Greetings Leaders!

Last night, I spent an hour trying to console my daughter after she didn’t get a call back on a job interview she recently had. I tried to point out all the positive things she had going on her life…. but to no avail. Tired, frustrated, worried and emotional, she just stressed out.

For a moment, I began to get frustrated too. Then I started looking at my own life. Lately I’ve been having a lot of backaches due to the tension I hold in my upper shoulders. Hmmmm, I wonder where that comes from? Stress.

There are a lot of negative things in the world right now. Unemployment is high just about everywhere you look. It’s almost 25% in Yuba County, California. Chrysler and GM are in bankruptcy. State and local governments are beginning to feel the pinch of the economy. Korea is rattling it’s nuclear sabre. There is the swine flu, the bird flu. I could go on and on.

On a personal note, as a consultant I face an uncertain future. My current contract goes through October. I worry about what will happen then. And… that’s ok. We all worry to some extent. What is not ok, is to let worry overwhelm you – or to stay in a state of constant worry.

If you are constantly worried, you need to realize that ALL worry and stress is self-imposed. Leading a stressful life, is a choice. The good news? Living a stress FREE life is also a choice.

I have a friend who is a constant reminder to me, that life is good, regardless of your circumstances. He grew up during the Great Depression. He was orphaned along with his sister and brother, when their parents couldn’t afford to feed them. He had a tough childhood. Yet, when I met him, he was in his seventies, working as a consultant on a large project… for fun! I envied him as he constantly took time off to go skiing (he was a ski instructor), take a vacation, or bike across Europe. He was in great shape… both physically and mentally and always made people around him laugh and feel good about themselves.

Yes… he did have challenges. While working with him, he found his father who had been in and out of prison. He dealt with a bitter brother who never got over the impact of being abandoned during the depression. He had the same problems you and I face, yet he chose not to worry.

To control your stress, you have to admit that you have control over it. You and I cannot eliminate all the challenges in our lives, but we can control how we respond… and it is a learned response. If you find yourself totally stressed out, here are some ideas that will help you cotrol your stress:

  1. Enroll in some kind of class for physical activity
  2. Make time for a hobby. Don’t have time? How about using your worry time?
  3. Take a long walk during the evening or morning
  4. Get a dog for some positive companionship
  5. Go to the community center and enroll in yoga
  6. This one is cheap… no excuses here… Stretch every morning and night and practice deep breathing exercises
  7. Cut down on sodas, sugar and caffeine. You’ll sleep better.
  8. Turn off the radio/news
  9. Listen to some calm or positive music
  10. Go to church, the temple, or the mosque
  11. Read a favorite book
  12. Take a long hot shower – or soak in the tub with some aroma therapy
  13. Clean the house – clean the garage
  14. Go on a picnic lunch with some friends

There are a TON of ways to help reduce stress. All you have to do is admit that you have control over it, and then choose to do something positive.

All the best,
All the time,

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