Money Management

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Information of the Ages

Learn wisdom from extra-ordinary leaders of the ages.

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Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. Walt Disney


The Uses of Temptation

The soul, in its journey towards perfection, passes through three distinct stages. The first is the animal stage, in which the man is content to live, in the gratification of his senses, unawakened to the knowledge of sin, or of his divine inheritance, and altogether unconscious of the spiritual possibilities within himself.

The second is the dual stage, in which the mind is continually oscillating between its animal and divine tendencies having become awakened to the consciousness of both. It is during this stage that temptation plays its part in the progress of the soul.

It is a stage of continual fighting, of falling and rising, of sinning and repenting, for the man, still loving, and reluctant to leave, the gratifications in which he has so long lived, yet also aspires to the purity and excellence of the spiritual state, and he is continually mortified by an undecided choice.

Urged on by the divine life within him, this stage becomes at last one of deep anguish and suffering, and then the soul is ushered into the third stage, that of knowledge, in which the man rises above both sin and temptation, and enters into peace.

Temptation, like contentment in sin, is not a lasting condition, as the majority of people suppose; it is a passing phase, an experience through which the soul must pass; but as to whether a man will pass through that condition in this present life, and realise holiness and heavenly rest here and now, will depend entirely upon the strength of his intellectual and spiritual exertions, and upon the intensity and ardour with which he searches for Truth.

Temptation, with all its attendant torments can be overcome here and now, but it can only be overcome by knowledge. It is a condition of darkness or of semi-darkness. The fully enlightened soul is proof against all temptation.

When a man fully understands the source, nature, and meaning of temptation, in that hour he will conquer it, and will rest from his long travail; but whilst he remains in ignorance, attention to religious observances, and much praying and reading of Scripture will fail to bring him peace.

If a man goes out to conquer an enemy, knowing nothing of his enemy’s strength, tactics, or place of ambush, he will not only ignominiously fail, but will speedily fall into the hands of the enemy.

He who would overcome his enemy the tempter, must discover his stronghold and place of concealment, and must also find out the unguarded gates in his own fortress where his enemy effects so easy an entrance. This necessitates continual meditation, ceaseless watchfulness, and constant and rigid introspection which lays bare, before the spiritual eyes of the tempted one, the vain and selfish motives of his soul.

This is the holy warfare of the saints; it is the fight upon which every soul enters when it awakens out of its long sleep of animal indulgence.

Men fail to conquer, and the fight is indefinitely prolonged, because they labour, almost universally, under two delusions: first, that all temptations come from without; and second, that they are tempted because of their goodness.

Whilst a man is held in bondage by these two delusions, he will make no progress; when he has shaken them off, he will pass on rapidly from victory to victory, and will taste of spiritual joy and rest.

Two searching truths must take the place of these two delusions, and those truths are: first, that all temptation comes from within; and second, that a man is tempted because of the evil that is within him. The idea that God, a devil, evil spirits, or outward objects are the source of temptation must be dispelled.

The source and cause of all temptation is in the inward desire; that being purified or eliminated, outward objects and extraneous powers are utterly powerless to move the soul to sin or to temptation.

The outward object is merely the occasion of the temptation, never the cause; this is in the desire of the one tempted. If the cause existed in the object, all men would be tempted alike, temptation could never be overcome, and men would be hopelessly doomed to endless torment; but seated, as it is, in his own desires, he has the remedy in his own hands, and can become victorious over all temptation by purifying those desires.

A man is tempted because there are within him certain desires or states of mind which he has come to regard as unholy. These desires may lie asleep for a long time, and the man may think that he has got rid of them, when suddenly, on the presentation of an outward object, the sleeping desire wakes up and thirsts of immediate gratification; and this is the state of temptation.

The good in a man is never tempted. Goodness destroys temptation. It is the evil in a man that is aroused and tempted. The measure of a man’s temptations is the exact register of his own unholiness.

As a man purifies his heart, temptation ceases, for when a certain unlawful desire has been taken out of the heart, the object which formerly appealed to it can no longer do so, but becomes dead and powerless, for there is nothing left in the heart that can respond to it.

