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Posts tagged ‘stress’

How to Tap Into Your Intuition For Decision Making

How to Tap Into Your Intuition For Decision Making

We make decisions every day. Having to make decisions can add to our stress. Some decisions are inconsequential, like what to eat at a restaurant. Choosing one meal versus another makes little difference to your life. You will nourish your body one way or the other and what you ate will soon be forgotten unless the meal was particularly good or really bad.

On the other hand, where to go on a vacation can be more memorable. If you like sunny weather and the beach, it behooves you to check out your destination, so you don’t end up going there during their rainy season or you are miles and miles away from the nearest beach.

Then there are decisions that have more impact: choosing a career, whom to marry, where to live, whom to hire to fill a particular job. These decisions have long ranging implications. Sometimes these decisions are easy; other times there are unclear choices. In those situations it would be nice to have some additional insight. If we felt comfortable to listen to our gut instinct that would be wonderful. But that instinct needs to be developed so that we can feel comfortable depending on it for our small and big decisions in life.

So how do we develop that confidence in our gut instinct or intuition?

Listen to your intuition on small things. Once I met a person for lunch, who was very comfortable with her intuition. We were at a restaurant she had never been to, yet she knew almost instantly what she wanted to eat. She explained her process as follows. On the drive to the restaurant she “checked in” with herself: how hungry was she; did she want something light or a heavier meal; salad or meat, what kind of meat; what would satisfy her hunger. Once she got to the restaurant she had an idea of what she was looking for. She merely turned to the appropriate page on the menu and an entrée jumped out at her. She went with that choice. Her meal was delicious.

Here is another example. When I managed rental properties, I used the Silva Mind Control technique of “going to level”. I would get to the rental property a little early. In the car I put myself in a relaxed state and in that state in my mind I pretended to meet the person who was interested in renting the property. In that relaxed state I got a 6th sense whether the person was a good fit and whether the person would end up being a good tenant. Many times this 6th sense proved to be correct. On the other hand I’ve had a gut feel that I should not rent to someone and if I went against my intuition those times turned out to be costly mistakes.

Next Step:

One way to gain confidence in your intuition is to keep an ‘intuition journal’. When you have an intuition about something or someone, write it down, whether you act on it or not. Also note if there are physical symptoms that went along with your intuition, such as a vision or a physical discomfort. Simply observe whether you were correct. As you recognize your intuition and see that it is leading you in the right direction, your confidence will grow and so will your intuitive power.

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

How to Beat Procrastination

 

How to Beat Procrastination 

Procrastination is the leisure time we build into our day when we don’t have enough leisure time.

Is that true for you?

Let’s look at some of the reasons we procrastinate:

1. Lack of How To

When we don’t know how to do a task or don’t know how to get started, and don’t have someone to ask, we tend to put the task off.

2. Overwhelm

The task is so big we don’t know where to get started and there is no end in sight, there is so much to do.

3. Stress

Stress can be a trigger for procrastination. We procrastinate when we can least afford it.

4. Lack of time management

Spending time on non-essential tasks can be a form of ongoing procrastination, until we are face to face with a deadline.

5. Perfectionism

It is easy to procrastinate when we know that the end result of our work is never good enough.

6. Lack of Goals

Very few people live their life on purpose. Most people go through the motions of what needs to be done day in and day out.

 

What can you do in each of these situations?

1. Lack of How To

First of all decide if there is a resource that can help you get started. It could be a book, a person whom you can ask for help, or searching for answers on the internet. Other times the best course of action is to get started. Set aside 30 minutes and try to figure out something to get you started. Get started with breaking the job into bite-size tasks and then tackling these one at a time.

2. Overwhelm

If a task is too big, the first thing is to break it down into smaller chunks. If there is just too much to do, write down all that needs to be done. Cross out the tasks that you can do without. Delegate tasks that someone else can do. Prioritize the most important tasks, knowing that some lower priority tasks may not get done. Sometimes you can negotiate for extra time.

3. Stress

When you feel the stress getting to you, take a relaxation break. Take some deep breaths; meditate for 3-5 minutes; get up and take a short 5 minute walk; listen to a piece of music. Rather than letting the stress get to you and pushing forward, a short break may be the answer.

