Posts Tagged ‘stress’

How to Handle Stress: The Essential Elements

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The following is a copy of an article written by my sister and posted on http://www.deeper I hope this will help you deal with the stress we incur everyday.

How often do you exclaim, “I’m so stressed out!”? Stress is a commonality that is all too familiar but often overlooked as a serious symptom of disease. The reality is that stress is the #1 risk factor for disease. With studies showing that stress leads to obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism, immune deficiency, etc., why is it that we are still so stressed out?

I believe it is that we are not taught as children how to handle stress properly. We learn to mimic our parents’ behavior, which was not always a healthy choice! Instead of realizing that stress is something that happens inside a person, we see it as an attack against our homeostasis and defend it at all costs. Stress typically arises because of our beliefs about how things ‘should be’ and not necessarily the situation at hand, and often it is self-inflicted.

In my 16 years experience as a Massage Therapist, I have found that most of my clients come to me because they are internalizing their stress. Instead of letting it out, they hold it in and that energy transmutes into a physical pain or disease. Massage is a great way to release it from the body because the pressure receptors in the skin convey a message back to the brain to release the energy and send out endorphins to relieve the pain.

However, we should not always rely on someone else to relieve our stress. If we never learn how to adequately handle stress so that it doesn’t get trapped in our bodies, stress will never go away. It just gets transmuted into something more difficult to deal with that we find no way of escaping, such as a debilitating disease.

If stress is self-inflicted, how do we stop the cycle? First answer these questions:

1. Do you create deadlines for yourself, like having company over so the house must be clean by a certain time?

2. Do you worry about what people will think before you act or speak?

3. Do you volunteer for things even though you really don’t have the time?

4. Do you do things even though the little voice inside you is saying, “No, don’t do it!”

5. Do you allow others to control your time because you are too ‘nice’? For example, getting trapped in conversation you really don’t have time for.

6. Do you get enough rest, eat right and exercise as you should?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the first five questions, consider this: “Who puts you first?”

The primary way to adequately handle stress is to begin to make time for YOU. Realize that without your health there will be none of ‘you’ to go around. Stop taking on extra projects or putting pressure on yourself. You will be AMAZED how the universe will open up opportunities for you to take care of yourself when you make the decision to do so.

Helpful techniques for handling stress and getting the energy OUT of your body

1. Talk it out with someone or scream at the top of your lungs. That feels REALLY good! (Just don’t scream at your children!)

2. Crying is a great vehicle for relieving stress. It doesn’t mean you are weak!

3. Deep Breathing works by carrying oxygen to the cells so they can detoxify.

4. Exercise/Stretching is necessary to release the tension and pain in the muscles.

5. Meditation is a great way to clear and relax the mind. It just takes some practice.

6. Visualizations are a handy tool for handling stress. They can range from comedic skits about the situation to visions of paradise on a tropical island. Either way, they are great at tricking the mind into believing whatever you want.

7. Hot water baths are awesome for loosening muscles and granting “Me-Time”.

8. Realizing your limitations is a tough one, but a little humility goes a long way.

9. And, of course, plain old Laughter is and always will be the best medicine for handling stress!

Finally, I have found the use of pure essential oil aromatherapy to be a very effective means of handling stress. These oils work on the body and mind at the same time and can be used for numerous maladies related to stress. These include depression, anxiety, impatience, IBS, allergies, headaches, physical pain, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, low immune system and the list goes on.Essential oils work so well because the sense of smell connects with memory centers in the brain, wherein the memory evokes a physical response. Over the past decade I have developed a line of scents to balance the body based on ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic principles. My blends work to balance the mood by affecting the elements in the body. For example, if you have too much “Fire” you will need a water, earth or wood scent to calm you down. If you are a thinker, you are too “Metal” and will need a fire, water or wood scent to open your heart. Your scent needs will vary daily as your mood changes. I find it helpful to keep your favorite scents on hand so you will always be balanced.

The ulterior benefit to using these blends is that they will also boost your immune system! The scent you wear may also work on those close to you so they will also be balanced. Next time you’re stressed, mist some “Happy” in the air and watch what happens!

Whatever you choose to do, the thing to remember is to find balance. Too much of one thing really is too much. Balance is the key to a stress-less life!

