Stress Management: Strategies for coping with Stress

                                                      

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By: Beverly André Davis

Are you stressed out?  Being stressed out does not mean that you are not empowered. It simply means (a) you are human (b) Currently, you have not called upon your inner power to take control of your life. The important point is that being stressed does not make us  un-ok.  A lot of people these days are suffering from unavoidable stress.  We live in times of  volatile and unpredictable economic hardship no wonder most of the stress we suffer stems from:

– Money worries.

– Inability to pay our debts.

-Household Responsibilities

– Pressures on the job which translates into health concerns which stress us out even more.

Doubtlessly,  present life is economically hard. What with layoffs, high utility bills, the ever rising prices of food, housing foreclosure. No wonder we can’t seem to generate the energy to get tough when the going gets rough. Modern day life is no picnic or walk in the park.  life is complex, hectic, occasionally unpredictable. Changes, choices, decisions, getting on the roller coaster of life.

I am sympathetic to those who are drowning in a sea of hardship  but my heart breaks for the single parents out there. I was once a young mother left to support my two young children. Life was devastatingly difficult. When the recession hit and we lost our home my signature was reduced from a seven lettered name to a one letter. My trembling fingers got so knotted and shaky I just could no longer write. Along the way I learned some vital lessons about stress and how to cope effectively. Most importantly I became acquainted with the inner strength, that dynamic force that resides within each of us. Each lesson learned about the secret of  one’s power has been compiled into an incredibly inspirational  book  on Kindle Amazon to help each of us find the secret of one’s tremendous power to handle all and any of life’s difficulties.

The fact is being stressed out occasionally is a normal condition of life. Sometimes mild forms of stress might even cause us to make healthy changes in our day to day lives. The problem does not lie in stress per se but in the level of stress that we allow ourselves to carry about with us and in our inability to deal with it.

Carrying around an excessive amount of stress over a long period of time is not good at all. Excessive stress can have a destructive effect on our health and relationship and should be managed effectively before it escalate into chronic stress or even clinical depression.

 

WHAT REALLY IS STRESS

Stress is any extra physiological and/or psychological  demand made on the body.

Depending on the perceived danger or stress, our automatic nervous system releases hormones causing chemical changes. Our  heart beats faster, our breathing speeds up and blood flows into our brain.

When we do not deal with the chronic stress in our lives our body suffers wear and tear causing us to develop any one or a multiplicity of these symptoms:  Headaches, backaches, ulcers, asthma, heart attacks and other illnesses which do not have a biochemical origin.

 

HOW DOES STRESS  SHOW  ITSELF?

Stress manifest itself in various ways. If you are stressed out you may experience chronic fatigue  even after a night’s sleep. You may also experience difficulties concentrating for any meaningful length of time and experience difficulty making important decisions.  Unmotivated, unenthusiastic and discouraged you may lack interest in your day to day job. Getting out of bed in the morning becomes a hassle. Where before you were attentive and responsible towards your family you may now find yourself simply wishing to walk away from all your responsibilities. A  constant sense of defeat, hopelessness, helplessness , an overall and persistent negative outlook, withdrawal from social interactions, loss of appetite  are some of  the warning bells that tell you that stress is deepening into depression.

You should seek professional help from your GP long before you reach that critical stage.

 

EMOTIONAL OUTBURST

Mild forms of stress may also manifest itself in emotional outbursts. We may lose control and instead of dealing with the problem we are likely to shift blame and responsibility for the problem onto someone else. For example if a marital relationship produces frustration brought about by financial hardship, the stressed out partner may attempt to unload  his or her  frustration onto the other partner.

Placement of blame is a self-defeating  emotional response since one’s stressful tension is passed on within the relationship environment. The real source of frustration remains untouched  while conflict in the home escalate producing a greater degree of stress.

 

FEELING OUT OF CONTROL

Most of us tend to believe that most or all stressful situations are unpredictable and are therefore beyond our control. Consequently,  instead of attempting to solve the problem we withdraw from it since we feel either incapable of solving the problem or we think the problem is insoluble.