The honest man cannot be tempted to steal, let the occasion be ever so opportune; the man of purified appetites cannot be tempted to gluttony and drunkenness, though the viands and wines be the most luscious; he of an enlightened understanding, whose mind is calm in the strength of inward virtue, can never be tempted to anger, irritability or revenge, and the wiles and charms of the wanton fall upon the purified heart as empty meaningless shadows.

Temptation shows a man just where he is sinful and ignorant, and is a means of urging him on to higher altitudes of knowledge and purity. Without temptation the soul cannot grow and become strong, there could be no wisdom, no real virtue; and though there would be lethargy and death, there could be no peace and no fulness of life.

When temptation is understood and conquered, perfection is assured, and such perfection may become any man’s who is willing to cast every selfish and impure desire by which he is possessed, into the sacrificial fire of knowledge.

Let men, therefore, search diligently for Truth, realising that whilst they are subject to temptation, they have not comprehended Truth, and have much to learn.

Ye who are tempted know, then, that ye are tempted of yourselves. “For every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts,” says the Apostle James. You are tempted because you are clinging to the animal within you and are unwilling to let go; because you are living in the false mortal self which is ever devoid of all true knowledge, knowing nothing, seeking nothing, but its own immediate gratification, ignorant of every Truth, and of every divine Principle.

Clinging to that self, you continually suffer the pains of three separate torments; the torment of desire, the torment of repletion, and the torment of remorse.

“So flameth Trishna,

lust and thirst of things.

Eager, ye cleave to shadows,

dote on dreams;

A false self in the midst ye plant,

and make A World around which seems;

Blind to the height beyond;

deaf to the sound

Of sweet airs breathed from far past Indra’s sky;

Dumb to the summons of the true life kept

For him who false puts by,

So grow the strifes and lusts which make earth’s war,

So grieve poor cheated hearts and flow salt tears;

So wax the passions, envies, angers, hates;

So years chase blood-stained years

With wild red feet.”

In that false self lies the germ of every suffering, the blight of every hope, the substance of every grief. When you are ready to give it up; when you are willing to have laid bare before you all its selfishness, impurity, and ignorance, and to confess its darkness to the uttermost, then will you enter upon the life of self-knowledge and self-mastery; you will become conscious of the god within you, of that divine nature which, seeking no gratification, abides in a region of perpetual joy and peace where suffering cannot come and where temptation can find no foothold.

Establishing yourself, day by day, more and more firmly in that inward Divinity, the time will at last come when you will be able to say with Him whom millions worship, few understand and fewer still follow, -“The Prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me.”


The Overcoming of Self

Many people have very confused and erroneous ideas concerning the terms “the overcoming of self”, “the eradication of desire”, and “the annihilation of the personality.” Some (particularly the intellectual who are prone to theories) regard it as a metaphysical theory altogether apart from life and conduct; while others conclude that it is the crushing out of all life, energy and action, and the attempt to idealize stagnation and death.

These errors and confusions, arising as they do in the minds of individuals, can only be removed by the individuals themselves; but perhaps it may make their removal a little less difficult (for those who are seeking Truth) by presenting the matter in another way.

The doctrine of the overcoming or annihilation of self is simplicity itself; indeed, so simple, practical, and close at hand is it that a child of five, whose mind has not yet become clouded with theories, theological schemes and speculative philosophies, would be far more likely to comprehend it than many older people who have lost their hold upon simple and beautiful truths by the adoption of complicated theories.

The annihilation of self consists in weeding out and destroying all those elements in the soul which lead to division, strife, suffering, disease and sorrow. It does not mean the destruction of any good and beautiful and peace-producing quality.

For instance, when a man is tempted to irritability or anger, and by a great effort overcomes the selfish tendency, casts it from him, and acts from the spirit of patience and love, in that moment of self-conquest he practices the annihilation of self. Every noble man practises it in part, though he may deny it in his words, and he who carries out this practice to its completion, eradicating every selfish tendency until only the divinely beautiful qualities remain, he is said to have annihilated the personality (all the personal elements) and to have arrived at Truth.

The self which is to be annihilated is composed of the following ten worthless and sorrow-producing elements:












It is the total abandonment, the complete annihilation of these ten elements, for they comprise the body of desire.

On the other hand it teaches the cultivation, practice, and preservation of the following ten divine qualities:











These comprise the Body of Truth, and to live entirely in them is to be a doer and knower of the Truth, is to be an embodiment of Truth.

