Could Stress Actually Be Good?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154New Research May Change How You Think About Stress

Most of us know that stress is bad for us. It’s epidemic, costing business and industry in the US $300 Billion annually.  80% of all doctors’ visits are stress-related.

And yet new research has come out that says stress may actually be good for you– in a few specific ways.

Dr Kelly McGonigal of Stamford says that new research which studied  30,000 Americans over 8 years shows much of how you reach to stress has to do with how you view stress.  If you view stress as negative and bad for you, you are more likely to get sick.  But if you view stress as something that strengthens you, energizes your body and makes you feel more alive, you will react better to stress.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that people who experienced  high levels of stress but didn’t think it was harmful thrived.  Apparently, your perception of stress makes a huge difference in its impact on your body.

Another positive result of stress is it makes you more social, according to a  2012 study at the University of Freiburg.  When you are stressed, you naturally reach out to others.

What does all this mean for you?

Start viewing stress as something that makes you stronger and more resilient. When you are stressed, look at the upside.  What did you learn from it, what can you do differently?  Your perception can make a huge impact on how stress affects you.

 

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Stress-Free Relationships at Work

Fired Up presenterThe Golden Rule
as a Way to Reduce Stress

I hear all too often about backstabbing, selfishness, and silhos at work.
And the truth is, none of us can get our jobs done alone. We all need others to help and life is so much more pleasant, effective and profitable when we place nicely with others. People will go the extra mile for those they feel care about them. They will work late and do overtime and jump through hoops if they believe you truly care.

How to Build Better Working Relationships

• Be kind. You have no idea what others are going through in their personal lives.

• Smile and sincerely ask others how they are.

• Share news which will impact others quickly. Come up with solutions to a mutual problem before you even tell them. Be empathetic.

• Praise others specifically 92% of American workers say that when they finish a project, their boss says NOTHING! Don’t be one of those managers. Thank your people and acknowledge what they have done.

• Do it in writing- thanking others with a written note card goes a long way.

• Share openly with others and invite them to do the same. You don’t have to parade your personal problems, but show your vulnerability and authenticity. Be a real person and others will respond.

• Encourage laughter, not at anyone’s expense. People are more effective in a safe, fun work environment. Part of how you create that is to make the job enjoyable. Good will goes a long way.

 

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Surviving Winter Stress

Beat the Stress of Winter Blues

Arubabeach
For over two decades, I lived in New England and battled the grey, cold, snowy winters every year. Then I moved to Florida where we have sunshine regularly- I love the sun! I have been infinitely happier. Not only because I prefer warmth, but because all that grey depressed me.  And lately we have been having Northeasters in Florida which create similar grey days. Enough to give me the blues.

And I’m not the only one. About 1/2 of all Americans report feeling depressed in winter. Seasonal affective disorder can cause energy loss, grumpy moods and carb craving.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Go outside. Yes- even if it is cold out, spending time in nature boosts your mood. Try 20 minutes a day without sun block. (After that, slather up.) Many people are deficient in Vitamin D3, which you normally get from the sun. This vitamin is critical to your overall health and mood. Consider taking D3 supplements and have your doctor test your levels. I get it in liquid form.

Take vacations in the winter to someplace warm

Try light therapy with a 10,000 lux lamp – 30 minutes a day significantly boosts mood and energy

Exercise- A most powerful mood booster made even better when you do it with others. Socializing helps you feel better.

Use aromatherapy. Peppermint boosts alertness, as do orange and lemon scents.

• Do something you love every day.

Remember, unless you live in Alaska, winter is only a few months long. Take care of yourself and get Fired Up!

 

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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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Guest Post- Feeling Overwhelmed

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154You are not alone. Many friends and clients have said they are feeling overwhelmed right now. I am right there with you too. This past month if not longer, time seems to be moving faster, opportunities are growing, projects to be completed are increasing, and the flurry of activity seems to be everywhere and growing at light speed. It has been challenging. I searched for and tried many different techniques to handle everything on my plate. What I discovered is the power of two seemingly opposite ideas: discipline and letting go.

Discipline is the obvious choice for handling chaos. The more things get out of control, the more one needs to be disciplined in their actions. This is a time for routine, checklists, scheduling, and time management. This is a time to be aware of distractions and to recommit one’s focus to what is important. This is a time to maintain those practices which aid execution and resist the easy bandage quick fixes which actually slow things down.

This is also the time for letting go. Let go of the idea you need to do it alone. Let go of the idea that you are solely responsible for the results. Let go of any emotional investment in the outcome. Let go of the thought that it has to be hard. Let go of the attitude that it is too much. Let go of thinking that once this is all over then you will relax. Let go of the belief that you have to put your life on hold to take care of the tasks at hand.

