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Life Coaching Tips for stress Management

Practice The Golden Rule

By | From Fear to Compassion, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | No Comments

Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Bestow compassion on all individuals. The Golden Rule is considered to be the “golden standard” of human behavior; a lofty ideal, but hardly unreachable. There was a time, not long ago, where The Golden Rule was taught to all people, from all countries, all religions, all languages; taught by parents, taught by preachers, taught by wisdom keepers. There are many people today, particularly young people, who have never even heard of The Golden Rule. Today the Golden Rule has been replaced with the slogans: “Every man for himself,” “He or she who shouts loudest is right” and “It’s all about me!” Enter the age of narcissism. In light of the recent shootings in Tucson, AZ last weekend, human behavior, particularly uncivil behavior, is finally being questioned in the media (well, in some corners of the media). One person to champion the practice of The Golden Rule is British Theologian, Karen Armstrong. Karen is a recent recipient of the TED award. Her goal: to create a charter of compassion. Her reason; to move the global community out of despair and narcissism toward compassion and community building.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
As young children, our hearts are open to a loving world. As we mature into adulthood, we learn to close our hearts as a means of protection. Yet, that which protects in the short term fosters selfish and narcissistic behavior in the long term. Simply stated, it is ego that derails any effort to practice The Golden Rule. The stress tip for today is to reopen your heart and domesticate the ego. To do this effectively, you must first ask yourself what thoughts, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs (right or wrong) have narrowed the passage of compassion that streams from your heart space. Practicing The Golden Rule means taking the high road with human behavior. It means treating others with respect. Everyone! The first step when taking the high road is opening your heart.

• Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Here are two links highlighting Karen Armstrong and her efforts to re-introduce The Golden Rule to Humanity.

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/10/132809627/concrete-ways-to-live-a-compassionate-life

http://www.ted.com/talks/karen_armstrong_makes_her_ted_prize_wish_the_charter_for_compassion.html

• Quote for the Day:
“Jesus said, love your enemies. He didn’t say don’t have any.” —Joseph Campbell

Photo of the Day:
Today’s photograph, a butterfly, is a symbol of transformation, rising above mediocrity to our highest human potential.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Detachment: Cutting Your Losses

By | Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | No Comments

Wisdom keepers the world over remind us to detach from our expectations. Many words or phrases are used to encourage us to practice this ageless wisdom: release, cleanse, let go, detach, and cut your losses. The ego can become very protective of our ambitions, occasionally sabotaging our best efforts. The last thing the ego wants to do is let go. The ego lives under the illusion that holding on is where the strength is. Often the ego holds on to the point of choking the human spirit. Cutting your losses begins with an objective look at the situation and taking stock of all gains and losses. Often, the ego hangs on to losses as a means of control. An example might include holding a grudge, seeking revenge, staying in a toxic relationship or prolonged grieving. Expectations, perceptions, attitudes can become dead weights around the neck. Dead weights make you sink. Learning to detach from an emotional situation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. Cutting your losses (a term often used in the business world, but aptly applied to one’s personal life) means dump the dead weights around your neck and swim to the surface. Cutting your losses is the first step toward emotional freedom. As the expression goes, “How can our dreams fly when they are tethered to the ground?”

Stress Tip for the Day:
Step outside yourself for a moment and take a good look at yourself— as objectively as you can (try to see yourself as a stranger or colleague might see you upon). Are there things in your life that you are holding on to that have become deadweights around your neck? Are there things you are holding on to that in all honesty, are casualties of a bruised ego? Begin to make a list of things in your life that you are a little too closely associated with. It might be your house, a job, a financial decision, perhaps even a (toxic) relationship. Weigh the pros (gains) and cons (losses). Pick one aspect of your life and begin to lighten the load. Remember this sage advice: Nature abhors a vacuum. Whatever you let go of, will often be replaced by something of equal or greater value.
And, as the expression goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting:
I googled the expression ‘cutting your losses” and came up with a host of different links, including the following: If these might be of interest, take a peek.

http://www.paulstips.com/brainbox/pt/home.nsf/link/11122006-If-you-find-yourself-in-a-hole-the-first-thing-to-do-is-stop-digging

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/knowing-when-to-cut-your-losses-and-call-it-quits/

http://www.examiner.com/la-in-los-angeles/5-steps-to-cutting-your-losses-a-dead-end-relationship

Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo was taken a few weeks ago on Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Enjoy!

Quote for the Day:
“Sometimes walking away is avoidance. Other times, walking away is salvation. It’s always best to know the difference.” — Anonymous

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net.