Jakki Wienecke is a Stress & Pain Management Specialist, Author of the self-help book, Follow the Signs, owner of the Divine Creations Aromatherapy line of products to heal and balance the body and founder of PRISM Wellness. She has spent the last 16 years working to educate the public about the benefits of natural therapies such as massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic, aromatherapy, yoga and natural skin care. From dance/Pilates instructor to her work as a Massage Therapist to her guidebook for a purposeful life, she has always worked to bring joy to others. Information about her workshops and products can be found at 410-399-9737


Life as we know it…..

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Some one once said” Life is what happens while your busy planning for it.” Maybe it wasn’t exactly that but close enough.

So how is it that we get so involved in planning our lives that we miss most of it as it jettisons right by us. I have been trying to change the way I live my life for years, and it’s a slow process at best, trying to undo the mess that I have created.

Last year, I went to see “Eat, Pray, Love ” and I walked away from the film with a reinforcement of what I always believed. You can not change your life unless you change where you live your life. Nothing really changes if your environment doesn’t

The main character in the movie came to a crossroad when she realized that she wasn’t living a life by choice but one that she couldn’t relate to because she became lost in all the things that life threw at her on a daily basis. She didn’t know who she was and what truly made her happy, so she embarked on a mission to find her true self.

If you think about it we build our lives in steps which seems to end in retirement. We are born, we grow, we learn, we work, we marry, we have kids, we buy a house, we create massive expenses and responsibilities, and we hope for a comfortable retirement. We are led to believe that this is a way to a happy life. We don’t live life, we work it. Sure we all get little bits and pieces of it but do we ever really live the life we would if we could?

I have spent my life working just to enjoy a few off weeks a year to do things that make me happy while all the time wishing I could work less and live more. I am not talking about traveling the world but just taking the time to “smell the roses”.  I, like most men, are driven to make money with the hope that at some point I can enjoy the rewards of my lifelong efforts. But unless you happen to make a killing very quickly, you will find that basically you work your whole life to live, and not much more.

Maybe we are all just missing life the way it was intended to be. “SIMPLE.” We have all become products of our environment. So caught up in our work that it becomes our life. Think about how upside down we have made our lives. We spend most of our day working and the rest sleeping. When we aren’t sleeping we are on our phones or computers probably either working or wasting time.  I have been told by my parents that some of the best times of their life were before all this technology set in. It seems that living before the 1960’s was great. Could it be because life was much simpler and less cluttered with technology. People actually had conversations in their living rooms with neighbors on Saturday nights. It was called “having company”. Today, we don’t even want to talk to each other so we just text.

If you are young and reading this here’s some advice. Start early and save as much money as possible by avoiding what everyone else is doing with theirs, because later in life you will need it more than earlier. Travel as soon as possible and see how others live in difference to where you were raised. Take a job or jobs that don’t tie you down ( this is the difficult one) but allow you to leave if necessary and start up somewhere else. Remember, its not how much you earn its how much you spend that makes life difficult, and with this in mind, stay debt free. And last, you will  learn later in life that it is shorter than you think so be prepared to say yes now to all the things you truly want to do and not make excuses as to why you can’t. Don’t let your “career” become who you are. Keep your life “simple” because at some point you will look back on it and wonder how it got so complicated and stressful and not know how to fix it. It becomes like the hamster on a wheel. Repetition over and over, the same everyday.

Life as we know it happens because we allow it to. Someday, hopefully sooner than later, I’ll get this life right!

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

Just one mans opinion…from a friend

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
( the following was contributed by a friend..thanks)