Discipline and letting go are about listening to your needs. When things get busy, it is an easy choice to give up those things that are for our wellbeing in exchange for time to accomplish something of value. Let me be clear. Taking care of your self is the highest value. Do not give up lunch for a meeting. Do not give up your exercise routine to make more time for work. Do not exchange good healthy food for quick and easy junk food. Trading what is good for your wellbeing may give you a temporary boost in productivity, but it will not last. The healthier you are, the more clear and productive you are. I often quote Gandhi who said, “There is so much to do today. I must meditate twice as long.” The better we take care of ourselves, the more we can accomplish.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed. Regain your discipline. Note your true priorities. Ensure your daily practices of self care are in place. Then let go of everything else. You can only accomplish so much. Trust you will finish what truly needs to be done by you at this time. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe.

Guest blog by stress reduction expert Melissa Heisler. Download a free chapter from her new book From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It

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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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Having a Pet Could Save Your Life

Pets Heal on So Many Levels

CatbeingheldLR“Cathy, Eric and their son Michael Keesling had retired early after handling a flooded basement and setting up a gasoline pump to empty it. Their beloved mellow cat, Winnie, sat in the window enjoying the sounds of the evening. All of sudden, Michael passed out in the hallway. Cathy and Eric soon lost consciousness as well, because of a gas leak. The normally gentle Winnie sprang on Cathy, pulled her hair and yowled in her ear to wake her up. Cathy kept blacking out, but Winnie insisted. Finally, Cathy called 911 and the family was rescued. If Winnie had waited 5 more minutes, they would all be dead!”

Pets are amazing healing agents and powerful lifesavers.  Trained dogs today can detect bladder cancer by sniffing urine and fire dogs can identify arsonists by smelling gasoline on their hands.  Service pets save the lives of their owners every day. They are also great stress relievers.

One study cited on WebMD found that 48 stockbrokers who adopted a pet had lower blood pressure readings under stress than non-pet owners. Another study found that those suffering from serious diseases, such  AIDS or cancer, are far less likely to be depressed if they have a strong tie to a pet.

According to the the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center, simply owning a cat can cut the risk of heart attack. After studying subjects for 10 years, those who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks.

doglickcatLRPet ownership:

• lowers blood pressure
• prevents depression
• reduces incidence of stroke
• helps improve physical activity
• helps people be more social
• reduces loneliness.

So if you are battling stress like 80% of Americans, consider adopting a pet at a shelter.  It could save two lives- yours and theirs.

 

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The Surprising Source of Most Pain

Lack of Sleep Causes Many Serious Issues

sleepless

New research out of England shows that lack of sleep is the strongest predictor of pain for those over 50. Pain obviously causes more stress and makes you sleep poorly.  It’s a vicious cycle. Restless or insufficient sleep has so many negative consequences and severely impacts wellness:

• the World Health Organization has considered labeling less than 7 hours a night of sleep as a carcinogen- cancer-causing agent
• increased risk of heart disease
• fewer new brain cells created
• premature aging
• excess weight- 20 pounds usually
• 3x more susceptible to colds and flu
• greater stress and less ability to respond well to problems

Three factors influence your ability to get a good night’s sleep:
• timing- try to go to bed at the same time every night
• duration- you need at least 7 hours of sleep
• intensity- which is impacted by whether you got 30 minutes of sunshine during the day and whether your room is nice and dark at night

Be careful not to look at your ipad®, phone screen or computer before bed- leave at last an hour before bed when you shut down exposure to visual stimulants from computer screens. Your overall health and wellness depends so much on good rest.   Getting a good night’s sleep every night has a huge impact on your health, your stress levels, your body’s pain and more.  Make it priority. Your body will thank you.

 

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De-stress with Plants

Nature  relieves your Stress and Bringing the Outdoors in Also Helps

 

Fired Up! bamboo

Many of us know that nature
soothes the soul.  Spending time
outside by trees, listening to
the wind, perhaps water
trickling nearby.  All of that is restful and
calming in a stressed-out world.

But what you may not realize is
that having plants in your
workspace can make a huge
difference in your stress levels.

Benefits of being around plants
include:

• improved memory

• better concentration
• more patience
• better relationships

The bamboo plant I have in my office is thriving, along with my jade tree and pathos.  I highly recomment you use plants indoors and remember that you must take a break from all that technology!

Here’s the full article:

http://www.kare11.com/story/life/home-garden/2014/01/22/green-plants-in-the-workplace-and-home/4780935/

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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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