Are You As Important As Your Work?

Businessman Stretching at WorkThere is no denying that work is a vital part of our lives.  We work to support ourselves and our families, establish a desired lifestyle, and plan for a future.  We spend forty hours a week (at least) on the job, and in today’s economy some of us need more than one job just to make ends meet.  For most of us, work is our main priority and our main focus.  Not only do our occupations support us, many of us use them to define a sense of self.  We strive to do our best at work for the rewards that are important to us.  Some are monetary, some involve status and prestige,  some come from the joy of following our passion.  We give a lot to our jobs, and hopefully they give a lot to us in return.

Unfortunately, there is a growing number of people who put their work above themselves.  It is usually a slow process, starting first with email after work.  Then it is staying an hour or so after closing, or coming in an hour before everyone else.  Lunch hours become a time to catch up on voicemail while scarfing a sandwich, or worse, a burger from that joint on the corner.   There just isn’t time for a healthy meal with all the management deadlines coupled with staff reductions.  Sometimes it is just a desire to move ahead that narrows our focus to occupational tunnel vision.  After all, there will be time to relax after that promotion, or product launch, or once the ad campaign is up and running.

Of course, there is a problem with that whole scenario.  As work starts to take over every waking second we tend to lose ourselves.  As the job takes more and more time and energy, there is less and less to devote to our personal health and well-being.  We  don’t get enough sleep,  we don’t eat properly, and exercise goes out the window.  There is little time to pursue leisure or spiritual activities. Self improvement or personal development goals fall by the wayside.  Stress levels can’t help but skyrocket, and we eventually compromise our own ability to perform well on the job.

More and more employers today are beginning to realize the overall health of their company  is tied to the overall health and well-being of their employees.  There are even provisions in the new health care laws in the United States for wellness programs in the workplace.  However, sometimes I think the hardest thing to do is convince the Type-A overachiever of the importance of  personal health and well-being as it relates to job performance.   After all, when you have been putting your job first for years, it is no easy feat to start focusing on yourself as the primary concern.

What are a few ways to treat yourself with the same respect you show to your work?  One of the most basic but most important things you can do is to reframe the way you view the relationship between your health and your job. You cannot separate the two; they are intertwined.  If you are in poor health, there is no way you can perform to desired standards.  Realize that focusing on your own health is not selfish–it is vital to success in life, both personally and professionally.

Make time to exercise.   Take a walk at lunch, or take the stairs.  Park in the farthest stall from the building, or get off one subway stop before you usually do.  There are lots of ways to incorporate movement into your day.  It doesn’t have to involve changing clothes or going to a gym.  Even taking a couple of minutes a few times a day to stretch is a great way to tone your body and reduce stress.

Take a lunch–literally.  Bringing your own lunch gives you control of what you eat, and helps reduce the chances of hitting the vending machines or eating nothing at all.  I know people who fall into both categories,  and both camps have trouble functioning in the afternoon.   And when you take a lunch–take it away from your desk.  Eating at the desk does nothing to promote a sense of downtime.  By leaving your work area and removing distractions such as phone and email, you will be able to recharge more easily for the rest of the day.

Establish boundaries.  Just as you do not bring your personal life to work, do not bring your work life to your home.  Leave email at work.  Since that may not be possible in today’s economy, set a time that you will stop reading and responding to it.  Let coworkers know what that cutoff time is, and not to expect a response until the next day  if they haven’t heard by the cutoff.

Make time for  family and friends.  Maintaining a support network takes effort, but it is one the best tools for dealing with stress.

For mental conditioning, spend ten minutes a day in silence.  Use the time for meditation, prayer, or reflection–but be quiet.  Turn down the noise in your head and around you, turn inward for a few minutes, and be still.  You’ll be amazed at how much more energy and concentration comes out the other side.

