Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Awakening 2009

As we put 2008 to bed & awaken 2009, spend some time reflecting upon what you have learned this year. How have you changed and as a result, grown?

In the spirit of celebration, I invite you to review the lessons that have shaped you this past year. What successes have you had? Small gains do count. By negating them you do yourself a disservice. The more you appreciate your accomplishments, the more you'll go on to accomplish...big things happen with small steps.

Keep in mind that it's important to have goals & to be flexible enough to alter them as you get new or better information. Would you hop into your car, strap yourself in, lock your elbows, put on the blinders, and  floor it -  straight to your destination? Not likely - you're always responding to the road - detours, traffic jams, accidents and sometimes, you even decide to take the slower & more scenic route. 

For 2009, how do you wish to grow? For those of you who struggle with this, the key is in learning to use the power of your heart. In turn, this allows you to access higher brain function.

For what things, big or small, are you thankful? It's amazing what happens when you start looking for things to appreciate. You suddenly find them!

These changes in attitude have worked for me. Despite on-going challenges, I am enjoying my life. My wish for you is that you all learn to achieve peace in your heart & head, which will ripple out to your home & community.

I invite you, the readers of this blog, to post one of the things you've learned & also one thing for which you're thankful.

If you're interested, please subscribe to my quarterly newsletter, Heart to Heart.

Photo: Flynt

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mind Your Mantra

This post from Grammar Tip of the Day started me thinking about the mantras we unconsciously use as we go about our day.

What oft-repeated phrase are you saying to yourself? Is it resourceful? Would you say it to someone else? Does it make you feel good about yourself?

If not, perhaps you are in need of mantra maintenance? The first step in modulating your mantra is to become aware of what it is you are saying to yourself. It may help to know that the negative self-talk (a.k.a. mantra) results in very different heart rhythms that over time, leave you feeling old, worn-out or ill. In other words, it creates stress in your body.

Why do that to yourself? How have those negative mantras improved your life? If you are still repeating them, there's a good chance that the change you were looking for hasn't occurred.

Start 2009 by learning how to activate the power of your heart to create mantras that are life-enhancing.

Available: 5 one-hour weekly telephone sessions or The Anti-Stress Starter (mini programme)

Photo: Daniel Wildman

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are You Right? - Part 2

The beliefs we hold are created by a number of factors - how we grew up, where we grew up and the experiences we've had. All of this helps to shape who we are.

I once did a presentation about changing how to effectively deal with the stressors in our life by learning to change our perception. One woman, quite adamantly, stood up to declare, "Those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis are Type A personalities, don't you know!"

My reply was that I, too, am/was a Type A and have learned to lessen some of that "tightness" or "Typeness". (Hmmm, anyone catch the metaphor there?)

The point is that beliefs can be changed through awareness, knowledge and practice.

When we are aware that we are doing certain behaviours that are no longer serving us, it is helpful to know what to do and to be able to practise those techniques, preferably in a non-stressful time, so that the learning takes hold.

As mentioned in my previous post, we will work hard, often on an unconscious level, to make ourselves right. NLP describes this as deletion, distortion or generalisation.

Since this post is about change, the examples below explain deletion, distortion and generalisation when they are non-resourceful to the individual. (Deletion, distortion and Generalisation can also be resourceful.)

Deletion: Someone may compliment you on your appearance or work. You don't hear or remember the compliments; only the criticisms or complaints.

Distortion: You often engage in "mind-reading" and predict how others will react to something you say or do. You apply your own perceptions to the events around you, being quick to judge, often without adequate information

Generalisation: (One that I'm currently working on!) These often begin with "You never/always . . . ".

An airline pilot makes corrections in the flight plan with new and better information. I like to do the same. You?

Photo: Rajeshkannan MJ Vijayalakshmi

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Are You Right or Are You Right?

Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you're right or you think you're wrong, you're right!"

I'm much more aware of this now, for myself & others. We hold certain beliefs and we will usually do whatever it takes to make our beliefs true.

Consider these 3 examples:

1. The guy who is uncomfortable with learning public speaking skills. Rather than give the class a chance, he finds reasons why this isn't going to work.

2. The woman who, when she finally meets a guy who treats her well, finds a reason why he's "not the one". "He looks ok, but he doesn't really have the look I'm going for."

