Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Overcome Procrastination for a Healthier New Year

By Sheila Nazari, Human Resources & Career Consultant, Management & Leadership Solutions

As a new year begins, many of us are thinking of the goals that we want to accomplish this year because we didn’t get to them last year. Procrastination, the habit of delaying or avoiding tasks, is one of the most significant obstacles that holds people back from accomplishing their professional and personal goals. Everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives and most people experience it on a daily basis. However, getting into the habit of procrastinating can be detrimental to your career. It can also take a toll on your health.

Studies have shown that people who procrastinate regularly on priority tasks have weaker immune systems, are more susceptible to flus and colds, and are also more likely to have problems sleeping. In the workplace, a procrastinator’s habits will have a negative impact on teamwork and productivity. It can also cause our relationships to suffer as well. If people are counting on us to get things done and we continue to put it off, they may end up thinking we are unreliable.

Putting off job searching or career development activities can also have negative consequences. I have coached many people who lost their jobs due to the economic problems and said that they had sensed beforehand that they should have been working on their resume or job searching, but kept putting it off until it was too late.

The good news is that there are plenty of helpful tips to help us overcome procrastination and reach our goals.

• Identify what tasks you keep putting off. There is probably a common thread. You may notice that it’s more common when it comes to administrative tasks at work or job searching or eating healthy meals.

• You may be putting it off because it’s an overwhelming task or goal. Break it up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable.

• Figure out if it’s possible to delegate it to someone else (this is only possible with certain tasks).

• Ask someone you to trust to hold you accountable for finishing the task(s).

• Brainstorm ways, to make it more enjoyable. For example, listen to your favorite music while doing those annoying household chores or while exercising.

• In order to avoid thinking about it all day, schedule a certain time during the day that you will do the task and stick to it. Give yourself a small reward for finishing the task.

• Keep a journal of how you were able to beat procrastination and refer to that journal for help on future goals.

• The mind frame that we have to do something perfectly can also hold us back. Realize that you are not expected to complete the task perfectly. Then, break it up into smaller pieces and figure out a way to reward yourself with each step you take toward your goal.

Make 2012 the year that you procrastinate less and accomplish more.

Need more support to set your personal and professional goals and stick to them? Log on to and check out our featured monthly course Me Inc.

About the Author:
Sheila is a HR and Training Consultant and Career Coach who guide organizations and people in setting and reaching their goals. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized and small companies including Target, Apollo Group, University of Phoenix, Corporate Psychologists, Knight Transportation and Auckland Museum. Sheila received her Master's degree in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and her Bachelor's Degree from Boston University.

Monday, February 27, 2012

5 Ways to Successfully Balance Your Work & Personal Life

By Anna Runyan, Classy Career Girl

Work life balance is something that I have always struggled to achieve. There are many things that I want to achieve in my professional career but I also have to make time for my family, my social life, and most importantly, time for myself to relax and recharge. According to CareerBuilder, 3 out of 4 workers suffer from stress on the job, which can lead to burnout. Stress can motivate us and makes us tougher but most of the time it makes us irrational. Balancing our personal lives with our professional lives can be very challenging. Here are a five ways to successfully balance your work and personal life:

  1. Make time for your health. Set a schedule for working out and make a commitment to yourself. You can either workout first thing in the morning, utilize your lunch break or exercise after work. Whatever you decide to do, make it habit and block out the time in your calendar. Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit so as you do something on a continuous basis, you will actually see it getting much easier to do.
  2. Prioritize your relationships. The best way to balance work and relationships is to plan ahead and set your priorities. Set up date nights ahead of time and make sure you always communicate with your significant other about your schedule. Learn to say no to work commitments when you have other personal obligations and make sure you set your boundaries. You can’t be everywhere at once so don’t overbook yourself.
  3. Make time for what makes your happy. Plan a vacation and put it on your calendar a few months in advance. If you have leave, use it for what you enjoy doing and your bucket list of things you want to do and see in the world. Trust that your co-workers will be able to complete your tasks when you leave and give them a chance to shine and do a great job. Also, make sure you turn off your work email on vacation and enjoy yourself.
  4. Remember your values. Many employees today are finding that there’s more to life and business than profits alone. Money as the single bottom line is increasingly a thing of the past. Instead, employees are finding their personal values such as honesty, integrity and work quality to serve the community or help create a better world. Maybe you want to treat your co-workers in a caring way or participate in prayer or meditation. Whatever values you have or important spiritual development practices, make sure you fit it into your busy schedule.
  5. Don’t hide your ambitions. Fulfilling careers seldom happen by chance. People who find meaningful work do so because they take responsibility of their career. Ask yourself if you work to live or live to work. Evaluate your priorities and your definition of success. Is it money, status, promotion or making a difference in someone else’s life? Discover your major source of meaning and personal satisfaction so that you can get what you want out of your work.

