Can You Really Feel Better By Helping Someone?

Relieve Your Stress and Depression through Volunteering

Holding the hand of another“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia

One of the last things you might think of doing when you are very stressed is to take the time to help someone else, volunteering. But it can truly be the best thing you can do. I know this from my own personal experience.

Not too long ago, I was tired, frustrated and upset over a business issue, not sure what to do about it.  I was very stressed. Heading home with my husband that night, we turned down our street. He said, “There’s a girl sitting on the corner crying.” We immediately stopped the car and I got out to talk to her. Turns out, she was working for one of those magazine sales companies where they drop off youths and pick them up at the end of the day. She had no phone and no money; her ride was two hours late. So we called her manager and he said a ride was on its way. She waited in the car with us, shared her tragic life story, and when no ride arrived after 45 minutes, we turned around and drove her the half hour distance to her motel. When we arrived, I spoke to the manager about taking better care of this young woman (she was 20,) gave her some money and hugged her goodbye with some encouraging words. As we drove home again, all thoughts about my problems had completely vanished. My concerns were for her and how I could help others like her in the future. I realized my problems were far less pressing. There are those who are struggling to get by every day on the streets. It gave me a whole new appreciation of how fortunate I am.

A new study by Dr. Suzanne Richards and the University of Exeter Medical School, UK, confirms what other studies have said in the past:  volunteering is associated with lower depression, increased well-being, and a 22 % reduction in dying.

There are infinite ways to volunteer:
• mentor a child • help a neighbor repair their home
• organize a fundraiser for the arts
• work at a soup kitchen
• help at a homeless shelter
• participate in a “clean up your park” project
• volunteer at an animal shelter
• read to seniors at a senior center or hospital
• collect diapers for newborn centers
• help out at elementary schools
• collect books for literacy programs and then read for them

Try it.  No matter how upset you are about your life, you will experience an instant turn-around.  Always come from your heart and volunteer for something that matters to you.  And just like that, your problems will seem insignificant.

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Cut Your Stress with Tunes

Great Ways to Relieve Stress Through Music

saxplayerLRA 2006 Journal of Advanced Nursing study showed that listening to music one hour a day for a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%. Music, especially classical music, can also serve as a powerful stress-relief tool.

Music therapy can also elevate mood, improve immune system function, reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people. Music helps cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients, and surgical patients.

I use music in two ways- to Fire me up! when I need energy and motivation and to calm my nerves and soothe me when I am driving or stressed.  I create my own mp3 playlist of motivation tunes and soothing tunes and turn those on when I need them.

For 12 ways to reduce your stress with music, go here: 

http://earthtones.org/2013/08/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music/

 

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

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Don’t Let Email Run Your Life

Manage Your Email Time and Reduce Stress

Say No
You don't have to look at your email all the time....

I've heard so many professionals tell me in my speeches that they get hooked by their email and get stressed out.  Some even have an alarm that rings or chimes every time a new email comes in.  Turn that OFF!  No wonder your stress levels are skyrocketing through the roof!
Here are some simple ways to destress your email.

1. Remember Snail Mail?  You know, you go to your mailbox, pull out the letters, flyers and junk mail and trash about half of it before you even get home?  Do that with email.  Organize it into folders: important action, read later, associations,etc. and trash the rest.

2. Only check email 3-4 times a day- Do your HIGHEST PRIORITY money making tasks first always every day. Then check email at lunch, when you take breaks.  No alarms or flashes when you get a new one.  It's probably spam anyway.

3. Use a SPAM FILTER.  One of my many email addresses (yes I get hundreds of emails every day) has no spam filter.  And now in addition to the Viagra ads, I get Asian character emails which I cannot read.  I keep that email only because I want to make it easy for people to reach me, but I have spam filters on all the others.

4. Have No -Email times every day.  Sunday, my husband and I went to the beach.  Ahh- glorious sunshine, surf, quiet and peace.  No email.  None- just focused time on my family.  Take time like that everyday.  Don't make your children resent your phone.  It can wait.

 

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

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4. Have email-free times everyday.  We were at the beach on Sunday, and even though I have a smartphone, I did not read my email at all until late in the day. It was wonderful to have that freedom.  It lowers your stress and frees you to appreciate the people around you.

Chronic Stress Could Be Killing You

Stress Could Literally Be The Death of You

Workplace problemsEveryone knows that stress is bad for you.  Tense muscles, ulcers, snarky attitudes- all of those are obvious results of stress. But did you know that stress can lead to much more serious problems?

Stress-related claims cost US companies 10% of their annual earnings. A typical employee with stress, back pain and depression is out of work nine weeks a year and can cost more than $5900 per employee in lost productivity.

The American Psychological Association says stress costs industry $300 billion a year in absences, medical costs, lost productivity, turnover etc.  One third of Americans say they are living with extreme stress.

Chronic Stress and Your Body

Nearly 80% of all doctor visits are stress-related 43% of all adults have ill health because of stress. Chronic stress is linked to the six major causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis, and suicide.

For more information about the physical impact of stress, go here

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Working Moms are STRESSED!

Moms Get More Stressed About Their Families Than Dads

Stress Express; Family FightingA new study confirms what many of us already thought- moms carry the emotional burden of stress in the family. The 500 Family Study investigated how middle class families balance family and work life . Overall, it found that working mothers spent 1/4 of their mental time worrying about the family, as opposed to working dads- 1/5 of the time.

Part of the aspect of mothers worrying is that they judge themselves negatively because they can't be everywhere at once.  Women are especially good at beating up on themselves! I know I am and most working mothers I know are, too.

Fathers need to be encouraged to help out more at home, and rewarded for this, rather than criticized for not doing enough.  If you want more help, ask for it.
And then heap on the praise when you get it.  It might happen more often!

If you'd like to read more about this family study, go here: 

 

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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.

To sign up for Snowden’s ezine newsletter on stress, happiness, marketing and motivation, please go to: http://firedupnow.com/firedupemailregister.html

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