Stress Reduction for Your Intellectual Well-Being

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Stress Reduction for Your Intellectual Well-Being
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Another way to improve your intellectual well-being is to reduce stress. What is the best kind of stress relief for you? You may already know that your favorite sport or getting away to your favorite beach does wonders for you. Maybe a combination of intentional stress-relieving activities does the trick. Two important ways to relieve stress are using progressive muscle relaxation and visual imagery. Both methods require you to find a quiet place where you can get out of the way of any immediate stressors. Give yourself some “me” time to try these:

Progressive muscle relaxation: Find a place to sit or lie down comfortably. If you lie down, put a pillow under your head and one beneath you to support your lower back. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Beginning with the feet and ankles, tense up those muscle groups. Hold the tension for seven to ten seconds, then release, allowing the feet and ankles to go completely limp. Move up the body from there to the calves, thighs, trunk, chest, and arms, all the way to the forehead and scalp. Tense and release each area’s muscle groups as you go. Complete the cycle over the course of five to 10 minutes, and you should feel a discernible difference in your level of stress.

Visual imagery: This is similar to progressive muscle relaxation. Instead of focusing on muscles, this time focus on a pleasant thought while taking deep, controlled breaths. For those five to ten minutes, notice every sensation related to this pleasant thought. If you imagine yourself on the beach or in a peaceful forest, feel the warmth on your skin, notice what the air smells like, hear the birds nearby, and see the waves or the rustling leaves. Allow yourself to bring every sense into the experience for the best positive effect.

Most people experience times when they feel overwhelmed by stress. At such times, it may help to look toward people who clearly have mastered effective ways to deal with stress. Surgeons and airline pilots must know a thing or two about it — in both professions, panic is not an option.

How do we get to that place? First expect the unexpected. Surgeons know one operation is never exactly the same as another, and neither are everyday life situations. Prepare your mind to deal with many different scenarios, and you will find a way to be comfortable anywhere.

Next, learn to look at your personal stressors as challenges rather than problems. That way you will be energized to make changes that will enhance your mental wellness.

Finally, be willing to learn from your mistakes. A pilot undergoes many hours of training and getting things wrong so that eventually a sense of confidence and a cool hand will prevail. Do the same with your life. A sure way to anxiety is to continue heading down the roads that led you there in the first place. Make changes, use the relaxation tools that work for you, and you will feel more stress-free and happy.

Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.

Trusting the Synchronicity of Life
I just finished Wayne Dyer’s new book I Can See Clearly Now, in which he recounts many of the pivotal moments of his life, the lessons he learned, and how he “can see clearly now” the meaning, purpose, and synchronicity of it all. I loved the book and got so much out of it.

With my 40th birthday last month, I’ve been in a deep process of self-reflection and have been looking back on my own life and all that has unfolded in the past four decades. I, too, can clearly see all of the amazing synchronicity that has led me to where I am at this moment.

Reflecting back on our lives and seeing how everything has happened for a reason is an important and powerful thing for us to do. It’s also essential, although often more challenging, to trust that things are unfolding now and will continue to do so in the future, as they’re meant to. As Steve Jobs talked about in his famous commencement speech at Stanford in 2005:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

I had a profound “connecting the dots” moment on my birthday last month. I went out to dinner with my wife Michelle, my sisters Rachel and Lori, and a few friends. Lori pulled out a piece of paper and said, “As a way of honoring you on your 40th birthday, it felt important and appropriate for me to bring this and read it.” She then began to read from a list of 40 life lessons called “Life According to Ed Robbins,” our father, who died back in 2001.

As she began to read from this list, I was both touched and a little confused. After she got through the first few items, I stopped her and asked, “Lori, where did you get that?” She stopped and looked at me, equally confused. She said, “What do you mean, where did I get this? I got it from you — you wrote it when Dad died, don’t you remember?”

Amazingly, I had no memory of writing it. But, apparently after my dad died, I made a list of some of his key philosophies and lessons, as a way to remember, honor, and memorialize him. Even more amazing to me than the fact that I didn’t remember writing it (I actually have a pretty good memory in general and especially for stuff like this), was the nature of what I wrote. So much of the advice on the list, which came from my father and what he taught me and all of us, is similar to the core themes of my work — particularly the book I just finished writing.