Want more support to create work/life balance? Check out the featured course this month, Me Inc.

About the Author:
Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking and office etiquette. Connect with her at

Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Find a Menopause Specialist

By Ellen Sarver Dolgen, (aka "E")

Did you know that 50 million women are currently dealing with menopause in the United States? For how permeated menopause is (6,000 women enter menopause daily, to give you a scope), it seems as though menopause symptoms should be written on every other billboard (gender equality). If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms or just transitioning into perimenopause—the six- to ten-year symptom-laden time before the big ‘M’—you don’t need a billboard to tell you that you’re not quite feeling right. What you need that billboard to say is, “MENOPAUSE SPECIALISTS: NEXT FIVE MILES!”

According to, menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone, eventually causing the complete cessation of the menstrual period. However, hormonal changes and subsequent symptoms in a woman’s body start several years earlier, during perimenopause. Generally, women hit this change between 38 and 48. During perimenopause, periods become as unpredictable as a Real Housewife’s next move. They can be shorter or longer than usual, and lighter or heavier than usual. Symptoms are directly related to hormone changes in the body, and of over 34 possibilities, some of the most common are hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, memory loss, vaginal dryness, unexplainable irritability, mood swings, weight gain and a sex drive lower than saggy pants in the ’90s. Other concerns, as identified by Women’s Health, include osteoporosis.

Finding a perimenopause and menopause specialist can be a daunting task. How do you know you’ll be satisfied? What if you don’t agree with your doctor? With all the trash floating around the Internet, where do you even begin to look for one? Keep in mind this may not be the doctor that delivered your babies. First, check the Menopause Doctor Directory here on It has a list of doctors recommended by YOU—satisfied patients—and finding one is as easy as typing in your zip code. If you can’t find a doctor close enough in our directory, ask your friends or family if they have any recommendations, ask a doctor that you know excels in his or her field, use local media like magazines or message boards, or check the practitioners at the North American Menopause Society. The great thing about doctors is that if you’re unsatisfied, no divorce papers are needed to go on to the next one! (If you have a doctor you’d like to recommend that isn’t in the directory already, email his/her information to!)

Because every woman’s body is different, experiences in perimenopause and menopause vary. The approaches to treatment are as different as ice cream flavors and even if rocky road works for close friends and family, you may be more of a neapolitan kind of gal. Depending on your menopause symptoms, doctors will recommend different methods (“I hope I get mint chip!). The most important thing to remember when entering this stage in your life is that you know your body best and you have the final say.

Start by tracking your symptoms on a Menopause Symptoms Chart (found in Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness) so you can easily detect patterns in your body. Take it to your specialist to more accurately communicate your needs, and ask about these blood tests so you can more easily highlight your path to hormone happiness. Generally, doctors suggest educating yourself about perimenopause and menopause to help you understand your journey, as well as exercise, ample sleep, and a healthy diet.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a very popular measure that women take for relief from common symptoms. Bioidentical hormones have the same makeup as the body’s natural hormones. There has been a lot of discussion on HRT in recent years, and you should research all the options with your specialist before making a decision. Here’s a great article from the Huffington Post on hormone replacement therapy in the past year.

Some women would rather adhere to natural remedies, such as soy products. Soy products contain isoflavones that may be beneficial for symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Their effectiveness is not 100% proven, but some women do attest to their soothing qualities.

The intensity and duration of symptoms vary from person to person. For some women, these symptoms go away over time without treatment, and other women need to take a more proactive approach. There are several options available to women and with the help of a specialist; you can find the right one. Unfortunately, there won’t be any billboards telling you which exit to take, but once you program your personal GPS, you’ll be living the menopausal dream in no time!

Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!

Check out more interesting blogs about your health and fitness at!

