“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm…”
“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm…”
Take time today to appreciate someone who does something you take for granted…
Many of us experience stress in life, whether this is in the short term from one-off projects, or long-term stress from a high-pressure career.
Not only can this be profoundly unpleasant, it can seriously affect our health and our work. However, it is possible to manage stress, if you use the right tools and techniques.
A widely accepted definition of stress, attributed to psychologist and professor Richard Lazarus, is, “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”
This means that we experience stress if we believe that we don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to handle a situation. In short, we experience stress when we feel “out of control.”
This also means that different people handle stress differently, in different situations: you’ll handle stress better if you’re confident in your abilities, if you can change the situation to take control, and if you feel that you have the help and support needed to do a good job.
Everyone reacts to stress differently. However, some common signs and symptoms include:
The first step in managing stress is to understand where these feeling are coming from.
Keep a stress diary to identify the causes of short-term or frequent stress in your life. As you write down events, think about why this situation stresses you out. Also, use the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to identify specific events that could put you at risk of long-term stress.
Then, consider using some of the approaches below to manage your stress. You’ll likely be able to use a mix of strategies from each area.
1. Action-Oriented Approaches
With action-oriented approaches, you take action to change the stressful situations, e.g.:
2. Emotion-Oriented Approaches
Emotion-oriented approaches are useful when the stress you’re experiencing comes from the way that you perceive a situation.
To change how you think about stressful situations:
3. Acceptance-Oriented Approaches
Acceptance-oriented approaches apply to situations where you have no power to change what happens, and where situations are genuinely bad.
To build your defenses against stress:
How are you coping with stress in your life?
What approach helps you the most?
I promise I will hold your hand,
In good times and in bad.
I’ll hold it very tightly if
You’re ever feeling sad.
I’ll reach out for your manly paw
At times when you’re excited,
And if we part I’ll grab your hand
When we are reunited.
I’ll hold your hand when tears flow
With grief, or joy, or sorrow,
And all the time your hand’s in mine,
I’ll welcome more tomorrows.
I hope there never comes a time,
When you won’t hold my hand,
Whether we’re out shopping
Or making footprints in the sand.
They say home is where the heart is,
And perhaps the saying’s true,
But I also know I’m always home,
When holding hands with you.
By Pooky H
I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busywork where really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone good-bye and closed and locked the door.
If you’re in comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!
“Anyone can make a difference, so you don’t have to have it be some huge, global campaign… you can start small, and that’s just as important.”
In 1974, a terrible famine swept through Bangladesh, a nation struggling in the aftermath of a devastating war for independence. Millions of starving people began to migrate from the remote villages of the north to the cities farther south in search of food.
In one such city, Chittagong, lived a thirty-four-year-old economics professor named Muhammad Yunus, who had recently returned from the United States, where he had gone as a Fulbright scholar to obtain his PhD in economics. As Yunus watched the growing influx of starving humanity, he began to feel a huge disconnect between what he was teaching his students at the University of Chittagong and what he was seeing on the streets: the skeletal bodies and vacant eyes of thousands of people literally starving to death. Heartsick and determined to find some way to help, he decided to begin with the poor people in the small neighboring village of Jobra.
As Yunus visited these people, he discovered that most of the “poorest of the poor” were widowed, divorced, or abandoned women who were desperately trying to feed their children. Because they didn’t have money to buy supplies, they were forced to borrow from “traders” and they sell their products back to them for a pittance.
A woman with three children, for example, would borrow 5 taka (about 22 cents) to buy bamboo. After working from morning until night to weave the bamboo into a stool, she was forced to repay her loan by selling the stool to the traders for 5 taka and 50 poysha (about 24 cents). That left her a profit of only 2 cents a day, barely enough to keep her and her children alive.
Like many others in the villages of Bangladesh, this woman was stuck in a cycle that ensured that she and her children would remain in poverty for generations. As an economist, Yunus realized that the only way she could break out of the cycle would be to somehow get the five taka to buy her bamboo so that she could sell her stools for the full retail price in a free market. But there was no one who would loan her the capital at a reasonable rate.
As he searched throughout the tiny village of Jobra, he found that there was a total of forty-two people – stool makers, mat weavers, rickshaw drivers, and so on – who were all dependent on the traders…. In the end, Yunus loaned those forty-two people the money because no one else would, with the simple instructions to pay it back, without interest, when they could… Thus began a new era in Yunus’s life – and in the lives of the poor of Bangladesh…
Although Yunus had no intention of going into banking himself, he ended up doing so… He studied how other banks set up their loan operations, and then he set up a bank, the Grameen [“rural” or “village”] Bank, that did the exact opposite. Whereas other banks tried to delay the borrowers’ repayment as long as possible in order to increase the amount of the loan (making it hard for people to pay), Yunus instituted a daily payment program of very small amounts. He set up support groups and established incentives to encourage borrowers to help one another succeed. And at a time when the banks of Bangladesh effectively excluded women from ever being able to secure a loan, he set the goal that half of Grameen Bank borrowers would be women.
