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All About Stress

Last night I was the guest speaker for Rotary Club of Greater Kuala Lumpur. I very much enjoyed the fellowship with the Rotarian's. A big thank you to them for asking me to speak.

The following is a bit on what I presented, I hope you enjoy reading it.

We began with a simple exercise, moving of the head, the hips & arms for 30 seconds whilst breathing gently. We then ended with a hug. The reason I did this is because HUGS are great stress relievers. Hugging another person for one minute a day, four times a day relaxes you and releases oxytocin into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that is responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease (plus other things).

Our world today is challenging; with work, family commitments, friends, deadlines and trying to make time for YOURSELF! Sometimes we will have many thoughts throughout our day, some will be positive, others will be negative. We have between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. According to some experts, 98% are repeated thoughts from the day before, and 80% are negative thoughts.

I talked about faulty thinking (thought) patterns and re-framing how we think and what we say. Cognitive distortions are irrational thought patterns or belief systems that distort or 'twist' our perception of reality in an unfavorable way. In order to experience integrated, whole-person wellness, it's important to challenge these harmful faulty thinking patterns and replace them with more helpful thinking. For example, a “should” statement is a common source of anxiety – if we speak in terms of should, shouldn’t, ought to, must, mustn’t. When we use this statement, we will think that we are correct in whatever we say and that this cannot be broken by anyone. We are concerned about what “should be” not what “is”. When this happens I encourage the person to re-evaluate their thinking and set of rules. I ask questions to help us determine if any of our rules are causing more harm than good. I focus on re-framing; saying something in a positive way.

How we speak is important and once we do this our stress levels will drop. So:

1. Nip negative thoughts in the bud. 2. Accentuate the positive. 3. Don't bully yourself! 4. Replace criticism with encouragement. 5. Don't feel guilty about things beyond your control.

Another thing I talked about was the Ideal Self Statement. An IDEAL statement encompasses the many roles we play in our life - fatherhood, motherhood, friend, employer, employee, student, doctor, nurse, teacher, engineer, coach; this list is endless. Each step we take to be our IDEAL self is a journey, so allow that IDEAL statement to be positive, not negative. Do not give into any negative or old beliefs that you have and work to shape your IDEAL positively. Now, think of a statement about yourself that is negative, or an old belief about yourself. How can you change it to be positive?

Be kind to each other and have a wonderful week.


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