About the Author:
"E" is the pen name of Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause, filled with crucial information and hilarious and heartfelt stories. It condenses a confusing, daunting medical topic into an easy-to-understand, purse-sized guide which can be used as a reference throughout your PM&M experience. Reading Shmirshky is like getting a big, comforting hug from a dear friend, who happens to know a lot about menopause!

Follow Ellen Sarver Dolgen on Twitter:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fashion Tips to Hide Any Body Flaw

By Diane McLelland, Our Resident Fashionista!

On a recent weekend trip to Florida, I eagerly opened my InStyle magazine to find a featured story on ideal clothing for camouflaging your trouble areas entitled ‘Figure Flattery’. The article suggested ideas for hiding, flaunting, and minimizing your ‘problem’ areas. Wow, this was a must read! Who among us doesn’t have some figure flaw that we want to hide?

If you’ve got it, flaunt it…but if you don’t…

First up, the LBD (little black dress). There were 9 styles from designer Norma Kamali; each offered a different twist on the basic black dress, and provided solutions for areas we’d like to conceal or accentuate. Whatever the case may be, the dress gave a great option for every different body type.

Next, some pretty ruffled tops were suggested to create interest at the neckline – a great fix for smaller bustlines, just as a peplum style top can help to give the illusion of a curvier figure for smaller, more petite sized women.

In today’s marketplace, slacks are considered a viable business option for women who don’t feel their legs are their best feature. Wanting to look taller and leaner? Opt for a pant with some flair and pair it with nude shoes to create the illusion of a longer leg.

Jackets and blazers not only provide warmth, but they can be a great way to cover up other problematic areas such as tummy, hips, thighs, or bottoms. A great length to try is the fingertip length. Adding a wide belt can accentuate an hourglass figure, no matter what your weight. Stay away from short blazers and jackets if you’re on the hippy side.

A horizontal striped skirt would be a no-no if you’re trying to downplay ample hips, just as large shoulder pads in a jacket would tend to draw attention to wide shoulders.

Buy your current sized clothing-puh-leeze!

So, you find the ideal skirt that would match perfectly with the sweater you bought on clearance. The trouble is, it’s 2 sizes smaller than your current size. ‘I’ll fit into it in 3 weeks, and 10 pounds,” you tell yourself. No, no, and no!

Do not buy an item with the intention of losing weight. Too many of us try to squeeze into what we perceive as our ‘real size’ or the size we want to be in after we lose that holiday weight. Quite frankly, I still have stuff in my closet with the tags on that I hoped I would eventually fit into, alongside clothes that I hoped I would get back into. All this philosophy has done is waste my money and clutter up my closet.

First things first- recognize the size you are today and own it. Your shape and size can look amazing if you dress for your figure. Just remember, it is not about the number but how you fit into the clothing. In some stores you may wear a size 8, and some you may wear a 12. Don’t get hung up on the number, but rather- focus on what looks good and makes you feel confident.

The proper undergarments can be a girl’s best friend.

I recall a TV commercial some years ago for a product that claimed to eliminate ‘ VPL’, or visible panty lines. With the advent of shapewear, no longer do women have to settle for panty lines or bulging areas beneath the bra line on their backs. There are one-piece shapers that have a built-in bra, and those that resemble a shortened version of a pair of pantyhose. Some manufacturers even claim that their product will instantly have a slimming effect. While of course they won’t take pounds off you, they can visually create a smoother and more streamlined look, and your clothes will look better.

I certainly understand that every woman has something minor that they would like to change. But these quick and easy fashion tips can have you feeling better in no time. Look your best, while minimizing your perceived body flaws- it will make you step out into the world in that confident and bold way every day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Attitude is Everything!

By Dolores Seright, The Shattering Barriers™ Expert &

Make 2012 the year you look back on and say, “Wow, look at what I accomplished!” Huge numbers of people begin each New Year with resolutions to lose weight, earn more, get a promotion, eat healthier, exercise more, start a business, and the list goes on and on. But it is so easy to fall back into old habits before the new ones have really formed. Temptations are everywhere around us, and it is difficult to resist them when we are caught up in lives that demand so much of us to just get through some days.

Believe Your Goals Can Become Reality
You absolutely can make 2012 the year you look back on and say, “Wow, look at what I really did accomplish!” Your first step is to begin to believe you really can accomplish your goals. Instead of thinking of them as resolutions, which require willpower and determination, begin to think of what you want to achieve as the next step in your journey to the “you” you want to be, doing the work you want to do. When you make that choice and decide to take action, you are on your way! It’s easy in the very beginning to stick to your plan and begin to see results. Then life always seems to throw obstacles in our path. That’s when our attitude often stumbles, and we say to ourselves, “I guess I really can’t do this!”

