Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weeding-Out Wednesday

In physics, stress is described as an external force producing internal distortion or strain. As a working definition, I like to use the following: It's our interpretation of external events that produces internal distortion or strain.

To sum it up in one word - perception.

But, there's more. It has to do with values. When you honour your values, you feel better, more alive. It's as if you've listened to yourself - listened to what is deep in your heart. Many things can get in the way and soon, your values - the things that are important to you - take a back seat.

Ironically, the more stressed you are, the less likely your true self shines. The likelihood of you living your values lessens. The less you live your values, the more you experience stress. And around it goes.

Time and time again, I hear people say that they need to clean out their closet, the garage or the buffet, but yet they never seem to get to it. (Orderliness or neatness is one of their values.) It becomes an irritant, a tornado of unused and unwanted items that have taken on a life of their own. It's always present and it is a painful reminder of a job unfinished.

Stress transformation doesn't take a lot of time. What it does require, though, is a willingness to do it, consistency and a plan. I can help you with that - email for more information, please.

What is Weeding-Out Wednesday?
I thought it may be an interesting and hopefully, a fun experiment for you to join me in Weeding-Out Wednesday. Choose a small area in your home and set the timer for fifteen minutes and "Go!"

If you're stressed by the lack of orderliness, then this may be the "push" you need. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish in just fifteen minutes. 

In addition to taking that important first step, your efforts may result in something to donate, discard or display.

Why not make every Wednesday a Weeding-Out Wednesday?

Here's the next step, now that you're done:
Take a picture of the newly cleared/cleaned out area, an object that didn't belong there, or something you've been looking for. Then, share the link of where you posted the picture. (I can't seem to find a way to do so in the comments section in Blogger.)

  • a drawer in your filing cabinet
  • your tool box
  • one book shelf
  • the glove compartment in your car
  • the button box
  • a dresser drawer
  • the magazine rack
  • the odds 'n ends drawer
  • a bulletin board
Today, I tackled the "I don't know where to put it, so I'll stick it in here drawer" in the office.

Vice grip image courtesy of luvlymumsy.

Monday, September 19, 2011


When my age could be told in the single digits, I was often not far from a notebook, pencil and my imagination. Pages later, I had spun a tale or three. I loved to write.

Then, something happened and the decades passed. I stopped doing what I loved. It wasn't until 2006 when I learned how to transform my stress that I found this lost love. It started with periodic articles for the monthly newsletter of a networking group, of which I was a member. Some encouragement and soon this blog appeared, followed by Heart to Heart, my quarterly, now monthly newsletter.

Now, I'm embarking upon a new writing adVENTURE. I've had rheumatoid arthritis for thirty-four years and had to adapt, change and let go of the way I do things in order to find a new way of moving through the world.

A Rheumful of Tips is my year-long, once-daily blog project. You're invited to walk a year in my shoes. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Word Store

Tom Guadagno recently indited several synonymous groups of adjectives; all of which were available for the plucking on Twitter.

This has led to some fanciful thinking on my part. What if, when you're stuck, you could pop into The Word Store? You'd walk in and find shelves and drawers heavily laden with words of all sizes, manner and method. A system for cross-referencing would be a necessity. It would be a polyglot of an emporium. Assistance? - Swift. You'd be welcome to scurry through or to linger for the day.

Words of pain, words of worth
Words of joy, shelves of mirth

The Word Store is there
They can help you prepare

A sonnet or a song
A letter, that's gone wrong

Adjectives and adverbs
Nouns, to help with your blurb

Words of laughter, books of care
The Word Store is beyond compare!

Stress can rob you of many things... 

I'll complete this post by briefly discussing three of them.
  1. Frivolity - A manner lacking seriousness. The ability to take a break and partake in some frivolity.

    When you are stressed, everything may seem heavily-weighted with the woes of the world or those closer to home - closer at heart. 

    Your life may be imbued with a sense of seriousness that is excessive. When the work is done and it is time to play, you may find that you cannot spend a few moments doing something that seems to have no inherent value.

    "Play is more than fun," says Stuart Brown. In this TED talk he explains why play is essential and how we establish the basis of human trust through play. He also points out that many people begin to lose the ability to play as they age.

    Transform your stress and increase your play propensity. It works. I know this from experience.

  2. Courage - The state of mind or quality of spirit that enables one to face danger, fear or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence and resolution.

    Fear can rule your life or ruin your life. It can make you see danger in everything and everyone. Your mind gets so busy searching out the danger that it obliterates the ability to enjoy your life.