3. The student who believes that everyone else breezes through school & gives up before even attempting to study.

Versions of these scenarios occur countless times in a day. What are you "right" about? What is the cost? Can you afford to be just a wee bit wrong and if so, how do things change?

The point is that we can get stuck in believing a certain thing about ourselves and will ignore any information that proves the contrary belief. This is often something of which we're unaware, and is very limiting and keeps us from fully living our lives.

For now, it's enough to just get curious and notice how you feel when you hold a particular belief? Is it resourceful? Do you feel good? If it doesn't feel good, are you ready for a change of heart?

Photo: Cecile Graat

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Years ago, a friend told me something that I've never forgotten. Her sister had been challenged with a particular type of cancer, one that was playing a very serious game of Hide and Seek with her.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that she was getting older, she chose to celebrate each birthday because it meant another year of life. So what if she had some new wrinkles or grey hair or that she wasn't as fast as she once was! She was thrilled to still be here on this earth and to continue learning, growing & sharing.

Sadly, I've lost touch with this family and I don't know whether Jen healed from the cancer. I did learn a very powerful lesson through her and that is to celebrate each year of life. Now, that's a change of perspective that's worthwhile.

I am thankful for this birthday and for all the lessons I have learned. I also know that learning to transform my stress has made a huge impact upon my life, allowing me to help others. Three years ago, I wasn't in a position to help anyone. I was merely existing. Now, I feel younger than I have in years and having all sorts of new experiences! (Look younger? That's debatable!)

So, Happy Birthday to Meeeeee!

Now, let's see about reconnecting...

Photo: Steve Woods

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Workplace Stress: Change - Rough Seas or Calmer Waters

The economic storm that has hit our world is resulting in rough seas for people everywhere. The changes that are necessary to keep from sinking are not only tough on the passengers, but also on the crew and the captain. Mark MacLean, Senior Manager, has some sage advice on change.

"Always talk about why changes are being made and how different roles and people will be impacted by the changes.

Be honest. When you don't know the answers to their questions tell them so.

Make time available to spend with people who are impacted and empathise.

Remember to treat people who are re-deployed or made redundant with respect. Not just for their sake, but because everyone else who is staying on board will see how they are treated."

Change, particularly in this climate, produces a lot of fear - a negative emotion that creates stress within the body. It takes skill and compassion to help lessen or alleviate the concerns of those affected by the changes.

One of the things to keep in mind is that when we are able to ease people's burdens, even for a bit, we are not only helping them, but helping ourselves. Doing good and feeling good about doing good changes our heart rhythms. This is the paradox. We think we're helping someone else, but we're really helping ourselves with an improved heart rhythm. This affects our health & well-being and when we feel good we have more to offer others.

Although I can't speak for how Mark feels, I can say that by choosing to act as he has, he is actually improving the clarity of the signal from his heart to his brain. This means that he operates from a place of greater coherence, allowing him to perform better, professionally & personally. (Even his golf game will improve!) He has set a course for smoother waters, calming the seas of change that are so commonplace in today's turbulent times.

Photo by: Craig Jewell - http://www.stockxpert.com/browse_image/profile/CraigPJ.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rejuvenation - Appreciation!

Having stress techniques that can be implemented in the moment of a stressful event do much to balance the nervous system. This has an effect upon how you feel, think and do.

Collect positive experiences, regardless of scope, to draw upon when life gets tough. So, whether it's sitting down to a favourite meal, engaging in warm conversation with a good friend or going on holiday, the act of appreciating the memory is enough to make a positive & measurable change in your heart rhythms. This means it's good for your emotional, mental and physical health.

I was fortunate enough to win an overnight stay in an historic inn in Harrison Mills, B.C., which we enjoyed last week. (Thanks to the Langley Women's Festival '08!) Smooth heart rhythms abound!

Rowena's Inn is situated on The Sandpiper Golf Course, which looked so appealing, that even I wanted to go play the course, despite not knowing how to golf!

The spotless & beautifully-appointed cabins come complete with wood fireplace and jacuzzi tub. Bay windows open up to a small deck which overlooks the Harrison River and the Coastal Mountains, veiled in mist during our visit.