The combination of the ten elements is called Self or the Personality; the combination of the ten qualities produces what is called Truth; the Impersonal; the abiding, real and immortal Man.

It will thus be seen that it is not the destruction of any noble, true, and enduring quality that is taught, but only the destruction of those things that are ignoble, false and evanescent.

Neither is this overcoming of self the deprivation of gladness, happiness and joy, but rather is it the constant possession of these things by living in the joy-begetting qualities. It is the abandonment of the lust for enjoyment, but not of enjoyment itself; the destruction of the thirst for pleasure, but not of pleasure itself; the annihilation of the selfish longing for love, and power, and possessions themselves.

It is the preservation of all those things which draw and bind men together in unity and concord, and, far from idealising stagnation and death, urges men to the practice of those qualities which lead to the highest, noblest, most effective, and enduring action. He whose actions proceed from some or all of the ten elements wastes his energies upon negations, and does not preserve his soul; but he whose actions proceed from some or all of the ten qualities, he truly and wisely acts and so preserves his soul.

He who lives largely in the ten earthly elements, and who is blind and deaf to the spiritual verities, will find no attraction in the doctrine of self-surrender, for it will appear to him as the complete extinction of his being; but he who is endeavouring to live in the ten heavenly qualities will see the glory and beauty of the doctrine, and will know it as the foundation of Life Eternal.

He will also see that when men apprehend and practise it, industry, commerce, government, and every worldly activity will be purified; and action, purpose and intelligence, instead of being destroyed, will be intensified and enlarged, but freed from strife and pain.


True Happiness

To maintain an unchangeable sweetness of disposition, to think only thoughts that are pure and gentle, and to be happy under all circumstances - such blessed conditions and such beauty of character and life should be the aim of all, and particularly so of those who wish to lessen the misery of the world.

If anyone has failed to lift himself above ungentleness, impurity, and unhappiness, he is greatly deluded if he imagines he can make the world happier by the propagation of any theory or theology. He who is daily living in harshness, impurity, or unhappiness is day by day adding to the sum of the world’s misery; whereas he who continually lives in goodwill, and does not depart from happiness, is day by day increasing the sum of the world’s happiness, and this independently of any religious beliefs which these may or may not hold.

He who has not learned how to be gentle, or giving, loving and happy, has learned very little, great though his book-learning and profound his acquaintance which the letter of Scripture may be, for it is in the process of becoming gentle, pure, and happy that the deep, real and enduring lessons of life are learned. Unbroken sweetness of conduct in the face of all outward antagonism is the infallible indication of a self-conquered soul, the witness of wisdom, and the proof of the possession of Truth.

A sweet and happy soul is the ripened fruit of experience and wisdom, and it sheds abroad the invisible yet powerful aroma of its influence, gladdening the hearts of others, and purifying the world.

And all who will, and who have not yet commenced, may begin this day, if they will so resolve, to live sweetly and happily, as becomes the dignity of a true manhood or womanhood. Do not say that your surroundings are against you.

A man’s surroundings are never against him; they are there to aid him, and all those outward occurrences over which you lose sweetness and peace of mind are the very conditions necessary to your development, and it is only by meeting and overcoming them that you can learn, and grow, and ripen. The fault is in yourself.

Pure happiness is the rightful and healthy condition of the soul, and all may possess it if they will live purely and unselfish.

“Have goodwill

To all that lives,

letting unkindness die,

And greed and wrath,

so that your lives be made

Like soft airs passing by.”

Is this too difficult for you? Then unrest and unhappiness will continue to dwell with you. Your belief and aspiration and resolve are all that are necessary to make it easy, to render it in the near future a thing accomplished, a blessed state realized.

Despondency, irritability, anxiety and complaining, condemning and grumbling- all these are thought-cankers, mind-diseases; they are the indications of a wrong mental condition, and those who suffer therefrom would do well to remedy their thinking and conduct.

It is true there is much sin and misery in the world, so that all our love and compassion are needed, but our misery is not needed- there is already too much of that. No, it is our cheerfulness and happiness that are needed for there is too little of that. We can give nothing better to the world than beauty of life and character; without this, all other things are vain; this is pre-eminently excellent; it is enduring, real, and not to be overthrown, and it includes all joy and blessedness.