Work is important, no question.  But if doing your best at work is really important to you, than it is crucial that you give your own health equal time.  Even if you love your work and can’t imagine a life without it,  you won’t receive the full benefit if you are not contributing at full capacity.   Take your health as seriously as you take your job.  Both are important, but if you neglect the former, at some point you may lose the latter.   And that, in a nutshell, is why you as a person are more important than your work.

So how about you?  I would love to hear how you focus on your health and keep the demands of your work in perspective.  





Yoga as Part of a Wellness Program

If you are thinking about starting a wellness program in  2013,  chances are pretty good that you are considering some sort of exercise as a part of that program.   Once you make that decision, the next step is deciding which type of exercise is right for you.  What will you enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem so much like work?  If you don’t enjoy the exercise you do, it will be pretty hard to keep the effort up in the long run.

yogaclassI have to admit that I’ve had an exercise program for years.  Since I was never very athletic as a child, I was never comfortable in team sport situations.  In fact, I avoided physical activity as much as possible.  It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I discovered the benefits of cardio, and from then I was hooked.  Now I practice a daily cardio workout along with weekly strength training.  Although I felt I was covering all the bases, I still felt a piece was missing from my program.

About two years ago I rediscovered yoga.  I had toyed with it as a child when I would see the programs on PBS (no longer a part of the lineup!), but never stuck with it.  Let’s face it, it can be really hard to keep any momentum going when you are the only one practicing in your living room, especially when you are nine years old.   So I let it slide until a particularly stressful time in my corporate life.

We all know that exercise is a great stress buster, but my program didn’t seem to be doing much good to keep me calm.  I had heard about the benefits of yoga, so I decided to revisit the possibilities.  Now, I have to say that I was a little skeptical.  My idea of a good workout involves an increased heart rate and a lot of sweat.  How hard could a yoga class be?   After one class I had my answer, and yoga has been a part of my wellness program ever since.

There are many reasons to practice yoga.  One of the first to come to mind is flexibility.  As we age, it is vital that we maintain a supple body.  Obviously yoga involves a variety of stretching postures that can target all parts of the body.   Greater flexibility also means greater mobility and balance–two more things most of us hope to maintain as we age.

Practicing yoga improves endurance.  It may not look like much (okay certain poses-or asanas–look pretty impressive), but staying in warrior pose for any length of time can really push up the heart rate.  I have long since given up the idea that I shouldn’t sweat in a yoga class.  After ten minutes on the mat I am  reaching for my towel so I can personally attest to the fact that yoga is one heck of a work out.

There are a couple of other reasons you may want to explore yoga as an exercise and wellness choice.  Perhaps one of the most important is the calming effect yoga has on the mind.  The practice is designed to help the mind find stillness–blocking out extraneous thoughts and focusing on the postures along with what the body and breath are doing.  Many people find it to be the ultimate mindfulness exercise.  At its core, yoga is about the integration of mind, body, and spirit.  Once you are in the flow of a practice, you can actually concentrate on what the body needs. The worries of the day fade away and you are truly in the moment.  It is a deeply peaceful yet exhilarating  feeling.

Another reason to consider a yoga class is the sense of community it provides.  As I mentioned earlier, I am in no way comfortable with team sports.  Originally I was apprehensive about actually going to a class.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to others in class, or so I thought.  But in fact, I found that just the opposite was true.  The yoga community is a very supportive and caring network.  No matter how competitive you may be,  comparison during class is just not part of the picture.  The focus is on what your body can do in the moment–not how you did a posture yesterday,how you will do it tomorrow,  or feel it should be done today.  And certainly not what the person on the next mat is doing.  A yoga class is one of the few places where you are accepted for who you are–without judgement.   That doesn’t happen very often in this society.

Of course, the yoga studio you chose will have a lot to do with the experience you have.  I find that I enjoy local studios rather than  classes in a franchise or health club.  Local studios usually have smaller classes, and there is more personal attention during class.  With smaller groups  a stronger bond develops over time, which strengthens the yogic support network.   For instance, when I am in Napa I attend Ubuntu Yoga, a small organic studio in downtown Napa.  The staff and the fellow yogis provide a sense of community and support that is so vital to overall wellness.

