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Tools To Build A Better Day

Have you ever felt that you were on a rack being pulled in many different directions? If you have, join the crowd. Many individuals struggle with the demands of family, work and community involvement. They try to be all things to all people at all times. Even though most know intellectually it is not possible, the pull is still there. How do we deal effectively with the many demands of a high stress lifestyle?

One clue comes from Hans Selye, who wrote the book, The Stress Of Life, a classic in stress theory and management. In his memoirs Hans Selye said that he had misnamed his research. He borrowed the term stress from physics. In physics, stress refers to an external force on an object. The term strain, which Dr. Selye preferred upon reflection, refers to the internal effect within an object as it responds to an external force. In this sense, there is no stress, as we commonly use the word, until an individual experiences strain, the internal biological response. Some people will find a situation stressful while others will not. Why is this important? It is important because it points us to our first tool to build a better day.

Tool #1: Recognize that in any situation, what WE bring to it can dramatically affect the results.

What we bring to a situation, our uniqueness, is the source of our power and strength. By focusing on our own actions we empower ourselves and fight the debilitating effects of the victim mentality. To enhance our focus on our personal power:

  1. Identify at least two options before acting.

  2. After acting ask: “How did my actions affect the results? How might I have acted differently.”

  3. View yourself as a problem solver, not a victim.

  4. Claim responsibility for the choices you have made.

  5. Use your personal power to make different choices when warranted.

  6. Celebrate your personal power.

Tool #2: Affirm Yourself And Others
This morning I woke up to the news: Overweight Girl Taunted By Classmates Commits Suicide. What a tragedy. What this girl needed, what we all need, is affirmation in our lives. Do we get it? Not always. Many professions, particularly sales oriented professions, are permeated with rejection. When we can’t be everything to everyone at all times we may experience rejection from our colleagues, friends and family as well. Knowing the danger of chronic rejection we must proactively create affirming environments for ourselves. The #1 place to start, however, is with ourselves. Make a commitment today. No more negative self-talk. When you catch yourself in the act record the thought. Reflect on it later and construct a different more affirming thought. In the future when the negative thought resurfaces, say, “NO!” and substitute the more affirming thought. We need to be our own best friends. We don’t need to do everything perfectly the first time. We are learners in the process of getting better.

We can also create a more affirming work and family environment by controlling what we do. Remember to show appreciation. Say, “Thank you." Recognize the accomplishments of others. Say, “Job well done. That’s terrific!" Remember what you sow you will reap. Sow positive energy and you will reap a more positive place to live and grow.

Tool #3: Focus on the vision of the life you desire and commit to take one step every day in that direction.
We all need to feel a sense of accomplishment. Focus makes accomplishment possible. Focus first on defining a vision. Focus next on defining a path. Focus lastly on defining discrete achievable goals, then commit to action. Only with focused action can we experience the joys of accomplishment. Use time management tools to prevent a day from becoming unfocused and enjoy success.

Tool #4: Maintain enthusiasm through activities of renewal. If we want to live a vibrant life then we must keep our body, mind and soul healthy. Time spent to enhance our health makes good business sense. Good nutrition, exercise and rest strengthen our body. Stimulating friends, hobbies and reading keep our mind growing. Inspirational literature, supportive friends, music and art can nourish our souls. It is important to take time to renew ourselves. Without health, wealth loses all its meaning and value. Take time to smell the roses. How can we smell the roses, though, with a thousand demands on our time? The key is to keep activities in alignment with your vision so that your activities energize each other. Prioritize activities according the aligned value. If an activity is not in alignment with your vision, eliminate it if possible. Remember, to everything there is a season. Everything does not need to be done now.

Tool #5: Triggers A trigger is an object that reminds one of an important value or life lesson. One of my triggers is a prism. When I hold my prism up to the sun, the white light of the sun is separated into a beautiful rainbow. When I hold it up to artificial light there is no rainbow. When I look at my prism I remember that surface appearances can deceive. I am reminded to look further. Perhaps I will find a rainbow or perhaps I won’t but I will be wiser. I am also reminded to guard my own integrity so that I can bear the scrutiny of someone else’s prism. Develop triggers that have meaning for you. They will help you maintain balance and focus in life.

Tool #6: Recognize that it is up to you and to me to build a better day.
We have the power and responsibility. We can make each day better. Even when we can’t build a perfect day, we can build a better day. Let’s do so and rejoice.
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Marty Taub, RN, MSN is a registered nurse, professional speaker and EnerPrime distributer. Individuals interested in a speaker for an upcoming event or nutritional information my contact her at 916-966-5247.

Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008
Marty Taub