What a perfect get-away for those who live in the Lower Mainland and don't have a lot of time. It's also a good place to wean yourself off the on-going stress of being "connected" 24/7. (This can be an addiction and the techniques I teach help with that, as well.)

For those who wish to travel with their pets, Rowena's has designated one cabin as pet-friendly. Murphy was happy to come along.

Everything was perfect - the friendliness of the staff, the location, the cabin, the wine & cheese platter, dinner in the restaurant and the breakfast, which was delivered to our door by golf-cart. The presentation of the food looked as good as it tasted!

Sometimes a get-away, even if it's 24 hrs., is enough to recharge the batteries. If you can't get away, do the next best thing...change your scenery by going for a walk, or barring that, get up and change to another room. Remember, it doesn't have to be big to make a difference. The key ingredient is appreciation.

Remembering Mom

On Nov. 5th 1999, my mom passed away after her struggles with ovarian cancer. Sadly, she was not diagnosed until it was Stage 4 - and at a point where there is not much hope for remission/recovery.

Ovarian Cancer is one of those hard-to-detect cancers and often by the time it is detected, it is too late.

In honour of mom, I am rewriting sections from a card that I sent to her while she was in the hospital.

Lessons learned from mom:
1. Look both ways before crossing the road.
2. Do your best at school.
3. Mind your manners - say "please" and "thank you", often.
4. Send thank you cards.
5. Stay away from poisonous cleaning solutions under the sink.
6. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
7. Respect your elders.
8. Be kind to animals.
9. Share your food.
10. If you drink too much coffee, you'll get red hair. (I'm still waiting!)
11. Never, ever walk downtown with curlers in your hair.
12. Unplug your t.v. in a thunder storm.
13. If your feet are warm, you'll be warm.
14. Don't smoke on the street corner - you'll look "cheap".
15. Get the awful jobs over with first.
16. Be kind.
17. Help someone whenever you can.
18. You can't always judge a book by the cover.
19. Patience. (still working on that one!)
20. You can look at a glass as half-full or half-empty. Which one makes you feel better?
21. Skin colour doesn't matter.
22. Look for the simple pleasures in life.
23. Learn to be self-reliant.
24. Oatmeal is best on a cold winter's day.
25. Reuse and recycle. (Long before it was popular!)
26. Cook from scratch - it's healthier and more economical.

Regrettably, it wasn't meant-to-be that she impart these lessons to the next generation.

When illness strikes, it is normal to wonder "why?". Knowing what I do know now, I think a contributing factor to her disease was the lifelong stress that she was under.

Coming of age during WW2 in Holland, moving to a new country, living with an alcoholic, hard work on a farm, raising 3 children on a limited income, & care-taking my dad who suffered his first stroke in 1983 all took its toll.

Worry was her constant companion, despite hiding it behind a cheery disposition. She didn't sleep well, had migraine headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease and hormonal issues - all of which have a connection to cortisol - "the stress hormone".

She was always willing to help out her neighbours, friends and family and could literally make something out of nothing, whether it be clothing or a meal. If creativity is the mother of necessity, then she was the poster child.

When you consider that one stressful event releases a cascade of 1,400 chemical changes, complete with side-effects, my mom was literally soaking in side-effects.

It is my desire to educate people to realize that they can do something about the stress connection so that they live as emotionally, mentally and physically healthy life as possible.

It's too late to help my mom. I hope to be able to help others help themselves and in the process, live a better life.

Related posts:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Aboard!

The "worry train" is leaving the station and the conductor is trying to drag me on board. This time I know where this train doesn't go and I am making a different choice.

How often do you get "aboard" the "worry train" and depart on a journey that has no destination, even though you may think it does? When you worry you are tricked into thinking that you are problem-solving. If that were the case, money problems would disappear, the kids would always do the right thing, the job situation would improve and life would get better.

Signs of worry:

1. You go to bed at night and you have trouble sleeping because you are replaying the events of the day.
2. You fall asleep and you awaken several times during the night to think about a current problem.
3. You are driving and you find yourself endlessly thinking about a situation that you are trying to resolve.
4. You are at the gym or on a walk and are rehearsing a conversation over and over and over in your head.

Chronic worry wears out the nervous system and leaves you feeling exhausted. Many people (I was one of them) have no idea how much time is spent on the "worry train." Find out more by reading Transforming Anxiety: The Heartmath Solution for Overcoming Fear and Worry and Creating Serenity.