It may sound odd, but the type of exercise a person choses is a very personal thing.  Yoga provides both physical and mental benefits that are so necessary to function well in today’s fast-paced world.   There is really nothing like the sense of tranquility that comes after a practice, and that tranquility spills over into my daily life.  My partner sometimes even wonders what happened to the high-strung stress puppy he met sixteen years ago.

So if you are thinking about improving your health and wellness in 2013, consider yoga as a part of your wellness program. You may find that your time on the mat is one of  the highlights of your week.  And enjoyment will play a big part in establishing and maintaining a consistent and healthy  long-term exercise program.

Check out my new group coaching program beginning  January 15, 2013.   Transform your life  From Surviving to Thriving in Six Weeks or Less!   Participation is limited so don’t be disappointed.   Reserve your space today.

New Year’s Resolutions–One Step at a Time

Around this time of year,  many people begin to think about starting some sort of wellness program as part of their New Year’s resolutions.  Find a way to get healthy, lose weight, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.  Seems like a pretty simple laundry list, really.  It’s also true that this is the same list that gets repeated every New Year’s Eve.  Why?   Because multi-tasking is a way of life and we are used to focusing on a million things at once.  We  live in a society of instant gratification.  We want  immediate results. Many of us are Type-A personalities and we expect to check off everything our list as soon as it goes on.  Unfortunately, that type of mindset often turns that exciting new list of resolutions into a recipe for failure.

New years toastAs a  wellness coach, I have a question about planning New Year’s  resolutions.  What would happen if you focused on only one resolution at a time?   Would you be able to give that goal your complete attention and thereby increase the possibility of success?  And if you are successful in one area, might there be a ripple effect in other areas of your life you would like to change?  After that one change becomes a habit, would your self-efficacy improve so other changes don’t seem quite as improbable?

If you truly want to keep your resolutions this year, try tackling one item at a time.  Instead of declaring you will become an icon of healthy living in January, break the project down into pieces, and decide which piece seems to be the most important to you.  For example, we know that wellness is defined as the integration of mind, body, and spirit.  Which piece of that equation seems to be the most out-of-balance when you look at your life?

List the areas where you would like to see change,  then prioritize which of those changes is most important to you.  If you want to have a healthier body, is changing your diet the most important, or do you feel there would be more benefit to starting an exercise program?  You can tackle both, but if you focus on one item at a time so that each change becomes a habit, your odds of accomplishing both items increases.  Both are important to reach the overall goal of a healthier body, but let’s be real–we are busy.  There are only so many hours in a day and only so much energy we can dedicate to making changes.  If you get a regular, moderate exercise program in your wheelhouse,  you can use that as a base and turn your attention to making healthier eating choices.   Put the two together and you get a healthier body.

The truth is if we focus on making too many changes at once, we can easily become overwhelmed.   Trying to accomplish too much at one time only leads to frustration.  Remember, you can do it all–you just can’t do it all at one time.

The other half of this formula is to allow enough time for the change to become a habit.  As a rule, changes take about twelve weeks to become solidified in our minds.  Once that happens, they become fixed in our psyches and are no longer considered changes, simply new habits.   Since habits take less mental energy to maintain, at this point you can turn your focus to the next priority on your list.  Lather, rinse, repeat, all the while building on the success of your first accomplishment.   Before you know it, you will have managed a series of changes that not only support your resolutions, but create a new lifestyle as well.

This method can help you conquer any change, whether it be physical health, financial health, career issues, or relationship goals.  So why not give it a try for 2013?

Just be careful.  You may find that you have to find new resolutions for 2014 instead of recycling the familiar ones.  But is that really such a bad problem to have?  I’m guessing not.