Cease to dwell pessimistically upon the wrongs around you; dwell no more in complaints about, and revolt against, the evil in others, and commence to live free from all wrong and evil yourself. Peace of mind, pure religion, and true reform lie this way.

If you would have others true, be true; if you would have the world emancipated from misery and sin, emancipate yourself; if you would have your home and your surroundings happy, be happy. You can transform everything around you if you will transform yourself.

“Don’t bewail and bemoan.....

Don’t waste yourself in rejection,

nor bark against the bad,

but chant the beauties of the good.”

And this you will naturally and spontaneously do as you realise the good in yourself.


Building Energy and Battling Stress

Do you feel like you have too big a work load and piles and piles of paper are always on top of your desk? Do you feel that there are so many things to do yet you have little time to do them? Are you having trouble meeting the deadline in school and at work? Are you disturbed by unexpected circumstances and situations which ruin your schedule? Everyone experiences all of these things at one time or another, and they can be summarized in just one word: stress.

Stress is basically a pressure on the human body to elicit a response to a given situation. When we respond positively to a situation, the result could be positive emotions, such as excitement and encouragement.

But to most people, the word “stress” evokes a negative situation where the flight or fight reaction is triggered, accompanied by the release of hormones in our body, which cause us to have negative feelings, such as anxiety, nervousness and confusion. When the stressful situation lasts over a long period of time, the stress becomes chronic, and this can eventually lead to burn-out, discouragement, frustration, and all kinds of emotional baggage. But the bottom line is that stress drains your energy.

There are many sources of stress which could drain our energy, such as being stressed out or pressured too much in a certain relationship, family conflicts or the passing away of a family member or a loved one, ongoing schedules with your career and with work, and not having enough time to relax and to rejuvenate, and always being on the move.

But stress can bring out either a positive or a negative response in our feelings. An example of positive stress is if you have a test for tomorrow, the stress that you feel today might bring you the needed energy to study and cram for the test with encouragement and excitement. But you could also react in a negative way to the same stressor, which could propel you to actually do the opposite – you could have the tendency to lose concentration and not focus on your studies. In effect, it’s the way you respond to the things around you that makes you stressed out or makes you relaxed.

Stress is similar to muscle tension, in that what you need is balance – not too much and not too little. If you don’t have enough stimulation in your life, you will soon feel bored and wonder whether your life has any meaning. But add a dollop too much, and then you might go into feelings of overwhelm and loss of control. Both situations will leave you feeling listless and dissatisfied.

But the point of balance is very different depending on the individual. Some people get excited just wondering what they’re going to have for dinner tonight or which TV program they ought to watch. Others think there’s nothing better than a good car race or an afternoon of bungee jumping to make them feel satisfied with their day. The important thing is to learn, by trial and error, what level of stimulation you feel comfortable with, and then how to maintain a level that is comfortable and feels right for you.

So what do you do about it when you are stressed out and when you feel your energy is being sapped? How do you bring back the unlimited energy needed to keep you on the go?

Below are three ways in which to battle stress and to bring out the unlimited energy within you – the scientific approach, the holistic approach and the practical approach.

Let us discuss each one of them.

The scientific way: Here are a couple of practical tips for you to battle stress and give you unlimited energy all day long.

Massage therapy. Hospitals are now incorporating massage therapy programs into their system to relieve stress and to bring back the energy needed to revitalize a person. Statistics have shown that 71 percent of massage therapy is being utilized for stress management, while 67 percent is used for pain management. Massage has been shown to be quite effective in boosting the human body’s energy system and easing pain in any part of the body.

Meditation. In meditation, you are able to quiet your thoughts – especially negative ones – coming into your head. These thoughts are filled with everyday unexpected circumstances, decision-making, stress and judgments. In addition, meditation can go deep into your subconscious. When you are able to tap into your subconscious, you may able to bring out the energy within you to have that positive glow that you need every day.

Treatment through acupuncture. Acupuncture is known for its ability to treat a patient by having needles stuck in some points of the body to relieve a person of stress, and anxiety. But more than that, acupuncture aids the patient in opening up the blockage of the energy flow found within the body. This way, energy flows easily all throughout every system of the body to strengthen the weak parts and to balance the energy of the body.

