Are you stressed? What are you going to do about it?

Are you stressed?  What are you going to do about it?

Oh, no, not another thing I have to do!!!  – that’s probably what you’re thinking – “I’m stressed and now I have to deal with it.  I just want this stress to end – that’s all!   I can’t deal with what I have now!  How can I deal with learning something new?”

Stress, unfortunately, is one area that only you can do something!  You can.  I’ll help you.  This is the first in a series of blogs on stress.  Understanding stress and yourself  really well.  These blogs will help you to cope, little by little.  If you come to my blog every day, you’ll eventually have the tools to help yourself.

Why don’t I just give you the solution right now?  Because the solution right now does not exist.  It took you a long time to build up this acute state of stress you are in and it will take a while to dismantle it.  Relief will come little by little but it will come – if you do the work, stress will be diminished.  You will feel it almost immediately.

I’m an expert on stress.   I’m not a psychologist though my undergraduate degree majored in Psychology and I’m not a counselor either.  I do coach people and stress is one  definitely something I help my clients with.  But . . . I am an expert in living, overcoming and dealing with stress since early childhood – my expertise comes from experience and education.  I have spent a lot of money and time learning to deal with stress.  I’ve been to acute stages of stress and have survived, changed and now able to deal with stressors.  It’s taken me a long time to acquire these skills.

What is stress?  Let’s define it to assure that we are both on the same page.

Stress exists all the time – every single moment of every single day there is a stress exerted on everyone.  Some of these stressors are mild and some are acute.  Most people deal with every day stresses such as getting to work on time, thinking what to have for dinner, driving in heavy traffic, etc.

But people seek relief from stress when they have feelings of overwhelm and cannot see a solution to alleviating the build up of stress in their lives.  Stress

Most of us are never taught how to deal with stress.  Some have been lucky enough to have had family environments in which   All we know about stress, generally, is fight or flight.  Our upbringing has taught us one or the other generally.  For instance, flight can mean in one family to just walk away from issues or use the “silent treatment” which means dont’ say anything, don’t assert yourself.  In the fight situation, another family has taught children to fight it out – drag them out verbal and/or physical fights.  Fighting is a normal part of the household which we all know solves nothing and makes situations worse as time goes on.

What do you do?  Learn.  Know yourself very well and learn to use your best charater traits rather than use ther conditioned responses you learned in your family environment.

Is it easy?  Is it quick?  No.  Will things change?  Yes, if you want to.  Lots of people want to reduce their stress but want someone else to do it

Leadership Today – Can You Find Any?

Why are we having such trouble finding good leadership today?

Because of us all.

The Groundwork

With time, everything changes – everything – not even a rock stays the same forever.  Our mindsets have changed.  Where once we were happy to have a job, earn enough money to support our families comfortably and have a good life filled with what humans can offer each other, we began to demand Hollywood lifestyles – designer clothes, 4 cars in the driveway, 4,000 square foot houses, and annual vacations far away in exotic locations.  Companies raced to fill the desires of excess and even stoked the fires.

Today – A Model of What is Lacking

Today, we take a day to remember the people who died on the battlefields defending our most precious gift:  freedom.

How many people will actually attend the services around the world? Very few – most can’t be bothered – they’re busy or it’s raining or it’s too far or a multitude of other lame excuses.  Think of a soldiers in the trenches in WWII – what excuse could they have?  Where could they go – rain, shine or gun fire directed at their hearts?

It’s that laziness and lack of appreciation for contribution that demonstrates how little we value our own lives. If we cannot take three hours per year to honor those whose lives were taken in conflict protecting the lifestyles we have become accustomed to, then why do we expect leadership.

Every day in every way, our own day-to-day leadership is testament to what we believe and what we value.

Where does Leadership Begin?

Next time you’re complaining about the leadership in our society, look in the mirror, look at your neighbors, go to a thrift shop, visit a shopping mall, and walk down your version of Rodeo Drive, visit an old bridge or travel an old road – all these are visual indicators of what we have come to value or not in our lives as a society.  We accept decay of our towns and cities as though it’s normal and we accept the destruction of trees and animals as necessary to progress.  What progress are we talking about here?

The lack of respect for ourselves and what exists in our surroundings is testament to our mindset.  We don’t even care for the stuff we have because we’re too busy – the real reason is that we have too much!

Leadership is a Reflection of What We Value

Next time you’re pointing the finger at your greedy and ineffective government officials, executives and others in what we call leadership positions, look a little closer to home – how are you leading your life?  What values are you teaching your children, neighbors, schools, friends and family through your words and actions?  Look at the stuff in your closet, garage, storage locker, drawers, etc. that you are not using.

If we begin to demand better of ourselves then and only then can we demand better of others.

