- whether it’s part of their job description or not. Some of these companies’ best innovations resulted. But if there’s no time, no quiet space, no daydreaming, there’s very little room for innovation.

How Can You Get More Quiet Time?

cut down on meetings and shorten them. Ask- could this be accomplished in an email or memo? Make a guideline that all meetings get done in 15 minutes or less. Tell people in advance to laser their thoughts.

exercise nearly every day-and instead of watching TV, talking on the phone or reading emails while you’re doing it, just be quiet. Play soothing environmental music. Or get outside. Let your brain wander while you are in nature.

sleep at least 7 hours a night. Sleep is critical to your overall health, well-being and memory. In true restful sleep, your brain synthesizes through various levels of consciousness and replenishes itself. The quiet of sleep is absolutely necessary for sanity, not to mention performance and achievement.

meditate. Even if it is only for 10 minutes a day, taking the time to be quiet and go inside, listen, and breathe deeply can give the brain a vital rest.

take your vacation time. In 2013, most Americans left 4 vacation days on the table. No laptops or emails or phone calls on vacation. Be truly off the grid and come back refreshed and revitalized.

get outside in nature. The new field of ecopsychology demonstrates that spending time in nature relaxes the brain, restores the body and spirit.

Your brain has great wisdom and gifts to share with you. It can only do so when it truly has a chance to recharge. Give it that time.

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It’s Not about YOU!

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154Other People’s Behavior is ALWAYS about Them!

I  recently had lunch with two great women who have achieved substantial success in life and business.  However, like so many people, they were taking way too much responsibility for others.  As I speak around the country about burn-out, I see this trend over and over.

You are NOT responsible for the actions of others.
 If someone comes into work in a bad mood, it’s not your fault.  Nor do you have to fix it.  Women in particular are great “fixers.”  Stop.  Focus your energy and attention on being the best you can be, and let go of worrying about the behavior of others. You can’t control them anyway, and you certainly cannot change them.  Let every individual make their own choices.

How to Stay Clear of Over-Responsibility

• Don’t Take it Personally  If someone is rude, short-tempered or curt with you, recognize it’s about them.  They may have been in a fight or lost a loved one or been cut off in traffic. It’s not about YOU.

 Take a Good Look at Your Schedule  How much of it is taking on others’ tasks and responsibilities?  Have you over-committed?  Are you doing the work others should be doing?  Stop, renegotiate those commitments, and don’t take on anything that isn’t yours.

• Lighten Up  Life is so hard if you continually worry about others’ opinions and problems. Yes, it is appropriate to give back to the community and do service work.  But not at the expense of your health and well-being. Focus first on your life, your needs and your issues, and allow yourself to relax and have joy, freedom and peace of mind.

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Women are More Stressed Than Men

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154According to American Psychological Association’s  Work and Well-Being Survey,women are more stressed than ever.

• 37% of women feel stressed at work, versus 33% of men.
• Only 48% of women feel work is an equal playing field for both genders, while 54% of men do.
• Only 43% of women feel they are paid enough, compared to 48% of men.
• Only 35% of women feel they have the chance to move up, versus 43% of men.
•To manage their stress, 34% of women say they have enough resources to do so versus 38% of men.
Women are under greater pressure in part because they are responsible for an increased share of their households’ earnings and because they are still trying to juggle more of the home workload.


How to Reduce Your Stress:

Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.   Any less and the World Health Organization labels it a carcinogen. You carry an extra 20 pounds of weight and are 3 times more likely to catch a cold or flu.

Drink water- lots of it.  80% of North Americans are dehydrated, and that leads to overeating, high blood pressure, and sleep disturbance.

Exercise in a fun way, preferably with a buddy- at least 4 times a week. All it takes is 15 minutes.  Exercise is good for you on so many levels, especially as a stress reliever.

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Your Nose and Stress: How Scent Can Help

lemon & sliceLRBelieve it or not, the scent of lemon in the workplace cuts keyboard
mistakes by 50%! And while keyboard mistakes are not a huge source
of stress, they can lead to major problems when the wrong data is
put into a contract, or the wrong digit is typed into a mortgage agreement.

Fragrance is powerful. It can make a huge difference in
how you deal with 
stress.

Peppermint, cinnamon, orange or rose  fragrance revitalize you while lavender, marjoram and sandalwood relax you.
Peppermint extract on your forehead or temples can help relieve pain
immediately. It’s also great for concentration. A University of Cincinnati
study found that people who breathe in peppermint oil are immediately
more alert and better able to focus. Children who eat a peppermint
before tests score better. Athletes who inhale peppermint scent
have more energy. Try it the next time you work out.