Check out my new group coaching program beginning  January 15, 2013.   Transform your life  From Surviving to Thriving in Six Weeks or Less!   Participation is limited so don’t be disappointed.   Reserve your space today.

Stress and the Pursuit of Happiness

Sunflower 1It is one of the founding principles of the United States.  We are entitled to the pursuit of happiness.  It is what we are put on this earth to do.  And if it is a right, it should be a pretty easy thing to do, right?  Define happiness,  get set, pursue, achieve.  Simple.

So why do so many people in today’s society feel like they are on a never-ending chase to find that elusive state?  And we all know that when we don’t seem to be able to achieve a goal, we find frustration and stress instead.   The harder we try to be happy, the harder it is to be happy.  Just when we figure out what will get us there, someone moves the finish line.  What we thought would be the end of the race turns out to be only another hurdle.

Finding happiness is important.  Why?  Because on a basic level, we equate happiness with well-being.  If we are to live a full and optimal life, we need to be happy.   We need to enjoy life and find the things that contribute to our happiness.   We need to be active in pursing happiness.

There is only one little fundamental flaw in this theory.  Most of us are pursing the wrong things.   Somewhere in our personal development, we decided what was important to each of us.  Subconsciously we designed a matrix that determined how we could be happy and what would be necessary to achieve it.  Sometimes we modeled that on early environmental factors, such as a stable home life.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  There was no stable home life and there was unhappiness.  Therefore, a stable home would be a requirement for happiness.

Many people equate financial success with happiness.  After all, we are bombarded with media images of wealthy, successful people all the time–and they certainly look happy.  Wealthy people don’t worry about money, so they have to be happy.  The goal becomes to have enough money to not have to worry about it ( which in itself is not possible, but that’s a different subject).  Of course, the problem here is deciding when enough is enough.   The reality is that when you allow money to determine happiness, you will almost always feel that there is never enough.  Kind of a self-defeating cycle.

The bad news for those of us who are goal-oriented, Type-A driven personalities,  is that we should stop the pursuit.  It is one of the hardest things to do–especially when we find value in action–but we have to stop taking the easy way out.

Here’s the issue.  It is much easier to assign responsibility to external factors as a basis for creating happiness.  We pursue these conditions, or goals, in hopes that they will make us happy.  A good relationship, a better job,  a bigger house.   It seems that we have been conditioned to believe that things, or conditions, will make us happy.  It is much more difficult, and more frightening, to accept responsibility for our own happiness.

The truth is that each of us has the ability to be happy at any given time.   If you think about a time when you considered yourself happy, you probably weren’t actually thinking about being happy.  You simply were.  You were in the moment, and that moment was all that mattered.  The problem is that most of us don’t realize those moments matter.

There was a time I was walking my dogs (I have four, so walking them is no easy feat),  and  in spite of the tugging on the leashes or whatever problems, I was incredibly happy.  There was nothing special about the day but for some reason  I was actually aware of what I was doing, not just performing a task on autopilot.  I was completely in moment and it was a very peaceful, happy experience.   In the midst of a not-so-particularly great day I was happy.   When I stopped looking for it, I discovered happiness was there if I wanted it.

This is not to say that pursuing goals is a bad thing.  Far from it.  However, using the completion of a goal as a benchmark for happiness is an exercise in futility.  There will always be another goal, so if you attach your ideal of happiness to attaining a goal, you will set yourself up for an endless search.  And that search only leads to stress and dissatisfaction.  So create goals, but create them for the sake improving your situation, not for the expectation of how that achievement will make you feel.   How you feel about any situation at any time is completely up to you.   Enjoying a sense of satisfaction due to an achievement is not the same as expecting an achievement to satisfy you.   A subtle difference, but an important one.

We do have the right to be happy and to thrive to the best of our abilities in whatever environment we find ourselves.  Once we accept that we don’t have to search for happiness–that happiness can already be an integral part of our world if we just allow it– interesting things happen.  Stress levels drop, we have more energy to put toward positive pursuits,we find a sense of peace, and our health can actually improve.   Now that certainly seems like something worth pursuing.

