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Dan Randall, Managing Life's Stress, River Falls, WI
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved
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2009 Stress Management Tips

December 2009 - "Know and Use Your Resources"

You do not have to work through your problems alone. No matter how small an issue or how big the problem, there is support out there for you. Here are some suggestions for you to consider whenever you need help.

One of your resources can be this website. Look at some of the previous “Tips” to see if any apply to you at this point in your life. Since we are in the mist of the holiday season, I suggest you look at the Nov/Dec Tip of 2008 on “Reducing Holiday Stress”. Make this site one of your favorites.

Look at the person next to you. Do you have a spouse, family member or friend that you trust and can go to in time of need? If so, don’t wait. Do it. Next you can consider clergy, local family or professional counselors. Look through the telephone yellow pages or the Internet. Search under Counseling Services or Social and Human Services in the telephone yellow pages or do an Internet search under the word that best describes how you are feeling at the moment.

You can use toll free help lines or for an emergency, just dial 911. Here are just some of the toll free numbers and websites which you can use. Print this out and put it someplace handy for reference.

Depression: 800-421-4211
Teen Depression:
800-355-8336
Veteran’s only:
800-273-8255 – 1
PTSD:
802-296-6300
Domestic Violence:
800-799-7233
Suicide Prevention:
800-784-2433, 800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention in Spanish: 888-628-9454
Al-Anon/Alateen:
888-425-2666
Cutting Help:
www.christiananswers.net/qeden/cutting.html

Help is available but you have to take the first step and “choose” to ask for help. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take action now and USE YOUR RESOURCES.

November 2009 - "Slow Down & Live Better"

Life has a tendency to fly by us very quickly. How many times have you said, “Gosh, where did the day go?” or, “You mean it’s been a whole year since we got together?” In today’s world everything seems to be about faster, sooner, more. Remember this… “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it seems to go.” Well, it’s time to step back and slow down some parts of your life that you still have control over. Here are some examples where you can still be in charge and gain value from slowing down.

Driving – Have you seen those who drive 10 or 15 miles an hour over the speed limit and keep changing lanes to get to their destination a few minutes earlier? Maybe you are one of them. I was one until I noticed that the people I passed and swerved in front of were pulling into the parking lot and walking in the front door only seconds after I did. So I moved to the right, slowed down and ended up not only getting to my destination around the same time, but a lot more relaxed.

Eating – By eating slower, not only are you going to have a better eating experience because you will actually taste and enjoy the food or beverage you are having, but you can also lose weight without dieting. By eating slower, you allow time for the stomach to tell the brain that it is full. Then the brain can tell the hand to set down the fork and push away from the table. By slowing down you can enjoy the smell and taste of what you are having. One of Weight Watcher’s rules is to not put anything in your mouth when you already have something in your mouth. Another rule is to put your fork down each time you put food into your mouth until it is gone. This is one of the “slow downs” that I’m working on but I can tell you that some of the most pleasurable dining experiences I’ve had are when I follow these rules.

Walking – I try and go for a walk 5 days a week around my community. I happen to live near a university and we have lots of walkers, joggers and bikers who are out every day. I have noticed that most of these are either listening to their Ipod or talking on their cell phones as they are out getting their daily exercise. They pass by and are totally ignoring their surroundings. I do accept the fact that certain music can motivate you to exercise more, but so can the sounds and sights of nature. So next time you go out, take a different path, leave the Ipod at home and turn off the cell phone. Try walking a little slower, listen and look at the sites and sounds around you and breathe in the fresh air. If you encounter someone coming from the other direction, smile and say “good morning.” If you walk in major cities like Chicago, New York, LA or Minneapolis, it may take a little more effort, but listen and you will hear some beautiful music without your Ipod.

Talking – Did you know that some say women talk twice as much as men? Did you know that the reason is that men keep saying – What? Try speaking a little slower and with clear diction. It will surprise you how much more people will understand what you are saying and be more calm as they listen to you. When you talk fast, people have to listen harder and that is more stressful. OooKaaa, I… don’t… mean…this…slow… just look at the person you are talking to and you will be able to tell if you are speaking too fast by the glazed look in their eyes. If you want to get your message across, slow down!

October 2009 - "Rid Yourself of Toxic People - Part 2"

Here are two more types of people to keep at a distance. You know who they are so don’t waste your time trying to change them. They won’t change, but you will be changed if you allow them to dominate your life.

Narcissistic – these individuals have an extreme sense of self-importance and believe the world revolves around them. These are the people who feel that “it’s all about them”. They solely focus on their own needs and not yours. They can leave you disappointed and unfulfilled. They zap your energy by getting you to focus on them and you have nothing left for yourself.