I went to PNC to see John Mayer last night. Sound was OK but loud. I couldn’t really hear vocals clearly yet the crowd knew every word and they were ready to party. Now to my point. It was like eye candy. Young high school and college girls all tan, wearing short shorts, tank tops or sundresses, laced with coconut tan lotion and smelling great. As men, we are so turned on by that and the girls just strut their stuff without thought. They hang in groups, laugh, giggle and boy watch. So my question is” does anyone wonder why young girls so often get pregnant or date raped?”  Don’t the parents of these young women check out what their daughter is wearing and educate them on what message they are sending to men of ALL ages, prior to them going out in public? As fathers, we know what men think when they see this, and we should insist that our daughters don’t make this mistake, even if  innocent, by dressing in this manner. Temptation is always present and most men know their limitations, both morally and legally, but unfortunately some don’t, and these are the ones who young girls need to be aware of. It’s as if the girls play this head game, but they know exactly what they are doing. It was like a boob-fest. Hang them out but if a man looks he’s a jerk or pervert. There was a time when this was inappropriate behavior and society, let alone parents, would not accept this from young ladies. Add alcohol to this equation and now you have the perfect setting for trouble. Parents seem to have forgotten just how naive we were at this age and how important, especially in today’s world it is to be aware of the message our young people are putting out there. My feeling is this is just one more example of how liberal and accepting our nation has become.

a High School senior on her way to the prom( See The Dress That Got A High-School Senior Arrested

High blood pressure, P90x and my path to a better me

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

pillsQ: What time is it when your doctor says you have high blood pressure?

A: My guess was “it’s P90x time!”

As every regular guy knows, age tends to make us less of a man in some places and more of a man in others. Unless you have worked out your whole life up to this point, then your body has become somewhat less desirable and fit. Reaching your forties has a way of reminding you of that every day.

Being somewhat of an A- type personality ( used to be an A+ but figured I needed to slow it down some), I tend to carry too much stress, along with an extra 20-30 pounds I picked up over the years.But unlike most regular guys I hang out with, I thought I kept myself looking pretty good. Although I did have those pounds attached to me at my mid point, I still got around really well as compared to my friends and most other men I encountered that were in my age group.

Now I was faced with an older mans disease . Hell, all I ever hear from older guys is something to do with the high blood pressure or the cholesterol medicine that they are taking. There is something that makes us refuse to believe that this will happen to us. But the truth is we create this mess when we are in our teens. Our metabolism is set on high and we eat everything we can get our hands on. Then in college we start drinking and staying out late and eating bacon cheeseburgers at 2 am. That is really not a good start on the long road of life we have ahead of us. So after years of abusing our bodies, we all wait for the news that its time to adjust our lifestyles and eating habits. Unfortunately at this stage, our insides are probably too far gone to correct the plaque and mess we have made of our arteries. Our blood pressure though, we still may control.

At this point in my life, I know that I have to take better care of myself. Lets face it we all know what is good for us and what isn’t. It’s just a matter of putting in the time to make better choices for our body. So when my doctor told me he was giving me a month to try to get my pressure down, but believed that I would be on meds anyway, it pissed me off enough to make me face up to the fact that it was time to make better choices.

I hate gyms! Other than looking at girls in tight workout clothing, I hate going to a gym. Muscles are cool, but I can’t get that motivated to sign away a year of my money in hopes that I will stay focused enough to continue going to a gym 3-4 days a week. So I was faced with the dilemma of how to get a workout and not sign a contract.

Although I have never been an athlete on any level, I have stayed in pretty good condition by not overeating my way into sweat pants oblivion. I have always refused to own a pair of sweat pants because once you start wearing them, it becomes easier to overeat. Hey those things stretch out four waist sizes before you need a bigger pair. So armed with my trusty Wrangler jeans, I have never been more than a 36 inch waist size. Not good, but definitely not that bad either.

In my younger days I became a fan of the Martial Arts. I tried the traditional Karate classes and reached a certain level of success through colored belts but I found that the spiritual and way of life part of the Martial Artist was what attracted me to it. I found that the balance a true Martial Artist had in his life was really what I was seeking. Nothing in extreme, but everything in moderation. Simplicity. Calmness. Things that were not so easy to find in my upbringing and in life itself, but things I could use at this point of my life.

I needed a plan and I knew what I had to do but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. I needed a workout, something that was cardio and also weight resistance training. I needed to eat better. Make better choices but not a diet. And most important, I needed relief from the stress in my life.

Enter P90x. p90xThis program is designed to help you reach every goal that you need to get your  life to a better place. This program gives you cardio and weight training workouts, along with some Martial Arts and Yoga. You can also follow along with its nutrition plan to help you make better choices with the things you put in your body. And best of all you do it at home with no monthly gym fees and contracts.

