THE RESET

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THE RESET—7.5 LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Reset starts with realizing that I’ve lived on a hamster wheel–overly busy and stressed and always on the go! I am realizing life has changed-for good. This Reset has been a positive thing (If I choose to see it that way) and want to see the bright side. I’ve learned some great lessons…

  1. It’s good to slow down. Nice to get a new pace that is tolerable and bearable. I’ve learned to connect with my family again!  The rhythm, cadence and pace of my life and body have certainly changed—sleep, focus, attention spans, listening skills–all improved!
  2. Going out. I’ve realized I do not need what I thought I did! This includes going out, eating out, buying things, hanging out in groups. This includes all manner of motoring around and trying to sustain some sort of a delusional busy life that ends up in stress, tiredness, and weariness.
  3. Solidifying relationships. I’ve really gotten on a deeper level with my wife and the love of my youth! We have taken multiple walks and have really spent quality time together. This has transferred over into our care for our kids as well! I’ve learned that key moments with family come over time. I just can’t make this happen. These take time and effort to manifest.
  4.  Walking. I have learned to really enjoy going for good long walks. I a phone application that makes it even more fun to track. This ritual has included my wife which makes it even better!
  5. Kids. I have watched my children become very resilient as they have had to comply with all of the protocol around COVID-19. They’ve been stellar and have found their own rhythm and cadence in life as well as some new hobbies and creative outlets! Not a bad take away. Home school has come back to our family—everyone is learning new stuff…together!
  6. Back to God, back to nature. I found this is a great time to establish my roots in my faith and in my appreciation of creation. When I look around at the beauty of Humboldt County I reminded that I live in the most beautiful spot at Earth! Try some trails around the Bay or Trinidad!
  7. The addiction to buying things. Whether it be food, drink, Costco or just simple groceries, I have broken my addiction to purchasing stuff. It’s OK to have stuff, just so stuff does not have me!
    1. Sleep. Getting some real sleep. No commute to work-Get up and go to work-my commute time has turned to some sleep time-good trade. Nice to rest and be refreshed for a change.

This is a tough time of uncertainty, unrest, and uneasiness. There are some lessons to learn if we are willing. This will all pass soon enough and we will UN-learn some of the key lessons unfortunately!

In the meantime, what are your personal lessons and take-aways? Write them down for future reference- they will be an encouragement as you will remember the important things during this historic Reset!

Scott Hammond,

Good Neighbor

Eureka, CA

BE HERE NOW…PLEASE!

Quality Of Life

Taking the time simply slow down and enjoy the moment has become a necessary art form and skill in our crazy society. The skill that takes to stop, look, listen and have clarity of thought and be in the moment is truly valuable.

The Paradigm of being Present is the ability to truly be at rest and relax in any given situation.  Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, it is necessary to be centered, clear, peaceful, and calm so as to really notice our situation and surroundings.  This skill indeed becomes valuable as we are called upon to respond to our world in a moment by moment basis.

Those who are rested, relaxed, connected and integrated into their surroundings are often those who are most alive, vivacious, and resonating with life. This idea of focusing on the “now” begins the decision to go forward in the process. Our intentions are everything as they are the core desires which drive behavior. You have to want to be in the moment; centered, clear, calm and peaceful in order to respond appropriately to your world, day, and life.

Quality of relationship results when people are truly drawn to others who live in the moment… these are people who are engaged and engaging.  They are fun to be with and indeed often are those whom we learn the most from.   It is not so much by what they are saying, but by how they live their lives with sanity, order, and peace.

Quality of life results when living in the moment and is compelling…The confidence, calm, and sanity possessed by those who’ve learned the art of living in the moment creates and manifest new possibility, openness, and the ability to integrate new information.

It starts with choosing what we want and who we want to be…It all begins with intentionality—the ability to choose how we want to be and then making the appropriate decisions going in that direction.  Desire begets intentionality which begets focused living.

May we all live with focus as we go through the process we call life…May our decisions and direction be driven by a pure desire to connect relationally with those around us in love? May we exude confidence and a calm peace around us as we learn the art of living in the moment?

