The skeletons in my workout closet are many-an unused athletic club membership, a dusty NordicTrack, a lonely ab-buster. All purchased with the best of intentions. But, alas, they have all fallen to the same fate: while they may have physically challenged me, mentally I was “bored out of my gourd.” Consequently, I became a fitness failure, a workout wannabe.
Then one day my family upset me. Husband, sons, the cat; I can’t remember which one started it, but in the end I decided to take a walk to blow off steam. After 10 minutes I felt better. And after 20 minutes the argument seemed miles away.
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A school system in a large city had a special program to help hospitalized children keep up with their schoolwork. One day a teacher who worked in the program received a routine call asking her to visit such a child. She was given the child’s name, hospital, and room number. Her instructions were to help the boy with lessons in grammar.
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Regardless of all the media hype, you need stress in your life! Does this surprise you? Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. We need a degree of stress to operate, to meet a challenge or goal, to laugh, to love, to live.
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Forgiveness has long laid the foundation for spiritual well-being in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But scientific research now suggests its healing power may extend beyond the sacred realm. Research shows links between forgiveness and physical and mental health.
While this may come as some surprise to secular scientists, psychologist Dan Shoultz says God has created the need to give and receive as an important part of our makeup as human beings.
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Writer Joseph Goldstein tells of an experiment he did that helped him better understand the power of our speech to impact the mind. He decided that for a period of three months he would not speak about any third person. “That is, I wouldn’t speak to someone about someone else.” Here is what came to light for him during that three-month experiment when he eradicated gossip from his life: “First, my mind became much less judgmental, because I wasn’t giving voice to the various judgments in my mind. . . . And as I judged others less, I found that I judged myself less as well. Second, I discovered in this experiment that about 90 percent of my speech was eliminated. This silence led to a lot more peace in my mind. It was astonishing to see so clearly how much of the time our talk is about other people.”
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If you are a parent, then you are probably already familiar with the impact of children on your personal life. Even in the most functional families, parents who juggle rearing energetic children with careers and other commitments often tell of feeling burned out. Maybe your personal experience with burnout began the week after you brought your newborn home from the hospital and she got her days and nights mixed up. Perhaps it started the day your employer informed you that because of company downsizing, your job was history, and the pediatrician informed you the same day that your child needed his tonsils out soon.
Whatever the monumental interruptions are that you face juggling kids, career, and other responsibilities, I want you to remember one necessity of life: be kind to yourself.
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For the past three years I have worked 70 to 90 hours and seven days a week,” says Kenneth, a West Coast financial executive. “Although I complained about it, I secretly enjoyed it. Working long hard hours was contributing to the rapid growth of our company. It also showed I was an important person. People were impressed that I worked so hard–often until midnight.”
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Scott had recently turned 45 years of age and was the owner of a prosperous retail business he had spent the past 20 years building. Then, seemingly without warning, Scott sold his retail business and the night before their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary informed his wife that he wanted to live as a single man.
Read more about Unresolved Stress: Calm Behind The Storm …
Stress. We all live with it. Yet did you know that there are easy ways to stop stress before it causes harm to your body, mind, and spirit?
Let’s think about the stressors that hit us daily-mortgage and utility payments, crowded freeways, traffic jams, rising interest rates, declining mutual funds, increased taxes, upgrading, downsizing, child care, self-care, elder care, health care … and who cares! Is it any wonder that most of us feel as if we need stronger, made-to-order defense mechanisms just to make it through the day?
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Motivation is the key to maintaining a lifelong exercise commitment. What will it take for you to make a permanent lifestyle change?
Start by taking a good, long look in the mirror. Do you see the weight of everyone else’s problems? Your spouse’s job-related stress pads your thighs, juggling the daily day care and work commute jiggles under your arms, or possibly the pressure of your own career thickens your waistline. Maybe losing a few pounds would boost your self-image. Perhaps the weight you bear can’t be measured in pounds, but in the heavy expectations of being the woman you think you should be–bright, successful, self-sufficient, and at all times beautiful. Take time to focus on how you feel. Perhaps your stress is entirely your own, visible as the perpetual purple rings under your eyes and the tension you feel throughout your body. Now close your eyes, and imagine the ideal you–a woman who is physically and emotionally fit.
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