There are also other techniques to boost your energy and to bring back the fire and the passion to meet your responsibilities to your family, with your career, in school and with your relationships.

The holistic approach: Here are a couple of ways to battle stress through sessions with a professional. This is also called Holistic Stress Management.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). This method is applied by looking at a huge problem and by breaking it into smaller pieces. Doing this will change the way you think, feel and behave, because as you find solutions to each small part of the problem, you come to realize that you are capable of handling the whole problem, and it will no longer cause you stress. This boosts the energy that is waiting to emerge from within you.

Time management. This is quite important because when you can manage your time effectively, you manage your workload well and then you are able to minimize the stress that you feel. When stress is released or diminished, what else to replace it with other than energy? And unlimited energy at that, which makes you active and agile throughout your day.

Assertiveness Training. Assertiveness training is basically learning how to stand up to people who may be asking too much of you or taking advantage of you in some way, so that you can say “no” in a particular situation, thus avoiding the stress that would come from saying “yes” and regretting it later because you had let yourself be too overburdened with work. In this kind of training, you learn to express yourself in a mild and calm manner, thus also reducing the stress of a confrontation, and making available the energy you need to face all of these situations head on.

Journaling. Keeping a journal in your home and writing down the things that caused you stress during the day also relieves you of that stress. You can also write down how you were able to respond to that particular situation and the people involved, as well as your solutions and how to approach it when it crops up again.

The practical method: Here are a couple of ways to battle stress at your own pace, in your own time and to give unlimited energy to your body.

Visualization. Try to visualize yourself in an environment where there are no problems and only you and the environment exists. This will calm and relax you and might even give you the peace of mind that you need. This will help bring back the unlimited energy needed to boost your life.

Physical Postures. Posture is indeed beneficial in conserving energy in your life. An incorrect way of standing or sitting can cause fatigue and drain your energy without your even realizing it, especially if your bad posture is habitual. Both the Feldenkreis method and the Alexander Technique help people to straighten their posture.

Posture is also a circular type of thing, where we take on a bent-over posture when we feel tired, defeated or unworthy, but at the same time, taking on this type of posture tells that we are tired, defeated or unworthy. So if we make an effort to change our posture even though we have these feelings, it can help us to get over those same feelings, because our body is sending us signals of being in control, confident and full of energy, and if we can keep it up long enough (and it’s not that easy) we eventually manage to change our attitude to a more positive one.

Challenge. Embrace challenge and welcome it with open arms. Try to visualize the challenges that you face each day and also visualize the solutions that you need to overcome them. This way, when you are faced with a similar circumstance, you will know what to do. When thinking of a situation as a challenge, it gives you unlimited energy.

Benefits of stress
How astoundingly good do you feel when you are able to relieve yourself of all that stress, and, in turn, tap into unlimited energy? Getting rid of stress is close to impossible since every one of us experiences it now and then but managing stress is a different story.

When we are able to manage stress positively, there are benefits that are attached to it, and the most obvious is that it brings back the vitality and the energy needed to continue working, needed to continue studying, needed to continue living. There are also other positive emotions that go along with managing stress, such as embracing any situation that comes along the way with positive thoughts, having the vigor to face life with unlimited energy, and having the ability to clarify your thoughts.


Following Sleeping Patterns

In life, there are three steps to building up energy which have been taught in schools: food, exercise and sleeping. These are the three elements that create energy and sustain one person to do all the things that he is supposed to accomplish for that day.

Now, let us study one particular element – sleeping. Ever since you were young, you have been taught to sleep at least eight hours a day.

Sometimes, when you lack sleep, you lack the energy that you need for the day. At other times, when you oversleep, you sometimes fail to build the energy you need the most.

This is not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes a person gets little sleep but still has the energy to work a full eight hours the next day. There are also people who never sleep much but still have all the energy they need. Still others need more than the usual eight hours, but everyone needs a certain amount of sleep at night in order to function well during the day.

So what makes energy in your body build up when you sleep? What is the connection between sleep and energy and how does this connection work for everyone? Does the sleeping time have any connection with that and energy?

Let us study the connection between having unlimited energy and sleeping. What are the important components of sleeping that make unlimited energy? What ground rules should we follow in order to have unlimited energy? How does sleeping make up for the energy that we need to use every day?