Worry is a learned habit and that is good news because it means that you can unlearn it, provided you have a replacement behaviour.

Did you know that by simply transforming those worry thoughts, you are improving your emotional, mental and physical health? Please email to learn some easy-to-apply and effective replacement behaviours.

In fact, by Christmas, you'll be ready to hop on a different kind of train - The Polar Express!

Photo: Rodolfo

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Book of Love

Although you may not remember the song, you have probably heard, "I wonder, wonder who, who wrote the book of love..." by, rather appropriately, if you heard my singing voice, (LOL), The Monotones.

John Gottman had nothing to do with those lyrics, as far as I know, but he has written several books on love, relationships and marriage, which are full of useful, practical tips and information based on his many years of research in Seattle.

Coming up in Langley, B.C. on Nov. 8 & 9th is a workshop entitled, "The Art & Science of Love" - offered by Gottman-trained therapists.

This weekend is one that is enlightening, entertaining and educational. The skills you'll learn at this seminar are transferable to all areas of your life - they also blend well with the techniques and tools that you can learn from Change of Heart Stress Solutions.

Photo by: Marja Flick-Buijs

Monday, October 20, 2008


Have you never made a mistake? Just what I thought. We're human and we all make them...big, small, by omission, intentionally or by accident, through carelessness or deliberately. They're all there.

How many of you tend to revisit that mistake in your mind? Cringing and berating yourself, wondering how you could have been so stupid?

I made one last week - a costly one. My intention was to take initiative and take care of something myself - well, this is one time it backfired. What has been interesting is the tendency to think about it and beat myself up over it. Something I've done my entire life - I would go on "paying" for weeks, sometimes months. That kind of thinking is a habit that grew. It was well-tended, after all! But, I now recognize that it was non-resourceful.

Somehow, we think that by constantly "chewing" on the error, we're doing something about it. Unfortunately, it's an emphatic "No!" Each time we revisit the problem our body goes through a process which causes further damage to our health and sense of well-being.

What's done is done - we can take action to correct the error and then ask what we have learned and hopefully, apply it in the next situation and not have to re-learn that lesson.

Old habits die hard, especially if your normal modus operandi is to beat yourself up. Try this: Next time you make a mistake, change that word to feedback. Before reading on, sit for a moment and reflect upon that word...what is different? Are you breathing differently? Do you want to get up and walk away? Calmer? Just notice how you feel.

Awareness is the first step. Then comes replacement. What if you could replace that worry with a more resourceful behaviour? What would that feel like? Some people find a greater sense of peace while others have more energy. (The key is to have an alternate behaviour to fill the void of the one you're replacing. Nature doesn't like a vacuum!)

Fortunately, I have techniques to implement as soon as I catch myself doing that kind of stinking thinking. In addition to having a replacement behaviour, the side-effects from those damaging stress hormones are also minimised.

(Photo: Gundolf, Milan, Italy)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Game of Pool Anyone?

I am not a pool player, but for those who are, you may be able to relate to this analogy.

What would happen if you played pool on a table without pockets? Yes, you're reading that correctly. I imagine you'd say that the game is pointless.

How many of you have no idea what you'd like to do next or are afraid to even start? Perhaps, like that pool table with no pockets, there is no starting point because there is no end point. How do you know which way to go if you don't have an idea of the destination?

By choosing to do nothing, we are still choosing and it does produce an outcome...one we may not like. That "outcome" contributes to more of the same - in other words it sets up a cycle; one that leaves us stuck.

How do you change the game?

1. Activate the power of your heart. The heart is actually the strongest organ in the body and with some easy to apply techniques you will be able to take advantage of this "power-assist" feature. When you do, life gets easier.

2. Brainstorm a list of things you'd like to do - even if you think they're outrageous. Put them down anyway.

3. Choose one thing from your list and ask yourself how to move closer to accomplishing this one thing.

4. Then, do it.

5. Be patient - it may not be the right thing or you may need to do something differently.

6. Activate the power of your heart and ask again.

7. Repeat as necessary.

8. Soon, you'll be playing a different kind of game!

Photo: Dmytro Samsonov

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Grandest Pyramid Scheme Of All!

