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All Posts Tagged: stress

College Stress: Get the Tools You Need

College Stress

Is your son or daughter home from college, or they stressed-out, burnt-out, over scheduled? Summer is a perfect time to give them the tools they need by developing effective strategies to achieve emotional and academic success with one of our counseling life coaches. College can be an overwhelming time in a student’s life. Our Counseling Life Coaches are dedicated to helping students get the most out of their college experience.

Our Counseling Life Coaches work with students in the following areas in order to support them in maximizing their college experience:

  • Improving effectiveness in and out of the classroom
  • Building life and leadership skills
  • Creating balance and managing stress
  • Boosting self-confidence and developing goals for the future
  • Empower students to set their own goals, take action toward them, and celebrate the progress toward, and completion of, their goals.
  • Apply the lifecoaching tools their personally and academically life.

Call Today 214-499-0396

Not sure of your level of your college stress? Take my Stress Quiz: How Stressed are you.

Here is a quick de-stressor that can be done anywhere at any time to help you relax and calm down when they feel stress.

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Reduce Stress in Your Life: Coping Skills to Live By

Whenever we experience STRESS it arises from the four core wounding emotions: loss, rejection, betrayal and humiliation.

We have a choice of “hiding” from or ignoring these upsetting experiences. The Mayo Clinic states that stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. Our ability to effectively cope with these challenges and upsets requires learning and practicing skills so they become everyday coping tools. Just learning about these principles is not enough. Remember about 75% of what you do is out of HABIT. Training our brain to use health coping methods means we can heal our own emotional wounds so we also feel better about ourselves.

Believe it our not our brains are designed to help us cope. Every time we are challenged by new or upsetting experiences that causes us stress, our brain come up with ways to deal with our stress or worry. Our coping brain uses our thinking, feeling and self-protection, to help us get over experiences that make us stressed, worried, angry or upset.

C   O   P   I   N   G   –  P   R   I   N   C   I   P   L   E   S

TO REDUCE STRESS

  1. Recognize that no thought or feeling is wrong in itself, it is what we do with it that really counts.
  2. Become aware of the way your body feels as tension begins to build up— remind yourself to breath.
  3. Recognize that you don’t have to go through this alone — help is available from a wide range of sources.
  4. Work to improve communication with your family and friends
  5. If you are experiencing fatigue or feeling overwhelmed, reduce your responsibilities for a period of time.
  6. Recognize that family and friends have to deal with their feelings too.
  7. Share honestly and lovingly how you are feeling
  8. Do things each day that are nurturing to you. Include fun activities, relaxation, time alone, and exercise.
  9. You can work to solve some of the problems that are causing you stress.
  10. Accept that guilt and worry about things you CAN’T change are useless and energy-draining.
  11. Give yourself credit for whatever level of coping you are achieving.
  12. Remember, there is no “instant fix” for stress.
  13. Develop a love and respect for yourself — because each of us is, with our strengths, a special and worthwhile person.

L   I   F   E   S   T   Y   L   E    –  B   O   D   Y,    M   I   N   D,    S   P   I   R   I   T

TO REDUCE STRESS 

You can’t always avoid stress but being able to identify what causes it is the first step toward helping yourself cope better. If you have difficulty pinpointing the causes or “triggers” of your stress, try keeping a record to help you identify patterns of stress. Learn to identify your type of stress, is it a “social anxiety”  or “chronic stress.”

To effetely use a chart, make a note of all your activates during the day and how you felt at the time. Fill in the chart whenever a stress symptom occurs, noting what happened just before. At the end of the week evaluate when you felt stressed and when you felt relaxed.

R   E   L   A  X  A   T   I   O   N   

TO REDUCE STRESS

For long-term stress relief you need periods of mental and physical relaxation throughout the day. Relaxation is a set of skills that teach you how to combat the effects of stress and restore the balance between body and mind to enable healthy, happy living.

WHY: long-term stress changes the balance of hormones in the body and leads to exhaustion. A suppressed immune system, slower metabolism and slower cell repair, result in rapid aging, weight gain, and greater risk of degenerative disease.