Are you ready to discover how the power of one-on-one coaching can help you break down self-imposed barriers and reach your Personal Best?  Click  here to schedule a complimentary strategic coaching session and see if wellness coaching is right for you.

Check out my free teleclass for Your Best Year Ever and give yourself a head start to a great 2013!

Exercising Self-Control

It is hard to believe that the Holidays are upon us.  After all, for those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is happening next week.  From there it is a mad dash for the New Year with barely enough time to come up for air.  So it’s  not surprising that this is not the time of year that people think of making great changes in their lives.  If you look at corporate wellness campaigns during this season, most focus on a message of maintaining, not gaining.    I think that holds true for many of us in our personal lives as well.  What with the added pressure of the Holidays, year-end projects, and annual deadlines at work,   finding the time and energy to focus on change or growth can be nearly impossible.

What we can do during this season, however, is to start an exercise program so we can jumpstart our New Year’s resolutions.  Before you click delete, (after all who wants to start an exercise program around Thanksgiving?) let me explain.

One of the basics concepts behind behavioral change deals with self-control, or self-regulation.  In order to achieve a goal, we usually need to modify something we are currently doing that is blocking us from reaching our desired outcome.   That requires self-control.  Or willpower.  As a wellness coach, one of the most common reasons I hear when clients discuss previous unsuccessful attempts to make or sustain a behavioral change is that they just didn’t have the willpower.

So here is the good news.  Self-control has the same characteristics as a muscle.  If you exercise it, it will grow stronger.  But here is the kicker.   Just like any muscle, strength training needs to be gradual.  You cannot spend 24/7 in a gym, exercising all the major muscle groups at the same time and expect to get anywhere except exhausted.  If you have a plan though, and exercise different muscles at different times, allowing rest periods in between sessions, you will see results.  The muscles will grow, get stronger, and be able to lift heavier burdens as the training continues.  The same can be said for developing self-control.   If you exercise it on a regular basis, it will get stronger.  If you exercise it continually, it will fatigue and let you down.  If you don’t exercise it at all, it will atrophy and you will lose it.

The Holidays can be a great time to strengthen self-control and put us in a position to kick butt when it comes to our New Year’s resolutions.  One way to do this is to target exercises for a given period of time.

For example:  we all know that this is the time of year that offices and workplaces are filled with special holiday treats.  Co-workers bring in cookies, vendors send gifts of candy, or  popcorn, or nuts.  All of it is enough to drive us nuts if we are trying to maintain our weight during the season.  This is a prime scenario for trying to resist all temptation all the time.  Ultimately, self-control gives in and we end up grazing through whatever we can find.  Try this instead–avoid the treats during the day, but let yourself have a healthier snack once home.  Or chose one item per day to indulge in–but stop there.    You can still enjoy the holidays, not feel deprived, and still feel like you have some control over your behavior.    And you are building self-control at the same time.

If battling the office treats seems like too ambitious a start, try beginning with something smaller.  Maybe increasing the amount of water you drink during the day.  Dehydration is a major problem during the winter months,  so increasing water consumption for a period of time can be a great exercise in self-regulation.   Possibly you just may want to carve out a half an hour per evening just to focus on downtime for you.  Can you lose one sitcom a night to give yourself quiet time or a self-care period?  Maybe read a book, meditate, write in a journal, or take a bath.

Do this for a week and see how you feel.  Usually when people target a self-regulatory behavior, they notice improvement in self-efficacy.  The control they develop in one situation spills over into other aspects of the their lives, and suddenly there is more confidence in their own self-control as a whole.    The changes they would like to make in other areas suddenly  don’t seem so impossible or out of reach.

If you practice some form of self-control exercise during this season, chances are that you will feel less stressed and more in control during this most hectic time of year.  That is one great side benefit.  Another will be a very solid foundation for the coming year, when you are ready to focus on your own personal development.