Power Through the Obstacles
Understand that it is not the obstacle or event that is getting in your way; it is your attitude towards the obstacle that makes the difference! If you begin to envision yourself living in that new body, career, business and life, you will see opportunities come your way! Begin to believe in the value of programming your attitude!

Maintaining a positive attitude frequently means controlling the input you get. Well-meaning friends or family say “Its’ impossible” or “why do you think you can do that”. Don’t believe them! In fact, don’t even listen to them! Think about all the “impossible” things humans have accomplished. The Wright brothers flew an airplane, astronauts walked on the moon, and doctors transplant hearts. Belief always comes before accomplishment. You must have total belief in your dream and your ability to do it. You must develop the skills. You must stop the negative input before it enters your ears or your heart and destroys your belief and with that, your dreams.

Is it easy? Absolutely not! Is it worth it? Only YOU can decide!
What are you going to do today to move forward on your journey to a successful 2012?

Want more help setting and reaching your goals? Log-on to

About the Author:
Dolores Seright is a professional speaker, author and coach. She left a successful corporate career after facing devastating Stage III breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 and is now a cancer survivor. She is a certified professional coach and her passion is teaching women the skills to move beyond the obstacles holding them back from achieving their personal and business success. She is an experienced coach and specializes in personal success development and mastering sales strategies.

Dolores volunteers as a career coach and conducts training workshops at Fresh Start Women's Foundation in Phoenix, AZ.

Shattering Barriers: Amazing Women's Journeys to Personal Empowerment is her first book. This book is currently available on

Friday, February 17, 2012

Managing Negative Stress

By Melissa Banuchi

“More important, you have to stay happy and positive or the stress will kill you.”
- Joely Fisher

Unfortunately the quote above is true, stress can kill us. If that doesn’t motivate everyone to figure out how to manage the negative stress in your life, I can’t imagine what will! The recently released American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual “Stress In America” report states that women use the following strategies for managing stress:

  • Reading: 51%
  • Spending time with family or friends: 44%
  • Praying: 41%
  • Going to religious services: 24%
  • Shopping: 18%
  • Getting a massage or visiting a spa: 14%
  • Seeing a mental health professional: 5%

Remember that just as whether a certain experience causes either positive or negative stress in an individual is subjective, so is the manner in which we choose to manage negative stress. Let’s take a look at a few tips for doing so. Who knows, the right one could be a lifesaver.

Juuuuuuuuust Breathe

Okay, perhaps Faith Hill’s song wasn’t about a woman’s reaction to positive or negative stress, but maybe her beautiful voice can be our reminder to practice proper abdominal breathing during stressful times in order to ensure that our blood remains properly oxygenated. When we react to stress by taking rapid, shallow, chest breaths, we deplete our blood of the oxygen it needs to keep our muscles relaxed, hearts from racing, us from getting dizzy, and even having panic attacks (all yucky stuff!). The authors of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (5th Edition, 2000, Raincoast Books) suggest performing this simple abdominal breathing exercise as often as needed while standing, sitting, or lying down:

  1. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
  2. Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
  3. Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes.

It certainly seems worth giving a try!

Get Plugged In

Earlier this week I met seven incredible women who, like me, came to our church to participate in a class for the next five Wednesdays. As we went around our table introducing ourselves, telling stories about our lives, I was beyond touched by their willingness to be vulnerable and honest, in awe of what they have experienced, overcome and accomplished, and very aware of and receptive to everyone’s desire to feel connected at our table. It came as no surprise to me that we hugged each other goodnight.

The APA report states that spending time with friends or family was ranked as important by many. “76% reported that having good relationships with family and 60% reported that having good relationships with friends was extremely/very important in reducing stress.”

Most people feel happy and positive when they are connecting with others and learning, contributing, and/or accomplishing something that’s meaningful. Even those who tend towards introversion benefit from building relationships with others that come through sharing common interests, experiences and/or activities. In order to get plugged in, you might consider:

  • Taking or teaching a class, or volunteering at your local Community College or University
  • Getting involved in a Church
  • Volunteering in your community (a non-profit organization, mentoring, coaching, tutoring, etc)
  • Joining a sports team or a club that interests you
  • Taking a dance, cooking, art, language, etc, class
Doing so will not only keep your mind occupied, contribute to your knowledge, and give you a sense of accomplishment, it will also most likely help you build relationships with people you can turn to in times of need.