C   O   P   I   N   G   –  S   K   I   L   L   S

TO REDUCE STRESS

  • Learn to become aware of when you are experiencing stress — listen to your body
  • Practice deep breathing – just 3 deep breaths will change your body chemistry
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness practices – the state of being attentive to and aware of the present moment only
  • Guided Imagery or Visualizations
  • Journal about your feelings, thoughts and worries
  • Use Positive Affirmations to change negative self-talk
  • Exercise daily
  • Get a Massage
  • Pick a hobby
  • Cut down on activities
  • Unplug from technology – turn down the noise
  • Get outside – your brain is created to respond positively to nature — soothing your soul
  • Get enough sleep
  • Seek social support  – talk to someone

Things to Ponder to Help You Free Yourself of Stress

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.”‘ -Eckhart Tolle

“The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” -Elbert Hubbard

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” –Socrates

“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” -Joan Borysenko

“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.”  ~Astrid Alauda

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“Letting go of the past means that you can you enjoy the dream that is happening now.” -Don Miguel Ruiz

 

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Depression Checklist

Depression is one of those heavily used terms in our culture, applied to everything from a fleeting feeling to a serious clinical syndrome. Sometimes folks who have been depressed for a while are so used to it they do not even recognize it as depression! The following checklists are two tools to get you thinking about yourself, your mood, and your physical symptoms.

Emotional Checklist:

  • A persistent sad, anxious or “down” mood?
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed?
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or weight gain?
  • Sleeping too little or sleeping too much?
  • Restlessness or irritability?
  • Persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment (such as headaches, chronic pain, or constipation and other digestive disorders)?
  • Fatigue or loss of energy?
  • Difficulty with concentration, decision-making or memory?
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless?
  • Thoughts of death or suicide?

Because these symptoms occur with many conditions, many depressed people never get help, because they don’t know that their physical symptoms might be caused by depression. A lot of doctors miss the symptoms, too.

Physical Symptoms Checklist:

  • Headaches. These are fairly common in people with depression. If you already had migraine headaches, they may seem worse if you’re depressed.
  • Back pain. If you already suffer with back pain, it may be worse if you become depressed.
  • Muscle aches and joint pain. Depression can make any kind of chronic pain worse.
  • Chest pain. Obviously, it’s very important to get chest pain checked out by an expert right away. It can be a sign of serious heart problems. But depression can contribute to the discomfort associated with chest pain.
  • Digestive problems. You might feel queasy or nauseous. You might have diarrhea or become chronically constipated.
  • Exhaustion and fatigue. No matter how much you sleep, you may still feel tired or worn out. Getting out of the bed in the morning may seem very hard, even impossible.
  • Sleeping problems. Many people with depression can’t sleep well anymore. They wake up too early or can’t fall asleep when they go to bed. Others sleep much more than normal.
  • Change in appetite or weight. Some people with depression lose their appetite and lose weight. Others find they crave certain foods — like carbohydrates — and weigh more.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

These physical symptoms aren’t “all in your head.” Depression can cause real changes in your body. For instance, it can slow down your digestion, which can result in stomach problems. Depression seems to be related to an imbalance of certain chemicals in your brain. Some of these same chemicals play an important role in how you feel pain. So many experts think that depression can make you feel pain differently than other people.

But make sure to tell your health care provider about any physical symptoms. Don’t assume they’ll go away on their own. They may need additional treatment. For instance, your doctor may suggest an anti-anxiety medicine if you have insomnia. Those drugs help you relax and may allow you to sleep better.

Exploring your depression treatment options:

Antidepressants aren’t a cure. Medication may treat some symptoms of depression, but can’t change underlying contributions to depression in your life. Antidepressants won’t solve your problems if you’re depressed because of a dead-end job, a pessimistic outlook, or an unhealthy relationship. That’s where therapy and other lifestyle changes come in.

Studies show that therapy works just as well as antidepressants in treating depression, and it’s better at preventing relapse once treatment ends. While depression medication only helps as long as you’re taking it, the emotional insights and coping skills acquired during therapy can have a more lasting effect on depression. However, if your depression is so severe that you don’t have the energy to pursue treatment, a brief trial of antidepressants may boost your mood to a level where you can focus on therapy.

In addition to therapy, other effective treatments for depression include exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, stress management, support groups, and self-help steps. While these treatments require more time and effort initially, their advantage over depression medication is that they boost mood without any adverse effects.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: 214-499-0396 or email Kay@KayTrotter.com

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How to De-Stress

HOW-TO-DE-STRESS-

One of my favorite de-stressor or coping skills that I teach to all my clients young and old that can be done anywhere at any time is “Deep Breathing.”