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Detoxing the Mind

By | detoxing the mind, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management, meditations, mental training | No Comments

Even if there were no Internet, no twitter, no cell phones, nor Facebook, there would be plenty of distractions to cause an overload of mental stimulation (also known as STRESS!) Our minds are barraged with a multitude of thoughts and feelings—the majority of which are generated from the ego. It is the ego which trips the “fight or flight” alarm to make one feel threatened, and today, egos are running rampant. It is the ego which perpetuates stress. The plethora of tech gadgets, as well as other external distractions, only add to the mix, or perceptions of it. When the mind is overloaded with stimuli, good or bad, too much stimuli becomes bad. The result is that we cannot think straight. Ancient mystics knew this (and long before the creation of the first computer). Ancient mystics and wisdom keepers also knew the importance of quieting the mind, domesticating the ego and allowing the mind to “think straight” rather than zig-zaged (also known as “monkey mind” in the East.) Quieting the mind is best done by meditating: sitting still, and cleansing the mind of the ego’s chitter-chatter. In some circles, meditation is considered nothing less than detoxing the mind. Detoxing the mind should be part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Its that important!

Stress Tip for the Day:
Establish a healthy boundary today by carving out 5 minutes to sit quietly. Unplug from the world, turn down the lights, close your eyes and think of nothing but your breathing. If you mind wanders, and most likely it will, redirect your thoughts back to your breathing. This is a simple process for learning to detox your mind. The best time to start is today!

Link/Books Worth Noting:
Here is one of many links underlying the importance of a mental detox, enjoy!
http://www.suite101.com/content/how-to-detox-the-mind-a189494

• Quote for the Day:
“I finally get meditation…It’s like deleting old emails.” 8th grader at Sunset Middle School.

Photo of the Day:
My friend, Mark, doing some mental detox at the Botanical Gardens in Denver (way to go, Mark). Mark will be the first person to tell you the importance of meditation, particularly as a self-employed business man and father.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

On Demand This! The dark side of Impatience

By | impatience, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | No Comments

With the accessibility of practically everything at one’s fingertips these days, have you noticed how people get impatient when things are anything less than immediate? Immediate gratification has become the norm with expectations, but there is a downside: frustration when others don’t keep up to speed. Impatience is a form of anger, and there is much anger today. Research, conduced before the introduction of WiFi, suggests that the average person gets “angry” about 15 times per day. Most likely, that number is even higher now. There is a joke about time management that goes like this… Time is a way of allowing everything NOT to happen at once. Our “On demand” culture has compressed time into a mounting frustration for many people. The immediacy of information, accessibility, 24/7 shopping, and oh so much more has created a culture of impatience. BUT… you have a choice. Your can dive headfirst into the whitewaters of our “On Demand” culture or you can stand by the side of this turbulent river and take only when needed. Please choose carefully.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
Take stock of your life today. Are you someone who is impatient, even more so today than years since? Have you taken the “On demand” concept a little too far and started to demand everything your way? Despite what our cultural trends suggest, there is an order and time for everything, even if it doesn’t match your expectations. And if it doesn’t, this would suggest to fine-tune your expectations. If you choose to dive headfirst into the whitewaters of our “On demand” culture, be prepared to be thrashed by the waves that show only indifference to your demands. Remember technology is supposed to serve you, not the other way around. Remember also the art of balance in living your life.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
This link has absolutely nothing to do with impatience, but everything to do with humor, which is a great coping technique for stress. Enjoy!
http://www.hulu.com/watch/184577/saturday-night-live-moms-on-facebook

• Quote for the Day:
“Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” — Albert Einstein

• Photo of the Day:
While contemplating a photograph to post with this blog entry, I mulled over the expression “glacial pace,” which then got me to thinking about glaciers, and voila, I had a photo of one: The glacial ice cap of Greenland with my impetuous tour guide posing for this shot. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Recalculating….

By | Conscience, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | No Comments

If you have ever driven toward a destination with a GPS device and made a wrong turn, you know the response (often in a woman’s voice)…“Recalculating.” Being picked up at the Orlando Airport this week to speak at a conference, my friend told me she got lost on the way… even with the Garmin GPS. “Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.” We both laughed. Perhaps it was no coincidence that my talk was about behavior change; letting go of stressful habits in favor of non-stress related behaviors— I could have called my talk, “Recalculating… the mind.” During one of the breaks, someone said to me, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if there was a Garmin GPS “recalculating command” feature for humans when we are about to make a mistake— RECALCULATING!” I smiled and said, “There is! It’s your conscience, but few people actually listen to it.” We sharpen the edge of the Conscience sword at a young age, learning right from wrong. But there are many bad behaviors we pick up from family and friends that we don’t even know are stress producing, whether its survival skills living with an alcoholic parent or simply wanting to be accepted by our peers. We don’t know their bad behaviors until we become lost, or more aptly put, spiritually adrift. Indeed, we have a GPS device of sorts in our mind. We just need to listen to it, not ignore it.