Learning To Be In The Moment

Learning to be present or mindful is a lifelong pursuit.  Intentionality and focus are all important and can lead to the skill of being present.  There are things that you can do today to help.  Many of the techniques involve breathing – focus on it, it’s almost guaranteed to bring you back to the moment requires no special tools or training, so it’s a perfect way to begin. Breathe deep and focus.

Try to adopt is one of these ideas, even once a day – whichever one seems easiest.  Once you experience being in the present, you can find you want to try other techniques to extend the feeling.  Here are a few examples:

  • When the phone rings, don’t jump up to answer it – Take a good, deep breath before you say hello.
  • Program your computer a watch to beep once an hour — When you hear the beep, stop and take five deep breaths. You may want to stand a stretch too.
  • Before getting out of bed, take five minutes to do a mental scan of your body– How does everything feel?
  • Before rising in the morning, utilize your Tabernacle choir— Remember all the positives of your life.  Remember, rehearse, and review all the good things and grace that has been given you.
  • Practice doing just one thing at a time—Stop multitasking, it will poison your soul and mind…if you’re eating don’t watch TV or read. You will gain up to 5 extra weeks a year in lost time and productivity. If you’re walking… don’t talk; focus on a single activity.
  • As you eat, take small bites and chew each one 30 times—You will discover you enjoy your food more, and it’s healthier to.
  • Stop– look –and listen—really smell the flowers, listen to people, focus your attention, and be in the process of the moment. You will be more peaceful, focused, loving, present, and engaged as well as engaging!
  • Slowing down-
  • Taking deep breaths-
  • Intentionally noticing your surroundings-
  • Stopping, looking, and listening-
  • Connecting to and communicating with those around you-
  • Being present, focused, and in the moment-

Once you start developing the ability to be present at certain times of the day, you have developed a valuable skill to call on to defuse stress at any time.  As with learning a sport or musical instrument, the more you practice, the more adept and you’ll become.  Before you know it, you’ll be nowhere else but here…   are you here and in the moment right now?

STRESS QUIZ

Stress Quiz for Dads

When will you do to recognize your own personal dysfunction and become intentional as to what needs to change in your life?

How will you increase your life fitness to deal better with stress?

How can you increase your mental fitness? Fun? Mental discipline?

  • QUIET breaks and rest.—Walks. Go outside. Go Inside. Close the door. Time out.
  • Forgive with intentionality—Really release it and forget it. Move on…
  • Let it go—Stop your mind from negatively replaying what you cannot control.
  • Move along—Look to the next thing. Get over yourself.
  • Operate from the concept of a universe of abundance—there is more than enough for everyone.
  • Relax at work—Take a daily walk.
  • Breathe deep—Fill your lungs with air so that your stomach expands.  Do this each hour.
  • Totally trust God and pray—Learn to reach out to God in personal prayer and really speak with Him. Tell Him how you feel. He can take it.
  • Take vacations—Schedule in advance, save the resources, plan with gusto, and just do it.
  • Stop the self beatings—As you have the inevitable setbacks of life, simply resolve in advance to not add to the disappointment by adding self deprecation of any type. Make it a point to stop negative self talk.
  • Monitor and question moods and attitudes—Practice self-control and be aware of your personal emotional cycles and weaknesses and adjust your perspective from there. Know yourself and adjust accordingly.
  • Surrender and accept what is. –It is what it is…and it can be better if you are willing.

35 WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS

35 Guidelines To Help You Develop Your Ability To Manage Stress

1.  Planning your action—If immediate action is impossible, ask yourself if there is something that you can do about it in the future? Write an action plan with a script and goals. Be sure to put this on paper.  Any effort to make the problem manageable is useful stress management.  Once you take care of the part you can control, you’ll feel more in control overall.

2.  Letting go—If you’ve exhausted your options in the situation, relax and let it go—you’ve done all you can.  You can train yourself to tune out stressful thoughts.  Remember that obsessing over the outcome of your efforts is a waste of energy. Learn to let things go.