Deep Breathing is a very powerful and very simple technique. It’s amazing how just taking just 3 deep breaths changes your brain chemistry proving you with instant relief to stress and tension.  This type of breathing teaches you to breathe slowly from your “diaphragm” or belly. Deep breathing relaxes you and directly reduces many of the symptoms of anxiety and panic – Don’t believe me! Give it a try

Just 3 deep breaths changes your body chemistry

HERE IS HOW

  1. First sit comfortable with your legs uncrossed and place one hand on your belly about 2 inches below belly button.  Let your eyes close.
  2. Focusing your attention on your belly as it rises and falls as you slowly breathe in and out. Now let your breathing get even slower, and count one…two…three as you breath in and one…two…three as you breath out. Expand your belly as much as you can – like a balloon.   You know you’re doing “belly breathing” right when you can feel your belly expand.  Then, exhale to the slow count of 3, just letting all the air out of the balloon.  As you exhale, just feel yourself letting go of tension.
  3. Keep repeating the belly breathing to the slow count of 3.  As you breath, try to keep a continuous flow of air without thinking about the beginning or end of each breath.
  4. Pay attention only to the feeling of the breath.
  5. If other thoughts wander in, just let them wander out again.
  6. If you have trouble getting the hang of Belly Breathing, try lying down and putting something on you’re belly. Then put all your attention into making it go up and down with each breath.
  7. Once you have mastered your Belly Breathing, you can use it when you have symptoms of anxiety or panic.  Many of the “scary sensations” of panic are related to “hyperventilation”, which simply means rapid breathing.  Also, during panic, people tend to breathe from the chest instead of from the belly.  Breathing rapidly from the chest increases anxiety.  Breathing slowly from the belly lowers anxiety and reduces many of the “scary sensations” of panic.If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Coping Skills

S  T  R  E  S  S:   the problem

Whenever we experience emotional distress arising from the four core wounding experiences – loss, rejection, betrayal and humiliation – we have a choice of “hiding” from or ignoring these upsetting experiences.

Our ability to effectively cope with challenges and upsets requires learning and practicing skills so they become everyday coping tools. Just learning about these principles is not enough. Remember about 75% of what you do is out of HABIT.

Training our brain to use health coping methods means we can heal our own emotional wounds so we also feel better about ourselves.

We need all three coping brain functions, thinking, feeling and self-protection, to get over experiences that make us stressed, worried, angry or upset.

C   O   P   I   N   G:  principles

  1. Recognize that no thought or feeling is wrong in itself, it is what we do with it that really counts.
  2. Become aware of the way your body feels as tension begins to build up— remind yourself to breath.
  3. Recognize that you don’t have to go through this alone — help is available from a wide range of sources.
  4. Work to improve communication with your family and friends
  5. If you are experiencing fatigue or feeling overwhelmed, reduce your responsibilities for a period of time.
  6. Recognize that family and friends have to deal with their feelings too.
  7. Share honestly and lovingly how you are feeling
  8. Do things each day that are nurturing to you. Include fun activities, relaxation, time alone, and exercise.
  9. You can work to solve some of the problems that are causing you stress.
  10. Accept that guilt and worry about things you CAN’T change are useless and energy-draining.
  11. Give yourself credit for whatever level of coping you are achieving.
  12. Remember, there is no “instant fix” for stress.
  13. Develop a love and respect for yourself — because each of us is, with our strengths, a special and worthwhile person.

L   I   F   E   S   T   Y   L   E:    body – mind – spirit

You can’t always avoid stress but being able to identify what causes it is the first step toward helping yourself cope better. If you have difficulty pinpointing the causes or “triggers” of your stress, try keeping a record to help you identify patterns of stress.

To effetely use this chart, make a note of all your activates during the day and how you felt at the time. Fill in the chart whenever a stress symptom occurs, noting what happened just before. At the end of the week evaluate when you felt stressed and when you felt relaxed.

 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Morning
Afternoon
Evening

R   E   L   A  X  A   T   I   O   N:   restores balance

For long-term stress relief you need periods of mental and physical relaxation throughout the day. Relaxation is a set of skills that teach you how to combat the effects of stress and restore the balance between body and mind to enable healthy, happy living.

WHY: long-term stress changes the balance of hormones in the body and leads to exhaustion. A suppressed immune system, slower metabolism and slower cell repair, result in rapid aging, weight gain, and greater risk of degenerative disease.

S   I   M   P   I   L   E:  coping skills

  • Learn to become aware of when you are experiencing stress — listen to your body
  • Practice deep breathing – just 3 deep breaths will change your body chemistry
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness practices – the state of being attentive to and aware of the present moment only
  • Guided Imagery or Visualizations
  • Journal about your feelings, thoughts and worries
  • Use Positive Affirmations to change negative self-talk
  • Exercise daily
  • Get a Massage
  • Pick a hobby
  • Cut down on activities
  • Unplug from technology – turn down the noise
  • Get outside – your brain is created to respond positively to nature — soothing your soul
  • Get enough sleep
  • Seek social support  – talk to someone
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Gratitude and Praise to Teachers

As another school year comes to an end, I would like to take a moment to give Praise and Gratitude to all the Teachers that nurtured, guided and provided tough love to our children throughout the past school year.