I like to think of my services as a type of "Pyramid Scheme". Wait a moment, it's not what you think!

People are not at their best when they're living under constant stress. They say and do things that are not truly reflective of who they are.

Speaking for myself, I know that within a certain "window" I could function very well. However, if life threw something unusual or different into my path (as is normal), I would fall off the proverbial window ledge.

By learning techniques to transform your stress, you have more resilience so that you are not so easily bothered by things that get in your way. When you are able to handle more, you do more and you are also "more" - more balanced, more joyful and more forgiving & giving (of yourself).

How does the Pyramid Scheme come in? When I teach people how to transform their stress they begin to live a better life - one that is in accordance with who they are. They begin to step into their lives and be all they can be...gee, sounds like an army slogan I once heard. Just imagine what you will do when you are feeling calmer and more energized and joyful!

Stop and really think about that...

Are you feeling more magnanimous? As a result, do you then go on and help others in some little way - maybe a compliment, encouragement, friendship? Then because of your kindness, they may in turn pass it forward...

Just like in the book of the same name, you may not know whose lives you've touched and how you've been the catalyst for your own Pay It Forward Movement.

I think because of the immediacy of the media, we often think that our small, unnoticed gestures are unremarkable...they are noticeable, to the people who are the recipients.

I invite you to start your own "Pyramid Scheme" by learning to transform your stress.

Photo: Lorenzo S.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sliding Up Or Down the Slippery Slope – Workplace Stress

Stress can and does make people behave poorly. Chances are high that most people do not start out that way. Unresolved issues, fatigue, family concerns, illness, job dissatisfaction and poor stress management skills are some of the things that create a slippery slope of bad behaviour.

In the workplace, this leads to a variety of concerns which eat into company profits and productivity. High absenteeism, unmet targets, low morale, lack of cooperation, diminished problem-solving skills and increasing short-term and long-term disability costs are just some of the reported issues of a stressed-out workforce.

What can you do to improve the situation? Train employees throughout the company in techniques from The Institute of HeartMath, brought to you by yours truly, of Change of Heart Stress Solutions. The results are there: Reductions: Anxiety - 60%, Exhaustion - 45%, Intent to Quit - 41%. Improvements: Listening Ability - 25%, Ability to Focus - 24%, Home & Work Conflict Resolution - 17%.

Some employers are "naturals" at showing appreciation; Luis Rodrigues of www.occumedhealth.com has this to say on the subject: "It's amazing to me how far a word of thanks can go. Just saying, 'Hey, thanks for doing..., I appreciated it,' goes a long way to creating employee goodwill. Some gesture of thanks on an occasional basis, helps to back that up.

At work, I think 'quality time' has a different context -- in that employees value the ability to do early getaways on weekends, etc. So, as a boss, my way of showing appreciation is to have days when we send people home with, 'Hey, thanks for staying late the other days for Project Y, why don't you take the afternoon off as my way of thanking you.'

These days we give out gas cards and restaurant gift certificates as thanks - and we certainly hear about how much employees appreciated getting them."

Luis is using the power of his heart to show his employees that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

Change the direction of the slide and move up the slope easily to effect positive changes in your work climate by implementing a short, targeted employee programme.

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Funnel of Life

Big Hole or Small Hole?

I've been having lots of fun noticing the coincidences that pop up in my life. This can be attributed to the fact that I'm far less stressed. When we transform our stress it's the equivalent of looking through the narrow end of a funnel; the view becomes much broader.

One coincidence I've noticed over the past few weeks is the number of conversations I've had with people from the U.K., both face to face and through cyber-space.

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR (@Nigel_Morgan) left very enthusiastic & engaging comments on LinkedIn and also on this blog, in an earlier post.

I've also had a bit of a fun cyber chat with Stephen Baker - a life adventurer who is about to set out on his mortorcycle "Three Tea Tour" to South America. He is stopping at 4 p.m. each day to share "3 cuppas" with a local who agrees to be filmed as they drink the obligatory 3 cups. To quote Steve, "Cup one is an introduction, cup two is sharing understanding and cup three is friendship." Love the ring of that, don't you?

Locally, there's Kathrin Hardie (@coffee_offline)who is a business "chameleon", & marketer extraordinaire, which makes her the ideal person to call to step in when you are away from your business or if you wish to step onto the world's stage.