Tips on Waking up with Energy
Have you ever felt like going back to sleep again once you have woken up from a peaceful slumber? Do you feel tired even a minute after waking up? The reason for all of this is that you didn’t get a peaceful night's sleep, and your energy has depleted with all the tosses and turns that you suffered during the night. So what is the solution to this? It’s quite simple – you only need to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. When you have a good night’s sleep, your body is able to relax and to repair itself from all the fatigue and stress that you experience during the day. Here are a couple of tips to help you wake up feeling rejuvenated and energized.

Empty your mind of unwanted thoughts before going to bed. Having your head filled with different thoughts makes you want to focus on those thoughts, and not on sleeping. Don’t think about that upcoming test, or don’t worry too much about the big presentation for tomorrow. You can clear your thoughts by taking a deep breath or writing something in your journal.

Don’t eat too much before going to sleep. When you eat a lot before going to bed, your body has to work hard so that your food will digest properly.

Never drink alcoholic beverages before going to sleep. Drinking alcohol prior to going to bed makes heart irregularity possible. Just like eating too much before going to sleep, your body has to work doubly hard to break down these toxins. Even one alcoholic drink makes you toss and turn in your bed.

Make a routine. When you sleep, try to sleep at the same time every day. This way, your body will get used to the routine that you made for yourself.

As stated before, get enough sleep. By trial and error, you can determine your own personal limits. Then, stick to them.

Minimize stimulation prior to going to bed. This means that before going to sleep, limit your time in any activity that would build up energy when you are already ready to sleep.

Go to bed early. The hours of sleep before midnight are said to be twice as beneficial as those after midnight.

When all of these are implemented before going to bed, you can be quite sure that you will wake up with the unlimited energy that you need for the day.

Sleep Disorders and Unlimited Energy
There are actually different kinds of sleep disorders. We will just discuss in brief the most common ones.

One of them is insomnia, the most obvious, wherein a person can’t sleep for hours after going to bed. He will just toss and turn. There have been studies that people with insomnia actually have a lot of things on their minds, whether positive or negative, that bring about this sleep disorder. It takes them about 2-4 hours of tossing and turning before they finally go to sleep. Insomnia causes a depletion of energy in the body and the difficulty for a person to do the things he is supposed to do during the day.

There are three less well-known sleeping disorders which can also affect a person's energy levels. They are all related to the body's circadian rhythm, that is, the 24 hour daily cycle.

One of them is what is called DCR.
DCR stands for Delayed Circadian Rhythm Disorder, which means that your body clock is going slower than the usual 24-hour clock rhythm. The effects of this would be getting up groggy and with low energy levels in the morning; you might also experience the same symptoms later in the day. With DCR symptoms, there is generally a lack of energy in the morning, difficulty in concentration and focus, and at times, those who suffer from DCR oversleep and have trouble getting up in the morning. Anyone who suffers from DCR has their body clock moved backwards and therefore, it takes several hours for a person to be active, alive and energetic in the morning. Aside from that, the ability to function at school or work might suffer because you lack the energy, the alertness and the ability that you need.

The only solution is Dawn Simulation, which means that the person affected with this disorder should seek help from a clinic or a laboratory. A shaft of light will enter through the retina of the eye to the brain’s nucleus or to the body clock that is present in the hypothalamus. The reason for the light is that it also serves just like a morning sunrise where the light signal increases slowly, providing the right amount of light. When combined with morning light, it improves the effectiveness of treating this kind of disorder.

This medical procedure would bring about increased energy for a person in the morning and he would feel energetic, alive and active with his responsibilities.

ACR stand for Advanced Circadian Rhythm Disorder but unlike the DCR symptoms, the body clock of a person undergoing ACR Symptoms has his body clock going faster than the usual 24-hour cycle. This means that your energy tends to run out on you before the 24-hour cycle is over. People who suffer from this disorder often sleep less than eight hours a day and wakes up early, therefore, depleting their energy before the 24-hour cycle is finished. In an advanced stage, ACR is quite similar to DCR in that it drains energy from the body and makes you feel weak and tired at the same time.

When you suffer from this type of sleeping disorder, you tend to lose energy or feel tired in the afternoon or early evenings.