My father and I had a complicated relationship. He and my mom split up when I was 3, and by the age of 7 he was in and out of our lives as he struggled with severe bipolar disorder. This was very painful for me and our entire family, as you can imagine.

Although he was able to get well by the time I was a teenager, our relationship remained challenging for many years and we never had a “traditional” father/son relationship. Although I did learn many things from my dad, I have found myself at times over the past 12 years or so since he died, especially in the past eight since becoming a father myself, hanging onto this “story” that my dad didn’t teach me a lot of things that I wish I’d learned about life, manhood, marriage, fatherhood, and more.

I also find myself wishing he would have gotten a chance to meet his granddaughters, to see me as a husband and father, and also to see the work that I do. He got very sick the final year of his life, which also happened to be the first year of my business, so he never got to see me speak and never got to read anything that I wrote (at least not in the context of the work I do now).

However, reading this list of life advice and reflecting back on the lessons he did teach me, I’m not only struck by a deep sense of gratitude for what he taught me, but I’m also blown away by the way in which he influenced my life and my work, even more than I’d realized.

Below is the list, which contains a few inside jokes and references to funny things my dad did and said, but also contains a great deal of universal wisdom which I think you’ll appreciate. I feel honored, grateful, and humbled to share with you:

Life According to Ed Robbins

Speak from your heart
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Be passionate and outspoken — do not let anyone stifle your expression
Have love be your top priority
Give kind, positive feedback as often as you possibly can
Remember that you are not your accomplishments — you are you, and people love you for who you are, not what you do
Remember that it’s okay to cry, in fact it’s good to cry often
Hugs and kisses are beautiful and greatly appreciated
Be grateful for your family and always stay connected with them
Make sure you “kiss and make up” after a fight
Cheer loudly at baseball games and always stand up when someone hits one you think might go out of the park
Stand up for the people that you love and be willing to fight for them, if necessary
Root for all your local sports teams — even if you have more than one team from the same sport near where you live
Drive slowly and carefully
Wait for all lights to change before crossing the street
Talk to strangers
Appreciate the beauty of where you are
Never get off the phone with someone you love without saying “I love you.”
Before saying something rude or contradictory, first say “with all due respect…”
Laugh loudly and often
Do not be afraid to get fired up, passionate, and raise your voice when necessary (and even sometimes when not so necessary)
Take lots of photos of people you care about and keep them organized
Save things that are important to you
Be romantic and remember important dates, experiences, and events
Sing the words to songs that you love
Read the newspaper and know what is going on in the world, in sports, in entertainment, and more
Have an opinion on everything!
Be willing to admit when you made a mistake
Forgive yourself and others
Be kind and loving to yourself first
Tell the truth
Stay true to yourself
Appreciate people
Remember that it is okay to swear sometimes
Remember that it is what’s on the inside that counts
Remember that it’s okay to feel down and to feel scared
Remember that people are the most important things in life
Remember that there is no need to rush when you are eating, driving, or doing almost anything
Remember that money is not that important
Remember that you can bounce back from anything
I love this list and his advice. Both because of the simple and important wisdom of it, but also for what it represents — the synchronicity of life. My 40th birthday has been an opportunity for me to heal, learn, grow, celebrate, reflect, dream, forgive, accept, and much more.

How about you? As you reflect back upon your life and all the twists and turns it has taken up to this point, can you see how everything that has happened is interconnected? As you do this, can you also look around at your life right now (and even out into your future) and trust that all of the dots are connected in some beautiful and magical way, even if it may not be abundantly clear in the moment?

Trusting in the synchronicity of life isn’t easy or even all that encouraged — most of us have more experience with worry and control. Unfortunately, not only do worry and control not work, they end up sabotaging our experience of life and damaging us in the process.

It takes a great deal of courage and faith to trust in the synchronicity of life. And, when we’re able to do so, we give ourselves the opportunity to enjoy life, celebrate the full experience of it, and learn, grow, and evolve along the way. This trust is not a guarantee that everything will work out perfectly, there’s nothing in life that we can do which will guarantee that. However, when we trust that life is unfolding as it is meant to, we’re able to get out of our own way, liberate ourselves from unnecessary suffering, and experience the beauty and depth that life has to offer.

Feel free to share your stories of synchronicity and/or how you practice trusting the synchronicity of life here on my blog.

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