Stress Relief: Wear a smile every day…

According to the lyrics of a popular song, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you, and as I listen to the words being sung on a YouTube video clip, it really brings a smile to my face. However, it also goes on to say “cry and you cry alone!” And that, I’m afraid, is also a truism.

A smile can be a great energy booster both for the giver and the receiver, so why don’t we all smile more often? You may say that you don’t always feel like smiling or that you’re not in the mood, and that may well be the case but just think of the effect of your mood has on those with whom you meet, your spouse, your colleague or your child. Continue reading


How to Deal With Stress: To Err is Human, to Forgive Divine…

We do not always behave or conduct ourselves as we should and
there are certain times when we wish we had not spoken, or acted, as we
did.   Sometimes, we have to accept that our relationship with someone has been broken. However, later there often comes a time when we might wish to try to make amends.  But what happens when the other person says it is too late or that they are no longer interested? Continue reading


Stressed? 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stress in 2011

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

By Carole Spiers

As a weekly columnist for Gulf News, I have addressed many issues relating to workplace stress.  Many readers have written to me to ask me various questions regarding the best way to manage stress, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of these with you.

Q:  What is stress?

A:  Stress is the adverse reaction that people have to excess pressure or other types of demands placed on them.  It arises when they perceive that they are unable to cope with those demands

Q:  Is stress good for me?

A:  No.  It is often mistakenly thought that stress is good for people, when in fact, long-term stress is invariably harmful.  A certain amount of pressure can indeed motivate and can therefore be useful, but stress is never so. Continue reading


Thinking of Others Who May be Stressed

This is just that time of the year when we may be spending time with friends and family. But we should also give a thought to those who may be separated from their loved ones or who may have maybe lost someone close during the past year.

For those, this may be a painful reminder of the moments that were shared. When we lose someone, we do our best to get on with our lives and, in essence, we usually do. But then, there are times such as Christmas, that are poignant reminders of the gap that person has left in our lives. The times when you used to pick up the phone just to say ‘hello’. The friend that you would call as you left a business meeting that had gone well and you want to share that with them, or the mother or father who was always there for you, during both the good and the bad times.

When we lose someone dear to us, those times are often difficult to get through. Although our friends may be there immediately afterwards, they soon go back into their own lives once again. And we are eventually left alone with our memories.

And, of course, when the first birthday comes, the wedding anniversary, the next Ramadan, Diwali or Christmas, the memories become more vivid as they come flooding back. Tears may not be as uncontrollable as in the early days, but nevertheless, they may still be there – yet more manageable. This being a natural part of the bereavement process.

However, if you can find someone with whom you can just talk to and share those moments, then you are fortunate but sometimes you need to go and seek them for yourself. Your friends and relatives cannot read your thoughts, so you need to tell them how you are feeling. We know that life goes on but there are also times when we need to pause and reflect on that which we have been fortunate to have achieved and those we have loved, and still love. And so this time of the year is a time for thinking not only of ourselves but also of others. Those who are, for whatever reason, maybe not included in our family celebration. It could be a next door neighbour who lives alone who you could invite in for a cup of coffee and a chat. The shopkeeper who lost his wife at the beginning of the year and wants to work over festive seasons to take his mind off of his loss – for him, a smile and a kind word could make all the difference to his day. The child who has experienced the trauma of parents divorcing during the year – this season will be different and sad for them as they come to terms with their family breakdown, and they may well need your help though these difficult times. For those children, their world will have broken and they cannot understand why that should have happened to them, or if they were responsible.

These are the children who need help and support. People need people. We all want to feel needed and loved. This time of the year should be one of inclusion and community and if you don’t belong to a community, then take it upon yourself to find out where you can give of your time where your support will be valued and where you can find new friends.

We have to take it upon ourselves to be proactive and even though we may not feel like it, that first step is the one that will open doors and lead to many others along the way.

Helping Each Other
We can all help each other if we want to and to empathise with others outside our own family is the one way to ensure that this festive season will be one of inclusion, caring and giving.
In my mind, that is what this time of year should be all about so that you, and everyone around you, can look forward to the next one with a positive attitude and mindset to go forward and make both your world and their world a happier and better place.

This season is also a time for reflection
People need people
Be an active part of the community

Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.

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Time and Management: Tackle enemies of efficiency

Find out how to deal with stress
4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

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“Are you good at multi-tasking?”, was the question raised at a business seminar last week. It probably will not surprise you to learn that most of the women in the audience raised their hands, whilst most of the men present, seemed to be unsure as to what the term actually meant!

As we discussed the issue, and even though many of us can, and do, handle more than one task contemporaneously – it soon became apparent from our conversation that the skill of multi-tasking may not be as advantageous as we might think. In fact, when we concentrate on one task at a time, then we tend to be more efficient, more focused and benefit from no interruptions.

Time and Management

Disruptions and disturbance are the enemies of efficiency. Sitting quietly writing when my concentration is broken by my iPhone suddenly ringing or by the beep that signifies the receipt of a text message, both disrupt my train of thought and my focus.  So does the person who interrupts a private conversation to give an unwanted opinion or enters my personal working space, uninvited. Continue reading


Stressed? When a Headache Becomes a Heart Attack!