3.  Living at ease—Decide if you want to be contented and avoid being constantly on edge.  It’s much easier let go of minor disappointments and even major setbacks.  It’s about verifying how you want to move on with your life and not place major emphasis on the minors of life. It’s all about not sweating the small stuff.  Set goals for yourself, but also hold that vision of yourself approaching life in peace, acceptance, and joy. Don’t major on the minors!

4.  Learning when to let go—Every day, you face plenty of stress that you can’t do anything about—from loud noises outside your window to the state of the economy or the coffee spilled on your new shirt. While it’s frustrating to accept that you cannot always call the shots, raging against the inevitable can take its toll on your system—not to mention the people around you.  If you find it impossible to go with the flow, look at the evidence and make a pragmatic choice: Ask yourself:  “Do I want to keep trying to control things that I can’t control and let it break down my body or ruin my relationships? I going to let go of that and have a healthier, happier body and life?”

5.  Keep hope alive—Shaking it off is not always the best option.  Often our current situation is so stressful that we can become hopeless. Do what is necessary for you to keep hope alive when you may believe and feel and think otherwise.  Pray, rest, get good counsel from trusted advisors—do, in short, whatever it takes to keep a healthy perspective.  Many times we need just a good night’s sleep!

6.  Take the Long Way home—Don’t race home from work. Stay in the slow lane and unwind a bit. Put some time between your office experience and the rest of your day. Pray, meditate, listen to soothing music, call the kids, whatever it takes to unwind and decompress before you get home.

7.  Give yourself 15 minutes off—When you arrive home, the last thing you want to do is to dive into a new set of problems or challenges. Make an arrangement with your family and spouse that the first 15 minutes of you being at home is your downtime. Then, go to your cave, hot tub, garage, or wherever you can throw off your day and unwind.

8.  Learn new time management skills—Find the most efficient ways to spend your time on the job and at home. Learning how to better manage your units of work and play time will make it easier for you confine your work problems to the office hours and create a separation between your family and home life from work and business.

9.  Set goals for yourself—Understand what you want to accomplish to make your life worthwhile and meaningful to you.   Plan your work and work your plan.  Be intentional, methodical, and sequential in all that you do.  “Fail to plan and plan to fail” as the experts say.

10. Don’t sweat the small stuff—Learn what’s really important in your life and keep other problems in perspective.  Is it really worth the time and worry and stress to let an irate boss or an unrealistic deadline infringe on your personal or home life?  This isn’t to say you should ignore that those problems—just deal with them at home or at work as appropriate. Don’t make the mistake of carrying over problems into the wrong venues.

11. Take time to relax—Take a deep breath and let go of tension after work. Read a book, watch a funny movie. Go for a quiet walk or choose whatever therapy works for you.  Change of focus and you will soon find it stressful problems fade into the background.

12. Watch your diet and exercise—Proper nutrition and regular exercise, coupled with adequate rest, will help you manage your stress better than just about anything else.

13. Get good rest—go to bed early.  Get up early.  Get started early and you might find that things just run smoother, because you are well rested and no longer running behind and constantly anxious.  Your world will be easier if you are well rested and have enough energy to work and cope with your home life at the end of the workday.

14. Identify the causes of stress—Closely identify and evaluate the causes of stress in order to manage your stress more effectively. It’s important to identify those things that are causing stress and find ways to minimize or eliminate them. Identify, access, and then be incremental in the addressing of your stress “triggers”.

 15.Identify the negative effects of stress—Just as important as identifying the source of your stress is being able to identify the negative effects of stress on your body and life. Take inventory of how you are feeling. Do you have fatigue insomnia, headaches, back pain, nausea, worry, anxiety, fear, depression, irritability, increased eating, or other symptoms? If so, make note of them. Make a vow to reduce your stress as much as possible.

16. Practice the following anti-stress tips—Try deep breathing in a quiet place where you can close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes at a time. Try breathing in and out for a count of five seconds, and then do it for ten seconds. Start your day with nutritional breakfast. Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothes and shoes; let your body breathe.  Practice simple stretches several times per day.  Take your breaks and enjoy them.  Walk outside. Read something non-work-related.

17. Have a laugh—Look for the humor in stressful situations.  Laughter relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure, and eases mental tension. Researchers find that laughter can also reduce our levels of hormones and diminish stress responses that suppress immunity.

