Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary’s mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don’t say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say “I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can’t.  May I recommend…. for this?”

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don’t allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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Reduce Stress with the 5 minute Rule

Clock from Stress ExpressAs I speak around the country to CEO’s, leaders and managers, I am often asked what quick things can be done to reduce stress.  One of my favorites is the 5 minute rule.

As you look around your workspace, what could you handle in 5 minutes or less?  Could you clean off your desk, write an important thank you note, file essential papers, wash out a coffee cup?  Any of those things would give you an immediate sense of completion.

The brain craves completion.  Whenever you have thought and you don’t take action in it, you have incompletion.  This drives parts of your brain crazy.  If your whole office is a mass of piles and incompletions, you will never want to go in there.  If you wake up at night thinking of all the things you did not do, this could be the reason.

Solution:  whenever you have a thought and you can take action on it in 5 minutes or less, do it.  You’ll reduce your stress and be far more productive.

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Protect Your Family’s Health with this Beverage

immune drinkIt’s cold and flu season in the US, and having had pneumonia myself over the past few years, I wanted a powerful immune system builder.  After much reading, I’ve come up with a hot drink that I love and that actually boosts my immunity.

 

Here’s what it takes:
1 full cup pure boiled water
1 teaspoon organic coconut oil
1 capsule turmeric
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
a sprinkle of fresh ground regular pepper
2 droppers full of ginger extract

Let all the ingredients sit in the hot water and stir.  You may want to add additional honey or stevia for sweetness.  Some people prefer to put this in plain almond milk, too.  It works great and here’s why.

Honey is a natural antibacterial agent. I take a spoonful if I ever begin to think I am getting sick. http://www.medicaldaily.com/liquid-gold-7-health-benefits-honey-could-heal-your-whole-body-325932
Lemon in water clears your liver and cuts mucus. It’s rich in Vitamin C. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-healing-powers-of-lemons.html
Turmeric has a host of anti-inflammatory qualities and is activated best in hot water with fresh ground pepper. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6873/25-Reasons-Why-Turmeric-Can-Heal-You.html
Coconut oil is great for you. I use it as a moisturizer and healing agent. It contains lauric acid, which kills bacteria. http://www.youngandraw.com/42-healing-ways-to-use-coconut-oil

Try this with your family and see what a difference it makes.  Always consult your doctor for medical issues.

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It’s National Hug Day!

happy hugCelebrate National Hug Day

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Virginia Satir

We all need to be touched.  Babies who are not held and touched die. Since it’s national hug day, I thought I would share a few benefits of hugging:

• it lowers stress levels
• it improves sleep
• it strengthens internal body systems like digestive tracks
• it boost seratonin, the feel-good hormone
• it builds trust
• it promoted feelings of well-being and safety

Nick Orntner has a new book on hugs for children that you may want to check out: www.barkleythebear.com/hugs

So spend some time today hugging others and see what magic results!

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Dream Collages that Work!

Wilber collagelrCreate a Vision of Your Success

Dream collages are powerful visual tools that help you make your dreams come true.

I myself create a new collage regularly and the one I created in 1989 had so many positive results that I was hooked.  Everything on that collage came true within 2 years, including me finding the love of my life and getting national media attention for my business.  The one shown here is of one of my students who went on to become an $8Million dollar Avon woman. Dream collages work

Here’s what should be on your collage:

• key words and phrases that inspire you

• images of your ideal life, personally, financially, spiritually, professionally

• a picture of yourself right in the middle, and if you are married or have a family, include them in the picture

• images and words that inspire you

If you would like to use software that helps you create an audio-video multi-media collage in a very easy way, go here: http://ow.ly/bGqFT

 

Good luck. Now is the perfect time to get started!

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Overwhelmed? How to Regain Focus

Do You Have Cognitive Overload?

“Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what’s important. It is a choice.” Brian Solis

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154We receive so much data that we can barely comprehend all that is coming into our minds. Right now, you may be thinking about your next meeting, responding to a text, planning your tweets for the day and answering a call. Whew- no wonder we have information overload. Our brains are overwhelmed with all the distractions.

A recent Stanford study found that those who spend lots of time on social media, surfing the Internet and multi-tasking had poor cognitive skills. They could not distinguish well between what was important and what was trivial. “They are suckers for irrelevancy.”

How to Regain  Focus:

In his book, Search Inside Yourself. Chade-Meng Tan of Google, shares some keys to regaining cognitive clarity.

Monitor what you read and how you do it– If you find your mind wandering while reading, bring your attention back to what you are doing. Keep practicing this skill.

Use active listening Have someone speak for 3 minutes and you listen, Then repeat back to the person with the preface ” What you said is important. Do you mind if I repeat it back to see if I have it right?” (People LOVE this- they love to be heard.)

A few tips from me:

Do 1 thing at a time. That’s it. One thing and do it well and complete it. Take satisfaction and then move on to the next one thing. Your focus will improve. Multi-tasking is terrible for your brain.

• Go tech free for a day this weekend. Lots of research show the value of this. It’s like rebooting your brain.

• Get quiet and go outside in nature.  Life becomes much simpler away from the office and computer.

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Stressed? Get More Sleep

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.
~E. Joseph Cossman

Sleeping Well Can be a Puzzle

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!That you can put together. Most of us are sleep deprived, which can lead to all sorts of dangers to your health and the health of others (when you drive tired.)