Downers – These individuals can not appreciate the positives in life. If you say it is a beautiful day, they will tell you about the impending rainy forecast. If you are excited about your child graduating from high school, they will tell you about the high cost of college. These individuals take the joy out of everything. Your positive outlook continually gets squashed with their negativity and before you know it, their negativity consumes you and you start looking at life through their glasses.

We’ll move on to different topic for the November Tip of the Month. October brings about one of the months that I look forward to as it is the month I spend getting rid of some of my stress by hitting that little white ball around the golf courses in Myrtle Beach, SC. Hope you enjoy your October.

September 2009 - "Rid Yourself of Toxic People"

There are many types of people who we are surrounded by and interact with each day. Some of these people will attempt to steal all your energy and literally suck the life out of you. Beware of these people and minimize the amount of time you spend with them and if possible, rid them from your life. This month, I’m going to tell you about two such types of people. There are more, but start with these and we’ll address others in future tips.

The first one we’ll address is the “Disrespectful Person

These people will say or do things at the most inappropriate times and in the most inappropriate ways. They are more like subtle, grown up bullies. These people might use secrets that you have confided in them against you or put their nose into your business when it is not wanted. They have no sense of boundaries and do not respect your feelings or privacy. They will cause you to feel frustrated and disrespected.

The second one is the “Never Enough Person”

No matter how much you try, you’ll never make these people happy. They will take you for granted and have unrealistic expectations of you. They will find ways to fault you and never take responsibility for anything. You will be spending so much time trying to please them that you will end up losing yourself. They require all of your time and energy, leaving you worn out and your own needs sacrificed.

Rid your life of these people for a happier and healthier you.

Note: If there are specific topics you would like me to address, please send me an email and let me know.

August 2009 - Using the Bible to “Reduce Negative Feelings” and “Increase Positive Attitudes”

Most of you already know that the Bible is a great source of information to help us get through all kinds of problems and issues, big and small. Here is just a sampling of readings that will help lead you to wellness.

Anxiety – Philippians 4:6; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Grief – II Corinthians 1:3, 4; Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Forgiveness – Colossians 3:13; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Doubt – James 1:6; But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Through research, I have put together a document with many more readings. All are available to you at no cost. Just send me an email and request a copy of “Biblical Helps”. You will receive an electronic copy within one week of your request. I will not share or distribute your email address to anyone and I will not be sending any marketing or follow up messages to you. You are also welcome to share the information with others.

July 2009 - Self Massage

When people think of getting a massage, they think about how they can’t afford it. But, there are some ways in which you can reap the benefits of a massage at no cost to you. The physical benefits of a massage are well documented. But massage can also help with mental and emotional stress in your life as well. Here are just some of the benefits of massage:

So now you know the benefits, now let’s see what we can do to feel better without emptying out our wallet or purse.

Self Massage – Cost = $0

Convenience – anywhere, any time

Benefits – a few moments of pleasure

Hand massage – using your thumb and index finger of the right hand, massage the muscle located between the thumb and index finger of your left hand. Now, taking the thumb and index finger of the right hand, massage the palm of your left hand. Finally, still using the thumb and index fingers on the right hand, take the thumb and each finger of the left hand and starting at the base of the thumb or finger, massage and gently pull or stretch each outwardly. You may hear a popping sound which is just the gases between the knuckles popping. This does not, as thought years ago, cause arthritis. Now, switch and do the opposite hand.

June 2009 - Grieving - Sources: Internet researches and personal experiences.

You WILL Survive!

With the number of people who have recently lost their jobs and/or homes, I thought it would be a good time to talk about grieving. Not only do people grieve when they lose a loved one, they also grieve when they lose their job, their home or anything that threatens their future. It might be helpful if we understand that there is a process to grieving. We should also understand that like so many others, we too will survive and be able to carry on with our lives. So what is the process? It is a five stage path to getting back to living. There is no set time frame to get through each stage, and during the journey we may go back and forth between each stage. But BELIEVE. You will get through it, and you will live life again.

Stage 1 – Denial and Isolation

Stage 2 – Anger

Stage 3 – Bargaining

Stage 4 – Depression

Stage 5 – Acceptance

Here is a short story about a very beautiful tree. I know this won’t compare with losing someone you loved, a job or a home, but it is a lesson I learned from nature. When I moved into my home in Wisconsin, the first thing I did was to build a deck on the back of the house. Some 30 feet from the deck was a beautiful blue spruce. This was the most perfectly shaped tree I’d ever seen. Years passed and the tree kept growing and the more it grew, the more I enjoyed it. One day a very high, straight line wind blew the tree down and there was nothing I could do to save it. Each day I would go out on my deck and look to where that tree had been growing and remember how beautiful it was. I actually felt a loss for this tree. Then one day I went out on the deck to look and something happened. My eyes refocused and I no longer saw the empty spot. I was now seeing far beyond that spot and was surprised to find a beautiful valley that stretched for miles. I could not see the valley before because the tree was blocking this new view. The point is that there are other views out there which will bring meaning and beauty back into your lives. In time, your eyes and your heart will refocus to see them. You will survive.