Ignoring  problems  does not mean that we are incapable of handling it. We can handle almost any problem if we put our mind to it. Think of the times when you have looked a problem square in the face and taken it head on AND WON! I am sure you felt a deep sense of  gratification. I know I feel wonderful when I handle what I did not want to handle.  We all feel a sense of  personal  power and belief in our ability to cope and conquer when we handle  problems successfully.

 

INTERNALIZATION

Many people handle stress through a process called internalization. They find it difficult to communicate their feelings to others. Instead of expressing their frustration and anger they hold it in. This is an unhealthy way to manage stress. It is never a good idea to bottle up underlying  stress or hug your problems to yourself.  I know you feel that if you let it out it may create conflict or you may feel it is unfair to burden others with your problems. However keep in mind that by attempting to handle intolerable amounts of psychological pressures alone, instead of decreasing the pressure tends to escalate, resulting in the build up of frustration, resentment and psychophysiological arousal such as aches, pains, poor digestion, anxiety, fatigue and so on.

The question now arises what should one do when one or more of the symptoms of stress appears?

 

HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS

You initial watch word should be: avoid unnecessary stress. We must be honest with ourselves in realising that sometimes we actually turn a mild situation into a volatile one and in so doing invite unnecessary stress into our lives.

Most of the everyday stress we feel could probably be prevented by taking control of our lives. The experts have found that mild amounts of stress can be handled effectively by making healthier choices in our actions and perceptions of the stress factors as well as having a positive  outlook on our ability to cope. Altering the situation is also another effective means of handling stress. Being  more assertive, managing your time wisely, making better choices and dealing with the stressful situation at once are all effective ways of handling everyday stress.

 

FOCUS  ON YOU INNER POWER

One of the most effective means  of managing  everyday stress is to think of your inner strength. This will lead you to appreciate your ability to cope and to take charge of your life by doing the following:

Changing  the outside pressure that is stressing you out. However, if you find it difficult or impossible to control the external pressure use your inner power to increase your internal resistance. It is important to keep in mind that you have the inner resources, the inner power or strength  within you to control your reactions to how you allow external factors to affect you. Keep in mind that events and situations in themselves do not have the power to affect us adversely. How they affect us is determined by our perception of the event or situation, whether we feel a sense of helplessness, hopelessness or a general feeling of being out of control or in control. Our self-perception in relation to our perception of the situation is paramount in determining our response and how we handle stressful events. Focusing on your inner strength will definitely allow you to deal with the problem in healthy successful ways.

 

KEEP THINGS UNDER CONTROL

Keeping things under control is a successful methods of stress management. Try to identify the situations in your life that make you feel stressed out and tense, do not shy away from your hidden anger and frustration pretending they are not there. Ignoring them will not make them go away. Look honestly at your painful feelings and begin to do something about them. We may not be able to make them disappear at once but we can find creative solutions if we look hard enough.

 

GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT

Manage your time well. Prioritize your task in terms of doing the most important ones first and so on to the least important.

 

STAY CALM AND AVOID HASSLES

Staying calm under pressure and avoiding unnecessary hassles will help you avoid and eliminate the minor irritations that can build up and eventually lead to chronic stress.

 

CONTROL  CHANGE

When faced with a positive or negative life change do what you can to limit other  changes. Take life one step at a time.

 

MIND AND BODY RELAXATION  TECHNIQUES

Mind and body relaxation techniques  calm the mind and reduce anxiety and anger. Our uncluttered minds  allow us to think more clearly  finding more effective ways of handling our lives.

Here is a list of some of the techniques I have found incredibly helpful  throughout the years. Choose a technique that appeals to you and practise it regularly  to unwind and feel calm:

-Deep Breathing. This is the most basic relaxation technique and is appropriate for those who are extremely busy and are always on the move. This exercise can be done anytime and anywhere for example while you are sitting on the train or bus or generally in the workplace while sitting at your desk during a five to ten minutes break:

Inhale slowly through your nostrils, hold in your breath for a short time then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this procedure three or four times.