And that is a great thing.  After all, when it comes to keeping those resolutions,  most of us can use all the help we can get.





Creating a Perfect Year

With Halloween right around the corner, it will only be a second before we are all ringing in the New Year.  It is amazing how much more quickly this happens each and every year.  I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure that I was just writing down my resolutions for 2012 about a week ago instead of  a year ago.

I know it may be a little early to start thinking about this since there are always daily fires to put out, but have you started to think about changes you would like to make in 2013?  A lot of people make their resolutions on December 31st.  These are also the people who usually drop those resolutions about January 7th.  Sometimes when you want to make changes, it helps to take some time and really think about it.

Every good business coach will tell you that no business will succeed without a clear business plan.  It just won’t happen.   And while we may like to believe that running a business is different from running a life,   I have to say that there are more similarities than differences.  And that is why taking time to write down changes you would like to make for yourself in 2013 can be a great first step in achieving those changes.

Do you feel like need to make some changes but are a little foggy on what those changes need to be?  Here is an idea that can help bring things into focus.

Take some time and write down what your idea of a perfect year would like.  How would you spend each month?  What would you be doing for a living?  Remember, this is what you see as a perfect year, so it doesn’t have to be what you are currently doing, or where you are currently living.  Maybe you have always wanted to be an artist.  What kind of art would you produce, and when would you do it?  Maybe you have a vision of a simpler lifestyle, without as much “stuff” as you have now.  How would that make you feel?  What would you do with the extra time that would allow you?  Would you exercise more?  What kind of exercise would you do, and when would you do it.  Maybe you would go back to school and study something to enhance your career or change directions completely.

Have some fun with this exercise and don’t rush through it.  Actually, it is best to work on it over a few days.   Get as specific as you can on the first draft, then let it go for a day or so.  Come back to it and read it again, than make any additions or changes that come to mind.  Most likely things will pop up that you didn’t even consider the first time through.  If you do this a couple of times, your picture of what a perfect year in your life looks like will become pretty crystal clear.

Once you do that, you can compare your idea with current life, and see where there might be gaps between the two.   You will have created a roadmap of changes that you would like to make in order to get to a  more fulfilling lifestyle.   This can become the basis for that dreaded New Year’s resolution list, but it will be one that is filled with changes you would really like to see happen, rather than just a recycled list of the same items every year.

If you really paint a vivid picture of how you would like to live, the next step is identifying the changes you need to make to get there.  After that, you need an action plan of how to make those changes.   That plan will be based on your resolutions, and will become your own personal business plan.   Once you write this down, it becomes much easier to chart your progress and stay on track to create the live you really want to live.

So if you are serious about making positive change in 2013, take a little time and really think about what a perfect year would like for you.  You may find that you are closer than you think.  You might have some serious work to do to get there.  In either case,  painting a picture of that perfect year is a great start.

After all, it’s pretty hard to get to your destination if you don’t really know where you want to go.

Check out my free teleclass for Your Best Year Ever and give yourself a head start to a great 2013!





Recognizing and Reacting to Stress

This may seem like an odd thing for wellness coach to say, but stress is not necessarily a bad thing.   When described  in the very simplest terms, stress is a psychological or physical reaction to pressure applied to a person from external or internal sources.  While pressure is generally characterized as a bad thing, that isn’t quite the truth here.  That pressure is a good thing, because it shows that you are actually interacting and involved with your life and the world around you.  It is similar to the old saying we hear about having a birthday (usually starting somewhere after 40) that it is better than the alternative.   The best part of experiencing stress comes when you realize that how you react to it is up to you.  It is your responsibility to determine the role stress will play in your life and whether it is to be a positive or a negative partner.