Earlier in the week at Wolfe Langley Mazda I had an interesting conversation about British murder mysteries with an ex-pat Scottish fellow.

Finally, there's my vicarious travels with the famous Micheal Palin, who exhibits such a spirit of adventure, regardless where he may find himself. (This one doesn't actually count as having had a conversation, but it would be fun if I did ever meet him. Suffice to say he "talks to me" and how ever many other viewers each wk. on t.v.!)

What this means is not yet apparent, but if it's a trip to the U.K., I'm ready to pack my bags! Or, to quote my niece, "Oh boy! Let's go!"

My point is that if you pick up a funnel and look through the big hole your view is narrow in scope. Living in chronic stress will restrict your vision just as looking through the broad end of the funnel does. I know that I don't want to miss those wonderful, serendipitous (Nigel's favourite word!) opportunities now that they are becoming a regular part of my life.

The great news is that you can easily turn your funnel around to look through the small hole, just as you can easily learn to turn your stress around.

Just like hotel rooms, life is better with a view!

Big thanks for the photo to: Klikk

Monday, September 1, 2008

Right Place - Right Time

Score. Contract. Date.

Have you ever been at the right place at the right time? Was it serendipity, intuition or was a greater force at work?

Did you listen to a little voice that told you to do a specific thing? Were you even aware of the events, thoughts, images that preceded your decision to take action?

Once we begin to pay full attention to what we're engaged in, we are able to listen to our inner voice (intuition) and then act accordingly. This allows us to seize (& see) the moments as they arise. One of the best ways to do this is to activate the power of our heart by learning some effective techniques that are enhanced with the use of powerful educational technology.

This is one of my "right place, right time" stories: "Anne" stopped at my booth at a trade show and was very interested in going through my coaching program to help her deal with the stress of a car accident. She took my card and left me her number. When I later tried to call her the number was not in service.

Several weeks later, I decided to go to the grocery store at what would be an unusual time of day for me, and was surprised to see Anne walking down the sidewalk. I pulled over into a parking lot and called to her. Her first comment was, "Gee, I was just thinking about you and wondering where I put your card."

I invite you to share your "right place, right time" stories.

Photo: Benjamin Earwicker

Friday, August 29, 2008

Inconvenience or Insight?

My car was once stolen from the parking garage of our condo. I remember going down and confusedly thinking, "why didn't I park in my spot?" Only to realize that the car was indeed gone. Fortunately, it was found a wk. later, being driven by a 14 yr. old. who "needed it" to go roller-skating.

When I received an email newsletter from Troy White talking about how his home had been broken into while the family slept, it immediately brought to mind the feelings that I had at the time.

Troy writes, "Anything could have happened. Fortunately, nothing did. A missing purse and minivan - who cares? We are all fine - which is what really matters."

This is an excellent example of changing one's perspective which goes a long way to speaking about how well Troy handled this situation. Without that perspective, this event could go on to create havoc, physiologically speaking.

The more frequently we can change our perspective, especially in instances when our 'stress meter' climbs, the better we become at handling what life throws at us. It's not always easy, particularly, if we've had a lifetime of practice looking at things a certain way. It is, however, a skill and that means it can be learned.

As for my car, I considered myself fortunate...I did get it back with minimal damage. My neighbour, whose car had also been stolen that week, was not so lucky. At the time, I was angry because it was a violation of what I had worked for, as well as a huge inconvenience which involved paperwork and some other hassles. However, the bottom line was that it could have been much worse.

Photo: Alicja Michalik

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Whatcha' Sayin'?

I was speaking with a client about how words have power. Just by mere mention of the word "vaccine," she was able to witness how quickly her heart rate changed on the emWave® (educational technology). Conversely, when we started talking about things that enriched her life she saw that those words also had an impact on her heart rhythms, affecting her physiological response. (pulse rate, breathing, muscle tension, etc.)

Ironically, I came across this post on Brooks Clark's blog - Grammar Tip of The Day. It is entitled, "Select words with due regard to their connotation (power of suggestion)". He is making that very point - "words are feelings, emotions, sensations, ideas....they have the power to suggest varied associations."