Some of the other relaxation techniques that I have used which you may find useful are:

-Listening to soft, tranquil music.

-Reading the funnies. A good deep belly laugh chases the blues.

-Watching comedies.

-Watching light talk shows  such as Wendy Williams on my Computer.

-Cleaning the mind is another effective means of control and eradicating mild amounts of stress: sit comfortably in a chair in a room away from distractions and noise. Close your eyes while you mentally focus on a peaceful scene, thought or word. Do this for fifteen minutes to half an hour every day. Each session has the power to rejuvenate and refresh you.

-lie on your back on the floor. Close your eyes and draw in the most peaceful scene into your mind. This exercise has the power to relax muscles and mind.

 

PHYSICAL EXERCISE

We should also engage in physical exercise. This raises the adrenalin level allowing good feelings of empowerment to kick  in.

 

A GOOD NIGHT’S  SLEEP

The body operates effectively and happily when there is a healthy balance between work and rest. An overworked body and mind is bound to break down sooner or later.

 

A HEALTHY DIET

A healthy diet with reduced sugars and caffeine, alcoholic drinks and avoidance of nicotine is a must in avoiding excessive stress. The nutritional experts have identified the following foods that help reduce stress:

-Sweet Potatoes will fight off stress with each delicious mouthful.

-coconut, avocado, almond relaxes the brain while creating feelings of wellbeing.

 

CONNECT WITH YOURSELF.  HAVE YOU GIVEN  YOURSELF  A HUG TODAY?

Connect with others. While you are at it…..

Don’t forget to connect with yourself. Love yourself a little more. Think positively about the beautiful and strong person that you are.

Take  some ‘ME-TIME’ just some time off by yourself to regroup  and appreciate the wonderful person that you are.

Above all, as you battle the day to day pressures— slow down and live! And for goodness sake take time to constantly give yourself a hug. You deserve it!

 

To learn more about how to use your inner power to handle any problem that life throws at you check out  Woman Take Hold of Your Power and Free Yourself   an e-book on Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IJ54SAQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Out Of Debt: Family Finances


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By : Beverly André Davis

It is Monday morning  at 7:20 am. Before my best friend could get out of her flat I rang her door bell.  Not knowing it was me she didn’t answer it because she thought it was another debt collector. Lately she no longer answers her door bell and she is scared of opening her mail.

In today’s hard economic times most of us worry constantly about debt and not having sufficient money to meet our needs.

Faced with insurmountable financial problems, having sufficient money to meet day to day expenses has become a major concern. Finding it increasingly impossible to make a budgetary choice between “wants” and “needs” we are tempted to bury our heads in the sand.

Sometimes improving  your financial situation, or simply scrimping in these straitened times and still live well is a matter of  breaking down your financial challenges to the simplest fundamentals. Applying good old fashioned discipline and common sense goes a long way in making life just this bit easier.

As you struggle to make ends meet here are a few tips which will prove helpful.

 

FOOD

To cut running cost of foodstuff work with a budget. Before going to the supermarket make a list of the things you need and stick to the list. Additionally, don’t miss out on supermarket freebies.

Making use of supermarket point values is a good way of cutting running cost on foodstuff.

Buy cheaper everyday products. Buy supermarket brands instead of fashionable brand. You might be paying a higher price for brand names instead of the quality of the goods. Most supermarket brands may be found on lower shelves. Keep in mind discount brands work just as well as their more expensive counterpart.

Visit the market to get fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, legumes and a host of other foodstuffs which can be bought for half the value sold in supermarkets.

Legumes such as red-beans and lentils when cooked thoroughly make a delicious and excellent source of protein.

Eggs and legumes can replace meats and fish once or twice a week.