Stress Tip for the Day:

I have talked to friends who own GPS devices who become so reliant on them that they return home and have no idea where they actually drove. Simply stated, no memory of the actual driving was imprinted on the brain. Metaphorically speaking, we can become so numb to the voice of our conscience that we walk around like zombies, just as people do the same in driving situations. The common phrase is “being clueless.” This is the reason why meditation is such an important skill to practice: Learn to become the observer in your life. Allow your conscience the opportunity to do its work.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting

If you ever saw the Disney movie, Pinocchio, then most likely you remember the character, Jiminy Cricket. In the original story, there was no cricket. Disney made him up to personify Pinocchio’s conscience. The movie is worth watching again (as Joseph Campbell reminded us about the power of myth) to bring us back home.

Photo for the Day:

I too, have a Garmin GPS device, and if I was home, rather in Florida, I would try to take a photo of it for today’s image. Instead, here is a photo of a white crane (not far from my ocean front hotel room) in pursuit of his dinner last night. From what I could tell, he didn’t need to recalculate any moves.

Quote for the Day:

“Conscience is man’s compass.” — Vincent van Gogh

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Pursuit of Happiness

By | eustress., happiness, joy, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management, Positive Psycholgy | No Comments

Fear and anger may be the most recognized, if not common, stress emotions, but let us not forget that there is another emotion associated with stress, specifically eustress. This emotion is joy, also referred to by some as happiness. The emerging field of positive psychology has placed joy and happiness as a big X on the psychological treasure map. The search for happiness has begun in earnest in all corners of the globe. A quick look at the titles in the self-help section of any bookstore, from authors including the Dalai Lama, Harvard professors and HBO comedians, reveals that the pursuit of happiness is a hot commodity in the age of 21st century stress. Simply stated: Joy is the antitheses of distress. While some researchers in the field of positive psychology insist that joy is the anticipation of an event, spiritual luminaries suggest that happiness is a state of living in the present moment. Happiness, however, isn’t just a psychological issue. It appears to be a leading economic indicator as well, which may explain why experts in the field of economics also contribute significant amounts of research to the happiness data collection. Interestingly, the Asian country of Bhutan measures their country’s growth not just in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). Other countries, such as England and France are considering similar measures. Is happiness a function of nature or nurture? Experts suggest that it is combination of both.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
The pursuit of happiness is an internal quest. No amount of external possessions or experiences can create long-term happiness. Nor can money buy happiness, though lord knows, people surely try this method. First and foremost, happiness is a perception—and we have the choice to choose our own thoughts. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Can you jumpstart your happiness quotient? Yes! Start by making a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life. Don’t stop till you reach 100. Being of service to others in need is also a great way to find balance your scale of emotions. Finally, be on the lookout for things that make you smile each day. Take time to nurture the nature of your happiness!

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
This link below is based on a book called The Happiness Project. While there is no specific recipe for happiness, this website has some interesting information. Please check it out:

http://www.happiness-project.com/

• Quote for the Day:
“The Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”— Ben Franklin

• Photo of the Day:
I consider myself a pretty happy guy, but there are moments in my life that rank up there as unadulterated eurphoria. Just last month, while swimming in the South Pacific— near the island of Moorea, I had the pleasure to be joined by a baby humpback whale. UNREAL! I am still on Cloud #9 from that experience. Here is the proof. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Impatience

By | anger, Coping With Stress, impatience, Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | No Comments

In this age of instant gratification, there is a corresponding increase in impatience. The ability to call up information in seconds, the ability to access virtually anybody through voice mail, email or text message, the ability to access money through an ATM machine or nuke something quickly in the microwave; these are just some of the many examples that bring the world to our fingertips in a second. So when things don’t appear instantly, people tend to get upset (for the best example, look no further than today’s political scene). Impatience is a form of anger, perhaps today the most common form of anger. Every episode of anger begins with an unmet expectation. Impatience is filled with unmet expecations. Experts refer to Americans as the “entitlement generation,” because by and large, we have such great expectations for immediacy, most of which come down to a selfish nature, all of which sow the seeds for stress, if we let it.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
Are you an impatient person? Do you have high expectations for how life is supposed to be? Do you get easily flummoxed when things don’t happed quickly? Do you tend to lose your temper at other people’s inability to do things quickly? Stop and take a look at your expectations throughout the course of the day today. Take time to fine tune your expectations. In no uncertain terms, patience is a virtue.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
This video link has nothing to do with impatience, but everything to do with inappropriate behavior: cyber bullying. I was astonished to hear a college student on the news yesterday say the students need to be told (educated) what is appropriate to post on the internet. Apparently, (and quite sadly) what seems like obvious manners, civility and politeness is something not being taught by parents. The senseless death of the Rutger’s University Student last week was one of several deaths due to cyberbullying. Please take a moment to watch this video clip:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=592846987806

