Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What is Stress Anyway?

What is Stress?

Stress is a response the body produces to protect and support us. How does your body use stress?

Stress is generally considered being synonymous with distress. Distress is defined as “physical, mental or emotional strain or tension”

When this type of stress is constant, it becomes harmful. Cortisol, a steroid hormone released by our bodies in reaction to stress to help get us through challenging situations. Scientists have recently realized that the brain also uses cortisol to suppress the immune system and tone down inflammation within the body. So, persistent distress depresses your immune system and shuts down your body’s ability to heal itself. Common conditions associated with chronic stress are heart disease, cancer, depression, eating disorders… the list is endless.

There is such a thing as good stress – good stress has a positive effect. It keeps us motivated, increasing our productivity. And as mentioned earlier, it produces the hormone which helps us through challenging situations.

So, the question is… How can you tell when the line is crossed between stress that is good for you and distress?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. The reason is that, what is good stress for one may be distress for another.

A good example of this is by observing people on a steep rollercoaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar. They can't wait for the ride to end so they can get back on solid ground. But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge and loving every minute of it. And in between you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful?

How can you gain awareness around what’s causing you distress or bad stress?

STOP. This is the 1st step in identifying what causes you stress. You actually need to spend the time getting to know yourself better and recognize any symptoms you may or may not have.

Do a System Check. Figure out what you are tolerating. Tolerations are things that bug you, drain your energy and could be eliminated. We typically tolerate more than 50 things on an ongoing basis.

Here are a couple of tools to help you identify where you are stressed and what you are tolerating:

Stress and Health Self Test

Stress Release Trigger

We’ve taken the first couple of steps in maintaining healthy stress. In addition to these action steps it’s vital to create balance within your life. Balance is the key to health. It’s what we a coaches strive to help our clients create.

Even when we implement all these steps, we are human. We occasionally are going to have stressful days. We all know those days… nothing seems to be going right, we have a to-do list a mile long, everything takes twice as long as it should, we feel as though nothing is actually getting accomplished AND all of those physical symptoms we experience when we’re stressed start to creep up – headache, tight muscles, queasy stomach, heart palpitations.

What can you do when this happens? This is where the “Stress Release Trigger” comes in. You can train yourself to release stress in seconds. Here’s how it works:

Find a ritual that is relaxing for you. For some of you it may be taking an aromatherapy bath, a foot massage with lotion in your favorite scent, deep breathing with your favorite aromatherapy, exercise with your favorite music… whatever it is make sure it involves different senses and is easy for you to do every time you are stressed. So, for those of you who are constantly on the go and need something quick and easy, a few deep breaths with your favorite aromatherapy may be just the thing for you OR if you love to take baths (as I do) and you spend more time at home, this may be an excellent 15-20 minute ritual you develop for yourself.

During your ritual you want to empty your mind and focus on the senses that are stimulated by your ritual.
The key is training yourself to release stress with a trigger. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. So, it is vital that you use your ritual EVERY time you are stressed for 21 days to train yourself in releasing stress immediately. Once you develop the trigger effectively, the moment you engage – the symptoms associated with stress … chaotic mind, headache, tight muscles etc., go away. Leaving you refreshed and re-focused and ready to proceed. For those few moments out your day, you actually get more accomplished than if you continue your day stressed out. My trigger involves a hot aromatherapy bath and literally I've gotten to the point where the second I completely submerge myself I am instantly relaxed. Try it and share your experience with "Stress Release Triggers."

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Empowerment through Choice

What is the one thing that will always make you feel empowered?
It is the ability to make a choice. The problem is that we often forget that there is a choice in absolutely everything. Even if external circumstances prevent us from doing what we prefer, we have a choice in how we are going to approach the situation. We have control over our attitude, thoughts and feelings.

Being "Stuck":

I often hear people talk about being "stuck" at their jobs. When asked why they don't move to another job that would be more fulfilling, their reply: "I can't because I need the health insurance" OR "I can't because I've built up my retirement" and it goes on.

Do you notice anything interesting about those responses? They all revolve around the word "can't". The word can't is disempowering... it's pretty reasonable to assume if your thought processes around your job involve the word can't, that you would feel "stuck", because according to you, you can't do anything about it.

What else did you notice about those responses? The one thing that I find interesting about them is that if you really dig deeper, you often find that these individuals place high value on their health insurance benefits or retirement packages and although they are unhappy and dissatisfied, the value of these benefits outweigh their dissatisfaction. So, essentially they have made a choice... the benefit to cost ratio tips in favor of the reason they stay.