Vanilla oil is a refreshing way to soothe restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to a study done at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road trip.

So the next time you’re stressed out, try reaching for a fragrant oil and see what a difference it makes.

For a free report on how to get and stay Fired Up!, go here http://firedupnow.com/top20tips/

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Asking For Help is Smart

Don’t Deny Others the Chance to Assist

Holding the hand of anotherRecently, I heard from a  friend in the hospital who is critically ill.  She had been there for 5 days and was calling to let me know.  I was so grateful to know what was going on, to be able to pray for her and check on her.  I only wish she had let me know sooner. Another dear friend recently learned he has cancer, but reached out to me weeks after the diagnosis.  Those are weeks I could have been there for him, helping him sort through solutions, fear and pain.

Most of us have a tendency to put others first, and to not ask for help. And that’s a mistake.  Martyring ourselves by saying we don’t want to bother others or trouble them denies us the gifts of love and support.  We also deserve help, especially in difficult times.

Some people prefer to go off and isolate themselves while they figure things out,
and I respect that.  However, isolation can lead to depression and negative thinking, at a time when loved ones could provide compassion and understanding. Scientists have shown that reaching out to other people during a stressful event is an effective way to improve your outlook.  So your perspective could improve dramatically.

You never know- you might get some great solutions to problems you are having, connecting you with valuable resources you never knew existed.  Share your life, share with your loved ones, and allow yourself to be supported. You are worthy of it.

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Water is Critical to Your Health & Productivity

Are you massively dehydrated?

Glass of water from Stress ExpressIn many parts of the world, water is a rare and precious commodity. 780 Million people lack access to clean water. And yet in the Western world, we take it for granted, waste it on our lawns and forget to hydrate ourselves.

Every cell in our body depends on water to function properly.  Every day, we lose about 8 cups of water, which must be replenished.

A 2% drop in body water can trigger lack of concentration, short-term memory problems and trouble focusing.  A 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 25-30% loss in energy; a 15% drop causes death.  

80% of North Americans are suffering from dehydration, which causes:

• energy loss
• mental and physical exhaustion
• headaches and stiff joints
• anxiety and stress
• kidney stones
• cancer and diabetes

Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism by 3%!

A recent report says drinking 5 glasses of water daily cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45%, and the risk of breast cancer by 79% .  Imagine what would happen if you drank 8 glasses of water a day!

Caffeine dehydrates you as a diuretic, so for every cup of coffee or tea you drink, have two glasses of water. Avoid drinking soda.  The active ingredient is phosphoric acid, which leaches calcium from your bones, causing osteoporosis.

Carry around a glass water bottle, fill it regularly from the purified fountain at work, and drink it every hour.  You’ll be amazed by how much more energy you have and how much better you feel.

 

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Savor the Present Moment

 Increase Your Happiness with this Technique

tropicalbrookLR

After battling pneumonia, I was recently on vacation in the islands.  I had one focus: to enjoy the present moment.

That’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Our brains are wired to continually think, and many of us project about the future (work, money, family, commitments, etc.)

But I tried hard to silence my brain and just be.  Looking at the exquisite turquoise water, I absorbed the beauty.  Walking past a brilliantly hued hibiscus, I appreciated the vibrant color.  Listening to chattering  parrots, I enjoyed their unique way of communicating.  And a funny thing happened.  I became more peaceful inside.  I truly relaxed and felt the simple joy of the moment.

 

A new study featured in this month’s Prevention magazine explains it: Savoring the moment rather than analyzing or critiquing it gives you a huge boost in happiness.  So what does savoring look like?  Part childlike exuberance with whooping or whee kind of glee, and part adult wisdom of “enjoy life while you can.”  This meant all the more to me since I had just been so gravely ill, but it worked.  For the most part, I spent all vacation in the present moment and it brought me such joy and peace.  So yes – your life can be better right now: just savor the present moment.

 

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Speak Kind Words- Avoid Gossip

Have you ever noticed that some words impact you very differently than others? As Stephen Covey writes in the introduction to Aspire by Kevin Hall : “words sell and words repel, words lead and words impede, words heal and words kill.”  

Male Gossips 2What words do you use in your conversations with co-workers, employees, loved ones?  How about what you say to yourself?  Out of the 70,000 thoughts we have a day, many of those are negative and judgmental, especially towards ourselves. Become aware of the words you use and the tone with which they are delivered; you could make or break someone’s day.

And before you share some juicy piece of gossip, ask yourself these three questions:

– Is it truthful?

– Is is necessary?

– Is it uplifting?

 

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