Category Archives: Personal Development

10 tips for busting stress

Do you have trouble remembering things? Are you having trouble sleeping or is your stomach in knots? Are you sleeping too little or too much? All of these can be symptoms of stress. A certain amount of stress is good –or

Smiling can imply a sense of humour and a stat...
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even necessary– for all of us, but it is easy for it to get out of hand. Here are a few simple tips that can help you deal with stress.

  1. Evaluate the situation. How important is this activity to the overall goals and direction for my life? If it’s not really that important, don’t sweat it.
  2. Be positive. Positive thoughts can generate positive results and negative thoughts, negative results. Even something as simple as changing your perception from, “I have to get the done by Monday,” to ” I am going to get this done by Monday” can make a big difference.
  3. Visualize a successful outcome. Rather than focusing on the pressure of finishing a task, focus on the benefit or reward that will come from completion.
  4. Reward yourself. If the situation or project doesn’t have an intrinsic benefit or reward, create one. “Once I’ve finished painting the bedrooms, I’m going to spend a day relaxing at the beach.”
  5. Change the things that cause you stress. For those stressors that can be changed, do so. If you hate going to the supermarket at peak shopping times, reschedule for quiet periods. If lack of sleep adds to your tension, get to bed earlier.
  6. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Recognize that any number of factors can affect the perfect completion of a job. Strive to make your work the best in can be under the circumstances.
  7. Take care of your health. A fit body responds better to stress.
  8. Have fun. Play as hard as you work. Develop a sense of humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  9. Have a quiet place. Go somewhere that takes you away from the things that cause your stress. Have a peaceful corner at home. Take a walk in a park. Get away from the office at lunch hour and sit on a bench.
  10. Talk to someone. A friend or family member can be a good place to get things of your chest. In more serious situations, perhaps a support group or a counsellor is in order.
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Fill your day with joy

We spend a lot of time in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a great thing, but can be subjective, based on circumstances. Joy brings a deeper sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Joy is foundational; a sense that all will work out, even when the immediate circumstances aren’t going the way we would like.

 said, “Joy is not in things; it is in us.” We chase happiness, but we build joy. There are many ways to develop a joy-full attitude; here a three simple daily activities anyone can try:

Start each day with a pleasant word – When the alarm sounds in the morning, the first words I say to my wife are, “I love you”. Start the day with a positive thought or word, even if —or especially if— you’re not a “morning person”. If the first thought in your head as you wake up, involves grumbling, you can bet the rest of the day is going to feel lousy.

Smile more – You don’t have to spend the day grinning like an idiot, but there is nothing quite as infectious as sharing a smile. It’s impossible to remain miserable or angry while smiling. People who develop a sense of joy can smile even through the deepest loss.

Encourage someone everyday – One of the quickest ways to build joy is to shift the focus from yourself to others; and an easy way to shift that focus is to encourage someone. This is active behaviour. It’s not good enough to think positive thoughts about some else. Take the time to communicate the encouragement.

Joy is infectious. Not only can we share it with those around us, but as we share joy, it continues to grow within us. Get out there and share some joy.

Review for Success

When we come to the end of a project or activity, it is common to review the outcomes. It can be very easy to consider these outcomes from a negative perspective, what went wrong rather than what went right. Next time you need to review a project, try looking at its successful outcomes. At the very least, try balancing each negative consideration with a positive.

Negative/neutral question Success-focused alternative
What went wrong? What went right?
What are our needs? What are our strengths?
What did we learn? What did we learn to do better?
What issues should we put on the agenda? What issues can be taken off the agenda?
How can we improve? What strengths could we make more use of?
What’s missing from this group? What are the assets of this group?
What would you do differently next time? What would you do the same next time?
What do you want to achieve? What is your recipe for success, and how will you apply that?
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Benjamin Franklin – 13 Virtues

 

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
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Benjamin Franklin developed this plan when he was 20. Based on , he reviewed one of these virtues each week, cycling through the list four times per year. Franklin carried a collection of charts where he would add a mark for each fault committed against the virtue of that day.

13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
  11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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Leaving a Lasting Impression

I attended the funeral of a friend yesterday afternoon. She died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

The service was tinged with sadness at the loss of a family member and friend. However, it was also a celebration of a life well lived: a life that left a lasting impression on those who knew her.

In listening to the tributes to her life, and reflecting on the years I’ve known her, three traits signified the quality of her life.

  1. She had a strong spiritual faith. It’s a good place to start. This was the foundation of her life. Everything she did came from her spiritual beliefs. It wasn’t a cloistered faith, practiced for an hour on Sunday, but practiced and lived every moment.
  2. She loved her family. She was one of seven children and had six of her own. It was a big family and she was devoted to them all. When the final throes of of her illness came on, she was down in Ontario visiting with her sisters. One didn’t have to watch the family for too long to realize they were important to her.
  3. She gave to others. This lady had arthritis in her hands. It was the kind of arthritis that made her fingers look like a bird’s claws. Despite that, she spent considerable time knitting clothing that could be donated to others in need. One of the last things she did was go through her store of knitted items and indicate who was to get what.

As I sat listening to the tributes, I wondered what kind of impression I am making with my life. Are my core beliefs and practices important and are they making an impression on those around me?

How will I be remembered, after I am gone?

How about you?