Empowerment Via Choice:

Here is how we are empowered through choice: We are empowered when we are aware that we are choosing something.

Instead of being "stuck" - ask yourself "What reasons do I give for staying in the current situation?" "What do do I gain?" "What do I lose?" "What is more important to me right now?"

Once you answer those questions you will have made your choice. AND as you are going through the questions and answers you will become aware of the fact that you are making a choice.

The next step would be to ask yourself: "How do I choose to feel about this decision?" This is where attitude comes in....

You Have The Power To Choose!

I found another interesting article on the "Power of Choice" by Chuck Gallozzi - check it out!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jumpstarting Productivity

I don't know about you, but I find that my days are most productive when I start my day early. I remember the most productive time in my life included a schedule of exercising, cleaning and reading all before 8 am. I had never been a morning person (still not) - still at that time in my life I had committed myself to that routine and eventually it was automatic. My productivity was high and I felt a strong sense of accomplishment. So, now I have been trying to get myself back into that routine so as to capture that high level of productivity and I just can't seem to get my behind out of bed in the morning.

I am the classic "snoozer." I always start with good intentions - I go to bed at a reasonable hour, I set my alarm clock for 6am..... and then 1-2 hours later after hitting snooze over and over I finally get going with my day.

I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to get back into that routine and here I come across an article. Steve Pavlina produces a very successful blog and his How to Become an Early Riser definitely caught my attention.

He draws attention to the correlation between early rising and high productivity. Along with his observations around how much time you gain by rising early, he shares an interesting system for becoming a habitual morning person.

So, if you are like me and wish you were a morning person - check out his article and try it out. Let's see what success we have in our new commitment to ourselves. I'll keep you updated!

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sales 411 cont...

In a previous post, I touched on selling self-acceptance and choosing a new thought around what selling really is. Today, I want to focus on something you've probably heard before and I think that it is an important component to success.

"People don't care about what you have to say until you care about what they have to say"

How true is that? Think about that for a moment - It is part of our nature as humans to want to be heard. Most people go through life just trying to be understood and when we are around someone who truly listens to us it is a breath of fresh air. And, what do we want to do? We want to be around those people as much as possible. Be part of their inner circle. We talk about them to everyone we know because they are the most genuine authentic people. They really hear us.

When we own a business or represent a business, we need to truly be in touch with what our clients need. We need to know what their challenges are, what they are excited about, who they are, so that we know how to best serve them. The only way to do this is to listen.

Listening is one of the best ways to sell. If you are in touch with your potential customer/client you will know how to work with them and create a win-win situation.

Be In Service of Others

Building on listening, let's go into service. I'm not just talking about excellent service on the part of us, our business/product, I'm talking about being IN service of others.

When meeting another person for the first time, do you screen them for potential customer status? That's a given. What about if they do not have a remote chance of being in need of you or your product? Do you write them off and move on to the next one?

What would happen if you looked at each person in terms of what you can do for them instead of what they can do for you?

Think of the people that you really like to do business with. What characteristics do they embody? How much of their success do you feel is in direct proportion to their ability to listen and really help you?

My challenge to you:

Practice really listening to everyone you connect with this week and find one way that you can be in service of them that exceeds their expectations. Comment on your experience at the end of the week.

Until next time....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Breaking the Rules

I stumbled across a great blog - I Help You Blog and there is a fantastic challenge that of course I can't pass up. 101 Great Posting Ideas for Your Blog challenges it's readers to pick one of the 101 posting ideas and write a great post about the topic.

I have decided to focus on great food for thought that I found in a book I am currently reading called Breaking the Rules: Removing the Obstacles to Effortless High Performance by Kurt Wright.

He proposes that weaknesses do not exist, only strengths. One example he highlights is that you cannot measure darkness except in relation to light. Darkness is light measured in degrees up from zero, therefore you only posess degrees of strength.

So, it might look something like this: You posess two different characteristics, one is self-confidence and one is self-discipline. Previous to this you might consider self-confidence to be your strength and self-discipline your weakness. But, since weakness does not exist then you need to re-evaluate.

We recognize that we only have degrees of strength, so if we were to use a scale starting from zero, (0-10) where would you place your different strengths? It might look like this: self-confidence might be a 10 and self-discipline might be a 2. They both are strengths and self-confidence is stronger.