While you are at it fresh fruits such as oranges and lime sweetened slightly with honey make excellent substitutes for boxed juice, they are fresher, cheaper and contain less sugar.

While you are at it also look for discount on food.  Foodstuffs that are nearing the expiry date are often marked down.

For active children who tend to burn excessive calories quickly and need lots of carbohydrates, it may be a good idea to buy pasta and rice in bulk which is cheaper in the long run.

 

LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS

Take an inventory on what you spend most of your money on. Cut back on things such as:

Booze

Takeaways

Women spend a tremendous amount of money on beauty and fashion while men tend to overspend on equipment and music. Cut back may be made in these two areas.

Recently I was aghast at how much I am spending on fashion. This is an area in which I am an emotional buyer. I am swept in the moment. Convinced that a beautiful dress is a ‘must have’ I am immediately swept into a sense of urgency in which I reason with myself that if I do not grab it off the rack it will disappear. I have made a pledge to myself to buy clothing on discount and only if it is absolutely necessary.

 

OTHER AREAS

Spending can be reduced considerably in utility bills by switching off lights in rooms and hallways not in use.

We can also utilize DIY and buy only when items are on sale.

 

IN DEBT

If you are in debt you can get help finding finance deals that suit your credit profile as part of Experian credit expert membership. If you are planning or switching forms of credit, avoid making several application in a short space of time as lenders could believe that you’re in financial difficulties.

Be cognizant of your net worth. The amount of debt that you may be submerged in and the value of your assets.

 

MONEY MANAGEMENT

Budget your money wisely. How do you manage your money? You may never be able to afford everything  you might need or want. Consequently you need to spend wisely.

Before making a purchase consider carefully whether it is necessary or affordable.

Plan your purchases properly

Before going to the supermarket make a list of  the things that you really need—a list helps avoid  impulse buying.

Before making any  major purchase consider carefully whether:

  1. Something more economical can be bought instead
  2. The reason for buying that particular product
  3. Consider the right or wrong time for buying the product
  4. Lastly ask yourself the searching question “is the product really necessary?”

Budget a certain amount every month for unforeseen circumstances.

If there is something expensive that you need to buy you can put aside some money each month until you have the necessary amount.

 

PAY BILLS  PERIODICALLY

You should attempt to pay your monthly bills periodically and not allow them to accumulate until the amount becomes insurmountable.

For annual bills such as property tax and insurance put away a certain percentage in your savings each month

 

CONTROL YOUR DEBT

Go on a cash basis for virtually all consumption purchases. ‘Consumption Debt’ is one of the greatest obstacles for achieving a sound or balanced financial status. Getting into debt to buy consumption items has many disadvantages including the following: (a) the value on ‘consumption items’ depreciate with time and (b) you will be paying interest on perishable goods.

 

DON’T GET INTO DEBT BUT IF YOU MUST………..

Don’t get into debt but if you must do so wisely. If you have to borrow money do so to buy products or services on which the value does not depreciate for example a home in which the product can be sold at a later date for more than its original value.

 

FINALLY

Set financial goals. Goals help the family set its priorities. Three important  financial goals are: children’s future education, new home, retirement, pension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Meet the Ideal Man of Your Dreams

800px-People_in_love                                              By: Beverly André Davis

Most of us women are visual entities. Men are no different.  On first encounter the eyes of a man will seek you out. If he likes what he sees his eyes will make you his focal point. This is most likely to be the case if you have a well groomed appearance which he finds attractive.

Most  women I know want to be noticed. They want to be seen as desirable especially by that special man whom you have you eye on.

Some women may find male attention not only good for the ego but empowering. For women who have a healthy appreciation for male attention but find it painfully difficult to catch his eye here are a few tips to engage in to win him to your side without selling yourself for one night of approval. These steps are simple and within the reach of every woman.

 

A CHEERFUL PERSONALITY GOES A LONG WAY

Cheerfulness is a powerful factor in winning your eye-candy or anyone to your side. We cannot smile genuinely and remain alone.