'Show Stress Who's Boss!' provides tools and strategies that will show you how to deawl with stress.
Discover 4 Easy Ways to Beat Stress Today!

New Book Out This Week:  Buy it here:

Two weeks ago, it was the UK’s World Mental Health Day and despite the considerable publicity that is given to mental heath on this day, and also throughout the year, the topic is still, too often, a taboo subject.    We know from medical professionals that those suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues need to seek help as soon as possible before permanent damage is allowed to occur and that any delay in diagnosis and treatment, due to social stigma regarding the subject, needs to be avoided.

So this being Mental Health Day, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look at some basic myths and misconceptions about one cause of mental health problems, stress. Continue reading


Relieve Stress in Your Retirement

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I appreciate that for many readers the thought of retirement may seem a very long way into the future.  However, it comes to us alleventually and for that new chapter in one’s life to be successful, it requires careful planning for the transition from work to leisure.

Contrary to what you may imagine, retirement can be one of the busiest and most exciting times of your life – a period to look forward to.  It means having time to breathe and doing what you want every day; it’s about starting something new; giving back to the community using the skills and knowledge you have gained over the years and
generally adjusting the pace of your life to a less structured day with fewer
commitments and deadlines.

Years ago, the traditional idea of retirement invoked images of elderly people with
walking sticks being helped across the road!  But today, retirement is nothing like that! Retirement can mean learning a new skill, writing a book, starting a new business, doing voluntary work, travelling, or mentoring young people.  An exciting new world that is full of endless possibilities. Continue reading


Stress Busting Tips for the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’

If you have children of university age, then this is the time of year when you may find yourself suffering from ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’  –  a phrase that repeats itself every generation, but remains just as emotive as it ever was – not only for mothers but also for fathers. [It is easy to think that the Empty Nest Syndrome only affects mothers].

The basic challenge is unchanged. Since your first child, your whole married life will have been re-shaped on the family model. Now you’re relieved of that particular responsibility, you may feel suddenly empty inside and disoriented, sad and somehow disappointed at the unfilled space in your life.

It is important to remember that this phase is a natural progression and many of will experience it.

Several recent studies have shown a surprisingly positive reaction by parents about the syndrome, previously identified with depression and sadness, in the public mind. However, the good news is that modern technology allows teenagers to stay in touch by mobile, and even text live video of their activities from even the other side of the world.  It is a different way of keeping in touch but you are still keeping in touch and it is necessary to change your mindset and attitude to deal with this life change effectively.

Of course, it is understandable that a sudden and unwanted increase in personal time that you are unable to fill, may cause domestic problems and you may be needing to relieve stress at this time, perhaps even to share the experience with others, and look for solutions, perhaps in the form of usable stress busting tips.

So here are my 8  stress busting tips

1.         Immediate Action
Make a plan for the first few weeks, to take your mind off that empty room and the sudden quiet. A holiday, a short-term job, a study-course – these can all usefully alleviate this stressful phase.

2.         Allow for emotion
Depart from your usual discipline-and-control mode. Acknowledge the strength of the emotional upheaval, and relieve stress by giving way to those involuntary urges to laugh, or cry, out loud.

3.         Retain some of the usual routines
If you find it disorienting suddenly cooking for only two of you, keep cooking for four, and just put two portions in the freezer for tomorrow. Then adjust when you’re ready.

4.         Cultivate conversations with others
You may have become accustomed to speaking to your child over the years with your daily activity – they are there to chat to.  Realistically, this is going to change as they will have their own lives to lead so now you’re ready to re-learn the satisfying art of speaking to others.

5.         Read all about it
The well-known syndrome has been the subject of many authoritative books. Read them, and see how other people’s experience may match yours and what the experts advise to combat that possible sense of emptiness.

6.         That empty bedroom
Don’t leave it as a shrine to the absent loved one. Maybe use it for storage, or a study with a wall-bed. Maybe re-paint and decorate it anyway to freshen it up.   But don’t forget, your child may well come home at the end of term and still want to feel welcome and have their room.

7.         Don’t over-compensate
If there’s still a child left at home, resist the temptation to smother-mother it all day by way of compensation. You’ll be storing up big emotional problems for later.

8.         Talk, talk, talk
You and your partner now have more time to discuss things in private. Use it to analyse the problems and the possibilities of your relationship, so you can relieve stress and steer through this period successfully.  Work on this challenge together.  Use this time as an opportunity to take on new activities together. 

This is a new chapter in your life, be pro-active and enjoy the moments.  You are still a parent and your children still need you.  But they may need you in a different way.  But you are still there for them.  That is not going to change and they need to hear this reassurance from you because, they too, are going through a life change as well.

Key points about ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’

  • This phase of life is often identified with stress and depression
  • Research shows that parents now feel more positive about it
  • Check the practical stress busting tips for coping with the syndrome

 Have your kids left home recently?

Do you find that Empty Nest Syndrome is less of a trauma than people think?  Do leave your comment in our blog.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

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