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Posts Tagged 'stress'

stress less this holiday season

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

 

Shortly, I’ll be sharing my strategies for a stress-free Christmas and holiday season with a journalist from the New Zealand Herald. It’s a super important topic – so many people find it hard to switch off.

Here’s an easy to implement strategy to help boost your joy over the holiday period:

 

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.


Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

 

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, navigate to: getBook.at/StressLess to go to your online bookshop

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

~ William James, psychologist and philosopher

Research proves that people who organize their whole life around their work are more prone to develop Post-traumatic Embitterment Disorder – a disorder that covers almost every negative emotion a person can have at work.

On a typical day in the brain, trillions of messages are sent and received. The messages that are happy, upbeat messages are carried by the brain’s “happy messengers” (scientifically known as the Biogenic Amine/Endorphin System). Other messages are somber and disquieting. They are carried by the brain’s “sad messengers.”

Most nerve centers receive input from both types of messengers. As long as this input is balanced, everything runs along on an even keel; however, lack of balance leads to feelings of stress.

Stress causes problems with the brain’s happy messengers. When life is smooth, the happy messages keep up with demand. But when too much stress is placed on the brain, the happy messengers begin to fall behind on their deliveries.

As the stress continues, the happy messages begin to fail. Important nerve centers then receive mostly sad messages, and the whole brain becomes distressed. The person enters a state of brain chemical imbalance known as over-stress.

Over-stress makes people feel terrible. When sad messages overwhelm the happy messages, people can feel overwhelmed by life. They often complain of being tired, unable to fall asleep or to obtain a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack energy, and feel less enjoyment of life. Depression, anxiety, or just feeling unable to cope with life often ensues.

Tip the balance back into your favor by making room for the happy messages! Some simple but effective ways include:

• Noticing something beautiful every day

• Daily appreciation of things you are grateful for

• Taking time to indulge and feed your passions

• Being with people who make you feel special

• Laughing

• Hanging out with children

• Keeping a daily log of at least one thing that makes you happy

Call to Action

Have you taken too much on? If so, what can you let go of? Remember to focus on one goal at a time; then it is achievable.

Find time for the things you enjoy and prioritize the things that are most important. Isolate all the key areas of your life and check to see if you have got the balance right.

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

Stress less—love life more. How to build real resilience

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

 

 

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

 

Have you been unhappy at work for so long that some of the symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched?

Or is the idea of making a change causing you to feel anxious? Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.

Stress is something we all feel every day. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain, your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will.  If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted – making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

 

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

 

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as – OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learned. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression, and suicide. It’s that serious – no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being. 

 

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind, and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work or your life.

This is an edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

How stressed are you?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

When we are calm and happy the quality of the decisions we make far exceed those made when stressed out of our brains.

Stress is something we all feel everyday. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself, or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will. If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted—making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back  in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life, and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as —OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learnt. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression and suicide. It’s that serious—no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being.

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work, or your life.

YOUR BODY BAROMETER TEST

How stressed are you?

Take the following body barometer test by taking note of any symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

Physical Signs of Stress

  • Increased heart rate/Pounding heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and back muscles
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Unable to pass urine or incontinence
  • Trembling/Twitching
  • Stuttering and other speech difficulties
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Being easily startled
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Dryness of mouth or throat
  • Cold hands
  • Susceptibility to minor illnesses
  • Itching
  • Chronic pain

Emotional Signs of Stress

  • Tearful
  • Impatience
  • Frightened
  • Moody
  • Highs and lows
  • Feeling of loss
  • Depressed
  • Anger
  • Irritated
  • Short-tempered
  • Grief

Cognitive/Perceptual/Thinking Signs

  • Forgetfulness
  • Preoccupation
  • Errors in judging distance/space
  • Reduced creativity/creative thinking
  • Lack of concentration
  • Diminished productivity
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Orientation to the past
  • Diminished reaction time
  • Clumsiness
  • Disorganization of thought
  • Negative self-esteem
  • Negative self-statements
  • Diminished sense of meaning in life
  • Lack of control/Need for too much control
  • Negative evaluation of experiences
  • Negative thinking
  • Pessimism

Behavioral Signs of Stress

  • Carelessness/Accident prone
  • Under-eating/Over-eating
  • Aggressiveness/Fighting/Hostility
  • Increased smoking/Starting smoking
  • Withdrawal
  • Argumentative
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Listlessness
  • Nervous laughter
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Impatience/Agitation

Take a look at the following stress-busting tips and create your own stress management plan. Starting from a positive, healthy foundation will help you make changes in your career and life successfully.

This is an edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn  how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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