18. Communicate artfully— Although many people avoid conflicts, it’s better to express your feelings and openly discussing the situation.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Reach out to others in your environment.  Take a few minutes to talk with someone in your workplace or home and to be willing to communicate first.

19. Make realistic plans—Think ahead and adjust your plans and try to avoid triggers of stress such as overbooking your day, too closely booking appointments, and generally maintaining a crazy schedule. 

21. Get a miracle massage—Ask a friend or spouse or hire someone.  Massage slows down the heart rate and relaxes the body.  Massage actually increases alertness and well being.  Treat yourself. You may find that you are even relaxed prior to the massage because just the anticipation of getting the massage can be soothing.

22. Count to 10 —It’s good to acknowledge your anger. But, cool down before you yell, rant, or rave. Venting your anger impulsively or keeping it inside increases stress and all of the physical symptoms that can lead to illness and early death.

23. Enlist the help of your friends —Friends can be good medicine.  Daily conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of our thoughts and feelings can reduce stress quite nicely. Your friends are there for you, talking to them helps them de-stress too.

24. Accept that nobody’s perfect—Don’t demand absolute perfection of yourself or others. Set realistic and attainable goals. While there are some areas in your life that you’ll always want to keep to high standards, it’s a fact of life that sometimes we miss the mark.

25. Don’t procrastinate —Loose ends whether with family, friends, or at work can cause stress. Make a list of the things you have to do. If the list is too long; prioritize tasks that are most important. See if there’s anything on the list that can be dropped or delegated.

27. Make sure your values are in syncopation with your lifestyle—If your values are out of sync with your lifestyle, you may experience greater internal stress. A firm understanding of your own values-what is most important to you, lets you set priorities and manage time more effectively.

28. Avoid stressPromoting ways of thought and speech—identify the ways in which you think yourself into higher stress levels, including catastrophic thinking, over generalizing, dichotomous thinking, and perfectionist thinking. Find ways to manage yourself out of these mental ruts.

29. Avoid big changes—whenever possible— Avoid having too many big life changes come in at the same time. In other words, is your daughter getting married at the same time that you planned to sell your house? Are you vying for a big promotion at work while caring for Special Needs child or adult? See if you can apply better scheduling tactics to lessen some of the demands on your time and comfort level. This foresight can save you lots of angst, stress, and anxiety.

30. Work on your marriage, friendships, and spirituality—Studies show that people who are satisfied with their marriages, friendships, and spiritual feelings are better at coping with stress and live more fulfilling lives. Research shows married people have a plethora of mental and emotional benefits including the ability of dealing with stress.

31. Eat three to six small, balanced meals per day.—You’re much more volatile to stress when you’re hungry and lethargic than when you’re well-nourished. Take nourishment and be well supplied in mind, body, and soul.

32. Decrease or discontinue the use of alcohol and caffeine—.Drinking these substances to relieve stress often works in reverse. Turning to alcohol to reduce stress, actually increases the amount of stress on the system.

33. Use your imagination—The mind’s ability to dream, visualize, and imagine is a very powerful stress reduction tool. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine situations as you want them to be. See the positive outcomes in your mind, athlete’s use this power of imagination to picture themselves doing a routine perfectly before the competition begins. It works for reducing stress and living more pleasantly, too.

34. Learn to simplify your life and prioritize—We cannot do everything at once. Let go of some of the things that you tell yourself you must do. There are some tasks that do not really belong to you and others you need to learn to say “no” to. You can learn to prevent stress rather than just fight it by simplifying your life.

35. Get to know God—Really dig in and get to know what it means to have faith and trust in God and his plan for you. Become more of a God-oriented person and find out what it means to really let go, trust, and live in true mental peace.

TAKE A WALK!

Physical Exercise In Mental Health Stress Relief—

A variety of studies over the last decade are focused on the effects of exercise on the mind.  These results been remarkably similar in showing that exercise helps to reduce depression and anxiety. It also can increase short-term memory and improved intellectual function.  This means that including breaks during your day could lead to enhanced productivity, greater time efficiency, and increased ability to handle stress.  Apparently more of these feel-good hormones help stimulate our bodies and gives us a natural high.  Runners have reported this for years. It is high time the rest of us took advantage of this knowledge and did something which gave us the benefits we need.