My goals were simple. Eat better. Exercise. Calm my mind and body. Ninety days to a better me. After one month, my weight was down ten pounds and my blood pressure was normal again. My doctor wanted to see me again in six months to make sure this wasn’t  a fluke. His disbelief in me from the start was the fuel I needed to get my ass going in the right direction so the fact that he still didn’t believe only made me more hungry for success.

It has been fourteen weeks since I began my program. I now eat smaller meals and snacks, five or six times a day. I eat carbohydrates in moderation and no sweets or heavy meals during the week. A glass of red wine every night with dinner. Weekends I have dessert or maybe a dinner out with friends. Never two bad days in a row. The most important change is that I pay attention to everything I put in my body now as opposed to before, when I knew what I was putting in but didn’t care. I worked out six days a week for fourteen weeks (one extra week than the program because of missed days, holidays, illness etc..) but now I work out every other day unless I am motivated I will do extra cardio on an off day. This is the hard part of my new lifestyle. Trying to fit an hour workout in everyday can be difficult. Things get in the way all the time but now I make it a priority to take care of myself first.

In the last fourteen weeks, I have lost more than twenty pounds without dieting, recovered lost strength and found the sense of calmness in my life that was missing.

This is in no way an endorsement for P90x but just a means to a way I found to get me back to a better place in my life. P90x alone won’t do this for you. This has to come from inside. This was from an angry person inside me who just had enough with the way my life was going. Funny thing is, we all have this person inside that knows right from wrong but something keeps it hidden, buried away from us until the time is right. You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest. Stop making excuses for who and what you are and get busy. One day at a time. Always just one day at a time. Never look past the next day. Start with just one day at a time. It makes it easier to accomplish your goal if you stay focused on just the present day.

In life we are given opportunities to make changes. Sometimes those changes are very clear to us and are easy to accomplish. Sometimes they are clear to us but for some reason we can’t get ourselves on track to make those changes. Maybe for me, being an A type personality, it was a little easier because I always look for a challenge to keep me going. When I have nothing to challenge me, I get bored or disinterested. I guess my high blood pressure was the challenge I needed to put me on a path to a better me……

The Regular Guy…


Heartbreak again

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

heartbreakWhat is it with being a fan of a sports team that when they lose we feel like we were there on the field with them.

Being a fan for so many years ( thirty nine to be exact) of the Minnesota Vikings has not been a good investment of my time. Thirty nine years without a Super Bowl win is not a thing to be happy about. Losing the last five Championship games isn’t fun either. I think it could possibly be worse, only because my team didn’t get to play in the Super Bowl let alone lose it.

After this weekends lose to the Saints, I swore to myself that I was done. Too many years of wasted time, energy and emotions left laying there on the floor of my living room, has made quite a mess.

It seems so odd to think that our emotions can get so drained, that we can fall into a funk of depression ( if only for a day, if you are one of the lucky ones) and then the next year be so optimistic that our team will get us to that glorious game. How can it be that being a fan of a team can become so much a part of our being as love, hate or any other long lasting emotion? Think about it. I remember the feelings I had when I lost one of my early girlfriends. It’s really not that different. Its like a part of our life is taken away and that missing piece takes time to heal and grow back. With love, its just replacing a lost love with a new one. With sports, its just replacing one team with the next. Football is over but maybe this year my baseball team will win it all .It’s how we heal.

How about all those Steeler fans. Boy do I envy those guys. How lucky are you if you happened to become a fan of the Steelers in the seventies. You have had a pretty good run haven’t you. But even with that, you still felt that heartbreak when those Steelers tanked this season after starting so well. Lucky you though. You didn’t have to go through that agonizing loss like us Viking fans did last Sunday.

So what does a guy do? Thirty nine years of futility is enough isn’t it? Isn’t it time to step away from being a fan and live a life less stressed and emotional?  Don’t we really need to find something better to invest our selves in that won’t let us down when it really counts? I for one have decided its time to try.

I have stepped back from baseball. I have found ways not to watch. As tempting as it is to read the back pages each day, I turn away. I figure it this way. Maybe if I walk away, my teams will find a way to win. Maybe they will do it without my emotional support. Maybe I can step away and if they make the playoffs, I can watch. Maybe then I won’t have so much invested in the team so that if they do lose, it won’t be so bad. After all I didn’t spend all season watching, so how bad can it be watching one game. It has to be better than watching every win or loss leading up too the big letdown.