The Gift of Gab

There isn’t much that is more valuable than having someone who knows your (entire) story, loves you anyway, AND answers their phone when you need them in times of stress (Gennie & Malia, you’re the BEST!). Releasing your emotions, exploring opportunities with someone you trust, and gaining their perspective can be incredibly calming and affirming. Even if you don’t have your own Gennie and Malia to turn to, seek out a family member, clergyperson, counselor, teacher, mentor or acquaintance that you know and respect. Talking through what you’re experiencing can help you acknowledge your emotions, remember your strengths and past experiences clear your mind, gain confidence, and create a plan to move forward.

Work It Out

Whether it’s going for a swim, taking a long walk, dancing, playing tennis, or whatever physical activity you enjoy, getting regular exercise helps you reduce stress. By increasing your blood flow, your brain and muscles receive more oxygen, and as mentioned above, this is a good thing during times of stress. Exercising promotes the secretion of endorphins, which not only improve our mood, but enable us to think more clearly. Who wouldn’t want these when feeling stressed out?

Consider scheduling time to exercise around work and personal obligations. Actually writing or typing appointments for physical activity into your calendar may help you to keep these appointments. Need more motivation? Invite someone who will hold you accountable to join you. 41% of Americans stated a lack of motivation as why they are not exercising more frequently, and 33% shared that they are too busy to exercise more than, or even once per week, according to the APA report.

Go Bananas

Okay, for all those as literal as I am, I’m talking about eating right! According to the 2011 APA report,

29% of Americans skipped a meal due to stress
39% of Americans reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods

Neither of these are healthy habits, and they’re even more detrimental to your health during stressful times. Eating healthy foods (as opposed to taking supplements) is widely regarded as the best way to make up for nutritional deficiencies that can deplete your brainpower, lead to fatigue, and diminish your ability to ward off and manage stress. Some foods known to boost your ability to combat stress include:

  • Almonds, pistachios and walnuts
  • Asparagus, avocados, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, and oranges
  • Beef, salmon, sushi, and tuna
  • Broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice and Oatmeal
  • Cottage cheese and milk

As busy as we are today, keeping your tank filled with the right fuel (no, double espressos and energy drinks do not count!) is essential to keeping our brains and bodies travelling at the speed and for the distance our lives require. Consider tossing a baggie of almonds or a banana in your purse, or keeping walnuts in your desk at work, instead of grabbing a candy bar on the go or a doughnut out of the break room. Picking up sushi or a spinach salad for lunch or dinner is faster and far better for you than ordering a pepperoni pizza when you’re too tired or busy to make dinner.

Perhaps the best solution for managing stress is to pay attention to your calendar alarm, meet your girlfriend at the gym, take your spinning class together (remember to breathe, girls), and then sit down, vent, catch up while eating a healthy dinner. Sounds great to me!

About the Author:
Whether it's through coaching, consulting or a combination of the two, Melissa enjoys partnering with individuals, teams and organizations to bring about positive change. Melissa currently serves on the Fresh Start Auxiliary Board. She has background in a number of different including operations, sales and marketing; and after extensive training, she earned an ATC as an executive coach.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Cycles of Stress

By Melissa Banuchi, Executive Coach

You’ve been here, right? We all have. And either you’re laughing as you read this, because you’re the woman on our left (now, now, put your arms down and stop howling, show-off!!!), or you’re shaking your head back and forth, wincing, (shuddering?) because you’re the woman on our right. Two women, perhaps the best of friends, who do everything together and have for years, yet, look at the different experiences they are having while doing the same exact thing. Yep, stress can be caused by everyday experiences like this ride, but to better understand and use/manage it, we need to look at and learn about positive and negative stress cycles.

Positive and Negative Stress? Oh MY!!!!
As I mentioned on Monday (Stress 101), and you can clearly see above, people’s opinions differ on whether a particular stress is positive (eustress) or negative (distress). Be careful of your assumptions around how you and others “should” interpret any experience or event (stress-wise). Competing for the championship, graduating from college, buying a house, getting married, starting a new job, managing a heavy workload, getting a promotion (you get the picture), each is positive or negative depending on the person’s mindset.

