Friday, June 11, 2010

Dealing With Job Stress Without Stuffing Yourself

Instead of giving in to the siren call of the vending machine, you need to have better ways to cope at your disposal. Here’s how:

1. Give yourself a time-out. Most cravings last about ten minutes. Keep items like Hershey’s kisses around for such emergencies; eating a few won’t harm your diet, since they have only 25 calories apiece.

2. Map out your meals. Before stress gets to you, make sure you stick with a healthy high-carbohydrate, low-fat meal plan and eat three meals a day with two small snacks.

3. Exercise regularly. It can work wonders in relieving stress. Not only does it spark the release of pain-killing endorphins, but research also suggests that exercise can stimulate the release of serotonin and other mood-enhancing brain chemicals.

4. Stock your snack drawer with healthy choices. Good items to keep on hand include packages of low-fat microwave popcorn, small servings of pretzels or dried fruit, individual boxes of dry cereal, or cups of soup.

5. Develop your own stress busters. The key is to find what works for you – what helps you calm down and feel grounded – and to carve out at least 15 minutes a day for that activity.

6. Improve your coping skills. If you can’t do anything about the situation, try to come to terms with it the best you can or learn from the experience. This plan of action can help you cope better with difficult experiences.

7. Ask for help. If work-related stress sends your eating habits out of control and you can’t get them back on track yourself, it may be time to seek assistance.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Imperfect Control

In her wise and perceptive new book, Imperfect Control, she shows us how our sense of self and all our important relationships are colored by our struggles over control: over wanting it and taking it, loving it and fearing it, and figuring out when the time has come to surrender it.

Drawing on the work of biological and social scientists, psychoanalysts, and philosophers, and interweaving fiction and poetry and personal stories, including some of her own, Viorst compellingly argues that we are constantly dealing with issues of control: As children and parents. As lovers and workers. As victims and survivors. As moral-and-mortal-human beings.

While Viorst believes that the most of us want some degree of control over ourselves, over others, and over the events with which we’re involved, she never lets us forget that even the most committed controllers must accept that they have only imperfect control.

This book shows us how our lives can be shaped by our actions and our choices. It reminds us too that we should sometimes choose to let go. And encourages us to find our own best balance between power and surrender.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Six Adult Life Tasks


Prior to entering the adult world it is well that the adolescent achieve a sense of what Erik Erikson titled Identity: a sense of one’s own self, a sense that one’s values, politics, passions, and taste in music are one’s own and not one’s parents. Only then can the young adult move on the next stage of life, Intimacy, and forge close reciprocal emotional bonds with a mate.


The task of living with another person in an interdependent, reciprocal, committed, and contented fashion for a decade or more often seems neither desirable nor possible to the young adult. Initially this task involves expanding one’s sense of self to include another person.

Career Consolidation

Mastery of this task involves expanding one’s personal identity to assume a social identity within the world of work. On a desert island one can have a hobby, but not a career; for careers involve other people. Individuals with severe personality disorder often manifest a lifelong inability to work.


Mastery of the fourth task involves the demonstration of a clear capacity to unselfishly guide the next generation. It reflects the capacity to give the self – finally completed through mastery of the first three tasks of adult development – away.

Keeper of the Meaning

Mastery of this fifth task is epitomized by the role of the wise judge. Again, Erikson obliquely refers to the importance of this task, but in his writing he assigned parts of the task to Generativity and parts to Integrity.


This is the last of life’s great tasks. Erikson described Integrity as “an experience which conveys some world order and spiritual sense. No matter how dearly paid for, it is the acceptance of one’s one and only life cycle as something that had to be and that, by necessity, permitted of no substitutions.”

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Eight Vital Roles

Builder. Builders are great motivators, always pushing you toward the finish line. They continually invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed – even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you. Great builders will not compete with you. They figure out how their talents can complement yours. If you need a catalyst for your personal or professional growth, stay close to a Builder.

Champion. Champions stand up for you and what you believe in. They are the friends who sing your praises. Every day, this makes a difference in your life. When you succeed, they are proud of you, and they share it with others. Champions thrive on your accomplishments and happiness. When you need someone to promote your cause, look to a Champion.

Collaborator. A collaborator is a friend with similar interests – the basis for many great friendships. When you talk with a collaborator, you’re on familiar ground, and this can serve as the foundation for a lasting relationship. Looking for someone who can relate to your passions? Find a collaborator.

Companion. A companion is always there for you, whatever the circumstances. You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable. When something big happens in your life – good or bad – this is one of the first people you call. They are the friends for whom you might literally put your life on the line. If you are looking for a friendship that can last a lifetime, look no further than a Companion.

Connector. A connector is a bridge builder who helps you get what you want. When you need Boldsomething – a job, a doctor, a friend, or a date – a Connector points you in the right direction. They seem to “know everyone.” If you need to get out more or simply want to widen your circle of friends or business associates, a Connector can help.

Energizer. Energizers are your “fun friends” who always give you a boost. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends. Energizers are quick to pick you up when you’re down – and can make a good day great. When you are around these friends, you smile a lot more. You are more likely to laugh in the presence of an Energizer. If you want to relax and have a good time or need to get out of a rut, call an Energizer.