Years ago when I was younger, it wasn’t as bad as it is today. Years of watching, reading and talking sports still doesn’t add up to the exposure we have available to us now. I can remember being lucky to watch a Vikings game on television. Usually it was a Monday night game. Living in New York, it was near impossible to see Viking games on Sundays. Today, we live in a different world. Directv has the NFL ticket. The NFL network now brings us games. Sport Center plays the tape over and over again every hour in case you missed it or want to see the replay until it makes you puke. And satellite radio, the Internet and pod-casts give us infinite ways to see or hear our teams games, even though they play in a different city then we live in.

Unless your head was buried in sand all winter, then you know that Brett Favre came to the Vikings. Because he did, I was able to watch twelve Viking games on television this year. That is ridiculous!!! I was in my glory. All because of the allure of Brett Favre to the sports writers, broadcasters and fans.

The stars were aligned for Viking fans.  The time was now for Viking fans. All those horrible losses would be forgotten with a Super Bowl victory this year. ” The pieces are in place”was Brett Favres own words this year. KFAN radio in Minnesota, played that over and over everyday during their  sports talk radio shows. They actually gave us fans hope that this year would be different. We all know how that turned out!

So with one more broken heart I go forward into the next sports season. Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks, but this time will be different. This time I will look the other way in hopes that I will remain strong enough not to fall prey to their catchy phrases and slogans of a better year ahead. On no, you won’t fool me again! You won’t break my heart again! Today I take ESPN out of my channel guide and hope that someday, someone calls me and says ” Hey, congratulations on the Vikings Super Bowl win!” ….

The Regular Guy

How I lost my smile…

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I wake up most days thinking that I will relive the last day over again. Just like in Ground Hog day, the movie, where Bill Murray awakes each day to the same thing over and over again. There’s a moral there somewhere but I haven’t found it yet.

I used to be a very happy guy. Not that I am not basically happy but I am just not the same guy I used to be. Somewhere during the last five years I lost my smile. I know this because I am constantly reminded of it by people who say ” smile, you never smile” One time while eating breakfast alone in a restaurant, the waitress asked me if I was okay because I looked sad. That was a bad day for me because it was then that I knew I lost my smile.

How did I lose it? I believe that my job has taken it from me. I can’t find much to be happy about at work anymore. This is terrible because I once loved my job.I began in 1983 when I was just 22 years old and I thought I had the world by the balls. How many 22 year olds had a chance at their own business? I was so lucky or so I thought back then. Young and dumb, is what I was.

Today after years of just waiting for things to get better,  I have given up. It took me a long time to realize that I was different from the people that worked for me. Its like I am from a different planet. I am just so far ahead of everyone that it frustrates me that they can’t grasp what I want them to do. There are three kinds of people in this world. People who can, people who can’t and people who won’t. In my place, there are the latter two, and then there is me. I am the only person who can do. This puts me in a very stressful position where as I am the only one I can depend on. It turns out that after all these years I have never had anyone who I can turn to for help, advice, opinions or answers. Having no one to learn from or share my problems with has lead me to the depressed state that I now reside in.

I know that I am depressed. I can tell because everything has now become a problem. Little things that are so trivial just set me off. I wake up just waiting for the first disappointing thing to happen to me. I have had some help in getting here. I walk into work and I am hit with problems before anyone says good morning to me. Almost on a regular basis.That can wear you out very fast.

Depression, once in it, is hard to shake. I have my moments where I feel really good, and it is very rarely while at work. I can still find my smile when I am with my wife, on my motorcycle or with my friends. And thank God I can still get a solid nights sleep. A lot of my depression stems from me being the one that so many people rely on to take care of them. Whether it be at work, or that my parents rely on me to keep the business going, or at home where I do everything to make sure we are safe and secure for our future. It has become too overwhelming to handle on my own but everyone who asks” what can I do to help:” never listens to my response or cares enough to follow through on my requests. The part that they ask but never help is worse than the fact that I have all the responsibility.

