Dan Randall, Managing Life's Stress, River Falls, WI
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Dan Randall

{ Managing Life's Stress }

2014 Stress Management Tips

December 2014 - Giving and Recieving

As this is the time of year when our thoughts turn to family gatherings and gift giving, let us consider what special gift can be given that will last longer than any toy or piece of clothing or material items we might consider giving to family or friends. Let’s consider the gift of time.

We spend an entire year running from here to there with multiple stops in-between. How often are those stops to spend time with people we are close to or maybe even with a stranger. Our time is very precious to us and therefore one of the most expensive gifts we can give to someone else. Your time given to someone else will be treasured by the receiving person and I’m sure you will find be treasured by you too.

I often talk about “ME” time in which I recommend that you take a time out each day to take care of yourself. This is very important for your own health and well being. Now I am recommending that you take some “WE” time this coming month and spend some quality time with family and friends and maybe, just maybe, with a stranger. There are many ways to make this happen. Give a call to that family, friend or a co-worker and set up a coffee or lunch date. Invite them over for dinner or a weekend bonfire and a body- warming beverage. Ask a neighbor to go for a walk around the neighborhood. As for that stranger, make a visit to a care center or hospital and see if there is someone who wants you to read to them or just sit and hold their hand. Volunteer at a shelter or place where people come for a hot meal. Don’t just serve the food but take time to sit and chat with them. Use the 20/80 rule. Talk 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.

I’m sure you can think of more ways to share your time with someone else and in doing so, give the most precious gift you have and in return, receive the appreciations and thanks from those you choose to share that gift. Happy Holidays to all.

November 2014

When many things seem to be going wrong; when your life feels increasingly out of control; you may do what comes naturally in the face of these difficulties and you may fall prey to negativism. Even a few complaints can set you on a path that is a downward spiral, by darkening your perspective and mind-set. With this attitude controlling you, complaints flow more and more readily from your mouth. Each one moves you steadily down the slippery spiral. The lower you go, the faster you slide; but it is still possible to apply the brakes.

Regardless of how you are feeling, be thankful for everything, though this seems unnatural-even irrational. Gradually you will begin to ascend, recovering your lost ground. When you are back on ground level, you can face your circumstances from a better perspective. Your out of control life can be brought back to a more manageable one. Be thankful and turn your life around.

October 2014 - Forgive Me

Well, a belated tip of the month to you! I was vacationing in Northern Minnesota and totally got wrapped up in enjoying my time off and forgot all about my duties to the website. Like the quote goes…it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. So please forgive me. And that is the tip for October. Learn to forgive not only others but also yourself and you will lower your stress.The burdens we carry inside us by not forgiving can destroy us. So let it go and forgive. You will feel the difference.

September 2014 - Summer Is Over

Summer is over. What? Summer is over? Where did it go? It seems like we just started our summer and now everything is in full swing to get the kids back to school, to watch the trees turn color, watch baseball’s final regular season games before two months of playoff games, continue with football getting into first gear, basketball final trading before the season starts and then there is hockey just around the corner. Good thing we have golf on TV to slow us down and get relaxed. Here is my beginning of fall recommendation for you:

Look at your calendars and find 3 or 4 hours on one day during the week or weekend when you can schedule some time to unwind, relax and rejuvenate.

Now schedule it and when someone tries to get you to commit to doing something else, just tell them up front that you have another commitment and keep that time to yourself.

August 2014 - Time

  1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
  2. When we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
  3. What we haven't used up that day is forever lost.
  4. Yesterday is forever gone.
  5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING...

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life! Here's wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start spending....

July 2014 - Keep Busy

One of the reasons people feel depressed and down is that they lack a goal or purpose in their daily lives. Even those who are out of work can perk themselves up but getting out and doing something for others. There are lots of opportunities to serve others in our communities and in doing so gain that feeling of purpose which could help you snap out of your low spot. Severe depression, of course, requires professional help, but often, getting out and doing something will get you going again. Help a neighbor, serve in the community or just start sprucing up your own yard. You’ll be surprised how good it will make you feel. The last thing you want to do when feeling down or depressed is to stay in the house and vegetate. Join life again.

June 2014 - What should we be thanksful for?

"What should we be thankful for? We are sometimes more blessed than what we think we are.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy."

"And if you received this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."

"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world."