Which, as in the case of my client, the word "vaccination" had a bad connotation and resulted in a physiological change - a stress response, which can lead to chronic health concerns and a loss of well-being, if left unchecked.

Here's something to try: First, make a list of the 10 words that you don't like. Read them and notice your response to those words. Now, make a list of the 10 most beautiful words you know. Reflect upon them and notice how you feel. What's different?

Please send me an email to find out how you can live a better life.

emWave and Personal Stress Reliever are registered trademarks of Quantum Intech, Inc.

Photo: Daniel Wildman

Monday, August 18, 2008

Passing it On or Paying it Forward

One of the best things we can do to lessen our stress is to open our heart and give to someone else. It doesn't always have to be a gift of money - time, advice, caring will do. All of these go a long way to helping you feel better and provides you with increased resilience so that the little things don't eat away at you.

I just finished reading Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, the delightful book that spawned the movie starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt and also the Pay it Forward Movement. Perhaps this will provide you with a starting point?

This just came in from Brenda Blackburn. (Posted on her inspirational blog on 08.08.18) Are you looking at building a new habit? Why not mark Aug. 22nd on your calendar and decide to make it a year-long commitment instead of just one day? For example, you could start by choosing the 22nd of every month or if that is overwhelming, decide upon once a season as a starting point.

To get the stress-reducing benefits, notice & recall how you feel when you are performing your 'angel act'.

Sometimes you need a little push to get you started and the confidence to know that you can make a difference, even if you're unaware that you did touch someone's life in some way.

I can guide you through this process if you're curious about discovering what is possible when you transform your stress. Please send me an email to find out more.

Photo by: Sanja Gjenero

Not Always A Message In A Bottle

I'm always amazed at what happens when we start paying closer attention to our lives. Quite often we get what we need - whether it be a lesson, some information or encouragement. These messages can take many forms - you may hear the same thing from several people with whom you interact, or read something that is just what you need or hear something in a more formal situation.

Several weeks ago at The Centre for Positive Living, Rev. Terry talked about "power" and how we often want to control things, people or events. This is one of life's greatest lessons - learning that the only person we can truly control is ourself. When we understand that and work from the inside, we are better able to positively affect our environment and in the process, lower our stress levels.

One of the best ways to do this is to use the power of the heart. When we start listening to our heart, many of our internal systems start to align with what is in our heart. Research is showing that not only is listening to our heart good for us emotionally, but mentally and physically as well.

Our heart is the strongest organ in the body and when we allow it to influence our brain wonderful changes start to occur. Amongst them, we begin to quiet the stresses and learn to be "ok in the moment", regardless of what is going on around us"...which, incidentally, was the topic for the following week.

Next time you're out and about, don't wait for a message in a bottle, it could come from any number of sources providing you with what you need to hear and do. By activating the power of your heart, you are able to receive that message without any interference.

Photo: Rodolfo Clix

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Value of Encouragement

Last year, I was asked by Christina Erickson of Finally Fluent to contribute to La Sirena - a newsletter that she created.

What has impressed me most about this creative & intelligent woman is her ability to inspire. For me, that has meant a renewed interest in speaking and writing French and Spanish, as well as the enjoyment found in "playing" with language - vis à vis the articles for La Sirena.

I put these positive, joyful feelings to use when I practise my HeartMath® techniques, which is an ideal way to increase the balance within your system.

Who inspires you? Have you let them know? I guarantee that if you do, it'll be a heart-warming experience, not only for them, but for yourself, as well.

Christina, merci and gracias!

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pebbles in My Shoe

On my walk this morning, I had a goal of doing my route in forty-five minutes. That meant that I had to move. I was so intent on accomplishing my goal that I couldn't stop to shake out the pebbles in my shoe, even though it would likely improve the speed of my walk, which was my intention after all.

Stress is like that...we are so intent in getting to the finish line that we sometimes forget to stop to take care of our own comfort - whether it be emotionally, mentally and/or physically. Some of us know that we need to remove the pebbles, but we may not know how or feel that we don't have the time. The truth is that we actually become more efficient and our performance improves when we start to manage our stressful thoughts.

Warning! Side-effects may include: better sleep, improved performance, greater sense of calm, more joy, less fear and frustration, improved memory, enhanced creativity, greater pain-control, and in general, a better life!

