De- stress with a Hot/Cold Shower

waterfallSmLRHydrotherapy Could Reduce Your Stress

Osteopath Vicky Vlachonis, author The Body Doesn’t Lie, recommends  hot/cold rinsing in the shower to reduce stress and revitalize the body.

Vicky says that changing hot water to cold and back again boosts your circulation and causes your blood vessels to expand and contract. It also impacts your lymphatic system.

Regular hot-cold bathing impacts both  the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing stress hormones.

WHAT to DO:

Nearing the end of your shower, make the water super hot- as much as you can tolerate, wetting all of yourself.  Then, make the water as cold as you can stand. Instinctively, you will take in a deep breath in reaction to the shock, and expand your oxygen intake. Keep the cold on for 30 seconds and then switch it back to hot. Do 3-5 full cycles and finish with cold.

Just one more way to reduce stress!

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Your Worst Enemy Could Be You!

“Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.”
Richard Bach

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154

75-85% of those most of our daily thoughts are negative. We judge ourselves severely, we think we should do it better, we compare ourselves to others and find fault with ourselves. Oprah said, “Comparison is violence against oneself.” Powerful!
In her book, Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, Barbara Levine shows that a simple statement like “so and so is a pain in the neck” can create shoulder and neck pain quickly. Pay attention to your self-talk and make it positive.

How to Handle Negative  Self-Talk

• Awareness is key Ask this question and write down all the answers that show up: “I can’t be totally successful right now because…” Don’t censor yourself. Write down everything that shows up, no matter how silly. Now go back and examine each one of those reasons. Most of them have no basis in reality. None of your reasons are good enough to stop you. Now
draw an X through them right now. Say to yourself “These are not true.”
And when you find yourself thinking them, say “STOP” and put in a positive statement in place instead. You can retrain your brain. Do it.

Make a strengths inventory. Several great books help you discover your strengths, including Strengths Finder. (And several free surveys on the Internet.) Find out what your unique talents and gifts are and work on developing those. Gallup’s research on millions of professionals shows that those people who develop their strengths and not their weaknesses become the most successful.

Feed your mind with positive nutrition. Read uplifting books, magazines like Success Magazine, listen to audios, watch inspiring videos on youtube. Ignore the negativity out there; good things happen every day. Change the channel when something disturbs you. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

You are far more powerful, talented and wise than you think you are.

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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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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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The $ Pizza Man

A Unique Way to Give Back

This morning on  the Today Show,  they featured a gentleman named Mason who owns Rosa’s Pizzeria at 25 S 11th St Philadelphia, PA 19107.  What is extraordinary about Mason and Rosa’s is that they only charge $1 for a slice of pizza.  But even more extraordinary is that people tend to buy more than one slice and then leave a post it note for anyone else to get credit for a free slice.  This is designed to help the homeless have a chance to eat something healthy without begging.  The walls are covered with sticky notes and yet most people pay for others.

To date over 9000 pieces of pizza have been given out to those in need.

Each of us can make a difference in our own way.

Today I am setting up a ‘Dress for Success” event with Professional Women’s Council to help the Latina women of The Hill get back into the workforce.  We have clean, good condition suits, blouses, accessories and interview techniques to help them get jobs.  And tomorrow we will distribute them, with the goal of empowering these women with encouragement, confidence and lots of love.

Volunteering is a terrific way to relieve stress, to feel better about yourself and to make a difference in your community.

What will you do to make a difference?

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The NO, NO, NO Woman

man yell into phoneLRRecently, I was shopping at a retail store which had a big sale.  (This was a week before Black Friday.) I had half an hour before my meeting and zipped in, found what I wanted and stood in a looonnnng line where only two cashiers were working. (Personal pet peeve- when you have a sale, staff up for it.)

While I was waiting, a woman was trying to return some pastry making items.  Very loudly, this older cashier said, “These caps don’t have a safety seal. ” The customer replied “They never had and they have not been opened.” The NO, NO, NO Woman said, “I have to call my supervisor,” which she did very loudly and said “This lady is returning pastry items with no safety seal.  Can we take them back?”  Want to guess what her boss said?

No. And then the NO, NO, NO woman proceeded to humiliate the poor customer further by shouting out- “No, we can’t take this back.”

The whole thing was completely unnecessary.  And unpleasant!  And time consuming.  I never did get to buy those items that morning, as the time exceeded what I had allotted before my meeting.

Lessons here:  Never put NO, NO, NO people in customer service.  NEVER humiliate the customer.  Don’t sell products that can’t be returned unless you notify people.  And find some YES employees.  Is it any wonder why some retailers are in trouble?????

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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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Turn Your Anger into Action!

Don’t Let Anger Make You Bitter- DO SOMETHING POSITIVE

gavelLRThere are a number of disturbing things going on in the world. The Ferguson case continues to sadden us. Legislation blocking voter rights is very upsetting, and on and on.  And yet you CAN do something about it.

• Take action. Channel your anger and frustration into working for a cause you support. Volunteer for children’s safety. Help out at a shelter. Write letters, grants, sign petitions, contact Congress. Do something positive with that energy.  Join me on Oct 25 Make a Difference Day and clean up a park.

• Be FOR something, not against. Be FOR the safety of our children, for justice, for integrity and ethical behavior rather than against others. Take the higher road and model it for others. Complaining and raging all day does nothing. Taking action and being a force for good does make a difference. Speak
up for those who need you.

• Look for the good. There are many great inspirational stories happening all the time, but they get very little play in the media. Here’s a wonderful story  about two black teenagers who rescued a 5 year old white kidnap victim. They didn’t let race or hate stop them from being heroes. Here’s the link to watch the story.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/15/justice/pennsylvania-teen-heroes/index.html

Focus on the positive happening in your world. Avoid the news, because it is mostly bad. Get inspired by beauty, by kindness, by small acts that make a huge difference.

And remember this statement by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Remember that YOU DO make a difference.

 

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