Can You Find Leadership Today?

Yes, you can find leadership today – in yourself.

What do you believe leadership is and how is leadership reflected through actions and results?  Are you practicing the kind of leadership you expect of others? It’s not difficult to understand what you value – just look around your home, think about how you behave in your community, think of your involvement in the human race and think about how you can live in harmony with nature rather than plunder its gifts to manufacture the next bobble or iPhone.

When we control our own greed, our own abuses, behaviors towards others and show a little leadership ourselves every day, only then can we demand the same of those we elect to office and those chosen to run our enterprises.

If, we the people, begin to demand more of ourselves then, eventually, all people in all positions will be required to do the same.

Where Do You Start?

Decide to be a leader today in your own life – lead a life through your values.

What are your values?  Do you even know?

Is it nature?  When was the last time you planted a tree or took a walk in the park?  Do you even know where the parks are?  Do you pick up trash?  Do you help animals in distress? Do you  donate to animal care groups.  How are you involved in assuring nature conservancy?

Is it family?  When was the last time you called your cousin?  Do you organize family gatherings regularly?  Do you even know who your relatives are?  How will you connect?

Is it community?  Do you pick up trash on the streets, beautify your neighborhood, help neighbors, have neighborhood gatherings, resolve interpersonal issues with dignity and respect? Do you even know what’s going on in your community?

Is it politics?  Do you vote?  Are you involved in the political process?  Are you writing letters and demanding better laws, better behavior of your elected officials?  Do you protest?

Is it honesty?  Practice it – how many times do you lie in a week?  Do you call in sick when you’re not but expect to get paid for a day’s work you haven’t earned?  When a clerk makes a mistake giving you change, do you notice the error and put the money in your pocket?

Is it caring?  When was the last time you visited a home for the aged and took a resident out for a walk?  Do you volunteer for your animal shelter?  Do you help someone in a wheelchair up an incline?  Do you help your neighbors with tasks?  Do you help the homeless in your community?  If your work colleague got laid off, do you call and ask how they are?  Do you help your colleague with job leads or opportunities?

Design a set of behaviors which will demonstrate what you, in your heart, feel is  important.

Pay attention to the world you live in.  Pay attention to your life.   Put your time and money, not in designer clothes and shoes, but in living a full life – become connected to yourself and others.

Decide on your leadership and do it – every day. When you are practicing it yourself, you will recognize it in others.  When that happens, you can be a co-leader in our world no matter the position you hold in society and no matter the position others hold – you’ll be in it together – in the trenches – living values!

Lorraine Arams

Got An Idea? What Do You Do With it?

So . . . you’ve got an idea – fantastic!

Maybe or maybe not . . . it depends.

The Gift of Great Ideas

Ideas have given us the wheel, steam engines, televisions, telephones and trips to space – you’d think that having an idea is terrific!

And we do applaud the great inventors of the world, and we shower great praise on some people who have come up with some people in our “entourage” too!

The Danger of Having a Great Idea

However, be careful . . . not everyone may like it when you present a great idea – that’s right – they won’t.  As surprising as that might seem, many, many people have experienced the wrath of those who feel “threatened” by a new and better idea in their workplaces or your homes.  Danger!  Danger!  Danger!

If someone feels threatened by your fabulous creative mind, at the least, they’ll laugh at you or try to discredit you and your idea right there and then.   Remember what happened when it was suggested the earth was round instead of flat?

The more dangerous are the “subversives” – those people who seem to welcome your new idea but who plot and scheme to make your life miserable or get rid of you.

Why?  Because they somehow interpret the presentation of your great idea as a personal attack on them and see it as something which makes them look bad.  Looking bad for some people is worse than death itself!  Their insecurities simply cannot afford to applaud the gifts of others.

One of the greatest landmine locales exists in the workplace where you never really know who is for or against you. People smile, go for a drink after work and are even pleasant to all around them.  But which ones are wearing the “smiling mask” and which ones have a “genuine smile” – you can’t tell.  The phony mask people expect others to support them and compliment them but when the praise and adulation goes to someone else, they are incensed – quietly and lethally!  They will do all they can to sabotage your work and your status in the organization – slowly but surely.

What To Do?

So what do you do with your great ideas?  Keep them to yourself until you have made a thorough assessment of who is who in your workplace, how they react to others introducing ideas, and who can receive ideas well with the power to act upon them.  It’s not always obvious.  In other words, you really, really have to get to know people you work with very, very well = what lurks in their hearts and souls!

Yes, it seems odd, doesn’t it?  A lot of management books talk about how ideas are critical to business and how ideas power the enterprise.  In real life, however, it’s much different.  And you’d think that the non-profit or government would be the safest place of all to present great ideas – you’d be dead wrong!  There is no safe place.

