Archive for Stress Relief

Little Secrets To Being Happy

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” — Frederick Koenig

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to be genuinely happy and wanted to know their secret?  Well, let me let you in on that little secret:  It’s a mindset and a matter of attitude.  Apply some or all of the following suggestions in your daily life and you will be well on your way to experiencing happiness from within.

HOW DO I BECOME A HAPPY PERSON?

1.  Are you ready for this one?  YOU CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!  Most of the time people can choose what they want to be.  So why not choose to be happy?

2.  Practice random acts of kindness.  Little things ….. help somebody to cross the street, open the door for somebody, pay a compliment, visit an elderly neighbor ….. and don’t expect anything in return.  You will notice that when doing things for others, it will not only make you feel good, but it will come back to you one way or another and good things will happen in your life!

3.  Show your love, affection and appreciation to people around you.  They will usually respond in kind.

4.  Remove yourself from toxic environments as much as possible, whether it’s a job situation, a bad relationship, or a negative person who always seems to drag you down.  If it doesn’t feel good, it’s probably not good for you.

5.  Exercise ….. regularly.  Try to find an exercise that is fun for you to do.  Whether it is playing basketball with your kids, jogging in the park, taking walks, working out in a gym — it doesn’t matter what — just do it!  Besides the obvious positive effect on your physical well being, regular exercise also affects how you feel.  During physical activity, the body releases endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) and when that happens, you experience feeling positive, relaxed and happy.  By the way — the same is true when receiving a massage or having sex.    🙂

6.  LAUGH OFTEN!

7.  Keep an open mind and learn new things.  One key to happiness is personal growth.  And how much fun it is to learn and explore new things!

8.  Find your true calling in life.  It seems to me that people who follow their passion and work in a job, have a business, or are in the creative field, reflecting their passion, are generally happy people.  If you would ask them about their work, they very likely will tell you that they don’t look at it as work because they like what they do and are passionate about it ….. and very often rewards follow.

FIVE SIMPLE RULES TO BEING HAPPY
*  Free your heart of hatred
*  Free your mind from worries
*  Live simply
*  Give more
*  Expect less

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Massage With A ‘Happy Ending’

While I was reading about somebody’s experience with ‘massage with a happy ending’ the other day, I instantly thought about one of my clients a few years back.  As you probably can imagine, as professional massage therapists, we run into these situations sometimes.  When I do, I usually deal with it with humor and refer them to the ‘Yellow Pages.’   🙂

Since I make house visits to pretty much regular clients, I hardly run into these requests anymore, but naturally, I used to from time to time in my early years, and I remember specifically one client, B., who came to town almost every week for about six months or so, while he was expanding his car business here.  The concierge called me initially after he had asked her for a massage therapist who would come to the hotel.  So this is how we initially met.  B. was a nice older guy, always a gentleman, and we ended up having really nice conversations from time to time.  He seemed to always want to know what I was thinking about certain issues and over time, we established quite a nice massage therapist/client relationship.  But we had to get past one issue first.

When I went for the first appointment, he was quite the gentleman as I said, never did or said anything wrong.  While putting my table together, I noticed that he had two hundred dollar bills laying on the table, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as he had paid me already.  So, when I came back next time, it had slipped my mind until I noticed two hundred dollar bills laying there again.  Here also, B. never said or did anything to indicate that he wanted a massage with a ‘happy ending.’  But it was clear to me that that’s what the generous ‘tip’ was intended for.  Even though he told me every time how good he felt and how much he enjoyed the massage, maybe he wanted to enjoy it a little more …..   :-).

Now, while I was driving to my next appointment, I was thinking about how to best handle the situation.  As he was a very nice person, I wanted to keep him as a client as long as he came to town, so I didn’t want to embarrass him.  On the other hand, I wanted to make absolutely sure that he understood that I was a professional massage therapist and therefore sexual favors were not included (he should have known that by then, but then again, he was a man, so he tried …..  🙂 ).

Anyway, as I saw the money on the table again next time I saw him, I told him about one of my clients who had made advances on several occasions and was looking for more than a massage, and continued to do so, even after I had made clear to him that that was a non-starter.  ‘So I had to let him go as a client, because he just didn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer and the situation had become too uncomfortable,’ I said to B., looking straight into his eyes.  And I know he got the message without me saying a word directly to him or embarrassing him.  How do I know?