4. Time Management

One way to manage time is to manage priorities. Eliminate non-essential tasks. Work on the most important tasks first. Another form of time management is to break large tasks into blocks and spread them over time. For example taxes need to be filed every year. Instead of waiting until April to get the taxes done, spend time every month to organize your tax receipts and bank statements, so that the task is small when the taxes need to be filed.

Write down all your tasks and divide them into 4 categories:

  •      Important and urgent
  •      Important and not urgent
  •      Not important and urgent
  •      Not important and not urgent

Then eliminate as many of the not important and not urgent tasks as possible.

Regularly work on important tasks while they are not yet urgent. This eliminates a great deal of stress in your life by preventing urgent tasks in your life.

5. Perfectionism

This is a tough one to overcome. Often this trait was encouraged from early on – like getting all A’s on your report card. One way to tackle this is to allow yourself trial runs or in case of a document – a first draft – or even just the first few paragraphs. With practice you can loosen the grip of perfectionism.

6. Lack of Goals

Goals give your life direction. Take time out to dream about your life 1, 5, 10 or even 20 years into the future. Think about where you’d like to live, who you’d like to be sharing your life with, and what you’d like to have. Then build tasks into your schedule that will get you closer to your dreams. Those tasks are important motivators to keep you going with everything you need to get done.

 

Next Steps

Recognizing how you spend your day and what needs to change can be a real challenge to do alone.

Consider keeping a time log for a couple of weeks and reach out for help to implement changes to the way you live your life. Remember to build regular leisure activities into your days and weeks. It replenishes your energy to keep going.

 

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. 

Does Just Looking at Food Make You Gain Weight? About Bloating and Anxiety

Does Just Looking at Food Make You Gain Weight?

When you look at foods or smell them, do you feel like that’s enough to cause you to gain weight? You may be right! You may have an anxiety response, which causes bloating in you.

First of all – bloating is associated with a variety of causes, some of which require medical care. Please seek appropriate medical care for your condition as needed. http://www.beatbloating.com/ might be one of many sites that can help you get a better understanding of some of the causes of bloating.

What I am offering here is a different point of view than what you might have considered. I hope it helps.

Creating Awareness and Why This Matters:

When do you feel bloated?
Keep a record of the moment when you become aware of the feeling of bloating. What was happening in your life just before that? What were you thinking about? Where were you? What did you see, hear or smell? What and how much did you eat, or drink, or inhale? If you over-ate, what were you thinking? Did you go unconscious and just munch away until the bag, box, or plate was empty? Do you have “clean your plate” syndrome? In order to cure anxiety related bloating, you first have to pinpoint what is causing the anxiety. Heal the source of the anxiety and the symptom goes away.

Story: Bloating as an Anxiety Response

My mother has severe anxiety when she has to write something or receives mail that she has to respond to. Needless to say, her grandchildren haven’t received a birthday or Christmas greeting card in many years. It may have something to do with her unresolved past. She told me this story: When she was young she remembers a terrifying writing incident. Her mother (my Oma) wanted her to do well in school. One time my mother had a really hard time with a writing assignment. Oma got so frustrated at her daughter’s lack of getting the writing assignment done, that she stood behind her with a carpet beater, threatening to beat her severely if she wasn’t writing. Writing under that kind of threat of physical harm did not help my mother think or create a well-written composition.

When my mother was an adult and had a young child (me) she went through a bitter divorce. Years later she told me that at one point my Dad, who was a sharp shooter and had a rifle collection, threatened to kill both of them and make me an orphan, unless she agreed to everything he wanted in the divorce. Responding to attorney correspondence during that divorce must have felt like writing with a gun to her head. Do you suppose I picked up any unconscious association between writing and severe anxiety, or for that matter, between divorce and life threatening danger?

Writing was something that I have felt uncomfortable and awkward and even terrified about most of my life. The first time I contributed to a book a few years ago, it was an arduous experience. The various parts of the process: writing, editing, approving the final version, promoting the book, seeing it in print and in book stores, all caused various symptoms, some as severe as debilitating back pain, shortness of breath, and chest pain caused by a diaphragm spasm which lasted several days.