The following are some tips about starting and maintaining your own exercise program:

Start with walking – Walking is free and easy.  In addition to the mental health benefits, walking is a weight bearing exercise and it strengthens bone and burns fat.  Running does the same. You must walk before you run… really.

Look for a nearby fitness Center or community pool and join it – Make a three time a week workout part of your personal schedule.  Replace your Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunch with a one-hour workout. The point is scheduling it.

Just do something – Even if it’s for 10 minutes.  Use the 10 minute rule to get started: to 10 minutes of exercise, take a 10 minute break, and then do 10 more minutes of exercise.

Get support-working with a personal trainer or friend who works out – This may provide the support you need to keep going.   Develop a friendship around your workouts.

Set exercise goals for yourself – Be sure the goals you set are realistic, measurable, and more importantly, attainable.  Achieving a goal can make you feel better about yourself and give you the incentive to continue your efforts.

Ways To Control Your Stress

Whether it’s coping with a rapidly approaching deadline, adjusting to organizational changes at work, or dealing with a difficult co-worker, we can choose our responses. The challenges you face at work can seep into other parts of your life and the struggle, always, lies in compartmentalizing this.

Unwinding and enjoying time with family and friends can be an antidote to work stress.

What can you do about it right now?  Use the energy produced by stress to solve the problem of stress itself. This is basically the strategy of turning the problem and making it part of the solution.  Developing a sense of control over your responses to stress means the difference between feeling anxious or competent.

When the effects of stress began to negatively impact your personal, family, or work life or cause those around you to express concern, it indicates that the tools you’ve been using to combat stress are insufficient the guidelines which follow are designed to help you develop a personal stress-coping strategy.

HEALTHY LIVING TIPS

Living And Thinking Healthy

Everybody wants health and well-being, but few of us are willing to pay the price for it. Managing stress, anger, depression, anxiety and everyday life is a pretty steep task. When you consider all the components and pieces of life that we’re expected to stay on top of, we have a pretty complex society. Healthy living has to do with the whole self: Spirit, Body, Mind, and Soul. If any of these are out of whack, so are we.

Other people are likely riding on your success and well-being. Why is it that it’s considered selfish to take care of yourself first in order to take care of those around you, especially in the long-term? What good are you to those you love if you have a stroke, heart disease, cancer, or mental illness? You cannot fail to plan in the long term and see the whole picture. You must take care of yourself. It’s all up to you.

Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan. The Importance of physical activity—

Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death. Physical activity also decreases the risk of colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  It helps control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints and reduces falls among the elderly. Exercise helps relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and is associated with fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications. It really is that great.

Why Fitness Is Important—

The following are other benefits associated with a good level of physical fitness:

•    Reduces stress and all of its health risks

•    Allows you to do and accomplish more

•    Builds lean muscle, which lowers your body fat percentage.

•    Reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

•    Boosts your self-esteem in how you look; it increases your overall well-being.

•    Changes from being an observer to becoming an active participant.

•    Provides motivation to stay consistent with diet and healthy eating goals.

Fitness: Focus On The Big Three:

Cardio—Conditions your heart, lungs, and muscles to work stronger and longer.  Cardio builds endurance and burns off calories.

Strength training—Builds muscles and increases endurance.  With leaner muscles, your body turns up the heat and burns fat much faster.  Not only that, but when you’re stronger, you simply last longer and you get more out of your exercise sessions, thus burning even more calories.

Stretching—Helps you to do your cardio and strength training safely and without pain.  Loose muscles perform at a higher level and reduce the potential for injury.

GOALS

Got (healthy) Goals?

We need to know where we want to go, who we want to be, and what we want to do before we know if we’re on the right track or not. We need to be fit, to exercise, receive proper nutrition and allow for quality rest so we can adequately recover. If our minds and bodies are not in reasonably good shape, how can we possibly enjoy healthy thinking or even healthy relationships?