Our Gratitude is especially important this year as many states education systems are faced with massive funding shortages and one of our nations most precious resources – our teachers – come face to face with job loss, over crowed classrooms, and dwindling resources. Our teachers deserve better and each person CAN make a difference by telling our teachers “Thank you for give of yourself to my child”

I first posted this article at the beginning of the 2010 school year and of all my blog post it has consistently receives hit after hit, so I though it appropriate to re-post it at the close of this school year. And to encourage every person to make a special effort to be sure to say Thank You to our teachers.

All of us know first hand the impact teachers had on us growing up, but few of us know the loving sacrifice teachers freely make daily.

For the past five years, I have had the honor of a “backstage pass” into the real lives of teachers because I’ve watched my daughter, Kelly, serve as an elementary school teacher. Through her experience, I have personally witnessed the joys teaching has brought to her and I also understand the stressful challenges she has to balance in her life.

When I began writing this, I was instantly taken back to the year Kelly’s class had five special needs students she lovingly called “her boys.” When you entered Kelly’s classroom that year, you not only saw and heard 20+ students clamoring for attention, seeking answers to questions and desiring guidance – all of which every teacher faces daily – you also got a glimpse into the very different world of Autism as it walked hand-in-hand with a mainstream classroom. Kelly soon found herself performing a daily dance that combined the needs of her regular students with the poor communication skills, poor social awareness and challenging behavioral characteristics of Autism. The tapestry woven between teacher and students was amazing – but it came at the price of stressful days, emotional exhaustion and tremendous fatigue . . . A price I know Kelly would lovingly pay again.

Objectively, teaching has got to be one of the top 5 most stressful careers in the world.

So many teachers are at school early and stay late, they correct papers and plan instruction on evenings and weekends — working hard to meet the educational needs of students, some of whom struggle to make progress despite the stress of life. Teachers also buy materials with money from their own pockets and volunteer their time to attend school carnivals and sporting events while also attending workshops and training to continually develop their own skills. I assure you they don’t do all this for the money.

They do it because they care about your child.

As another school year comes to an end, now is an appropriate time to remind everyone to continuously thank the effective and dedicated teachers in our schools.

Yes, teachers make all the difference.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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The Grief, Joy of Job Loss

Guest author, Ann Sudekum, MA, is a marketing and communications professional who offers her experience with job loss and how to find ways to get through the process in positive and meaningful ways. When she is not writing posts for Dr. KayTrotter’s Blog, she freelances as a MarCom consultant with her company, Sudekum Solutions, and serves as webmaster for Dr. Trotter’s website, www.kaytrotter.com

I knew it could happen. The signs were all there. I held out hope that it wouldn’t happen. But it did.

I lost my job. Again.

Of course, this is not rare. It is happening to people everyday. You see it on the news. You read about it online. But, you never think it could happen to you!

Years ago, the first time I lost a job, I was devastated. I felt worthless. I felt betrayed. I was sad. But, after the initial shock wore off, I realized it was actually an opportunity.

For years I had wondered what it would be like to be my own boss and this job loss gave me the chance to find out. I had lots of experience under my belt, I had lots of contacts and my severance package would tied me over for nearly a year.

So, I did it. I started my own business and it was successful. I was able to work from home and set my own hours. It was great. And, I enjoyed it for five years.

Then a new opportunity crossed my path and I jumped at it. Yes, it would mean going back into an office with set hours and a daily grind. But, it was a learning experience I wanted and it was a steady paycheck with great benefits (I would no longer have to pay for my health insurance!). So, I accepted the position and stayed for two years.

But, then it happened again: I lost that job too! And, I was propelled right back into all those feelings of anger and disbelief and sadness. But, this time, I knew these feelings were coming and I knew that I should embrace them or I would not be able to move on.

The denial. The anger. The bargaining. The depression. The acceptance. The five stages of grief are not just feelings you get when someone dies. They are feelings you get anytime you lose something. And, losing your job feels like a death.

One thing that kept me from complete despair was that I knew I was not alone because, unfortunately, we live in a time where being downsized is not an exclusive club. So, I knew that I should not succumb to the feelings of shame because I had nothing for which to be ashamed. In fact, their loss was my gain! I am a good person with many talents. I have a great family and lots of wonderful friends. I could get through this.