If you were to accept this belief as true, how would that change the way you operate going forward? What benefits could you see from adopting this new belief system? What would be different as a result of your new beliefs about yourself?

Here's another interesting thought Kurt brings out in his book - you probably are aware and familiar with the Law of Attraction by now and he points out that energetically we cannot recognize a strength in another if we ourselves do not already posess it. He challenges us to verbally acknowledge and engage others in conversation around a strength we notice in them. By doing this we ultimately provide ourselves with a mirror in which we are able to generate awareness by acknowledging and exploring our own strengths, which in turn makes them stronger.

Who do you know that you embody strengths you admire? How might you verbally acknowledge them this week? In acknowledging them, what do you notice about yourself?

I had fun writing this post and I hope you have enjoyed it. I'm curious what your thoughts are on this - share them!

Thanks to I Help You Blog for the wonderful inspiration behind this tidbit.

Until next time...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sales 411

Here's an interesting thought: Everything comes back to selling. Think about that for a second. The world revolves around sales.... every business regardless of what they do, have to sell. Every person sells. You sell your favorite movies, favorite books, favorite restaurants, favorite shoes. You even sell yourself on ideas and thoughts.

Here's another interesting thought:
Most people hate the very idea of the salesperson, yet we all fall under that category in one fashion or another.

The question is: How do I embrace my inner salesperson?

Acknowledge that you sell on a continuous basis in your day to day life.

Admit it. You do it. You just don't think of it as selling.... You would probably say "I'm just sharing my favorite_____________with so and so.

Hmmmm - Sharing. Replace the word selling with sharing. There. That feels better doesn't it? Isn't funny how changing a word can alter your perspective? When it was selling, you shuddered. Now that it's sharing, you feel all warm and fuzzy. We all like to share - we like to share our things, our thoughts, our ideas, our favorites, ourselves. Stop and think about that for a moment..... It's the same thing.

Choose a new thought.

When you choose to think of selling as sharing, it shifts the way you feel about it. When you feel empowered by something you will be more successful at it. For all of you who own businesses or work for a business (um, that would be everyone), this is vital.

What thoughts do you entertain around selling? What new thought might you choose instead? What is one thing that you can do today to embrace your new thought?

To be continued.......

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Today Is A New Day

It's important for each of us to remember each day is a new day. What happened yesterday, last week, last month or years ago does not matter. Each day offers us a fresh start. Every morning I make a point to ask myself - "Who am I going to be today?" Each day offers the ability to choose to be the person we strive to be even if we've made different choices the day before.

So, I ask you: "Who do you choose to be today?"

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Day of Caring

Often times when we start something new we go, go, go and then it's easy to start putting our self-care on the back burner. I'm finding this on my journey with my new coaching business - I am so excited and there are so many new things to explore. I have started to let some other things slide. So, I have decided that I need to get back to walking the talk and have declared today a day of caring. I am allowing myself to take a step back and care for myself today. I challenge you to the same. What is one thing you can do today to honor yourself? Here is an article I found to help with your day of self-care: Stress Management: Ten Self-Care Techniques

Enjoy & Until next time....

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Enter the World of Blogging

This is my very first foray into the world of blogging. I am excited by the possibilities as well as nervous about putting myself out there.

Here's a little about me:
I have been happily married for almost 9yrs now to my hubby Erick and have a fun and amazing little boy named Isack who is 7. I have been self-employed for what seems like forever and have been extremely appreciative for the opportunity this has allowed me to stay at home with Isack as well as the time to pursue all the different things in life that interest me.
I have a huge love for natural health and am passionate about helping women create more choices in their life. I believe that women shouldn't have to choose between being a great mother and wife OR having a successful career - Women can be all that they want and choose to be, successfully!

My very first introduction to the world of business was with Sensaria Natural Bodycare. I have represented them for 5 years now and it has been and continues to be of the most amazing experiences. Sensaria has opened up many different opportunities for me, one of which is the world of personal life and business coaching. My first experience with a life coach came a few years ago and that experience really helped me to stretch outside of my box and take ownership for the life I wanted to live. I felt so empowered by the experience that I knew that this was another path that I needed to walk down.

I am proud to say that I have just graduated from an
ICF accredited coach training program - Ipec Coaching - and will complete my certification within the next few weeks! My coaching practice Growth In Action has stretched and challenged me to really be the best that I can be. My focus with this blog along with my Core Insight newsletter (sign up at Growth In Action website) is to offer my readers a resource for personal development, self-care and business development along with fun. I hope you enjoy! Until next time.....