One of the first steps of stress management is to explore the types of stress that we normally experience.  Generally,  stress comes at us from two directions.  It is either internal or external.  External is pretty simple.  Job pressure,  family, friends, pets, finances, aging parents–these are all examples of external stressors.   When you are concerned about the world around you and how it affects you and the people you care about, you will experience some level of stress.  Again, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  This shows that you are alive and connected with a community.

Internal stress can seem a little less clear.  After all, why would we intentionally stress ourselves out?  This is a question of reality matching ideals.  We all have a vision of how we would like our lives to be.  A certain level of comfort, perhaps, or financial security.  A  deep, loving relationship with the perfect soulmate.  A home that is the ideal nest for a new family.  All of these are examples of ideas of how we might want our lives to look.  They are things we strive for, consciously or unconsciously.  When the reality of what we experience on a daily basis doesn’t match up to what we would like to have or be, stress enters the picture.

The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out how often and for how long something stresses you out.

Acute stress is triggered by a major life change.  Job loss, divorce, death of a loved one will knock the wind out of us.  Even something like an argument with a spouse or a fender bender can play havoc with our equilibrium.  Obviously, these are examples across a broad spectrum, but how we deal with them will affect us until we can accept, understand, and integrate them into our lives.

Sometimes it isn’t just one thing that sets our world on edge.  Sometimes it is a cascade of small events, each one in itself not seeming like that big a deal.  It isn’t until they keep coming at you, and at you, that you feel you can’t catch a break.  This is known as episodic stress, and is generally seen as a series of events that weaken your ability to cope successfully and live an optimal life.  One of the worst things about this type of stress is that it usually starts small, sometimes before we even notice.  While we can’t miss being laid off as a stressor,  not making it home for dinner with your partner might not rank on the same scale.  But when you miss the bus the next day, or it rains when you weren’t expecting it, or you somehow get overage charges on your unlimited minute plan, you might be starting down a road that becomes harder and harder to navigate.

The third type of stress can be deadly.  Chronic stress is triggered by an event or situation that does not improve for a long period of time.   Having an overwhelming boss, or caring for ill and aging parents are not things that you can easily change.  These are situations where, for the most part, we are in it for the long haul.  It may not be easy to get a new job in this economy.  We certainly wouldn’t turn our parents out into the street simply because it is inconvenient to care for them.

Chronic stress can be the most difficult type to deal with,  and is often the type that requires a village.    I know many people who are care-givers to parents or spouses who feel they can deal with the situation on their own and get through it.  Yet they don’t see the awful changes taking place in their own health as they attempt to cope with the daily demands of care-giving.  The truth is, once you realize you don’t have to face an overwhelming situation alone, that it doesn’t make you less capable, then you are one step closer to managing a stressful condition successfully.

Finally, there is actually a good type of stress.  Eustress is a term for stress that motivates people to strive for their potential.  Eustress causes people to create art or inventions, to improve  and enhance the world around them.  Learning how to channel this type of stress can help someone create a life of fulfillment by  turning this pressure into a creative tool.

So with all the different kinds of stress bombarding us on a daily basis, how can we possibly begin to even think about managing it?  Awareness is the key.  Stop to think what is stressing you out.  How is affecting you?  How long has it been lasting?  Is there something you can change about the situation?  Or possibly with the way you react to the situation if the situation itself is out of your control?

Believing we can eliminate stress is naive and actually harmful in the long run.  But when you become aware of what is stressing you and how you are reacting to it, you can begin to mitigate the effects it can have on your physical, mental, and spiritual well being.  You have the ability to create the personal environment you need to thrive.  Some people actually love the pressure of packed schedule, others not so much.

At its core stress management is a personal choice.  But in order for that choice to work in your life, it has to be a thoughtful and informed one.   Once you have that awareness,  you have the first tool necessary to manage stress and create the energized and satisfying life that you deserve.

Are you ready to discover how the power of one-on-one coaching can help you focus on your health and reduce your own stress levels?  Click  here to schedule a complimentary strategic coaching session and see if wellness coaching is right for you.

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