Well, no two hundred dollar bills on the table when I saw him the next time.   🙂

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De-Stress At Work

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  While we can’t avoid stress completely, it is important that we find ways to deal with it more effectively as it can be a contributing factor in more than 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions on how to deal better with stress at work.

*  Create a neat and organized workplace

Keep your workplace always neat and organized.  Nothing is more stressful than if you can’t find something one minute before you have to go into a meeting.  Surround yourself with beautiful things that give you joy, make you feel good and inspire you, like pictures of your kids and pets, plants, a cartoon, smiley face or anything that makes you laugh and smile.

*  Have an active lunch

Instead of sitting in a crowded restaurant for lunch, why not take a healthy lunch you prepared the day before and opt for physical activity instead?  The easiest exercise would be to take a brisk walk.  You can do it anywhere and only need some comfortable shoes.  Depending on the time you have, you could also go to the gym and work out, etc.  Whatever suits you–and take your co-workers with you!

*  Get a chair massage

Make a suggestion to have a massage therapist come to your office from time to time to give fifteen minute chair massages.  Not only will it relax your tight neck and shoulder muscles and improve your overall well being, but statistics have also shown that it will increase productivity levels in employees (which provides a great selling point to your boss).

*  Delegate as much as possible

If you are the boss/manager/supervisor, you don’t have to do it all yourself!  Delegate as much as you can in good conscience.  Not only will the people you work with appreciate the trust you place in them and will feel that they also have a stake in the success of the business, but it will help de-stress your life and you can concentrate on what is important to you while others work on issues they are perfectly able to handle.

*  Stay away from toxic co-workers

In every workplace, there seems to be somebody, sometimes more than one person, who radiates negativity, tries to engage people in vicious gossip, tries to play one against the other, tries to drag people down.  Stay away from that person as much as you can.  If you think you are that person, please read my suggestions on how to become happy, by visiting my website  www.FitwithAndrea.com  and click on ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy!’  

*  Recharge your battery

Take a few minutes from time to time throughout the day to take a break.  Get up and walk around, stretch your body and do some deep-breathing exercises.  Your body and mind will thank you for it.

*  Limit emails

Find ways to limit email use.  Don’t let email take over your life!

*  Carpool

If possible, try to find other people to carpool with, use public transportation or ride your bike.

Most of all:  Enjoy life!  Life is truly beautiful!   🙂

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Fit, Sexy and Happy At Any Age!

Has this ever happened to you?  Somebody enters the room and you think to yourself ‘Wow!  What a presence that person has!’  And you notice how other people stop what they’re doing to look at the person as well.  If you would ask them, most people probably couldn’t tell you why exactly he or she draws all this attention.  Often they don’t even fit the stereotypical ‘beauty standard,’ and yet, there is something about them that makes them sexy and attractive to other people.  It almost feels like there is an aura around them.  What exactly is going on here?

Well, let me tell you a little secret:  It’s a mindset.  People who feel comfortable with themselves are generally happy and radiate positive energy wherever they go.  That in turn is being picked up by others and makes that person attractive, even sexy to them.  From a confident walk, to sparkling eyes, to a radiant smile, you can tell they feel good about themselves and it shows.

George Clooney and Queen Latifah are perfect examples for what I just described.  When they show up, people take notice.  You just know they are self-confident and like themselves, have a positive attitude, laugh often and enjoy life, and that makes them very attractive and sexy.

Now, you also can be fit, sexy and happy, no matter what age you are.  As I mentioned, it’s a mindset and a matter of attitude, and you can achieve it by developing a healthy lifestyle, getting in shape with a fit body, de-stressing and simplifying your life, and creating a positive mindset.  And when you do, you will find the  FIT, SEXY AND HAPPY  person that is already inside you just waiting to be awakened.  Visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com   and find out how.   🙂

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The Connection: Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, when giving somebody with very tense neck and shoulder muscles a massage, I joke around, telling them that I can see names of people engraved in those tense muscles, and that usually serves as an icebreaker or provides for a light moment.  Of course, there is some truth to it.  Because body and mind are interconnected, stress of any kind (involving people and/or circumstances), especially over an extended period of time, can influence our overall health tremendously in a negative way.  Just think about various statistics showing upward of 80% of health problems being stress related.  Imagine by how much that number can be reduced once we know how to decrease stress in our lives and discover ways to deal with stress that will work for us!

