Positive affirmations are one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase your peace, happiness and success. Let me tell you how. A positive affirmation is a positive declaration that something is true. In other words, it is a statement of something that is true and it is stated in a positive way. An example of a positive affirmation is “I am a lovable person.” Saying something like, “I will not let this get me down,” is NOT a positive affirmation, because it is stated in a negative way. Positive affirmations help you to combat some of the negative or dysfunctional beliefs that you may have "learned" about yourself. Some examples of negative/dysfunctional beliefs are: "I don't deserve to be successful," or "I am an anxious person," or "Being happy is difficult and takes a lot of work," or "I am not smart enough, attractive enough, good enough, etc." These negative/dysfunctional beliefs become part of the subconscious mind and often do not allow you to move forward to become successful in life. In order to feel peaceful and happy and have the success you deserve, you must combat these beliefs, and this takes time. Research has shown that it takes one to three months of continuously repeating something before it even begins to become part of your subconscious. In order to completely replace old beliefs, it takes even longer. So, if you really want to get something accomplished, you should have a list of positive affirmations that are stated in a positive way, because they will help you to focus on the positive. If you want to get a LOT accomplished, you should have a LOT of positive affirmations, a whole list of them! I have always had a lot that I wanted to accomplish, so I do have a list of positive affirmations hanging on the mirror in my bathroom. Do you want to know what my list says? It says that I am calm, confident, safe and secure. It says that I am positive, outgoing, and caring. It says that I am excited about my future and my career. It says that I am intelligent, creative, healthy, energetic, and successful. And, if you want help starting a list of your own positive affirmations, email me at ChristianPerez_MFT@yahoo.com.
How does change affect our stress levels? How does change affect our sense of peace, happiness, and success? Well, in a world that is constantly changing, we must adapt. This means that not only must we be accepting of change (which helps to decrease stress), but we must also make changes in the way we do things (which helps to increase success). Change is very stressful to many people. This is because we get accustomed to doing the same things every day, even if that means putting up with that abusive boss at work, or those unruly children at home. At least we know that if we respond in the same way we have in the past, we will have our job tomorrow and our kids will still love us. We definitely do not like to think about what would happen if we rock the boat, because who knows what will happen. Right? Additionally, if we are confronted with something new, or something that we have not dealt with before, we don’t know how to react because we don’t know what will work. So, we have to put some thought and effort into it. And, no one really likes to do that unless they are working on a crossword puzzle! But there are actually three things that we can do in stressful situations: we can either change the way we think about it, change the way we deal with it, or remove ourselves from the situation completely. But in order to relieve stress and be successful, we need to change something. Since we usually can’t change anything or anyone else, we must change ourselves! If you would like to talk with me about some different ways to deal with your stressful situation, please send an email to ChristianPerez_MFT@yahoo.com.
By now, you must know that organization plays a major role in relieving stress and increasing success. However, by staying organized, I do not mean that you should micromanage yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) by adhering to a strict schedule. “Staying organized” means keeping things neat and tidy, so you can easily find them. It also means making “TO DO” lists and keeping a day planner so you know when things are due, and how long it will take you to complete them. One of the things I do to stay organized is schedule all of my appointments on a calendar that I hang on my wall and look at every day. In addition to this, I also schedule reminders on my cell phone. This way, not only can I see my upcoming appointments on my calendar, but my cell phone also notifies me when my appointment is coming up. This helps me remember birthdays, anniversaries, dentist appointments, teleconferences, board meetings, and anything else that I want to schedule, including fun activities, such as break-times, weekly outings, and vacations. When I do this, my stress decreases and my productivity increases, which is important to being successful. If you notice that you are on your computer more than your cell phone, you may want to install scheduling software on your computer. Scheduling software will also notify you of your appointments and due dates every time you log on to your computer. So decrease your stress and increase success! Stay organized!
Well when was the last time you listened to your own advice? We have all heard that going outside to get some fresh air helps to “clear the mind.” This is because the air outside is usually richer in oxygen than the air inside your home or office and your body and brain need that oxygen for proper functioning. But going outside also helps in other ways. Going outside exposes us to sunshine, which also helps us both physically and mentally. Physically, sunshine helps us by causing our bodies to naturally produce Vitamin D, which is important in maintaining proper organ function and assisting with calcium and phosphorous absorption. Mentally, sunshine helps by stabilizing chemicals in the brain that help us to get more restful sleep and also decrease feelings of stress and depression. So remember to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, but remember to do it in moderation, take proper precautions such as wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, and talk to your doctor if you are at an increased risk for skin cancer.
_Some of you have asked me for some direction or suggestions on what you can do to identify areas in your lives where you may need help. So, I would like to share this questionnaire that I give to my coaching clients to help them start thinking about areas of their lives that need improvement. Low scores (or a high score on "Guilt") indicate that you may want or need some improvement in that area of your life. I hope it helps! And, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Please rate your life in the following areas, where 0 is low and 10 is high.