• Quote for the Day:
“I was imprisoned in China for 6 and a half years, falsely accused of being a spy. How did I surive? In China we are taught patience. I realized I had many years to practice it.” —Nien Cheng

• Photo of the Day:
While it might have been appropriate to have a photo of a someone banging on an ATM machine for their money, or yelling “Hurry up” at a microwave machine, I thought a relaxaing photo of Machu Picchu, with some Llamas might be nice to look at today. Enjoy! (By the way, it must have taken a LOT of patience to build this, not to mention the Inca trails to get to it.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Island Time: Stress Management Polynesian Style

By | Life Coaching Tips for stress Management, Relaxation | No Comments

You notice something immediately when you arrive on an island, whether it’s in the South Pacific, the Caribbean or even off the coast of Maine; the pace of life is much slower—as it should be. The pace of life in the islands even has a name; “island time.” There is no rush to get anywhere. There is no rush to do anything. In fact, there is no urgency whatsoever! Things are taken down several pegs from the rapid pace of city life, for that matter, suburban life, and most likely, country life as well. People look a bit younger than their true age, because they have learned to pace themselves for the distance of their lives. In working on some new revision for the 7th edition of my textbook, Managing Stress, I came across a study done by Expedia.com on vacations. As it turns out, many people never make it “To the islands,” or anywhere else for that matter. The reason being….They cancel their vacations because they feel the need to stay at work. Expedia calls their annual study, The International Vacation Deprivation™ Survey (www.vacationdeprivation.com.) If you eavesdrop on people’s conversations these days, most likely you will hear people making reference (not only to Staycations, but…) to time speeding up. It’s an illusion. It is only our racing minds that make time seem like its running away at light speed.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
You don’t have to pack your bags and fly to the islands (any island) to adopt the pace of “island time.” All you need do is recognize the pace of life you are living and reduce your speed. Adopting “Island Time” includes driving slower (the actual speed limit). It means talking slower—and listening after you get done speaking. It means eating slower and chewing your food before swallowing. It also means just sitting down for a stretch and enjoying the present moment, rather than reliving the past or worrying about the future. Island time is an attitude that brings us back to our natural state of being., and after all, we ARE human beings, not human doings!

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
Speaking of time, this is a pretty cool clock, and most likely unlike one you have ever seen before.
http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

For those who might be interested in my island time experience, here is a link to the draft of an article I wrote about my trip to Tahiti for the online magazine, Authentic Living.

www.authenticliving.com/journey/polynesian-paradise.html

• Quote for the Day:
“If life gives you limes, make margaritas.” —Jimmy Buffet

• Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken while on a drive around the island of Bora Bora. Many small islands (called motu’s) surround the main island including this one. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net.

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Sarcasm: To Tear Flesh!

By | Life Coaching Tips for stress Management | One Comment

Humor is a great way to reduce stress, but there is one type of humor you should avoid at all costs; sarcasm. If you were to look up the word sarcasm in the dictionary, you would see this definition: “To tear flesh!” That’s what sarcasm means. While a sarcastic comment may be funny, if the comment is directed at you, it hurts! Sarcasm is a latent (unconscious) form of anger. People use sarcams in an underhanded way to seek revenge. Many people who use sarcasm mask their anger with a quick barb and a laugh. Unlike other types of humor that reduce stress, sarcasm only promotes it. Sarcasm is rampant in the American culture, particularly at the worksite. Sarcasm can also be seen in the media as well. The comedian Rosanne is renowned for using sarcasm in her stand-up shows, even her TV show contained much sarcasm. She’s not alone in these efforts. The Dilbert cartoon strip is often called “Biting Humor.” Life, in turn, imitates art and sarcasm perpetuates throughout the culture. But this is not an index of a healthy culture, nor is sarcasm a healthy way to deal with stress.

• Stress Tip For The Day:
Consciously observe your thoughts and words this week for sarcasm. Ask yourself how often you use sarcasm. If and when you find sarcasm streaming from your lips, stop and ask yourself “What am I angry about?” Ultimatley, unresolved anger is a threat to your physical health. Unresolved anger must be resolved. When you hear other people being sarcastic, remind yourself that these people are angry. If possible, ask they why? (particularly if they include your spouse, friends or co-workers).

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
I couldn’t find any worthwhile links on the topic of sarcasm, though there are many that flaunt it. Instead, I opted to include here an inspirational graduation speech by Steve Jobs at Stamford University. Enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

• Quotes for the Day:
“He (or she) who seeks revenge should dig two graves.” —Anonymous.

• Photo of the Day:
I didn’t plan on swimming with sharks while in Tahiti last month. They just kind of showed up. Thank God they didn’t like human flesh (as a rule, black tipped sharks never attack humans). But other sharks do! This seemed like an appropriate photo for today’s theme.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.