You will find various suggestions and tools on that subject when navigating through my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.   Try out the approaches appealing to you and use the method(s) of stress relief that works for you.  The key to achieving and then maintaining good health is a comprehensive approach.  It includes healthy lifestyle choices, a healthy diet, self-responsibility for your wellness, regular physical activity, and a positive mental attitude and mindset.

Research has shown that negative emotions of fear, frustration, blame, hate and anger cause disorder in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and can have a negative effect on your immune system.  On the other hand, your immune system can receive a boost and the efficiency of your heart can be increased by positive emotions of joy, appreciation, care, compassion and love.  On matters of the heart, studies have shown that in general, being in a loving relationship of any kind, especially in happy marriages, can help your heart and your overall health.  However, beware that the opposite can be true for negative and toxic relationships.

I believe the following shows the connection between mind, body and soul perfectly.  One of my first massage clients was a sixty-something, very nice gentleman to whom I gave massages on a regular basis.  I sometimes joked with him about his neck and shoulder muscles being like a “brick wall.”  After the massage, his muscles were relaxed and he felt good and was in excellent spirits.  However, when I saw him the next time, his muscles again were like a “brick wall.”  I knew from talking to him that he was retired and his personal life seemed to be okay.  So I had no idea why his muscles stayed pretty much tense most of the time, to the point where he almost couldn’t move his neck from one side to another.  Naturally, I knew that there had to be a reason for that.

And then, one day he opened up to me, telling me how he was still angry at his parents (who were deceased) for him not having had a happy childhood and always feeling like they preferred his brother over him.  When I listened to him, I could hear his anger in his voice and realized that he was still blaming his dead parents for how he felt and probably for most everything that went wrong in his life.  I thought that he most likely had never been able to enjoy life to the fullest, because he ended up blaming his parents for everything that went wrong, and therefore hardly took responsibility and didn’t feel the need to change things himself, because it was his parents’ fault.

Now, this man carried that blame with him his entire life.  And it showed in his tense neck and shoulder muscles.  After hearing his story, I paused for a moment, and then suggested to him that in order to get to a better and more balanced place, he needed to let go of these negative feelings and forgive everybody involved:  his parents, his brother and finally himself.  I told him that if I was in a situation like that, I would seek counseling.  After that we parted and I didn’t see him for some time.  But one day, out of the blue, he called to make an appointment and when working on his neck and shoulders, I noticed how much more relaxed his muscles were.  I was about to make a comment about it when he told me, “You know, I took your suggestion and talked to a counselor and I’m feeling so much better now.”

He didn’t have to tell me at all; his body had told me already.

I lost him as a regular client, because from that time on he got massages more infrequently–as he called it:  for maintenance and preventive health care only, but not out of necessity, as before.

Somehow, I felt happy losing him as a “regular” client.   🙂

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De-Stress Your Life

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  Even though I de-stressed and simplified my life several years ago, and as a massage therapist don’t let stress overtake my life, there are times when it can be a little challenging.  We cannot avoid stress completely in our lives, but it is important for us to find ways to deal with it more effectively as stress can be major factor in upward of 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions which may help you manage stress a little better.  For more information, please visit my website  www.FitwithAndrea.com

1.  CREATE A NEAT AND POSITIVE LIVING SPACE

Fill your home with positive energy to feel comfortable when spending time there.  You can create a “feel good atmosphere” with very little effort:  simplify and de-clutter.  Get rid of “stuff” you don’t need, especially those things with the sole purpose of collecting dust.  Add color, plants, candles, beautiful lighting, peaceful music in the background, scents if you like, and keep it generally clean and organized.  By the way:  people who visit will also appreciate the positive energy coming from your home and will see it for what it is–a reflection of you!

2.  MAKE APPOINTMENTS WITH YOURSELF

Make regular appointments with yourself.  Exercise, get a manicure, meet with a friend for lunch, visit an art gallery, read a book, take a yoga class ….. and keep the appointments!

3.  FIND A WAY OF RELAXATION THAT WORKS FOR YOU

There are many different ways you can relax.  Try them out and see what works for you:  yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, getting a massage, taking a walk.  It doesn’t matter which one you settle on.  Each will help you relax.  Pick one you feel comfortable with and practice it regularly.  Ideally set aside some time for relaxation every day, and put it on your schedule!