To find out more: www.auntiestress.ca

Thanks to Mary Ellen Rynes for the photo!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chronic Illness & Stress

From time to time I wonder why I'm the only one of my siblings to get Rheumatoid Arthritis. Yes, it is present on the paternal side, so there's the genetic component. Growing up on a farm where all manner of pesticides and herbicides were used didn't help either. Recently, I've come across evidence that working/swimming in pools that use chlorine can have an effect on immune function. Three strikes there.

I think one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle was presented to me when I read The HeartMath Solution - the book that was the catalyst for this new venture of mine. Plain and simple stress - the way in which I internalized everything and literally, took it to heart.

I know since making some changes by using the HeartMath® system, my flare-ups have been far less frequent and my pain management skills have increased. I also have better lab results. It is so much easier for me to go about my day, which allows me to do more of what I choose to do.

For those of you who are wondering...one of the reasons my hands (and those of any person with RA) look the way they do is because the inflammation has led to the dislocation of the fingers. As you can imagine, it is painful to give a firm handshake, or even open a door or a bottle of water - things many people take for granted.

To find out more: www.changeofheart.ca

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Appointments - Serenity Now!

Those of you who live with a chronic disease (and even those who don't) know that a lot of time is spent waiting - in doctor's offices, at labs, at the hospital, at physio and even waiting of a different type - for appointments with doctors, specialists and for results of tests, biopsies, procedures and surgeries.

The big question here is how you spend your time waiting. Are you tapping your foot, sighing or silently (or not so silently) fuming? Engaging in these types of behaviours does nothing to hasten the appointment. In fact, that sort of behaviour ends up making an already stressful situation worse by causing you to release a cascade of 1400 chemical and physical changes, complete with side-effects, which further contribute to ill-health.

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 30 years has meant that I've spent a fair amount of time "waiting". Early on, I learned to always have something to read. Then, I learned about the techniques that I now teach which take me further on the road to feeling better emotionally, mentally & physically. Some of my benefits include: sounder sleep, improved memory, better decision-making, reduced pain, & increased creativity and sense of calm.

To find out more: www.changeofheart.ca

Photo: Steve Woods

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

Do you know someone who does something well - something that you admire, are jealous of or wish you could do? Rather than wishful thinking, why not ask them what they think, feel and do to achieve the desired outcome?

This is a time, when you can imitate...much like children learn behaviours (good and bad) through imitation. As adults, we seem to think that we always have to re-invent the wheel...sometimes it makes sense to adopt the techniques that others have learned to be successful.

So, here are a few ideas to get you started...who has an office that is always organized, makes meals that are nutritious, is coping well with a chronic illness, keeps the yard tidy? Choose something that you've always wanted to do (and never seem to accomplish), start small and see what you can learn...

For help on this, please contact me by email by clicking this link: (Developing new habits )

Photo by: Rodolfo Clix

Monday, July 7, 2008

Amusing Tales from the Road

In my Summer Newsletter I wrote an article entitled "The Long and Winding Road of Life." I ended it by recounting two amusing stories that happened while I was on the road. (Subscribe to Newsletter)

Summer is a time when people head out on the highway to locales near & far. Please leave a comment by sharing a funny story from one of your road trips.

Learn how to use these stories to help you deal with your stress at www.auntiestress.ca

Photo by: Juan Llamosas

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lost Glasses - A Lesson in Letting Go

Lessons are everywhere, if we choose to pay attention. I recently lost my glasses, so it necessitated getting an eye exam (which was over-due) and purchasing new glasses. I had trouble adjusting to my new glasses (too heavy, didn't sit properly, gave me a headache) until I found my old glasses 2 wks. later. (That's another story.)

Then, suddenly my new glasses fit just right. This got me thinking. Did they suddenly adjust to my face (unlikely) or did I give up the attachment to my old glasses (likely) which then made my new glasses be ok?

How many things do we keep that actually hold us back? Take a look in your cupboard and see if you can discard or donate an item that you are "attached" to - can you let go of that art project you began 20 years ago that is collecting dust? How about an item of clothing that you plan on getting into, even if it is out of style and 3 sizes too big or too small?

Start small and notice what happens, both internally & externally. Let me know how it goes, please.

Photo by Sophie