So where does this leave me. I am sad most days. I am tired and I can’t stop thinking about how I feel. I can understand how many men run away.  I sometimes picture myself on my motorcycle riding away from here never to return. Not telling anyone because no one really cares or they would be listening to me now, while I have been crying out for help.

My friend is in a bad place right now. It’s almost funny in a sense because as we talked about how he is feeling I was able to relate to him. I think I finally found someone who feels the same way I do although we have demons of a different sort. Listening to him, is like hearing the voices in my head. Things that I thought were only happening to me are happening to him too. The scary part is I am worried about him. He doesn’t sound well and I am concerned that no one is listening to him enough to realize he is in trouble. I hope you are reading this and know that I am there for you, anytime you need me. I can understand your frustration with not being able to fix “this”. I have suffered that feeling for too many years now. Being a man we are used to fixing things and not being able to fix ourselves is a hard pill to swallow. Thinking about it all the time only makes it harder to ” fix”. You told me I need to live in the moment and I understand that this is important but as you know its not an easy state to attain.

Luckily, in the past , I have been able to “snap out of it” but these days it seems to get harder to do. I know what ails me but I can not reach for the fix right now. At some point though, I believe I will.

My smile is a good one. I have seen it and when it shows itself, it works fine. I like to smile so I know that its still in me to do so. I am tired of feeling so sad and depressed. It takes a lot out of me and it sucks. Even though everyday seems like  “Ground Hog’s day”, I am happy to awake and to have the chance that this day might be the one when things change. I won’t give up. I know that I will find a way out of this into a better place. I know my smile and it’s out there waiting for me on a beach at the foot of the waves, grinning ear to ear……….

The Regular Guy

Chasing my tail or how the list never ends

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Everyone has one. Everyone I know at sometime in their life creates one. Everyone who works and has some kind of responsible position should have one. Every mom has one. I have one. Make that more than one.

Yeah, I have a list. I think my list began right after college. I think my list will probably be buried beside me when I die. I just hope that my list isn’t the cause of my untimely demise.

Some years back I asked my dad if you ever get caught up in life.  Not surprisingly, but some how sadly, he said “no”. At that point I realized that life was nothing more than a list of what the next day has in store for us.

I spend the better part of my days at work using a list that reminds me of a crab. A crab, as someone once told me, takes one step forward and two steps back. I don’t know if this is true because I think they move sideways more than backwards. Anyway, my list seems to get longer each day instead of shorter and it never ends. Someone always throws another item on the list when I am not looking.

Although I hate lists they are a necessary evil that I probably couldn’t do without. As I age, my memory isn’t as good as it was in my younger days.  On second thought, maybe its not that it has gotten bad, but that there are just too many things I need to remember now. I think that our brains are like computer hard drives. There is only so much room in the short term memory to fit it all. So like I do when I use my flash drive on my computer,  I add a list to expand my brains hard drive space.

But what is it with all the things we need to do everyday. Even on my days off I can’t just sit and do nothing cause my list is always on my counter reminding me that I have stuff that needs attending to. The shame of it all is that I spend so much time doing almost nothing even though it appears that my list thinks its important. For example, going through the mail each day. How much shit do you have to receive each day to get the stuff you really need. There is so much time wasted going through all the junk mail and pulling off my personal info just to shred it. Are we really at the point in life that we need to, at some point, shred everything we acquire with our name, address and personal info on it.  Are there really that many people trying to get my info so they can scam me or are we just so fearful that this is now something we need to do each day.

And the list contains food we need to purchase, chores around the house, the Home Depot list, the gifts for the Communion we need to attend, the insurance company we need to call to ask about the mistake we find in our coverage, the cable company we call because our internet isn’t working, the sprinkler guy who turns it on and off twice a year and so on and so on…… You know the things I am talking about.

It sucks being a responsible adult. I can see why people can’t wait for retirement.  Maybe then you can sit back and relax a little. At least you can take work off the list!!!

So how do I end this madness? I can’t find the answer no matter how hard I try, but I think I know that I have to slow it down some. Life goes by so fast and even more so when your list is never ending. When you crowd so many things into a day it makes the day go by faster than it should.  Not to get to far ahead of myself but how many of the things we need to do are for or because of someone else. This is a topic in itself and one I will surely write about another time.

Just one mans opinion…….

The Regular Guy