In his book Banker to the Poor, he described a typical Grameen borrower in the early days as she walked from the bank with her loan – typically about $25 in hand:
“All her life she has been told that she is no good, that she brings only misery to her family, and that they cannot afford to pay her dowry. Many times she hears her mother or her father tell her she should have been killed at birth, aborted, or starved. To her family she had been nothing but another mouth to feed, another dowry to pay. But today, for the first time in her life, an institution has trusted her with a great sum of money. She promises that she will never let down the institution or herself. She will struggle to make sure that every penny is paid back.”
Contrary to almost everyone’s expectations, an amazing 98 percent of Grameen Bank borrowers to pay back their loans. (In comparison, the payback rate on a traditional small-business loan is 88 percent.)…
With a growing desire to eliminate poverty on a larger basis, Yunus moved ahead step by step – learning, making mistakes, and adapting to increasing number of people in his vision – people in banking, government, and other related industries. Through Yunus’s leadership, Grameen Bank continued to expand its reach and impact, and to date the organization has made more than $6 billion in loans to more than 8 million borrowers in Bangladesh, 97 percent of whom are women…. In 2006 Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty.
From ‘Smart Trust’ by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link
Men often feel that they need to be self-reliant and hide their own emotions. This behaviour is reinforced everyday in the stereotype of the heroic male, so often represented in popular culture. Fearless, resourceful, stoic and usually facing adversity alone, these characters tell us a lot about what is considered to be ideal male behaviour within our society.
More powerful than film characters are the roles we see our parents playing. Many men have experienced fathers who were emotionally distant, who rarely, if ever, cried or expressed affection outwardly. The way we see our parents behave becomes the unconscious template for our own behaviour.
This template is further reinforced by the upbringing of boys. From early childhood girls and boys are treated very differently, which most of the time is completely unintentional. For example when a little girl falls over, people will fuss around her crooning condolences ‘are you okay poppet?’, ‘Mummy will kiss it better’ meaning for little girls, it’s acceptable to hurt, and to show emotions and pain. However, with little boys it’s often a quick ‘You’ll be okay, you’re a big boy’ or ‘be a man’ leaving no space for emotional display.
The four basic human emotions include:
Of these four emotions, happiness is considered the most acceptable in society. Yet anger, fear and sadness are universally felt by everyone. These emotions serve valuable purposes and are normal responses to threat and loss.
As emotions such as fear and sadness are generally not as accepted, men might try to hide these from themselves and those around them. They feel that they should be able cope on their own.
Individuals might try to cope with ‘negative’ emotions in one or more of the following ways:
We might not always be able to identify what we’re feeling or have the words to describe our emotions. Men may feel uncomfortable talking to someone about them, leading to frustration in relationships when they cannot express their needs, fears and grief.
Why talk about it?
The restriction of emotional expression in many men’s lives can lead to:
Getting in touch
Men are often told they have to ‘get in touch with their feelings,’ but what does this really mean and how do you do it? Here are some strategies for getting to know your own feelings better:
From Men and Emotions
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Dragging old baggage around with you can taint the most promising relationship. Living with someone who is carrying excess baggage can feel a little like walking on egg shells; never knowing what will trigger the next blow out. Since it is impossible for your partner to ever be perfect enough to not trigger your baggage, it is wise to unpack.
A few tips for unpacking your baggage are provided below:
1. Accept and release your anger. Accept that it is healthy to feel anger about negative experiences and losses. Accept that you feel angry for a reason, acknowledge that you have a right to feel how you feel. Then choose to deal constructively with your anger and find a way to release that feeling, rather than allowing it to turn to bitterness.
2. Rid yourself of reminders. Give back, give away, sell or discard the physical reminders of old hurts. If you are hanging onto stuff that brings you pain each time you use or see it, it may be time to clean house. It can be helpful as a symbolic way to say I am choosing to let go of the past, or to free myself from its grasp.
3. Break the pattern. Carrying old baggage can mean that your partner gets painted with the same brush as your ex. If they say or do anything that even reminds you of something from the past, all that build up hurt and anger falls on them like a ton of bricks. Choose to be in the present and to deal with your current relationship and remember that your partner is not your ex or your parents or whoever else hurt you in the past.
4. Forgive yourself. It is important to accept responsibility for the hurtful things that you did or said in past relationships and to learn from mistakes that you made. Remember that you are only responsible for things that you can control. Choose to learn from your past and forgive yourself, rather than beating yourself up. Accept that, in whatever situation you found yourself, you did the best you could at the time.
5. Forgive others. Forgiving those who have hurt you frees you from carrying their baggage with you. You do not forgive them because they deserve to be forgiven or to give them peace of mind; you forgive them because you deserve to be free of them and you deserve peace of mind. Forgiveness can be difficult and sometimes takes years, but it really is the most effective way to unpack your baggage.
Get help if needed. If you strongly feel that your past is interfering with your present and stopping you from having the future that you want, it may be wise to seek help from a professional. Sometimes your partner can help you unpack and sometimes you just need a little extra help.
From Unpack Your Baggage for a Great Relationship
by Susan Derry