I have come a long ways since my last book project. In the last six months I have been writing an article each week. A couple of weeks ago I started seriously thinking about organizing these articles into chapters for a future book project. Almost the moment I thought of going through another book project my stomach became distended. I watched my stomach swell up as it become bloated right before my eyes. The pants that fit comfortably a minute earlier were uncomfortably cutting into my waist. — At first I didn’t put it together: the thought about creating another book and the bloating. With a little introspection and the many tools I use to help my coaching clients, I became aware of the connection. When I was getting ready to write my next article a week later, nothing came together. I started the article but seemed to have irresolvable writer’s block. Using more tools, I am now, 2 weeks later, able to write again — and write with minimal bloating. In two weeks of daily discomfort and working through my writing related issues, I was able to nearly resolve the next layer of writing related anxiety, dissolving another piece of a lifetime of writing anxiety.

Taking it Further:

If you experience bloating that seems to come “out of nowhere”, consider if it may be an anxiety response to something that’s going on in your life or your mind. If you swell up just thinking about food, there may be underlying anxieties that can be healed. If you need help solving the mystery and dissolving the discomfort, consider getting the support of a coach who has the detective skills and the tools, so you can be free from the discomfort.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you let go of some stress and anxiety, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Reduce Bad Stress to Make Room for Good Stress

Reduce Bad Stress to Make Room for Good Stress

Do you have too much stress? Do you have too much procrastination? Do you have too little of achieving your goals? You can change all that.

1. You can lead a driven life: If you are driven, you have taken on the role of your own parent and you push yourself to get things done. Your stress is internally created.

2. You can lead a controlled life: If you lead a controlled life, outside influences dictate your life. There is always someone to blame. Your stress seems to come from other people or circumstances.

3. Or you can learn to lead an inspired life! If you lead an inspired life, you live a life of choices and passion. The things that may stress other people out are more like little annoyances on your path of living a passionate and inspired life. This is the good life.

If you have a lot of stress you have probably looked for and found ways to control stress. Well, if you want to have stress, then you can certainly try the various methods for controlling it. But when you are all done, you still have the stress. Or – more and more – you may say, “Never Again” to more and more situations. Your life becomes more and more restricted.

How about letting go of your body’s stress response instead. In other words, what if something that currently stresses you out, in the future, has NO effect on you? What if that stressful occurrence vanishes from your life altogether? Would that improve your life? Have you noticed that when you try to avoid or evade a certain type of stressful situation in your life, it pops up somewhere else? It’s like the amusement park game Whack-A-Mole. You bop them on the head and more show up. That is how stress is until you learn how to let your stress response go.

Stress from “Goals”

You have stress because what you want to have is different from what you now have. Let’s say that you have a job and on that job there is someone you just don’t get along with. You wish they treated you well but you constantly feel ignored, diminished, avoided. So you have a “goal” of how you wish things were, but they are different. You have stress when you have to deal with that person. If you could control that person to behave towards you the way you want them to, that would be one way to solve your problem. But nothing you’ve tried seems to work. So you have stress. What if you could find a way to just let go of your desired outcome or goal?

First of all, notice that there are probably other people in your life that don’t act towards you the way you want them to. Now take it one step further. Do those same people act that way all the time or do they treat some people the way you wish they would treat you?

Since you have already tried to have them change, try changing yourself. If that person in the office is nice to some people, what is it about those people that might be contributing to a friendlier interaction?

In what way do you treat that person so they might feel ignored, diminished or avoided? Fear and hostility tend to go together. If you are avoiding each other until you absolutely have to deal with each other, you will both tend to come from a place of fear and feel you have to lead with hostility to let them know forcefully what you expect to happen. They may equally respond with hostility. If you can realize they are probably covering fear with hostility, you can see how the pattern perpetuates. Chances are that this pattern is something you learned in childhood. If you truly want things to be different, you have to change the pattern. This is not an easy thing to do and short of eliminating certain people from your life there is no quick fix. Relationships take effort.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

You only have room for so much stress in your life. If your life is full of daily stress, then you don’t have the energy to work on your dreams and goals. As you reduce the stressors in your life, you then have energy and vitality to enjoy life and go for your goals. So, to get the life you want, you first have to make room in your “stress bucket”. If stress is the difference between what have now and how you’d like things to be, then having goals is only possible when there is room in your “stress bucket”.