We must see that this disparity of discipline vs. reality of practice does not really add up. We are trained to do too much for too little and for way too long. The result is illness on a grand scale, physical, spiritual, and relational. 

To get past this, to overcome, we need to learn how to let small stuff go and surrender things that we cannot control so we can begin to focus on getting unstuck in our personal lives. We need to correctly manage our stress, both practically and realistically.

This requires aPersonal Health Strategy Plan:

•    Recuperating

•    Setting goals

•    Physical and mental fitness

•    Getting proper nutrition

•    Getting adequate sleep and rest

•    Practicing healthy thinking,

•    Time management

•    Drinking enough water

•    Practicing deep breathing

•    Taking walks

•    Creating small breaks during the day

•    Having fun on purpose

•    Breaking routines

•    Identifying and rooting out dysfunction and poor habits

•    Becoming intentional about goals and plans and a personal mission

DYSFUNCTION DAD?

Dysfunction and How to Deal With it

Many of us get stuck in dysfunctional patterns of acting and being. Much of it is dictated by the fact that we simply give up and let go. We give into our moods, tiredness, burnout, and stress. We get snarky and we stop caring how we are impacting on those around us. We sometimes just quit.

When we get stressed the tendency we feel is fight or flight. We tend to want to give up when faced with persistent stress and challenges in life.   Sometimes the “fight “is a good thing in that at least you are still engaged, vested, and are continuing to make an effort. If you are still “fighting” you are at least still engaged and vested in the outcome.

Let’s Fight Right! Many of us are comfortable fighting: literally, fighting. When the stress of life becomes too acute, many of us, seeking a way out for the stress we feel, begin to fight life and those around us.  The resulting anger, abuse, and violence (both verbal and physical) become part of a chronic pattern of behavior which leads to a constant, low-burning anger inside us.

Our level of anger often stems from childhood abuse, rage, and dysfunction often suffered at the hands of parents, siblings, or other guardians. The resulting mental and physical abuse from such a raging personality harms everyone around us. Personalities like this need help. They need to see the damage that they are causing to others. They need to own up to their anger and then be supported in methods for translating it, expressing it in a safe and healthy way, and letting it go.

When we do not fight the only other alternative is flight and flight seems to be the choice of our culture today. People change relationships, marriages, churches, and jobs like changing clothes.  Many people really live in a disposable society as far as relationships are concerned. We are far too ready to bail out of circumstances and relationships we deem too hard or too challenging. Many of us are comfortable walking away from a family, a relationship, or even a marriage. These all become disposable and interchangeable in a culture of relational dysfunction and chaos.

Many of us are in the early stages of the above described dysfunction and have the opportunity not to repeat mistakes or become anything like the above. We simply need to access honestly where we are, reach out for help, and really make incremental and sequential changes in our life responses.

Our being stuck in poor ways of response can take many forms such as poor time management, burnout, light or severe depression, poor sleep, poor health habits, ‘stinking thinking’, and general malaise. There is too much pressure on parents to allow ourselves to get sidetracked from health and well being, get stuck in a depressive rut, or become disqualified from life on any level. Healthy living has to do with healthy goal setting and strategic planning.

THE WORST STRESS OF ALL

What’s The Worst Kind Of Stress?

The most harmful form of stress is not the result of a major life crisis, the death of a spouse, divorce or the loss of a job—as once believed.  What scientists now theorize is the chronic, uncontrolled low-level tension caused by our responses to the pressures and irritations of everyday life ARE far more dangerous. For example, difficulties at work, home, school, finances, deadlines, and more are all examples of on-going, low-level stress inducers.

Each little frustration that occurs throughout the day speeds the heart rate, dilates the pupils, and floods the bloodstream with powerful hormones. In the long term, this uncontrolled low-level tension forces the body to go into overdrive, sapping energy and damaging physical and emotional health.  Our immune systems eventually suffer as a result and this decreases the body’s ability to fight diseases, infections, and allergies.