"If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world."

"If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare"

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm. You're unique to all those in doubt and despair."

“If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all”.

Take just one moment and thank Him.

May 2014 - Hugging is Good Medicine!

Hugging transfer energy and gives the person hugged an emotion lift. You need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and twelve for growth. Scientists say that hugging is a form of communications because it can say things you don’t have the words for. And the nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give a hug without getting one.

Have you had your hugs today?

April 2014 - Get Out & Get Moving

Everywhere across the US has experienced a long, unpleasant winter and many people have been stuck inside with little exercise or fresh air. Well, now is the time to get up and get out into the great outdoors. A nice brisk walk in the morning; a slow stroll around the neighborhood in the evening; a hike on a local park trail or around a lake; a bike ride with friends; a jog around campus or roll yourself in your wheelchair around the hospital or home. The whole idea is to get moving to get your blood circulating and to energize yourself. It will amaze you how much better you will feel once that blood starts circulating through the body and especially to the brain. Don’t wait for the May flowers. Start now and put a smile on your face.

March 2014 - Serving Others

By the time you are reading this I will have just returned from my mission trip to Honduras. This was my 8th trip in the past 8 years. So this month, I’m going to talk about “Serving”. If you are a working or retired person, there is no better way of improving your health physically, mentally and spiritually then by volunteering in one of the many worthy Not-for-Profits in and around your community. You don’t have to go to Honduras or anywhere outside the United States or even outside your own community to find where help is needed. However, if you have the time and the means, I would highly recommend it.

Opportunities can be found through your school system, community Parks and Recreations organization, Scouting programs for both girls and boys, food shelves, church groups, homeless shelters, senior care facilities, Habitat for Humanity and through Professional Organizations such as the American Legion, VFW, Moose, Elks, Masons, Lions and Chamber of Commerce among many others. Many of these opportunities require only one day of your time while others may require a longer commitment. Weather you can give one day a year, a month, a week or more, it will all be welcomed and appreciated.

So not only do you get the satisfaction of helping others who desperately need your help; you also get the added benefit of being appreciated. When was the last time you really felt appreciated. Both of these benefits will give you short time stress relief and potentially long lasting health benefits. You can go it alone or you can call one of your friends or relatives and ask them to join you. You will have fun either way and having fun is another way to lower your stress. Go for it and find somewhere to serve today.

February 2014, FaceTime

Technology in Smartphones, Iphones, Ipads, Notepads, and other electronic devices has changed the way we communicate with our families and friends today. Across town, across the country and even around the world, we can now see the person(s) we are talking with on these devices. Grandparents can keep up with all of the grandchildren’s activities; parents can talk with and see their son’s and daughters even when they are away at college and Military families can stay in touch visually with each other even during the middle of a war. This FaceTime is fantastic, but it still does not replace the in-person face to face communications that allows us to touch, hug, hold hands with or kiss individuals who are close to us. So in all the hustle and bustle of your life, make sure you take the time to get some real face time with your family and friends and touch someone you love and care about. Touching in the form of a handshake, hug or kiss lowers the stress level in us all.

January 2014, The Start of Seven

This is the start of my 7th year of providing tips on how to manage stress. Life itself provides us with many stressful situations. We can lower our stress level, we can manage our stress but we can not eliminate stress from our lives. So I guess the main thing to do is to accept that stress is a part of our lives and to try and make it work to our advantage. Stress can be good if the energy that comes with it is directed in the right direction.

Most people, myself included, get anxiety or butterflies whenever we are going to meet someone for the first time, make a speech, sing on a stage, perform in a play, take a trip or run a marathon. There are two specific things that we can do that will take that anxiety or butterflies and generate it into positive rather than negative feelings. The first is to “be prepared” for the situation you are about to take part in. If you know you are prepared, you will have less anxiety about doing whatever it is you are about to do. The second is to take a moment and ready yourself. To do this, close your eyes, take a few slow and deep breaths and visualize yourself; greeting that new person in a warm and friendly manner and seeing them respond in the same manner; saying all the right words that keep the attention and interest of those in the audience; hitting every note in the song; being the actor/actress you want to be; being all packed and having a safe and carefree trip; running effortless and finishing in a record time.

These two simple steps will help you channel your energy (anxiety/butterflies) and will generate positive results and lower your stress. Happy New Year!