Here is a great exercise to help you improve your life right now! Get out two sheets of paper and fold each one down the center, so that you have a right and left side. On the left side of the first page, write "Energy Drainers." Underneath this, write down all the things in your life that are currently draining you of your energy. Remember to be brutally honest here. On the right side, at the top, write "plan." Underneath this, and next to each of your energy drainers, write down what you want to do to eliminate or decrease the energy drainer. Make sure your plan is specific and measurable. For example, you can write "My kids" as one of your energy drainers, with a plan of "hire a babbysitter for three hours a week so I can spend some time with my partner/spouse."
Now, do the same thing on the second page for "Energy Gainers." When you are finished, start putting your plans into action! By doing this, you can improve your emotional health (by having something to look forward to), decrease your stress, and avoid burnout. This exercise should be both positive and fun, and should help you to recognize the improvements/desires/goals that you want to make in your life, and what to do about them. Enjoy!
We have all heard that exercising is good for us, right? But how many of us know why exercise is good? What does exercise do for us?
Exercising helps to tone muscle (including the heart muscle), increase cardiovascular functioning, increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, burn calories, burn fat, eliminate waste products through perspiration, and boost the immune system. That’s quite a laundry list of benefits that exercising has on our physical health. But what about the psychological or emotional effects of exercise?
Exercising helps to release endorphins in our brains and reduce cortisol levels. “Huh, that’s very interesting,” you say. “But what does it mean?” Well, according to research, endorphins are a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that are similar to opiates in that they relieve pain and produce a soothing or calming effect. Cortisol is another naturally occurring chemical in the brain. But cortisol, unlike endorphins, have negative effects on our bodies.
When a dangerous situation presents itself, our brains produce adrenaline and cortisol, which work together to help the body prepare for a “fight or flight” response; we prepare to either stay and fight, or flee from the situation. However, the body and brain respond similarly to prolonged amounts of stress (such as arguments, stress at home, stress at work, etc.); cortisol levels continue to be high until the stress is relieved. These increased cortisol levels then cause reduced bone formation, increased blood-sugar levels, weakened immune system, increased blood pressure, and increased abdominal fat. Increased cortisol production also reduces serotonin levels in the brain, which may cause depression.
So, the next time you’re having an argument with your romantic partner, stress at work or home, or, you just want to feel better, take some time to get out and exercise. You may just have a happier and healthier life, as well as happier and healthier relationships!
I read a very interesting article tonight in the October issue of Fortune magazine. In the article, Jim Collins, a business management guru, discusses top businesses that turned a profit every year for the past 30 years, even in tough times. He purports that the one thing that separates these top companies from other companies is that the top companies pace themselves. In other words, when times are good, top companies will hold themselves back and, for example, limit their rate of expansion to 20% so as not to grow too fast. When times are tough, top companies will push themselves to make the same rate of expansion. This allows them to set a stringent standard, which helps to build confidence, especially when performance is accomplished in adverse conditions. It also prevents them from entering a “boom” and “bust” cycle.
After reflecting on this article, I thought about how this relates to our personal lives. Many of us do not pace ourselves. When things are going well and we feel good, we try to get as much as we can done. We say “yes” to all the jobs that people throw at us: “Yes” to that extra project at work; “Yes” to babysitting for our sister; “Yes” to that little side job that will pay extra money (only to realize later that the “little” job turned into something monstrous!); “Yes” to helping our friends out; “Yes” to the… you get the picture. Suddenly, we realize we are exhausted. Our immune system tanks and we are sick in bed for the next two weeks. All the things that we were hoping to accomplish suddenly get put on hold and nothing gets done. However, if we pace ourselves, learn to occasionally say “No,” and accomplish things at a steady pace, we can accomplish a lot more, without burning ourselves out.
This sounds a little familiar to me. I’m having recollections of childhood story time… “The Tortoise and the Haire.”
Studies have shown, over and over again, that eating healthy, balanced meals not only keeps us healthy, but it helps us to feel better because we are getting the vitamins and nutrition that we need for healthy brain functioning. Eating properly means eating things like fruits and vegetables with every meal. Eating properly also means cutting back on fats, sweets, and caffeine, because these things can destabilize your blood sugar, make you irritable, and generally cause health problems in the long run. According to most research, eating 5-6 smaller balanced meals and drinking plenty of water throughout the day help to stabilize your blood-sugar, increase your metabolism, and increase brain functioning, leading to an overall sense of well-being. But what do these researches really know, right? Actually, for the past few years, I have been eating 5-6 small meals a day and I have noticed that I don’t get the same highs and lows during the day; my energy level seems to be pretty stable all day long. So, this is something that you might want to consider. And, if you think that you aren’t getting proper nutrition, you may want to consider taking a multivitamin and talking to a nutritionist for more information.