So the first step to getting your goals is to let go of some goals you may not even be aware of: think of something that annoys you, may be something as simple as a burned out light bulb or the mess in the back seat of your car. Decide when you are going to take care of it, get it done. Once it’s done it no longer occupies room in your “stress bucket”. Coach Jim Bunch talks about the “9 environments” and how, by keeping them clean, we free up energy to support getting our goals.

When we have too many goals we tend to go into procrastination. It’s like having a computer with too many programs running at the same time; eventually it slows down or even crashes. So —- if you are procrastinating —- you might have too many goals open at the same time. Defer some of them. Sales trainer Brian Tracy tells executives who want to be more productive, to prioritize their top 5 goals for each day, then work on their number one goal until it is done. Then move to their number 2 goal until they have worked through each one. Brian talks about how executives have reported amazing productivity gains with just this one tip.

Resources:

“Eat that Frog”, is one of many books by Brian Tracy.

Jim Bunch’s http://www.theultimategameoflife.com The Ultimate Game of Life coaching programs.

Dr. Michael Ryce’s http://www.whyagain.com/worksheets.php has a free download of a “Reality Management Blank Worksheet 7-step”. It is a helpful tool for creating awareness around your stressors and letting them go.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you remove some stress from your “stress bucket”, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

If you are not getting enough sleep you probably don’t even realize it.

“Small amounts of sleep loss (eg, 1 hour per night over many nights) have subtle cognitive costs, which appear to go unrecognized by the individual experiencing the sleep loss. More severe restriction of sleep for a week leads to profound cognitive deficits similar to those seen in some stroke patients, which also appear to go unrecognized by the individual.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com and the research of David Thorne)

In the video game “Zeitgeist”, a character suffering from sleep deprivation, then fatigue, then exhaustion, suffers increasingly severe penalties (can’t do spells, less strength and dexterity). In the game the penalties for sleep deprivation are obvious. If we could invent an easy to use “thermometer” for measuring sleep deprivation, and a chart of penalties at each degree of sleep deprivation, may be then we would take our own need for sleep more seriously.

Story: Sleeplessness and Diabetes

“Short-term sleep deprivation has been implicated in contributing to obesity as well as glycemia dysregulation contributing to poor control of type II diabetes.” (From the website http://www.medscape.com)

For as long as I have known my father, he has had trouble sleeping. Nothing ever seemed to help for very long. As an adult he developed diabetes. He felt it was one of a series of complications of his condition.
After my daughter was born, I took her with me on a visit to my father. Because of the diabetes he had been blind for some time and had lost all sensation in his hands. Yet he wanted to see his grandchild. So he came up with an idea. On a bright sunny day we went outside and while my Dad was facing into the sun, I held my daughter up in the bright light. He could tell just enough of a difference between the sun and her shadow to “see” his first grandchild.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

There is more and more research confirming that not enough sleep is bad for us. Yet we pride ourselves on being able to do all-nighters. With on-line games, TV and the Internet we can have things to do and people to interact with any time of day or night. The temptations are hard to resist and our lack of awareness of the consequences on our health make it even less compelling to change.

If you know you are not getting enough sleep, or you feel that you have issues falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up after only a few hours of sleep, consider getting help. Find out if a medical condition prevents you from getting the sleep your body needs.

Taking it Farther:

Stress is one of the causes of sleeplessness. Forcing ourselves to sleep less because we have too much to do is one of the reasons we develop poor sleep habits. Learning to respond to stressors with equanimity, learning to prioritize, letting go of time wasters such as procrastination can help as well. Strengthening your boundaries and being able to say “no” to requests by others is an important skill in managing your time and stress. Unless there is a medical condition that prevents you from sleeping or sleeping enough, reducing stress and improving time management skills can be an important option to improving the quality of your life, health, and sleep.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life and learn to reduce stress and time pressure, call me to learn how coaching can help. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Some people say there is good stress and bad stress. Would you say that getting married is good stress and getting divorced is bad stress?