The Cycles of Stress
Another “Duh!” moment for everyone: Stress is a cycle. Okay, stay with me here. Whether it’s positive or negative, stress affects us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our responses to the stress we’re experiencing (our thoughts, emotions, mood, physical symptoms, behavior, words, actions, and so on), demonstrate whether we are in distress and creating more negative stress for ourselves (and possibly others), or in eustress, feeling exhilarated, and enjoying a positive experience (like the woman on our left, above). In eustress, we feel excited, creative, and use the stress in a positive way; as a motivator to inspire learning, take positive actions, give a stellar performance, win, and bring about growth, change, and energetic satisfaction. This is important because the way we interpret the stress we’re experiencing determines whether our stress cycle (and the affect the stress will have on us and what we perpetuate) will be positive or negative.

The Negative Stress Cycle
Negative Stress is typically the stress that we think of first, experience more often, and the one that the “Stress in America” annual APA report says is causing these symptoms in Americans:
  • Irritability or anger (42%)
  • Fatigue (37%)
  • Lack of interest, motivation or energy (35%)
  • Headaches (32%)
  • Upset stomachs (24%)
A smaller percentage report having a change in appetite (17%) and sex drive (11%). The report also pointed out the following unhealthy behaviors due to stress:
  • 29% skipped a meal
  • 39% reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods
  • 44% reported lying awake at night
It is important for people to understand that the cycle goes both ways: that our negative thoughts and physical symptoms are not only brought on by stress, but they bring on stress as well. Getting stuck in this cycle can do us a lot of harm.

Serious Negative Stress = Serious Health Issues

Long term exposure to negative stress is disruptive to nearly every system in our bodies, and can cause serious physical, mental and emotional health problems.
  • Pain
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Heart Disease
  • Mood Disorders
  • Digestive Problems
  • Substance Related Disorders
  • Fertility Problems
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Skin Conditions
  • Accelerated Aging

The Positive Stress Cycle
Need your suitcase, car, or your house packed well? I’m your girl. Everything you need for your ten day trip in a carry-on? No problem; and NO wrinkled clothes when you land in Amsterdam! Your driveway-full of camping ‘stuff’? It’ll be my PLEASURE to figure out how to best use the space in your car, make everything fit, leave you plenty of room to sit comfortably, and give you easy access to the things you’ll need while on the road! Planning, packing, and organizing THRILL me! Sound nuts? That’s okay; it’s MY positive stress.

Positive stress can be difficult for people to get their heads around. Most of what has been written, discussed and focused on by media and healthcare has very little to do with positive stress. But let’s try. Even thought the APA does not include positive stress in its annual report, here’s a partial list of what positive stress is causing in Americans:
  • Excitement
  • Joy
  • Boost of energy, creativity, focus, clarity, drive, confidence, openness to explore and learn
  • Higher levels of adrenaline & serotonin released
  • ‘Butterflies’ in our tummies
  • Increased determination to finish, win, achieve, perform well
Worth listing are some of the behaviors associated with positive stress:
  • Taking a chance (being adventurous – enthusiastically stepping outside your comfort zone)
  • Forming positive habits
  • Seeing things through
  • Exuberantly facing challenges
  • Confidently making positive changes
As is the case for negative stress cycles, positive stress cycles go both ways. Our positive behavioral response and relaxation self talk are not only brought on by positive stress, but they bring on positive stress as well.

Positive Stress = Positive Health Benefits

Positive Stress affects nearly every system in our bodies, and can cause physical, mental and emotional health benefits that seemingly we’d all welcome.
Physical, Mental & Emotional
  • Improved Performance
  • Increased Confidence
  • Increased Happiness
  • Improved Health
  • Increased Stamina
  • Increased Focus
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Motivation
  • Increased Relaxation
  • Increased Openness
Next Up:
There are numerous ways to manage the negative stress in our lives. It’s important that people learn about and incorporate the ones that work for them for all the reasons listed above, and more. Next, we’ll explore some of these strategies and their benefits. Hopefully you’ll find one or more that are right for you!

About the Author:
Whether it's through coaching, consulting or a combination of the two, Melissa enjoys partnering with individuals, teams and organizations to bring about positive change. Melissa currently serves on the Fresh Start Auxiliary Board. She has background in a number of different including operations, sales and marketing; and after extensive training, she earned an ATC as an executive coach.