What is Your Calmer Self-Image? How to Build One

What is Your Calmer Self-Image? How to Build One

We can pretty easily describe a metaphorical image of what we look like when we are highly stressed. For instance, we may refer to ourselves as a “wild-eyed, wild hair, raging beast” or a “racing tornado just like my mother.” Or we may see ourselves as a “warrior, battling the world.” It is worthwhile to watch ourselves carefully when we are stressed to spot additional details of this inner character we play when things are not going well. This is…

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Know Your Relaxation History

Know Your Relaxation History

Switching from concern about stress let’s look at the other side of the coin, at relaxation. What is your history of relaxation?  What I mean is what has relaxed you?  Do you remember? Do you remember several sources of relaxation for you?  I know, it is hard to remember, at least most of the time, what has worked for us over the years.  No time to look backward we automatically concluded, got to take care of today. Seriously, what have…

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Soft Eyes – Looking out of the corner of our eyes

Soft Eyes – Looking out of the corner of our eyes

As we become more focused on purposeful activities of any sort, we focus our eyes more and more sharply.  In the midst of high stress, we develop tunnel vision of a shocking degree (see law enforcement writings). But hard eyes don’t always give us the best results; Extreme focus can be blinding. Do not look at your opponent’s sword, or you will be slain by his sword. Do not look into his eyes, or you will be drawn into his eyes….

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Tornado in the Doorway

Tornado in the Doorway

I alert people to what they will experience once they start applying  stress reduction techniques to their most stressful situations. Frequently, things feel worse! How could this be? I thought stress reduction techniques work by cooling things down such as  stress hormones or our emotional brain systems. Cooling should make us feel less anxious, confused, angry, defensive, etc., right? As beginners,  our anxiety can increase and our bodies can feel pretty bad. I think this happens for a couple of reasons:…

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Easing into Meditation

Easing into Meditation

I hear this all the time: “I’ve tried meditation but I just don’t get anywhere because I can’t slow my mind down. I can’t relax.” Not unusual since most of us start this way.  I was never given much instruction, nor did I see others getting advice about how to ease into meditation.  The instruction  was all about meditating itself. As a beginner, I was expected to come into the hall, take my cushion and get down to hard work….

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Truth: Powerful techniques can be learned and mastered quickly

Truth: Powerful techniques can be learned and mastered quickly

The media has exposed us to all sorts of exotic, hard-to-learn, long-time to master methods of stress management. Zen masters, biofeedback pros, hypnosis experts, and yoga gurus have their place and make great copy but they don’t have the corner on all things related to stress.  Learning a few simple and powerful techniques can change your life.  Got two minutes? Learn the following techniques.  Spend some time to master them and  you will have three friends for life. Find Yourself…

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Squeeze Stress Away. Thank you, Dorothy Sarnoff

Squeeze Stress Away. Thank you, Dorothy Sarnoff

We have talked about the power of muscles before. At that time we focused on the profound and positive affects of relaxing muscles.  If we turn off muscle tension, we quiet a large collection of heavy working brain wiring. That tells the brain, “Hey, nothing much is happening….relax.” This time, we will look at the power we can have over stress when muscles are strongly flexed. The Sarnoff Squeeze Singer and actress Dorothy Sarnoff (NYT bio) noticed that Yul Brynner…

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