Archive for April, 2009

paperworkPaperwork by anomalous4

Stress in small doses can be invigorating and challenging, pushing us to do our best. But how many people do you know lately that have only a small dose of stress?  Not many I’ll bet.

So how do you find ways to combat the effects of stress?  Those tense, tight shoulders, stiff neck, and jaw-clenching reactions to being worried, angry or just generally overwhelmed.

Here are a few quick tips to help you feel better right now. Do them one at a time, or put a few together, just be sure to try them all so you know what works best for you.

  1. Breathe. Take a few deep relaxing breaths, inhaling deeply, expanding your belly outward like a balloon, and deflating again as you push the air out through your mouth.  Do this 5 – 10 times for an instant lift.
  2. Stretch. Have a sore back or achy muscles?  Try a quick stretch break.  Stand up and reach high above your head.  Bend down and slowly touch your toes letting your spine realign into a more natural position.  Here are some simple stretches you can do right at your desk.
  3. Use aromatherapy. It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  Keep a pine-scented car air freshener hanging near your desk.  Put in a Glade scented oil plug-in if there’s an outlet nearby.  Lemon and citrus scents energize tired minds and especially useful at work.  Or use scented lotion and gently massage tired muscles.
  4. Quiet time. This is an easy one to overlook.  Taking as few as 5- 10 minutes alone in a silent, peaceful location can revive an overworked mind.  Take a few minutes of calm to retreat from the pressure and come back more focused and relaxed.
  5. Prioritize. When we need fast relief, nothing is quicker and easier than a good to-do list.  Often tasks get added to our day and we feel overwhelmed and frustrated.  When things are piling up, take a step back and list what you have to do.  Organization will make your day easier and you’ll get more done.
  6. Happy List. Take a few minutes and list things that make you happy – even if they’re not happening right now.  Reliving joyful memories – thoughts of kids, your spouse, a favorite fishing hole or even hitting a great sale can give you a positive boost.  See an example here.
  7. Get outside. If you can manage it, go outside for a few minutes.  Listen to the birds, smell the flowers, watch the clouds roll by.  Nature’s slower pace is soothing and the change of scenery helps take your mind off your worries.
  8. Funny pages. Most everyone has a newspaper handy and can read their favorite comic strip.  You can also find the on the Internet at Go comics.com. Keep a list of jokes in your desk drawer or a use a 365 day calendar.
  9. Music. Music calms the savage beast.  Remember that old Bugs Bunny cartoon with Bugs soothing Taz with music and song?  It works on the rest of us just as well.  Whether calm and restful smooth jazz or loud and fast rock n’ roll, music affects our mood.  So put on your favorite CD and enjoy!

The best stress relief tip is simply to begin. Relaxation can be as simple as taking a hot bubble bath or as complex as planning a week-long spa retreat.  Make a list of the ideas that sound good or work best for you and start rejuvenating your mind and body today.

Here are a few other web sites to help you get started:

Stress Relief Tools

Tranquility is Yours.com

Relaxation Techniques and Tension Tamers


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pink-flowersPink Swirls by aussiegall

Better late than never. This is true whether you are visiting friends, learning new skills, or reaching your goal of traveling to all 50 states.  It’s even a great reminder for a well-intentioned but easily distracted blog writer like myself.

Better late than never is the voice of the optimist. The one that says “I may struggle, I may falter, but I will not give up.”  It’s the hope that refuses to die.  It’s your reason to keep going in the face of life’s obstacles.

This is the belief that though life may deal you a rough hand, though your plans may not work out the way you thought they would, you will not stop trying.  You will not quit reaching for your goals, no matter what obstacles life throws your way.

Better late than never is a song in your head.  A mantra that repeats endlessly, pushing you to keep going when the sky looks dark and the sun is hidden from view.  It is the knowledge that the best things in life are worth fighting for.

Better at 50 to start a fitness plan, than to never start at all.  Better at 34 to start your search for you life’s purpose, than never to begin. Better at 44 to discover your love of dancing, than to never to take a class.

Not all of us were blessed at an early age with the confidence and knowledge we need to succeed in life.  Some of us suffered with parents who lacked the necessary life skills to teach their children to thrive.  Others of us were distracted by parties, good times or quick thrills.

But whether we began our path early on and stumbled to a stop, or simply never began our journey at all, we can always begin anew.  Start now.  Live the life you’ve dreamed of for so long. Take a chance; break through your comfort zone.  Dare to be you. Better late than never!

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Jester by Dave Hamster

Happy April Fools Day everyone! As you may have noticed, I have been incommunicado lately.  I’ve not been myself.  Instead I’ve been upset, hurried, tired, grumpy and depressed.  Since I started this site to increase happiness and notice the positive, I obviously don’t like dumping that stuff into my blog.

However, after two weeks of being worried, busy, dispirited and blue, I’ve had enough!  April Fools Day seemed like the prime time to come back to being myself.  (Lucky for me a have a high happiness baseline and that’s not too hard to do).

The newspapers, radio hosts and of course a few coworkers have tried to pull some fast ones today.  It’s fun to see people being silly and lighthearted, and by-golly we could use some of that right now. I love the crazy holidays – like did you know that tomorrow is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day?

We all know that suffering and worry that many of us face right now.  Whether it’s our own, our family or friends, we see the problems – they’re on the news every night.  But that’s why it’s extra important to spend time having some good healthy fun.  To acknowledge and value what we already have.

Be grateful for what you have. If you have a home – be glad, there are some who don’t.  If you have a car, we happy, some are losing theirs.  If you have health, be thankful for it, there are some who are ill and in physical pain on top of this financial suffering.

Appreciate the simple; the beauty of the sun rise in the early morning sky, the pinks, purples and orange glow as it moves high above.  If you see a child smile at you in the store, smile back.  As you walk into work or drive down the road, stop and notice the blooming trees and bright spring grass.

Be a fool.  Today it’s officially okay to be silly. Don’t bother with the pranks and such, just have fun.  Tell jokes, invent a new dance move, give out compliments, and smile while you do it.  Give a crayon love letter to your significant other, or a play dough butterfly to your coworker.  Shake things up in a good way for a change.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Don’t just sit back and think “Well, I’m too busy and stressed right now to have any fun.  I’ll enjoy myself later.”  Don’t fall into this trap.  We’re almost always busy, and stress is constantly popping up in one form or another.  Don’t put off until tomorrow good times you can enjoy today.

Happiness is not selfish. When you feel good, you have more energy and can spare more attention for those you love.  When you smile, they smile.  When you laugh, so do they.  Your good mood can infect those around you for the better.  Try a little foolin’ around today and see for yourself.

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