Encouraging remarks go hand in hand with a cheerful personality and a positive outlook on life.

During conversation make eye contact but don’t act too desperate. Listen during conversation, smile, show interest in what he is saying. No man can forget a woman who shows interest in what he has to say

Cheerful thoughts do us more good than dreary ones and transform us into the kind of woman a man would WANT to meet without expecting her to sell herself in exchange for his approval.

 

LOVE YOURSELF

Perhaps in the past you have been too hard on yourself and this has prevented you from seeing the best in yourself. It is time you take a good and honest look at the wonderful mirrored image of who you really are. I am sure you will be surprised to come face to face with this gentle, wonderful and intelligent person. Perhaps you have been so busy elevating others around you while you put yourself down  that the real YOU has become submerged beneath layers upon layers of negative thoughts about yourself that you have forgotten whom you really are and instead began to identify yourself with the pile of negative thinking which has nothing to do with the real you. Well no more! Wash yourself clean of those harmful thoughts and take a good look at who has  been there all along.

The good strong and worthwhile you. Not the you that you usually see through eyes of pain, disappointments, disillusionment and failures but the one that you do not take time off to examine and appreciate, the one with hidden potentials. Know that you are wonderfully  and beautifully made in the image of our Creator. Knowing who you are is one of the most vital requirements in the art of respecting yourself and making others like you and of course accepting the admiration of your eye-candy without having to sell yourself.

 

BE CAREFUL

We all have the need to want to enjoy approval and acceptance from others. This is a healthy and normal human need because many of us see ourselves through the eyes of others. Be careful that people see you as you are and not through eyes filled with jealousies, bitterness and their own deep sense of inferiority. The key is to believe in yourself, believe in your inner resources, your inner strength.

MAKE CHANGES

A prime motivator for getting others to like you is making an effort to change the things about yourself that you do not like. You cannot feel good about yourself if you have certain character traits, behaviours  or attitude which you do not like. Do the following in order to begin vigorously attacking those changeable character traits:

Make two Lists:

  1. Outline all the reasons why you like and respect yourself.
  2. In the second list outline all the reasons why you don’t like yourself and find it difficult to respect yourself.

Put the list outlining your good attributes on the wall of your bedroom  where you can see it every morning before getting out of bed and every night before falling asleep.

The list outlining the changes you wish to make is the first step in transforming yourself. Now look through that list. If there are certain traits which you can change with your inner strength, begin at once to do so. Do not procrastinate. The longer you put it off the more you will become discouraged and the harder it will be for you to initiate any changes within yourself.

Only when you can come up with a list of self respecting  values and behaviours can you feel good about yourself. the woman who feels worthwhile in her own eyes does not sell herself for any man’s approval.

Of course there are times when you will doubt yourself, when your mood will swing downwards, when life will not go the way you have planned or think it should. There are times when you may think that everything is working against you. It is at those times you will doubt yourself the most and you will feel unimportant and miniature. When this happens please don’t rush outdoors seeking  approval from the first man who smiles at you. Instead, stay indoors, take out your list of good attributes and remind yourself that despite the occasional disenchantment of life you are still this marvellous woman. Also remind yourself that everyone has those days when nothing seem to be going according to plan or that life simply stinks. That too shall pass away.

 

ARE YOU YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY

Strive not to judge yourself by other peoples’ negative standards of you, if you  hear unkind things about yourself engage in any one of the following options:

-ignore them

-Stop, listen, examine. Is there any truths to what is being said? If there is begin at once to change the behaviour that is inviting negative attention.

 

The following are some strong don’ts.

 

DON’T BE A FRAUD

Some people engage in masquerading as someone whom they are not in an effort to be liked, appreciated and welcomed into the in-crowd.