The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours a night may cause cancer and you are likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight. With less than 7 hours, you are functioning at a cognitive disadvantage and are 3x more likely to get a cold or flu. Neurobiology of Aging says those who get less than 6 hours of sleep are 4 times more likely to have a stroke.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Turn off all computers, cellphones and screens an hour before bed. Stop looking at them. The blue light from these devices interferes with your body’s ability to relax and keeps you hyper. Be sure your alarm clock is red light. Lower the temperature in the room and make sure it is cool and dark.

No electronics in your bedroom. Your bedroom is for sleeping and making love. That’s it.

Get ready for bed an hour before you go to sleep. Actually get in bed 30 minutes before you want to sleep and read something uplifting and paper. (Not an electronic reader.) Reading helps relax you.

Take a hot bath with epsom salts before bed. Or get your legs wet up to your knees in warm water.

Try all natural sleep remedies at health food stores. Check with your doctor. I have used these successfully at different times- most are herbs: passion flower, valerian root, holy basil, L’theanine, calcium, magnesium, etc.

Exercise is a great sleep inducer, if you do it several hours before bedtime.

Sleep better and perform better in every area of your life!

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Stressed?- Here’s an Instant Reliever

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressYou can never have too many….

The Astonishing Power of Breath

Try this. Hold your breath for as long as you can- until it almost hurts to let it out. Unless you are a professional athlete or extreme yogi, you probably couldn’t hold it for long. Without breath, the body, mind and spirit cannot function.

And yet we all forget what an incredible resource this is. Breath literally keeps us alive, fuels our interactions and enables us to function. Without it, we are severally hampered. Having had pneumonia a few years ago, I learned quickly how very debilitating lack of breath can be. We all take it for granted.

Breathe to Relieve Stress

Breathe deeply at least 3 times. Put your hands on your lower belly, fill it up all the way and let it out…slowly. Do this several times to regain control and calm your system. Notice how you feel.

Use breath to monitor emotions. We are not our feelings and when our emotions take over, we are not our best selves. When experiencing anger, upset, frustration, fear, stop and breathe deeply. Visualize a positive scene in nature, perhaps mountains or beaches. Focus on that. Let go.

• Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a powerful healing agent; it:
o lowers blood pressure; increases circulation
o improves immune function and memory
o shortens hospital stays
o decreases insomnia
o helps relieve stress, ADHD
o helps reverse heart disease

There are many different ways to meditate. Here’s one:

Start with the deep breathing above and focus on the breath. If thoughts come up, observe them, let them drift by like leaves in the wind. Picture a beautiful nature scene in a forest, visualize a waterfall. Imagine you are standing in the gentle waterfall and let all your worries and fears wash away. Practice this over and over until you can meditate for at least 10 minutes. It can make a huge difference in your well-being.

You can control your stress rather than having it control you.  Try deep breathing as a solution.  It’s fast, easy and free!

 

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How’s Your EQ?

The Key to More Effective Relationships at Home and Work

Listening handshakeOracle Vice President Meg Bear says empathy is the critical 21st century skill. In an article in Fortune Magazine, business experts cite emotional intelligence as one of the most needed business skillsets for the coming decades.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

It’s the ability to be aware of and manage the emotions of yourself and others, and constructively communicate as a good team member.

Those will poor self-awareness tend to be brusque, rude, narcissistic, critical and rigid . Those with poor self-management react strongly, yell, interrupt and disrespect others. Those with poor self-motivation procrastinate, blame others.

 Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

• Become an excellent listener. Don’t interrupt, have open body language and
don’t check your cellphone while listening.  Give full eye contact and attention. Summarize what they said and ask questions.

• Develop greater empathy.  Show caring, even if you haven’t have the same experience.  You can say things like “That sounds hard for you.” “I understand this is difficult.”

• Get to know yourself more.  There are great books out like Strengths-Finder
and plenty of free personality tests on line.  Discover your strengths and areas for improvement.  Often work conflicts are the result of personality differences.

Workplace problems• Pay attention to the body language of others.  What is not being verbally said?

• Be a source of positive encouragement to others. Find the good.

Those are just a quick start on how to improve.  Put them into practice and watch your life get better.

 

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The Most Important Thing to Do Today

Is Not Necessarily What Your Boss Wants You to Do

Setting priorities in today’s world can be challenging.  All of us have so many demands on us and managing multiple priorities can be like juggling with  boxing gloves on- something’s sure to fall.

The place to start is with meaning.  What is most important to you in your life? Is it taking care of your family?  Making more money? Prestige? Being the top of your field? Showing your wife or husband that you love them?  Getting a new promotion? Being there for your kids since your parents were not there for you?  What drives you?

If it is taking care of your family, then it may well mean doing what your boss wants you to get done first and foremost, so long as you can leave work on time to get to your son’s baseball game.  If you want to be the top in your field, you are going to have to work harder than others, study more, advance yourself and spend a good deal of time away from home.  Is that Ok with you?

Quint & Snow LRSMWe recently took time off from work to visit my brother and his family for my nephew’s high school graduation.  It was a lot of driving (16 hours) but it was worth it.  That’s him with me in the photo.  It was meaningful for me to be there.

The critical element here is you and your joy and purpose.  Know what gives you meaning.  Know what drives you.  And then prioritize your day to fulfill that meaning. Otherwise, you will burn out and not be good to anyone.

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