Your Alternatives

a)  Observe and learn all you can about the “players” in your company.  Slowly, develop relationships with people whom you have identified as possible supporters with the power to move forward with ideas.  Carefully craft a plan on how you will introduce your ideas and how you will benefit from them.

a)  Research and connect with people in other companies until you find an environment which is open to ideas and the development of those ideas.  Once you find such an enterprise, secure a job.  However, you’ll have to do the same – learn the politics of the workplace.

c)  Take your ideas, write them down and develop them on your own while you are still employed.  Today, there are many outlets for doing precisely that on the internet.  You’ll benefit personally from all your “intellectual property” and offend no one because no one needs to know.  Imagine an idea of yours creating a second income for you or possibly setting you on a better financial footing!

You don’t believe me?  Take a look at the info commercials or go to your county fair in the marketplace section where people are selling incredible new products outside the mainstream.  You won’t find the big corporations there but you’ll find innovation.

At our fair this year, I saw something quite common and yet someone “packaged” it differently — a one-person operation displaying the ingenuity of a single idea.  There he was standing in his booth and his product was flying off his stand.  What was it?  A bird house – that’s right a bird house.  He had pre-cut the pieces to making 3 styles of birdhouses.  People selected the style they wanted and inside the plain plastic bag were the pieces, the instructions, the hanger and the nails.  All people needed was something to pound the nails in – and . . . voila! a birdhouse for their backyard or local park – ready to go!  They were made of cedar wood which would withstand all weather conditions and the birdhouses could even be painted.  A simple idea.  Imagine presenting that to a big corporation.  This man made a lot of money – he was at his stand for 2 weeks with masses of people passing by and buying.

What could you do with your idea?  Write an ebook?  Create a product?  Create a workshop?

Yes, there is danger in expressing ideas and there can also be vast rewards if you are protective and cautious about protecting your ideas and possibly turning them into a money-making enterprise outside the workplace.

What will you do with your idea?

Lorraine Arams

Consciousness – The Panacea to Effective Living

consciounessConsciousness is the panacea to effective living.

This week we have talked about stress and the various ways to reduce or eliminate some acute stresses. 

But how did you get so stressed in the first place?

For some, it’s an event – but for most, it relates to a lack of  attention to our lives.  The effect of not paying attention is felt through overwhelming stress levels.   Like a crack in the foundation of a house, eventually, the crack leads to a leak and a leak leads to flooding and that leads to major overhaul and repair.  What if the crack had been properly attended to in the first place?  A lot of time, energy and money would have been saved.  It’s the same with your life in general – we don’t pay attention to the cracks until we are fully engulfed.

You have one life and time is a one-way street – there’s no going back and there’s no going faster into the future – NOW is all there is – ever!  How are you managing your “nows”?

What to do with the time you have?

Pay attention.  It’s your life!

How?  How do you start?

Take a calendar with days across the top and hours down the left hand side.  Now book yourself in.

HUH?  What do you mean – “book myself in”?

It’s your life.  One shot to get what you want out of your life.  Schedule yourself first.  That’s how you start reducing your stress and living your life.

Is it easy?  If you have thought about other people first your whole life, no, it’s not easy because it means re-programming yourself to always, always schedule your needs first and everyone else’s second.

Your Dreams

For instance, let’s say you’re saving to buy your first home.  Your job is important and even getting a second job might be in the cards for a while until you save enough money for a down payment.

To get the down payment, you need two jobs with regular hours.  That’s one of your needs – your job – schedule in your commuting time and the time you spend working.  Can you see what would happen if your boss constantly wanted you to work unpaid overtime?  You can’t have that second job.  Is that what you want?  If not, find another job and have a talk with your boss because YOU are NOW important to you – you cannot fulfill your boss’ needs for unpaid overtime while holding down a second job in order to save for that down payment.

Physical Health

You need to stay healthy.  If you’re not healthy, you can’t have a job and can’t save for the down payment.  This means taking good care of your body and mind.  Schedule in exercise, shopping for fresh healthy food and preparing good, healthy meals day in and day out and time for complete relaxation and hobbies.  It takes time or you’ll pay at the other end with illness.  And, of course, you want to look good so schedule in time for proper grooming – getting your hair done, your nails manicured, etc.

Let’s say that your friend is constantly calling you and talking to you for hours about her problems.  Those hours are taken away from you.  It’s great to help your friend but you have a life to lead and things to do.  She’ll have more respect for you if you minimize the calls and help her when you can.  If she can’t respect you and your time, why do you have her as a friend?

Emotional Health

You also need to stay emotionally healthy which includes having healthy relationships with friends and family.  How much time do you need and what will you do?