4.  PLAN AHEAD

You don’t have to be obsessive about it, but some planning will help you keep the stress level down.  Write down and plan for important things that have to be accomplished the following day or week.  Also, plan your meals and prepare them ahead of time whenever you can.  Then you have a good breakfast, even if you get up a little late; a healthy lunch, so you can also take a walk during your lunch break; and a nice dinner you can enjoy with your family, even if you had to work a little late.

5.  HAVE FUN!

Make time for fun things.  It’s mandatory!  Take a bike ride, play in the park, go to the zoo, take a trip, have a party for no reason at all.  Enjoy life, it pays great dividends!  By the way:  nobody will remember whether your kitchen floor was mopped on the last Sunday in July of last year but you (and your family) will have wonderful memories of a visit to the park, enjoying a picnic and playing around that afternoon.

6.  SLEEP WELL

How well you sleep at night can make the difference in how stress-free and productive you will be the next day.  Find out what ensures you to have a good night’s sleep, whether it is exercising, cutting back on alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, taking a relaxing hot bath before going to bed, having a quiet and dark bedroom or a combination of all of the above.  Limit your news intake, especially before going to bed.  Sleeping well is very important to your stress level and overall well being.

7.  PRACTICE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS AND VISUALIZATIONS

Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be.  Learn to say “Yes, I can,” no matter what it is.  The phrase “I can’t do it” is not even part of your vocabulary.  From time to time, especially when in a bad mood or feeling stressed, lean back, close your eyes and visualize something you associate with a positive experience or feeling–an event from your childhood, a sunny day at the beach, a beautiful garden, getting a massage.  It will give you a feeling of joy and put a smile on your face.   🙂

8.  LEARN TO SAY “NO” ….. IN A NICE WAY

There is only a limited amount of hours in the day and you are already trying to de-stress and simplify your life.  If somebody asks you to do something, it’s nice to say “Yes” from time to time, but it is also necessary to be able to say “No” and not feel guilty about it.  Don’t overburden yourself with “stuff” just because you are not able to say “No.”  Learn how to say it, in a nice way!

9.  GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER

Financial disarray can be a constant source of stress (and can be a major contributing factor for divorce).  So make it a priority to get your financial house in order.  Here is a simple guideline.  Find ways to have more money coming in than going out.  That can be achieved by either increasing your income or by cutting your expenses or a combination of both.  And don’t forget to save some money in the process for emergencies.  Life happens, so be prepared for it.  Being from Germany, I grew up with this financial advice, instilled in me by my late father, and it is a general rule to this day:  unless it’s a big ticket item (like a house or a car), if you can’t pay cash for it, you probably don’t need it.

10.  LIMIT CELL PHONE USE

…If you can.  Unless you are a doctor on call, you probably don’t need to be reached on your phone at all times.  So, leave it at home if you really don’t have to have it with you, or at the very least turn it off.

Most of all:  ENJOY LIFE!  LIFE IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL!     🙂

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“Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

“Realize that true happiness lies within you.  Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside.  Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.  Reach out.  Share.  Smile.  Hug.  Happiness is a perfume you cannot put on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”      Og Mandino

  

If you belong to the group of people who tend to worry a lot about anything and everything, stop right now!  You literally can worry yourself sick.

Think about it:  The majority of the things you worry about are never going to materialize, so all the energy you are putting into it is wasted energy.  Find ways to use that energy in a positive way. 

Even if a few of the many things you worry about will actually happen, there are usually circumstances out of your control, especially if they involve other people.  Instead, focus on what you have control over, and that is basically limited to yourself and your behavior.

But what do you do if you find yourself being a constant “worrier?”  Here are two practical tips:

1.  CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK
2.  CHANGE WHAT YOU DO

In order to change the way you think, you have to change your mindset from negative to positive.  Let’s say you are worried that if you can’t meet a deadline or perform a job task, it will have an adverse effect on your performance review or your promotion prospects, or you fear you may even lose your job.  To change this negative into a positive thought, why not tell yourself this:  I have worked for this company very hard for a long time and they appreciate my effort, so things will be okay, no matter what.

If on the other hand you find yourself worrying a lot about, for example, not being able to pass a test and the reason for your worry is that you haven’t prepared yourself enough, change what you do!  Prepare yourself to the point where you can tell yourself that you have done everything in your power to pass it and feel comfortable going into the test, telling yourself that failure therefore is not an option.

Try it, it works!

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