The good news is that our responses to a given situation determine whether we are feeling stressed or not. Stress is not something external, but a product of the mind and therefore something that each of us can control. Before WWII the concept of Stress as it relates to a mental condition did not exist. The common conception of being “stressed out” was not existent. While we have a lot of control over the kinds of thoughts we think and our responses to life’s events, we can’t always control every aspect of stress we experience.

Stress is immediate and lightning fast. It comes on us in a split second. What we can do is pay more attention and take steps to eliminate our knee-jerk responses. We can control our responses to life, but for that to happen we need to be intentional and purposeful and disciplined.

Anger, anxiety, stress, depression, and incapacitation all add up to poor mental health for much of our society, especially for parents and, in particular, dads.  Managing this stress takes a reasonable plan that’s realistic, incremental, methodical, and sequential.

Time and space are often limited in people’s lives for digging into the source of depression, anxiety, and anger. Many of us have developed issues in these areas and require help to overcome the problems and gain more healthy living. We really do need a plan to deal with stress.

Work, Stress, and Marriage

Stress is contagious. In this age of high expectations and long work hours, it’s easy for a man to bring his worries and frustrations home and spread them all over the household.

A dad might treat his family like his boss treats him, which can be very destructive. Or some men might start resenting their family responsibilities, and expect to just relax on the sofa when they get home. Of course, that’s an insult to their wives, since they have stresses of their own after a day corralling the kids or working somewhere else.

So the question here really is what can we do? There are some techniques designed to help you out here and we need to detail them for the sake of clarity.

First, recognize the value of “decompression time.”  Take some time in the car or in your first few minutes home to adjust your frame of mind. Exercise, read the newspaper, shower, or change clothes. After a few minutes alone, you can shift gears and be ready for family time.

Second, keep communicating even if it’s just about the stress you’re facing. It’s easy for a spouse to feel like she’s going through the stressful work situation with her husband. But if she is informed about your work situation and she believes in the value of the work you’re doing, that will be a positive factor. Communicating will help both of you to stay aware of the stresses each is involved in, and can make you both more forgiving when one of you is in a bad mood as a result.

Third, realize that sometimes bigger steps are necessary. If you’re stressed out or are blaming your family for your tension, or if there’s a growing distance between you and your wife, it may be time to start thinking about a job change. Have a heart-to-heart about your true values and priorities and reach a decision which will better suit you and your needs.

Looking for a less stressful, more flexible position may cause more stress for a while, but you know you’re doing it for the right reasons. Even if the new position pays less, that’s an adjustment that most families can make. And isn’t your marriage worth it?

You know, there are a lot of divorced men and fathers right now still working in high-stress jobs who regret not making changes sooner to try to save their families. As a father you owe it to yourself to not let a stressful job slowly erode the foundations of your marriage and family. Take steps to protect it, starting today.

So, what’s the plan ?– What you can do about stress today:

  1. Identify the causes of stress in your life; you may find those stresses which arise from something that’s relatively easy to correct.
  2. Monitor your moods; If you feel stressed during the day, write down what is causing it along with your thoughts and feelings.  Again, you may find the cause to be less serious than you at first thought.
  3. Take time for yourself at least two or three times per week; Even 15 minutes per day of personal time can help you freshen your mental outlook and slow down your body’s stress response systems.  Turn off the phone, spend time alone in your room, go for a walk, exercise, or meditate to your favorite music. All of these are good ways to take time for you.
  4. Walk away when you’re angry; before you react. Take time to mentally regroup by counting to 10.  Then, look at the situation again.  Walking or other physical activity will also help you work off steam and give you a new perspective.
  5. Analyze your schedule; assess your priorities and delegate whatever tasks you can. Eliminate tasks and projects that are low priority.  Separate the urgent from the necessary.
  6. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others; don’t expect perfection.  You are not perfect.  Others are not perfect. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. Join the human race. Get on the bus and drink the Kool-Aid with the rest of us bozos.

 

STRESS KILLS

How Stress Affects your Mind and Body

Here’s a thing about stress you need to bear in mind. The basis of your stress is usually temporary. The physical effects however are far longer lasting in their impact. This means that the longer you are stressed, the longer your physical reaction to the stress remains activated. Extended stress can alter the body’s immune system in ways that are detrimental. Stress is even associated with premature aging.  Feelings of despair that accompany extended stress can easily worsen and become chronic depression.  This in turn can put you at greater risk for heart disease, obesity, kidney dysfunction, and other problems.  Stress can even complicate your ability to recover from a serious illness. 