Let’s say that your brother is a drain on your psyche.  He is always getting into trouble, your parents call you to “rescue” the family and nothing has changed in a long time.  You keep running to everyone’s rescue meanwhile it’s chewing up valuable time away from your healthy relationships.  Is that what you want?  It will drain you and you know it – often, you fall in bed exhausted from dealing with your brother’s issue.  Take back control.  Lay down boundaries and stick to it.  You can’t live other people’s lives for them.


There are physical needs – cleaning your home and your car, tracking your finances, scheduling holiday time, and a host of other aspects to your life which need regular maintenance.  It makes you feel good to have everything in order and working for you.  But, being pulled away from those tasks consistently, you know what happens?  A mess and you are pulled away from tracking your dreams.

Do you have any time left over?

What have you done?  You’ve made choices — choices which fit with your aspirations. The more you concentrate on fulfilling your needs and your dreams, the more time, ironically enough, you’ll have for everything else.

The Next Step

Stay conscious. It’s fun to write all this down.  Now, it’s staying conscious and on target.  Will you have stress in your life?  Of course – you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.  But, you can see that knowing where you’re spending your time, and why you’re choosing what you are goes a long way to relaxing your mind.  A relaxed mind helps to relax the body.  Make sense?

Put automatic recurring events in your computer calendar to keep reminding you to stay on target with what you have set out to do – at home and at work -work your plans every day – adjusting to fit the ever-changing landscape of your life – life is not static – your dreams and needs change at every stage of your life.

I wish a great life – stay conscious – it’s the only way!

Lorraine Arams

What Exercise is Best to Help Reduce Stress?

exerciseWhat exercise is best to help reduce stress?

The type which does not add more stress!

Everyone is different.

For some, they come back from a ten-mile run, and they feel relaxed.  Others come back from a similar run and are exhausted, more stressed than when they left because their bodies hurt so much and others can’t do without the exhilaration of pushing their bodies to the nth degree – somehow the pain is satisfying.

And for yet others, a long walk or yoga gives them a wonderful feeling.  Their bodies react well.  For others, yoga is too slow or they don’t have the flexibility to deal with all the poses. And for others, Pilates is ideal.

Weights are a favorite for certain people.  They “pump iron” for hours every day and the cardio represents an interruption into what they love.  Others can’t stand going to the gym and especially lifting weights.

Many people enjoy sports.  One person told me that he plays sports all year round and would never dream of going to the gym.

The important factor

The most important thing to your exercise program – and yes, exercise is critical to stress reduction – is that you enjoy what you’re doing!

Why?  Because you’ll actually do it!  You’ll look forward to your exercise time and have no trouble keeping it up because of the incredible benefits you receive from it –

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Besides handling stress much better, regular exercise has many benefits:

the obvious ones are:

  • burn fat
  • increase cardiovascular functioning
  • increase the good feeling endorphins

the not so obvious

  • better functioning  organs
  • increased blood flow to the brain
  • clearing up metabolic waste products
  • helping posture
  • maintaining good lung capacity and therefore more oxygen throughout your body for good health
  • helping to avert disease and can even reverse some diseases

Is there anything else which can help the body and reduce stress?

Yes.  Deep breathing, stretching, massage, aromatherapy, meditation.  Each one has physiological benefits for the body.  Again, it’s a matter of preference though this last four can benefit anyone who indulge in their own way.  For instance, meditation is not necessarily sitting crossed legged in a quiet room reciting the same word over and over again.  Meditation for some can be sitting in the park watching squirrels run up and down the trees and admiring beautiful flowers or listening to a brook.

Aromatheraphy can be simply using your favorite scented hand cream and a massage can simply be rubbing your temples or using a massage wand or chair.

Throughout the day you can:-

  • stretch –  stand up every couple of hours and touch your toes, lean backwards slightly, lean your head side to side and front to back, rotate shoulders, stretch arm triceps overhead, stretch hamstrings – just 5 minutes and you can feel refreshed.  You can find a lot of stretching.  Here’s a couple of videos from YouTube – you can find a lot of videos on YouTube
  • Throughout the day, take 10 deep breaths as often as possible.  Make the breath reach as far down and across as possible.
  • While standing, be conscious of your posture – adjust accordingly and breath.
  • If you can, meditate for 5 or 10 minutes at breaks or lunch hours.
  • just sitting and enjoying peace and quiet

There are many, many avenues for relaxation of the body and of the mind – you’ll find quite a few videos on YouTube and elsewhere – this has just been a sampling to give you an idea – you might just find something you really enjoy.

Exercise is a key to good health and reducing stress in your life if you love what you are doing.  Here is one instance in which loving the method of exercise is critical and adding different ways to reduce the stress in your body holds incredible benefits.

Lorraine Arams

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