Monday, October 7, 2019

Growing Through Change

The beginning of Autumn signals a welcome relief from blistering summer heat in some parts of the country. In others, it is the harbinger of dark, cold winter coming. Regardless of where you live, seasonal change is inevitable, but growing through change in your own life involves a choice.

Seasonal changes almost always require adjustments – to the thermostat, to your choices about what to wear, to your favorite warm or cold meals and drinks, and to your activities. But whether you’re reaching for an ice cold water bottle or a pumpkin spice latte, it’s time to say, “See you later” to the passing season and “Hello” to the new one!

Seasons of life aren’t always about the weather, of course. They’re about natural progressions and cycles that occur in our lives that include birth and death, youth and maturity, practice and mastery, needing and giving, sickness and health, gain and loss. Changes are inevitable, and yet they can still cause us to feel a bit off-balance at times. When something changes in your life, here are some simple principles to help you choose to adjust:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Is Your Stress Level Too High?

StressThe demands of life can at times be overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to avoid stress. Although brief periods of high stress are a normal part of life, many people endure unhealthy levels of prolonged stress leaving them vulnerable to mood swings, physical symptoms like headaches and stomach discomfort as well as serious disease.

If you have experienced a prolonged period of high stress you may have become habituated to it and therefore consider it normal and even tolerable. In order to avoid becoming accustomed to high levels of stress I recommend that you monitor your stress level on a regular basis. This self-assessment can be done in three steps:

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Balance Your Life

Balance Your LifeJust like a tightrope walker, you need to know how to maintain balance in your life so you don’t fall into trouble. When even one area of your life is overloaded, it is time to ask, “Why?”

For many of us, the culprit is over-commitment. You may say, “Yes” to everything because you are afraid to say, “No.” Some people feel guilty when they disappoint someone with a refusal. In other cases, people who over-commit are insecure and trying to win approval. Some people have what appears to be a vibrant zest for life that they want to experience every single opportunity that comes along – but forget that some time must be saved for rest and self-care. Letting everyone else’s ideas and agendas control your time and energy will quickly throw you off balance.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Daily Grind or Wise Investment?

Investment

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? How do you keep going when it seems like an endless cycle?

Some days you go through the motions of your daily routine, wondering why you bother going to the same old job doing the same old things. Or you can’t remember why it’s important to prepare meals and wash dishes and laundry day after day.

So what’s the answer to why you do it? The answer is investment. Every good thing you do for your family, friends, career, church is an investment in the lives of others – even the daily routine tasks.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Riding the Waves of Change

ChangeIf you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.

There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Help, It’s December!

If you are like most people, the month of December typically ushers in a dramatic increase in activity, responsibilities, and irrational expectations. If you are able to maintain a positive and realistic perspective during this busy time of year you are much more likely to experience a very special time of connection, celebration, and joy. To help you with this task, my good friend and co-worker, Liz Bailey, offers some timeless truths for getting the most out of the holiday season.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

December StressSome of my neighbors have had their Christmas lights up since before Thanksgiving. I am not sure if I resent them or admire them for being so far ahead on preparing for the holiday season. My feelings on the subject vary, often depending on my current state of mind. I waffle between being joyful that the holidays bring our family together and overwhelmed at the thought of how much time, money and effort it takes to make all that celebration work smoothly. And this mix of happiness and angst happens every single year when December rolls in like an avalanche!

Many of us need to be reminded of what we know deep down in our hearts because the holidays have a way of drowning out the still, small voice of truth and common sense. Let’s review:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What to Do for Stress Overload – Part 2

If you read our previous blog and began implementing some of the first 7 suggestions for ways to reduce your stress, you may already be on your way to feeling more relaxed.  In the first 7 tips we suggested: Get away regularly, develop your favorite hobby, read 15 minutes per day, engage in Expressive Writing, share a belly laugh with someone, use Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and use aromatherapy.

Stress

Here are 7 more tips for getting out from under stress overload.

8.  Engage in breathing exercises. The more stressed you are, the more rapid your breathing will be. In a genuine “fight of flight” situation, the stress hormone cortisol is intended to help the body respond with fast escape or self-defense. But when no burst of activity burns off the hormones, they can cause serious health problems over time. Regularly practice inhaling for about 4 seconds – taking in enough air to lift the chest and abdomen – hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat 10 times. This simple exercise has been shown to lower cortisol levels in the blood, almost instantly reducing stress and anxiety.

9.  Actively practice your faith and engage in a church community. For many of us, this is a pivotal point in our battle against stress. If you are living your life believing that you must be in charge of, and responsible for, everything and everyone in your sphere of influence, you will be crushed under the load. Being firmly connected to God will allow you to set your burdens down and trust that strength beyond your own can handle what you can’t. Humans are multi-dimensional beings, with body, mind and spirit all requiring nourishment in order to manage stress, and attending services or meetings that build your spiritual strength

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What to Do for Stress Overload

Life is full of stress, and it’s not always bad. If we’re honest, most of us enjoy the adrenaline rush of meeting an unexpected challenge once in awhile, but none of us do well when the stress of heavy workloads, over commitment, family needs and uncontrollable circumstances never lets up.

StressThe reality is, your mental and physical health is at stake if you don’t make it a priority to engage in stress-relieving activities and habits that help you relax.

I have developed a list of 14 things you can do to start now. Today we will talk about the first 7, and then we will cover the other 7 strategies next time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fear and Cockroaches

I meet with people nearly every day who are controlled by their fears or victimized by the fears of their spouse, parent or other influential person in their life.  They often miss out on the joy of life because they are consumed with worry about financial ruin, illness, rejection, criticism and the list goes on and on.

Fear

The emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that accompany the anxiety brought on by these fears often greatly diminish a person’s quality of life and ability to relate well at home and work.  People experiencing fear and anxiety often tell me they live with a constant sense of panic or dread that something bad is going to happen.  Or they suffer with physical symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, chest pain, tension and fatigue.  Of course, it’s always important to check with your physician to rule out health problems, but it’s equally important to learn how your body tends to react to fear and anxiety, because long term stress can eventually lead to physical illness.  It’s a perfect example of a vicious cycle!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Strategies for Dealing with Burnout – Part 4 of 4

In my previous blogs we talked about the causes and symptoms of burnout, the importance of thinking differently and some ideas to revitalize your life to help break the burnout cycle.

Burnout

In this final blog we will talk about Strategy#3: Recommit.