    Courage is that ability to take risks. They may be little ones, like I did here, or bigger ones. The size and scope are totally coloured by your own experiences. What may constitute a big risk for you, may be small by someone else's standards.

    Transform your stress and your risk-assessment meter improves.

  3. Vulnerability - Open to censure or criticism.

    In this case, the type of vulnerability I'm referring to is tied in to courage - the ability to take risks and be vulnerable, within limits. It is the showing and sharing of yourself, knowing that you may receive less-than-kind comments. 
Note:  I thought this post was finished after my poetic(?) offering. After engaging in a bit of frivolous fun, the words flowed, and I was able to add more depth to this post.

Play, frivolity and laughter does serve a purpose. A very serious one. As stress is transformed, different chemicals are released and a different part of the brain - the pre-frontal cortex - is engaged. That means more flow - the brain does what it does best; classify, create, reason, solve, sort, etc. (A trip to The Word Store could help me round out this list! :) )

Your turn: When did a bit of frivolous fun lead to more productivity for you?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Change the Channel!

I had the following conversation on Twitter:

From @zebrafinch Getting eco-depressed, time to stop tweeting. See you all at the end of this week. Resting up for HBOT, loooong walk to dr office. 

From @AuntieStress to @zebrafinch Great idea to walk away for the time-being.

From @AuntieStress to @zebrafinch I watched the doc. "Surveillance" and noticed a sudden plummeting in my mood. Should have heeded my own advice!

From @ZebraFinch to @AuntieStress LOL, Marianna, saw yr tweet just now abt yr watching "Surveillance" -- you're human! Even the teacher is allowed. : )

How often does your mood shift based upon what you see, hear, smell or do? Until you begin to build awareness to these often subtle changes, you may not even notice that you are feeling differently.

To be human is to have emotions. Those emotions add quality and depth to your life. A lack of awareness, knowledge and/or practise, can cause you to get stuck in negative emotions. The paradox is that those negative emotions then generate more negative emotions.

Life happens. Death. Illness. Job Loss. Serious and not so serious events. Do you have the skills to neutralize those negative thoughts and emotions and balance your nervous system? Are you able to change your channel and switch to a program that is more enjoyable?

Start by checking your breathing. Are you using your diaphragm? Remember that the stress response is designed for flight or fight.This means that breathing changes. Prolonged stress makes these changes normal - you may notice that you are not engaging the diaphragm, but rather the muscles of the chest and neck.

If you're ready to learn how to change your channel, please call or email.

What's the crackle of Northern Lights without awe?
That first kiss without a stirring deep within?
What's the sound of your baby's laughter?
How do you feel with
A near-miss while driving, a found set of keys? 

What's your life without appreciation?
A harvest moon over the pumpkin patch
A meal to tantalize the taste buds
How do you feel with
Friends and family gathered 'round?

Image courtesy of Ry Young.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Roundabouts are still fairly uncommon in Canada; at least that's what I've noticed in the cities that I've visited across this country. In the Lower Mainland, they're being constructed more and more frequently. I love them! They remind me of my travels to places where roundabouts are de rigeur.

Not only are they efficient, but they're also fun to drive; provided that everyone understands the rules of the roundabout. (It seems that a lot of people omit Step 4. Turn signals are not optional. Other drivers, by and large, are not clairvoyant!)

Another type of "roundabout"

Not an official term, but it gets the point across. This type of roundabout produces stress and is a result of stress. It is both a sign and a symptom.

Looping thoughts - the ones where you recycle the same conversation, replay the vicious argument or circle around the What-do-I-do's?, all without arriving at viable solution.

Like the above sign indicates, 'round and 'round you go, until finally you stop, something interrupts you, or you crash. However, unlike a traffic roundabout, this kind of thinking and feeling is not a lot of fun, nor is it efficient. You end up burning a lot of fuel. In other words, a lot of energy.

How do you exit this "roundabout"?

1. You need to know that you are approaching a roundabout or are in one. Catch yourself in looping thoughts.
2.  What are the rules specific to roundabouts? How do you execute those rules? Learn how negative thinking and feeling affects you. (There's a lot of information in my posts and on my website about this.) But knowledge alone isn't enough. You need to know what to do to change or improve it.
3.  Think about drivers who gain experience by practising driving roundabouts. In other words, practise the new behaviours so that you are now able to automatically do them, regardless of the conditions.

What can you do right now?
  • Check your breathing. Are you using your diaphragm to breathe?
  • Do the things you love. They are restorative.
  • Amp up the appreciation factor.
  • Call or email me to discover which program is right for you. I'd love to be your "driving instructor", providing you with all you need to know so you can travel safely where and when you want!