Archive for Stress

De-Stress During Difficult Times

By · August 12, 2009 · Comments (0)

When hard times hit, managing your stress level is more important than ever. With issues and difficulties of many types coming at you from a multitude of directions, your overall stress level can increase significantly, and finding ways to counter the stress you feel is an important priority.

The American Psychological Association just released their annual Stress in America Survey, and no one is surprised that stress levels have increased in the last year in the US. People reported more fatigue, anger and irritability and more than fifty per cent of respondents said they lay awake at night, unable to sleep because of stress.

Combined exhaustion, irritability and anger can result in different behaviors by different people and understanding the effects of stress in yourself, your family and your community is critical. People who otherwise manage their feelings and keep their stress in check may find it hard to do so.

Here are five simple ways to prevent and manage stress. Practice these techniques for yourself, but also share them with others, as you support those around you who are also feeling significant stress:

1. When some things are not working, take time to recognize what is working, and going right. Focus on the good things in your life, and what you appreciate.

2. Understand that many difficult situations are temporary and not permanent, to help keep perspective. Choose your response to events to keep things in balance.

3. Keep news and television watching in check, to prevent specific details from taking over your thinking.

4. Engage in calming activities, such as finding pockets of quiet time to read, or talk with someone you respect and who is supportive of you.

5. Become resilient by accepting what is, and cannot be changed. Try to take away a learning and move on.

The best way to manage your personal stress level is to not allow yourself to become overcome by negatives, but take on an approach that is continually hopeful, in spite of difficult times. Be resilient.

Carefully manage the thoughts you have to keep your stress in check.

Maria Berdusco supports others through challenges and can be reached at 412-221-3376. Visit Maria’s website.

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London Leadership Challenge

By · June 29, 2009 · Comments (0)

St Pauls CathedralLove versus fear is a fascinating leadership topic. Today I am reminded of what fear really feels like.

Heart stopping, weak in the knees, nerve wracking fear, in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England, of all places. It is Christopher Wren’s architectural bridge between earth and heaven. I was sitting quite contentedly in the whispering chamber, surveying the checkerboard floor far below the base of the great dome, and remembering the old women feeding birds for a tuppence on the steps of St. Paul’s in Mary Poppins. It is a grand cathedral, steeped in history, and as magnificent as any.

My daughter, a 15 year old runner, and my husband, also an athlete had just sprinted to the very top of the dome and down again, and insisted I do the same. They said that the view from the top is like no other, so off I went up the next set of steps. When I reached the chamber of gold, the next set of stairs somehow appeared rickety and unsafe, and when I asked the guard about them, she admitted that this upper section of the dome had reopened only this morning after a year of repairs. What should have made me feel better, made me feel worse. I felt less safe than I ever recall. ‘You can’t be afraid mom, you jumped out of an airplane’ my daughter said, but it did little to diminish my rising fear. My knees were pure gelatin, palms were dripping and my heartbeats had become a deafening thump, thump, thump, exploding in my chest.

This was new. I am not afraid of heights. I am not afraid of small spaces. And yet I felt terror at ascending a small flight of steps. Hours later my entire body flushes in the recollection. Clearly, I did make it to the top and back down again.

Focus and breath. Focus and breath. This is how to move you through your worst fears, an inch, a step, a piece at a time. As with someone afraid of snakes, show it to them, have them touch it and soon they will be holding it, after a series of successive and successful approximations.

Move across fear to the other side, or above the fear to the very top, for the spectacular view, and well worth the climb.

Fear is very real, but move across the chasm of the unexpected and unexplained, through the fear to the other side.

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Brain Sardine

Conversations about brain and behavior in a leadership context are often about great thinking, and focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t. This is also known as self determination, which strengthens your thinking because it puts you in control of your destiny, as opposed to just responding to what is going on around you.

Another great way to strengthen your thinking is with sardines.I have been following the study of inflammation since my laboratory days in the early eighties and a great deal has been learned since then. Inflammation is often not only localized but can also be systemic, when it has effects in many organs and body systems. Inflammation can lead to arthritis when it is in a joint, heart disease when it is cardiac, and memory loss when it is inflammation of the brain.

Inflammation is your body’s way of saying something is not optimal. There can be a physical injury, a bacterial invasion, a chemical intrusion or a simple foreign lesion. This was the case with a sliver in the sole of my foot a few days ago. I had an instant limp and within hours a puffy protective mechanism appeared.

Inflammation: perilous or protector? Both it seems, supportive when moderate, but dangerous when extreme. We now know a simple low dose aspirin every day for inflammation prevents joint pain, heart disease and even breast cancer.

What do aspirin and sardines have in common? Both reduce inflammation. Omega 3’s, extracted from sardines, salmon and mackerel deliver anti-inflammatory effects for joint mobility, cardiac health, cancer prevention, and even positive mood, according to clinical studies. We can now add cognitive function and improved memory to this list.

The brain benefits of omega 3’s include emotional well being, cognitive clarity and a reversal of some of the effects of neurodevelopment disorders such as dyslexia, cognitive deficiency and anxiety. This is good news!

An daily omega 3 capsule will help you think better. We know conscious thinking has powerful outcomes for self determination, and smart approaches, and now we can support the strategy with sardines.

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Take a Few Deep Breaths

By · April 2, 2009 · Comments (0)

Breathe consciously.

BreatheThere are so many benefits to developing an awareness of your breathing. Take a few deep breathes, simply breathe in and breathe out. Stop for a moment to collect and gather yourself as separate from the many moments and experiences of your day. You have already moved a step closer to self awareness. Beginning is that simple.

Do you feel a little calmer, more centered and have a better sense of well being? Just breathe in and breathe out. Being aware, through creating a brief interlude of consciousness, or a pause to gather yourself, is a respite in what for many people has become highly active and extremely interactive lives. The know yourself component of self awareness is more readily available to you when take time to pause your thinking and become your authentic self. This is a very different you than the stretched and multidirectional person who may be continually pulled and overextended.

Daniel Goleman, renowned for his groundbreaking research on emotional intelligence, and its application in the workplace, concluded that people with high self awareness understand their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. Additionally, people with strong self awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful, but are honest with themselves and others. Goleman also indicated that those who are self aware know their values and goals, and know where they are headed and why. They can be recognized by their confidence, and have a firm grasp of their capabilities. They are also less likely to set themselves up to fail and they play to their strengths. In leadership self awareness builds confidence, credibility and reliability. Self awareness and breathing go hand in hand. Breathe consciously.

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