Stress management training is a proven method for helping people combat the effects of stress and is even used to speed up patient recovery following a heart attack.  When you deal with stress effectively, it is a worthwhile effort; even if you already consider yourself capable of handling anything life sends your way, it’s important to recognize and effectively manage your stress. This means that in order to do this we need to see just how it is manifested and how we can recognize it.

 
How Stress Manifests

People suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, and other disorders related to external and internal stress often complain of the following:

  • Strong anxiety episodes/racing heart
    • Chest discomfort and trembling.
    • Nausea
    •  Hot and cold flashes
    • Feelings of unreality and disorientation
    • Dizziness
    • Scary and uncontrollable thoughts
    • Panic episodes
    • Muscle tension
    • Migraine headaches
    • Numbness in various parts of the body
    • Strange aches and pains
    • Apprehensions about dying illness, etc…
    • Depression
    • Fatigue
    • Feelings of helplessness
    • Extremely analytical thinking and/or obsessing
    • Low self-esteem
    • Perfectionist Tendencies
    • Inner Anxiety
    • Obsessive Behaviors
    • Guilt ridden Thoughts
    • Emotionally Sensitivity
    • Hypochondria
    • Worry/Angst
    • Unrealistic expectations
STRESS KILLS!

Stress, Anger, and Depression

“If you don’t have health, then what do you have?”—Unknown

WHAT: Stress is the silent killer of dads and fathering.

SO WHAT: Awareness of the “Fathering Stress Epidemic”.

NOW WHAT: Apply quantum leap proven stress reduction solutions.

Stress is the modern day Black plague.  It is viral and it is ubiquitous. You could say that it’s sometimes slippery, hard to identify, subtle, or cunning, but it is not understated. Stress is blatant and we all know about it. It is often the elephant in the room of life.

Stress is an inevitable part of the human condition, and despite all the bad press over the last decade, stress has its redeeming qualities. Stress can be a motivator, helping us to prepare properly for that upcoming exam or important business meeting. Stress helps us to stay focused on an issue demanding our immediate attention. While stress is normal, and it can even be beneficial in the very short term, if not properly recognized and managed, persistent, high levels of stress, especially emotional stress, can lead to both physical and emotional problems. Medical researchers have linked stress to hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, and many other physical ailments. In addition, chronic, persistent stress and tension can interfere with our emotional wellness, leading to persistent worry, irritability, and even depression.  Stress becomes a problem when we fail to recognize unhealthy levels of stress and ignore our bodies’ warning signs. It is important for us therefore to identify the types of stress we face.

 
External Stress

External stress is caused by something tangible and real.  It can be brought on by something as dramatic as someone trying to physically hurt you or by something as simple as watching a disturbing television program. Marriage, low self-esteem, career change, or having a baby, are all good examples of external stress. In other words, there is a valid reason for the stress.  However, you can control your response to the cause of the stress. You can respond by conscious choice to external stress by employing behavioral strategies such as exercise, walking, counseling, healthy diversion and more.

Internal Stress

Internal stress can be generated by your own concerns about external stressors and life situations. It is self-imposed stress; you only experience the stress if you choose to.  Internal stress is based on your emotional response to external events. Normal, everyday stress can bring on body symptoms—racing heart, dizziness, trembling, anxiety attacks, and other problems. The anxiety-prone individual will experience internally generated stress on top of an already uncomfortable external situation.  We engage in self talk like, “What’s wrong with me?  Am I going to faint?  What if I lose control and do something stupid and embarrass myself?  I’m so dumb? Why did I let this happen?”

It is often internal stress that gets dads into trouble.  It’s from this internally generated anxiety that we get obsessive and carried away, scaring ourselves with untrue thoughts and imagined scenarios, which only add to our worries. Most of what we negatively imagine never actually happens and studies confirm this.  This is the reality of an anxiety suffer.  Anxiety disorders commonly include: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.