No one trust or like a fake. We all tend to believe that there is a tendency in a fake person to manipulate others. We are wary and suspicious of those whom we think wants to get to know us for less than trustworthy purposes. The fake person  can fake it as much as he or she likes but the only person the fake person eventually turns out to fool is themselves. Stick around the same people for  too long and someone will eventually  spot your falseness and deception. Eventually you will be unmasked and when you are you will feel the full brunt of rejection and disdain.

No one likes to be made a fool of. And that’s exactly what the fake person will be doing when they try to pass off  as someone whom they are not. In essence Falseness says ‘I have no respect for your intelligence. You will believe anything I tell you.

Most fake people suffer from deep levels of insecurity or inferiority so they try to assume a definition of themselves which gives them a sense of assurance and self-sufficiency. This gives them the courage to meet others on equal terms.

The sense of isolation which an inferiority complex creates is bridged by identifying ourselves with those whom we think have enviable character traits.

Don’t be something that you are not. Be yourself. Figure out the qualities that make you special and different. Perhaps you have a unique sense of humour or some hidden talent that you are too shy to show others. Act confidently, be friendly and enjoy who you are.

 

DON’T ACT INFERIOR

Those who suffer from a sense of inferiority suffer agonies at the thought of meeting strangers. We agonise over what to say to them, how to behave. We portray traits of servility stemming from a sense of inadequacy. Most often than not the inferiority sufferer is a people pleaser always striving to be liked by everyone.

 

DON’T BE ARROGANT

Most people who portray arrogance have a deep sense of superiority. They have a constant need to subjugate others since they find it difficult to accept the value of another person.

A sense of superiority is often based on superficial or outward trappings such as what the other person looks like, the clothes they wear, where they live and so on.

Superiority is actually the opposite end on the spectra of inferiority. Most people who feel the deep need to behave in ways in which they devalue another person are unable to accept their own worth and consequently engage in put-downs to make themselves feel worthwhile.

Superior and inferior people tend to portray the same traits: traits that are unhealthy and push people away instead of drawing people to them. These are some undesirable traits: cynicism, rejection, snobbery and arrogance.

People who are comfortable in their own skin are not inferior or superior. They are friendly and accepting of others.

 

IF THE MAN YOU SAW ON THE TRAIN……

If the man you saw on the train turned out to be disappointing here are some great places to meet that special man without selling yourself:

Clubs: sports clubs, dance clubs

Social gatherings

Committees

Reading clubs

Church Clubs

Social networking sites.

In reference to Social Networking sites: for goodness sake practice caution and extreme care. With all the unsavoury things that go on through social networking I caution care, not desperation. Please act with the outmost responsibly towards yourself. Never go to a secluded place to meet a stranger, it does not matter if you think you are of an advanced responsible age just take good care of yourself. Invite the acquaintance to meet family and friends. Date  for a lengthy period of time while you learn more and more about the person’s character and value system before getting yourself emotionally or sexually involved. Please date in public places and not in private out of the way little holes.

When you meet that special man, initially watch your body language don’t give out vibes that you are ready to jump into selling yourself at the first opportunity. A woman ready for a quick roll in the hay is actually a turn off to some men. Don’t think that every man out there is on the prowl. Some are looking for a beautiful stable relationship. If you too are looking for a long term relationship possible marriage here are a few tips to recognize the qualities of Mr. Fit-Well.

 

MR. FIT-WELL

Choosing  a life partner is one of the most important choices any person must make. The kind of choice you make will resonant in your life for many years.

Mr. Fit-Well may walk straight out of a romantic novel with the face and body of Fabio dripping with sexuality or he may be your average looking man……. he is mature, loyal with a profound sense of responsibility, respect and love towards you. He respects and likes you as a person and enjoys your company. he is supportive of your ambition. He is compassionate and understanding. He knows his strength and intelligence…………. he is not threatened by your strength but values those characteristics as a compliment to his masculinity.

 

If you want to know more about the qualities that make the best life partners and the kind of potential partner that you should avoid check out my e-book Woman Take Hold of Your Power and Free Yourself on Kindle Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IJ54SAQ