It appears that the body does not distinguish between good and bad stress. There are “50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress” listed on the American Institute of Stress (AIS) website: http://www.stress.org/topic-effects.htm which includes symptoms like headaches, back pain, nausea, chest pain, fidgeting, overwhelm, excessive hunger or loss of appetite, social withdrawal … You can have these symptoms regardless of the kind of stress you are dealing with. Ask any bride-zilla.

So let’s look a little deeper.

Story: Weddings are about redrawing boundaries

In my past as a wedding photographer, I had the opportunity to work with brides as well as the other businesses that cater to them and their special day. May my observations and thoughts help give you courage to start redrawing your boundaries.

It seems that whatever relationship dynamics exist between the various people planning the wedding are magnified under stress. For example: a bride who hasn’t been able to stand up to her mother about much of anything, will continue to have problems. Freeze, Fight, or Flight? 1. Freeze: the bride feels paralyzed and unable to speak up for what she wants. 2. Fight: the bride may fight her mother on any and every decision. 3. Flight: the bride will avoid including her mother in anything. So what’s the solution? None of those.

Let’s look at close relationships. When you get married you change your primary alliances from the family you came from to your new family unit. But often that is not a conscious decision, or it happens not at all or haphazardly. What you do take with you into your new relationship is how you deal with boundaries. If you had trouble standing up to your parents or siblings, you may have the same trouble in your marriage. If you were expected to maintain peace at all cost or secrecy, you will likely continue to do so.

←—————————————————————————-→
“Put Up With It”                                                                       “Blow Up”

Where are you on the “Put Up With It” to “Blow Up” continuum? Open communications between two people allows you to explore what each of you want and need. It allows you to draw and redraw boundaries and design your relationship consciously and in consideration with each other. And that allows you to build a relationship with very little unresolved stress. Open communication takes courage; lots of courage. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

If you toggle between being a pushover and blowing up, chances are that your relationships are stressful. Your needs are not being met and neither do others feel they can consistently count on you. The gap between how you’d like things to be and the reality is stress. Stress affects the body in negative ways and when it is unresolved, it can cause major health issues.

Taking a stress or anger management class helps you with better self-control when stressed or angry. But that is like putting a band-aid on a toothache. It doesn’t help with the problem.

What can you do? Start observing gaps in communication. Do not sabotage your efforts with talking about big things first, like where to go on vacation, whether to move to a new house, or asking your boss for a raise. Start with little things.

If your spouse or a friend asks, “where would you like to go for dinner?” don’t say something like, “whatever you want is fine with me”. Instead give yourself a little time to think, say something like, “thanks for asking, let me think about what I might like.” Then think about it and come back with a proposal like “I’d really like some fish, how about that xyz restaurant?” or “I really love the atmosphere at abc restaurant? What do you think?” Now you have the opportunity to discuss what you both want. There may be backlash to your new ways at first, especially if you have well-established patterns. It is best to stay as calm as you can.

Talking about little things may seem extremely tedious at first. It is. You are developing a new skill and practicing on small decisions where the stakes are not very high and you are more likely to be willing to compromise. It is like building your muscle to talk things out and find joint solutions. You can move to bigger decisions as your skills improve. Just think of the value of having a calm conversation with your spouse about money, sex, children, work, and household chores. With the right skills, a willing partner, and practice you can get there. You’d be amazed how many people will eventually respond favorably to your new way of being in relationship. And you’ll find out who won’t.

Taking it Farther:
There are a variety of excellent materials on boundaries. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend have co-written many books on boundaries. They are excellent. They are written from a strong Christian viewpoint. If you are not Christian I hope you can still get the boundary lessons from their books or find other helpful materials.

Contact me:

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of the status quo? Get relief! Call to get coached and start designing the life you want to live. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

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