Remember, you don’t get any points for trying to go it alone. So seek help and accept help from whomever and wherever it is available.

May 2009 - Appreciate Yourself

There are enough people in our lives and enough times in our lives when it is pointed out what we are doing or have done wrong. Spouses, parents, teachers, friends, boss’s, co-workers and even people we don’t know will stop and point out what mistake we made or what we didn’t do very well. And…maybe we have pointed out mistakes that others have made. Come on…be honest. How did you feel when someone pointed out your mistakes? Having others and sometimes even ourselves pointing out all of the negatives will ultimately result in low self-esteem.

It’s time to change the way we see ourselves and at the same time, we will see others differently. Each person has a talent, ability or potential which we need to acknowledge and celebrate. Take a few minutes to write down the things about yourself which are positive. Here’s a starter list just to nudge your memory.

Now it’s your turn to make your list. Don’t be shy about it. Blow your own horn and celebrate the things that are right in your life. Celebrate your talents, abilities and potentials. We can all improve in some manner and we are all going to make mistakes. We can learn from our mistakes and become a better person. At the same time, we need to acknowledge what is good and right about ourselves and then expand that to look for and acknowledge what is good and right in others. Notice the difference in your life when you have this new attitude. Go ahead and blow your own horn.

April 2009 - Taking Care of Yourself

Most people today have flown in an airplane at some point in their life. During the flight preparations, one of the flight attendants will come on the overhead speaker to talk about the safety elements of the plane. They will tell you about the emergency exits. They’ll talk about the emergency lighting on the floor in the isle way. They’ll even show you how to buckle and unbuckle your seat belts. Next, they will demonstrate the use of the oxygen masks. As they do this, they will say, “In the event that we lose cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from the overhead compartments. Pull down on the mask, than put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to assist other people.” We know why they say this, don’t we? But what if my child is sitting next to me or an elderly parent? The rule stands – Put the mask on yourself first!!!

It doesn’t take long for a person to lose consciousness and if you try to help others and lose your consciousness, what good are you going to be to the other person. Don’t worry; there will be time to help others once you can breathe. So take care of yourself first and then help others with their masks.

Follow this rule in the rest of your life’s actions too. If you are sick, tired, sad, upset, lonely, hurtful, or anxious, how much help can you be to those around you who you care for or want to help? It may seem selfish to think this way, but thinking any other way will limit what you can do for others. When you are healthy, alert, happy, calm, caring and in control of your own life, imagine how much help you can be to others and what a great example you will be to others. When you are feeling down, down is what you will give to others. When you are feeling up, up is what you will give to others. Which do you think the people you care about want you to share with them? Share up and take care of yourself first!

March 2009 - Put Some Fun in your Life

Most of us take life and ourselves way too seriously. Here we are in March with many of us, especially those in the northern US, having experienced a few months of limited sunlight (natural vitamin D). We may be at the point where we are getting a little down on ourselves. So it’s time to perk things up, get out and have some fun. You can have fun without spending a lot of money and many activities are even free. Here is a list of a few things you can do to perk yourself up. During this process, you might even make someone else’s day a lot more fun.

Now, make your own list of fun things to do and then do!

February 2009 - Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to make yourself feel good and in doing so, lower your stress level. Studies have indicated that the same amount of serotonin (a feel good chemical) is released into the body of the person who gives as in the person who receives. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a big time commitment on your part. Serving for one evening a month at a food bank or shelter to help those in need will boost your energy so much, you’ll look forward to going back the next month. Check into what help might be needed at a Hospice or senior care center.

Other ways to serve and improve your well-being:

It doesn’t take much. Just keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity to get a shot of serotonin. Don’t miss out on this great feeling.

January 2009 - Start a Un-clutter program for a great new year and a great new you!

Most everyone makes some kind of New Year’s resolution. So why not make yours the one thing that has the potential to improve every part of your life. Take a look around at you home, car, work space and your mind. Overwhelmed with clutter? Don’t panic. Start with just one area; let’s say your home. Now start in your home with just one area; let’s say the den or maybe even a closet within the den. Ok, less panic? Start small and clear the clutter for just one small area at a time. As you start clearing the clutter from each of the physical areas of your life (home, car, office) you’ll automatically see less clutter in your mind. The more clutter you remove, the better you’re attitude will be, the better you will sleep and the better you will feel.

“Start small and keep going”. Make the commitment to reduce your clutter in 2009. Good Luck and Happy New Year to each of you.

Tips from 2008

To soar in life requires