Posts Tagged stress

When Kids Get Angry, Upset Or Mad

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Sometimes we forget that kids are dealing with stress and anger as well, especially in perilous and difficult times.  The following simple breathing exercise will help them with calming down (also great for parents).  Practice a few times with your kids until they feel comfortable doing it themselves and make sure it’s a positive experience for them without them feeling any pressure.  After finishing the little exercise, tell them how good you feel and see that they are also calm and positive and that their anger is gone.  The following is a general guideline on how to approach the issue with your kids: 

1.  Tell yourself:  Time out!
2.  Either sit up straight or stretch out on the floor on your back
3.  Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly
4.  Take a deep breath, inhale through your nose
5.  Count to four
6.  Exhale through your mouth, counting to four
7.  The hand on your belly should move when breathing in and out and the one on
     your chest should move very little
8.  Repeat a few times until you feel calm

Whenever you see your kids getting mad, impatient or stressed out, remind them of this little exercise and how good they felt when doing it before!

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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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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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De-stress at Work!

When speaking with a lady who was very stressed out about a situation at work involving one of her co-workers, I was reminded of a similar situation I was faced with in my very first job after coming to the US from Germany in 1991.  Working in an office environment that I didn’t care much for to begin with, there was this one lady in particular who seemed to be filled with negativity, tried to pull others down and constantly seemed to engage in vicious rumors, etc.  At some point I became the subject of her interest and thinking back, that coincided with me having daily headaches before I even got to work, just thinking about what I would be confronted with that particular day.  All I can say is that it was a nightmare to the point that I decided to quit my job when things got worse.  I remember specifically that on my very last day at that job, I was driving home and all of a sudden I felt as though the weight that had been on my shoulders (and the headache) had instantly disappeared.  As a by-product of that experience, I knew exactly what kind of environment I definitely did not want to work in again and decided that I wanted to work for myself  🙂  and have been happy with that decision ever since.  You may know one (or sometimes more than one) of those  “toxic co-workers.”  If the situation is really bad and affects your health and sanity, you may want to consider to leave that particular work environment (as I did).  A constant source of stress in your life can have an adverse effect on your health and it seems to me that no job is worth that.  If you want to remain in your current job despite this particular situation, at the very least:

STAY AWAY FROM TOXIC CO-WORKERS!

….as much as you can.  Realize that there are negative people (and that applies to your private life as well) who will go out of their way to spread negativity, try to tear people down, stab people in the back, etc.  There can be many reasons why some people are like that.  One thing most of them have in common is a general feeling of being unhappy with their own lives.  Rather surround yourself with positive and supportive people.

By the way:  If you think you are that “toxic co-worker,” and would like to be more positive, happy and content, why don’t you visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com  and click on  “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”  for some simple ideas on how to become a positive and happy person?   🙂

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De-Stress Your Life!

GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER!

Yesterday I had lunch with a nice lady I have known for many years.  And as long as I’ve known her, she has had financial problems, and just was never able to get herself in a better situation and is always stressed out over it.  Unfortunately, constant financial disarray can be a major source of stress and a leading contributor for divorce.  Especially right now, where the economic situation has worsened for so many people, it has increased the daily stress level for them.
Of course, when asking “experts” for advice, you always hear the same suggestions:  Make larger payments than the minimum to your credit card, pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate, etc.  All of these suggestions will certainly help you, but here is a simple suggestion from me if you would like to de-stress your life:  Make it a PRIORITY to get your financial house in order!  Follow this 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 car), if you can’t pay cash for it, you probably don’t need it.   🙂 

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