However, navigating unemployment is not easy. Every day is a struggle. Sleepless nights are not uncommon. And, I knew I could not survive on my own. Now was the time to lean on my family and friends. Find things that made me happy and do them. Enjoy the freedom of having the time to do what I wanted when I wanted. Anything positive made me feel better and gave me the strength to move on.

The interesting thing was, with this second job loss, I found myself treading water. I still had active clients from my freelance business, so there was some money coming in, but, after a few weeks of reading job listings, I discovered nothing sounded interesting or exciting. There were plenty of positions that I could do, but I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do any of them.

Then, one day, I was out to lunch with a friend and she asked, “What kind of job are you looking for?” and I didn’t know how to answer that question!

I instead heard myself say, “I’ve been in marketing and communications for more than 20 years. It’s been fun and I’m good at it. But, maybe I should reassess my career? Maybe this time I should not do a traditional job hunt? Maybe I should instead focus on me: my agenda, my wishes and my dreams?”

So, after lunch, I went to a bookstore, purchased the time-honored tome “What Color Is Your Parachute?”* and spent an entire weekend diligently reading and doing the workbook exercises. At first, I felt kind of silly and wondered if it could really work? But, then I did The Flower Exercise and I started to see themes and patterns emerge.

With The Flower Exercise, you take one question, “Who am I?” and answer it in 10 different ways. After that, you look at each of your answers and write why you said that and what turns you on about that answer. Then, you go back and arrange them in order of priority, (e.g., which identity is most important to you?).

After doing this, I found my top three identities: I’m a writer. I’m a designer. I’m a cook/foodie.

While all three of these answers were not surprising to me or anyone who knows me, I did realize something: my entire career had focused on the first two, so what if I shifted gears and focused on the third one?

Just the thought of making this shift got me excited! I immediately had ideas about how I could translate this into a job . . .

  • I could write a food blog
  • I could become a caterer
  • I could become a food magazine editor
  • I could become a personal chef

Even though for years my friends have told me that I should cook for a living, this truly was a head-smack moment for me!

It’s been a little over a week since my epiphany and, while I have no idea where my newfound purpose is going to take me, things are already happening: I have a catering job lined up for a bachelorette dinner and I found an informative website for the American Personal & Private Chef Association that includes home-study training programs. I also have scheduled another lunch with a friend: one who is a trained chef.

So, while losing your job can cause a lot of grief and pain, it can also bring a lot of joy and hope. The key is to not give in to the despair and instead open your mind to new ideas. You might just find they are not really new, just different – and exciting!

Ann can be reached at Ann@SudekumSolutions.com

Ann’s web page is www.SudekumSolutions.com


*What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles ISBN: 978-1-58008-270-9

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10 Parenting Tips: Children and Stress

10 parenting tips - children stressThe way parents respond to emotional situations significantly affects how well children learn to cope with their emotions.

  1. Children are continually learning how to care for themselves and need guidance in how to express and understand their feelings.
  2. Stay attuned with your kid’s feelings—ask how they are doing, provide environment so they feel safe talking about how they feel.
  3. Children who learn positive coping skills, such as stress reduction and relaxation, are better able to respond to and recover from difficult situations. This ability will serve them not only in childhood and adolescence but in adulthood as well, and will benefit their physical health and academic/work performance.
  4. Positive coping skills will likely also decrease anxiety and behavior problems, while increasing self-control, self-confidence, and positive interpersonal relations.
  5. The first step to reducing stress is helping your child become aware of when he/she is experiencing stress. The experience of stress exhibits itself in three ways: • Physiological (increased heart rate, headaches, nausea) • Behavioral (disturbed sleep, getting easily annoyed, being avoidant), • Cognitive (difficulty concentrating, worrying, negative thinking).
  6. By helping your child learn to identify when he/she is experiencing stress, your child will learn when stress reducing or relaxation activities would be useful.
  7. Help your child learn deep breathing – this is a highly effective way to decrease stress. Practice breathing in deeply and then breathing out slowly. Repeat this a few times. With younger children deep breathing can be easily practiced when they are put to bed.
  8. Progressive muscle relaxation is another effective relaxation technique. Focus on an area of the body, such as the arms, and tense them as much as possible for a count of ten. Then release the muscles for a count of ten. Progress through the major areas of the body (legs, arms, shoulders, etc.). This too can be practiced before going to sleep.
  9. Make sure your child has enough rest— but not over sleeping. Children need between 11 to 12 hours per night.
  10. Further, there are many daily activities that can lower stress, such as regular exercise, engaging in hobbies, write in a journal, meditation, yoga, listening to soft music, and visualization.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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