Mind Openers. Mind openers are the friends who expand your horizons and encourage you to embrace new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. These friends broaden your perspective on life and make you a better person. If you need to challenge the conventional wisdom or shake up the status quo, spend a few hours talking with a Mind Opener.

Navigator. Navigators are the friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You go to them when you need guidance, and they talk through the pros and cons with you until you find an answer. They are the ideal friends to share your goals and dreams with; when you do, you will continue to learn and grow. When you ask Navigators for direction, they help you reach your destination.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dealing With People You Can't Stand

How to bring out the best in people at their worst!

It may be a boss who behaves like a bully and petty tyrant, and has the power to get away with it…

It may be a co-worker who promises results, but who never, ever delivers when the chips are down…

At best, when people act like this, they can make life exceedingly stressful and unpleasant. At worst, they can keep you from achieving important goals. The good news is that you don’t have to let them do either! Whether you know it or not, it’s fully within your power to bring out the best behaviour in people who are at their worst.

Sound impossible? It’s not. Just ask the 250,000 people who have already benefited from Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner’s proven, innovative seminars on dealing with difficult people with tact and skill. They have already learned, as you will when you study this one-of-a-kind guide, how to identify 10 recognizable difficult behaviors, and deal successfully with each of them!

This book will let you discover how difficult people think, what they fear, and why they act as they do.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Integrating Your Baby Into Family Life

Having a baby will inevitably bring changes to your life as a couple and your wider family life. When you have a baby, there are often things you will have to give up or change for a while.

However, it’s important to strike a balance so that the whole family doesn’t feel they have to drop everything to accommodate the new addition.

Many new parents find that they run their lives around their baby, often because they feel she needs twenty-four-hour attention. In the early days, many parents are unsure what their baby’s needs are, and can become pretty frazzled to sort out what they should do to make her happy.

Parents who are on the go constantly find that their baby becomes more fractious, they become more tense and family life in general suffers. In contrast, parents who are able to put their baby down in her pram or cot and make some time for themselves often find the demands of a new baby easier to cope with.

Having a flexible routine enables you to plan when your baby will sleep and feed, and gives you the freedom to fit time for yourself and the family into the day. Leaving your baby to settle himself rather than picking him up each time her cries will give you much more time and freedom.

A routine and structure helps your baby to feel more settled and secure, and he will learn to sleep better if he is given time to settle himself rather than being constantly picked up.

As parents, you won’t feel that every waking moment is spent attending to your baby, and you’ll have time to get on with your domestic routine and other commitments. Your baby has a right to be loved, nurtured, and cared for, but not to believe he will always be the centre of the universe.

Making sure that your baby has her sleep and feed at the right time will mean that there are times of the day when you cannot just drop everything and go out. This will pay off in the long run and you will be very pleased when you have a baby who generally sleeps and feeds when you want her to. Your baby will benefit from this too; it is a joy to see babies thriving and being happy and contented when they are into a good routine.

As your baby settles into family life, you will find that you have more time to give to each other and to your other children. As parents, it’s important to spend time together deciding what boundaries you are going to set as your baby gets older, and agreeing on your approach to parenting.

Unity between you as parents will enable you to support one another and help your child to grow up feeling secure.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Half Time

In the first half of life, there is barely enough time to beyond second base. We are hunter-gatherers, doing our best to provide for our families, to advance to our children. In addition, for most men, and certainly a growing number of women, the first half finds us in our warrior mode. We need to prove ourselves and others that we can accomplish something big, and the best way to do that is to become increasingly focused and intense.

The second half, when the pressure lets up, seems to be more the time when most people round second base and begin to do something about the faith they’ve developed.

The first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning. Most do this in the most ordinary ways. Some chase the prize in a more spectacular, aggressive fashion. Either way, few leave time in the first half for listening to God.

The second half is more risky because it has to do with living beyond the immediate. It is about releasing the seed of creativity and energy that have been implanted within us, watering and cultivating it so that we may be abundantly fruitful. It involves investing our gifts in service to others – and receiving the personal joy that comes as a result of that spending. This is the kind of risk for which entrepreneurs earn excellent returns much of the time.

There is a risk in this decision: In tossing aside the security blanket that keeps you safe and warm in your cautiously controlled zone of comfort, you may have to set aside familiar markers and reference points. You may feel, at least at first that you are losing control of your life.

Realize that not everyone can afford to devote only 20 percent of his time to his career. But don’t let the fact that you have to work for living limit the grace God has in store for you during your second half. Don’t allow the second half of your life to be characterized by decline, boredom, and increasing ineffectiveness for the kingdom.

Listen carefully to that still, small voice, and then do some honest soul-searching. What’s in your box? Is it money? Career? Family? Freedom?

Remember, you can only have one thing in the box. Regardless of your position in life, once you have identified what’s in your box, you will be able to see the cluster of activities that put into play your “one thing” and keep you growing.

But be careful. Growth is not always easy.

Remember, the second half is only part of the game. We all have to play the whole game.

Thomas Merton wrote that all you really need is in your life already. He called it the “hidden wholeness.” What he meant was that you do not need to chase after things outside of you to find fulfilment. Even though that’s what most of us do in the first half, we eventually learn that money, fame, material possessions, and experiences will never fill us. What we become in the second half has already been invested during the first; it is not going to come from out of the blue.

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