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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Friday, January 22, 2010

Are You Hungry for Love?

If you are too hungry for love, it ends up putting people off. They will quickly come to the conclusion that, no matter what they do, they can never make you happy. If you ask too much, people will avoid you.

If you are someone who’s hungry for love, the affection you crave has the same effect as food does for a bulimic person, or drugs for an addict. It gives you a temporary lift, but it doesn’t satisfy you. You are prepared to do anything to feel loved. Of course, it’s natural to want to be loved. Everyone needs love, especially when things are going badly. Some people undoubtedly need it more than others, for example those who were deprived of affection – or, conversely, overindulged – in their childhood.

It is possible to avoid an unhealthy craving for love and affection by developing your own emotional intelligence, and improving your relationships with other people. If you suspect you are too hungry for love, you have to identify first of all, the ‘illness’, the form it takes. Then, you need to strengthen your immune system to limit any damage during ‘a crisis’.

So how badly affected are you?

Tally your responses, and then refer to the score panel and the assessments:

1. You constantly seek reassurance and approval from other people at work and in your private life.

2. You feel angry, ashamed or humiliated if someone criticizes you (even slightly).
3. You are incapable of choosing a new dress without someone to help you.

4. You desperately want people to admire your appearance.

5. You would burst into tears if you heard that your best friend’s dog had died.

6. You often overestimate your abilities or the value of your achievements.

7. You tend to agree too often with people, even when you think they are wrong.
8. At parties, you don’t feel happy unless you are the center of attention.

9. You think that only exceptional people can really understand your problems.
10. You would not feel capable of organizing a solo holiday trip.

11. Your emotional reactions are not predictable.

12. You would really like being one of the world’s top models.

13. If there’s a horrible job to be done at work or at home, you always volunteer to do it.
14. You often jump queues.

15. You fish for compliments a lot.

16. You feel devastated when a close relationship is broken off.

17. You don’t take it well when a friend cancels on you even if it is not her fault.
18. You worry about the thought of someone leaving you.

19. You frequently feel jealous or envious of your friends’ lives.

20. You are easily hurt by criticism from your partner.

21. You often wear miniskirts and figure-hugging tops to the office.

If your score so far shows that you ARE hungry for love, you will fall into one of three categories: histrionics, egocentrics, and ‘orphans’, who are afraid of being abandoned.

The term histrionic derives from the Latin histrio, meaning a comedian, boaster, or even a cheat. When you deprived of love, you tend to become hysterical. You burst into tears for nothing, or you fly into a rage. You always trust people too quickly and too soon. You will fall under the spell of anyone with a strong personality. You think that they can offer magic solutions to all your problems. As a result, all your relationships are generally stormy and insincere.

Your problem is first of all that you are over-emotional, you suffer from overwhelming feelings. You are obsessed with strong emotions and get carried away with them. You are soon bored by routine (no challenge) and tenderness (no passion). You make a drama out of every insignificant event.

Get a grip on your emotions. Good or bad, they are always excessive and this stops you from seeing people and events in a realistic light. You must learn moderation.

Play everything down. You won’t find love by behaving like a tease or an easy lay. Stop hugging every casual acquaintance as if he was the love of your life and don’t be tempted to wrap yourself all round a man just because he’s bought you lunch – even if it was delicious.

If you are an Egocentric, when you are let down in love, you become terribly narcissistic. You spend all your money on clothes, cosmetics and beauty treatments… and yet, despite all the care you take of your body and the time you put into your appearance, you are never satisfied with what you see in the mirror. When people are acutely narcissistic, the real problem is that they are being passive. They behave as if they were objects (sexual or otherwise), desirable goods, rather than people. That’s why other people’s opinions assume such importance.

Set yourself objectives and role-models that are realistic for you. Remember, it isn’t necessary in life to accomplish great things or achieve perfection.

Don’t try to read into things all the time. Don’t imagine love or desire where there isn’t any.

Stop trying to look at yourself from other people’s point of view. You have always tended to center everything on how people regard you.

You are so hungry for love, it makes you submissive – you become a real doormat. You no longer have tastes, ideas, or preferences of your own. Clothes, work, home, holidays, you let other people decide on everything.

Sometimes it works out quite well, especially if your partner likes the same things as you do. Fine if he’s crazy about sailing and you adore anything to do with being out in the fresh air. Not so good, though, if he turns out to be mad about white-water rafting and your idea of heaven is an afternoon in a museum.

Stop volunteering for all the dirty work. Only in fairy tales are princes charming to Cinderellas. So bite your tongue before offering your services.

Learn to manage your time for yourself. People who are overdependent on others can never organize anything in advance because they are so afraid of either missing something better or upsetting someone by having to refuse a last-minute invitation.

Train yourself to do things on your own (even if you are in a relationship). is a book summary service that provides summaries of top self-help, motivational and inspirational books where you can learn--in minutes-- what it takes to live life and live it well. sends out one book summary every week in PDF, PDA, audio and/or print formats. For more information, please go to