(Oct '08) Tips in this issue:
1. Fear of the Unknown Can Stress You
2. Welcome to attendees from the Oct Signature Customer Service Conference in San Diego
3. JJ's Favorite Quotes
4. Tele-Coaching & Tele-Mentoring
Use the following tips as training tools.
Present this situation to your group and brainstorm solutions together, or submit your own situation question to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.
How are you coping with your fear of the unknown today?
Worldwide, people are extremely concerned about our economic circumstances, the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, job concerns, loss of jobs, loss of retirement investments, higher cost of living, loss of health, etc. The list goes on and on. In each case, this too will pass, and in the mean time, we must cope with the stress that uncertainty and fear of the unknown causes.
I was reminded by my National Speakers Association email today that,
"Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!
In 1982 Robert Schuller said that tough people know that tough times are their greatest opportunities. Why? Because fearful people won't act. They won't be decisive. They are frozen in place. Tough people seize the opportunities and make plans."
Another email from Kaiser Permanente October 2008 e-newsletter gave excellent information on how to recognize and cope with the stress this uncertainty is bringing us.
It said, "Although everyone responds differently, major life changes are some of the biggest causes of stress, both positive and negative." They have a for patients to take on line. Kaiser said, "This interactive tool gauges your stress level based on the number of life changes you have had recently. Your score shows a rough estimate of your current stress level and the likelihood that you will have health problems due to stress in the next 12 to 18 months.
Short-term (acute) stress can keep you awake at night and make you feel irritable and edgy. High stress levels over a long period of time ( stress) can cause serious health problems such as , and it can weaken your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight disease. Stress is linked to health conditions such as depression,
heart disease, and asthma.
The way you deal with stress depends on several factors. These include your ability to cope with change (resiliency), how significant life events are to you, and how much support you get from family and friends. There may also be events that cause you stress that are not included in this tool. Your results can give you a rough measurement of your stress level due to life changes. If you have moderate or high amounts of stress in your life, consider what you can do to avoid adding more stress to your life and what you can do to cope with current stress.
The good news is that you can learn ways to manage stress. To get stress under control:
Find out what is causing stress in your life.
Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
Learn healthy ways to relieve stress.
How do you figure out your stress level?
Sometimes it is clear where stress is coming from. You can count on stress during a major life change such as the death of a loved one, getting married, or having a baby. But other times it may not be so clear why you feel stressed.
It may help to keep a stress journal. Get a notebook and write down when something makes you feel stressed. Then write how you reacted and what you did to deal with the stress. Keeping a stress journal can help you find out what is causing your stress and how much stress you feel. Then you can take steps to reduce the stress or handle it better.
Stress is a fact of life for most people. You may not be able to get rid of stress, but you can look for ways to lower it.
Try some of these ideas:
Learn better ways to manage your time. You may get more done with less stress if you make a schedule. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better.
Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Do not smoke. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
Try out new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts. Work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say no.
Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. It can help to talk to a friend or family member, but you may also want to see a counselor.
How can you relieve stress?
You will feel better if you can find ways to get stress out of your system. The best are different for each person. Try some of these ideas to see which ones work for you:
Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking is a great way to get started.
Write. It can help to write about the things that are bothering you. Let your feelings out. Talk, laugh, cry, and express anger when you need to.
Do something you enjoy. A hobby can help you relax. Volunteer work or work that helps others can be a great .
Learn ways to relax your body. This can include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, aromatherapy, , or relaxing exercises like tai chi and qi gong.
Focus on the present. Try meditation, imagery exercises, or self-hypnosis.
Listen to relaxing music. Try to look for the humor in life. Laughter really can be the best medicine."
I have personally found that my daily 5 Minutes of Quiet Time exercise works for me. Most of you have heard about the exercise in my programs. The time spent relaxing and programming my day averages about 20 minutes each morning.
Regular morning stretching exercises and daily walks of 2 to 3 miles have also proven to be great stress relievers. Treating myself to a feel-good movie works too. A change of scenery helps and anything that makes me laugh my head off to the point that I can't stop laughing is also great!
During the stressful time of the World Trade Center attacks, everyone was glued to their TV sets day after day. I finally turned my TV to America's Funniest Video program that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. It was so therapeutic that I keep it in the back of my mind to use in other stressful times.
Whatever is causing you stress (fear of the unknown), remember, it's just another coping lesson to learn. It too will pass, but work to stay healthy through the process.
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