Just like DCR, the only solution to bring back the energy needed for you to fulfill your duties for the day is to undergo a procedure which uses a specialized bright light and is quite effective.

Bright light is then often used during the time when you feel you are at your weakest. In this case, during the afternoons and early evenings. Also, try to avoid the bright light before 9 in the morning as much as possible. If you can’t avoid going out of the house, simply wear sunglasses. You can also try to make your night time as dark as possible and try to shun out light when you need to get up in the morning.

In this way, you will revive your energy again.
Circadian Amplitude Disorder (CAD) simply means that your body clock may be generating lower amounts of night or day hormones than needed. If you have a sleep disorder such as this one, the problem doesn’t lie in whether you have a hard time going to sleep or waking up. The problem with CAD is that the quality of sleep may lessen, which means that you will probably have limited energy during the day.

Several of the symptoms are a lack of energy when waking up, which means the lack of ability to concentrate or to focus on your responsibilities for the day.

Serotonin is needed to bring the energy that you need for the day, but since this hormone isn’t produced much, you won’t feel active during the day. The hormone melatonin isn’t produced enough either, which means you are less productive in your work and you are vulnerable to sickness.

To bring unlimited energy back into your life, you also need light stimulation. It doesn’t matter what time of day you do it, since the Circadian rhythm of waking and sleeping hasn’t changed. Dawn Stimulation has also been proven useful for this kind of sleep disorder.


The Power of the Mind

Have you ever heard of this old adage, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” Well, let me rephrase this a little bit. What if we change some of those words to come out with a saying like this one: “Tell me what you have in your mind and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Do you think this saying could be true? Do you think that the mind can really have an adverse effect on who you are and what it does to your physical self?

There have been numerous stories supporting this claim – from the mild to the ridiculous to even dangerous situations.

Here is an example: An individual who is so engrossed in reading suspense and mystery novels could develop a negative attitude in life because of the books he is reading. This is the same as those people who also play violent video games, and watch disturbing news on television.

And then there are those people who take what they watch, read or play to extremes. An episode of CSI: Las Vegas a couple of seasons ago shows a group of young men and women who immortalized the video games they were horridly into by doing exactly what they had played: earning points by gunning down a couple of people without any reason at all.

And then there was the most recent incident that happened at Virginia Tech in the US. A loner and an avid violent video game player killed some of his teachers and students and wounded a couple of others at their state school. This brought about countless and numerous emotions, obviously negative ones, from the victims and from their relatives.

But let us not forget the emotions that can be brought out from positive experiences as well. Whether you are filled with joy, happiness, or excitement, these can also have a direct or an indirect correlation with the activities that you do. A joyful person is a person who looks at a glass half full rather than half empty.

In relation to the mind, do all of these have anything to do with unlimited energy? Does the mind have something to do with how energy is released from the body? With exercise and other relaxation techniques, it’s quite obvious and is even directly related.

But in connection with the mind, how is this possible? If you’re angry with the character in the story you are reading and then you take it into action, does this bring out unlimited energy in you? If so, what kind of energy and does it help you or not?

If the violent video game influenced you so much and you do want to imitate what you have just played, what kind of energy does it bring out of you? If you are in a joyful or happy mood and you want to share that joy with others, how is unlimited energy connected with this? Can energy, then, stimulate or enhances the brain to bring out the best, or the worst in you?

This chapter tackles these questions and more as it delves into how unlimited energy that is stored in the body comes out through the emotions that you feel almost every day – whether it be a positive or a negative one.

Positive versus Negative Thinking
Let us first discuss how positive thinking affects energy in our lives. There is this thought that was formulated called, “Kabala,” which literally means “to receive.” Kabalists, or the people who are involved with this concept, believe that since every one of us receives everything in the world – from air, water, love, food, and money – it is in our nature to receive and to give. But Kabalists believe that there is a right order and a right way for those involved to do this because everything that we receive in this world is made up of energy.

Everything that we eat, everything that we feel, the positive emotions, such as love, giving and receiving, can all be harnessed into the universe and therefore bring out a positive energy within each of us. This can only be accomplished by a desire to receive this energy into the self and the desire to share this energy with others. When you shift the focus of energy from yourself onto others, you create a positive charge of energy. Since Kabalists believe that this energy is indeed in a perfect working balance in the universe, this energy will eventually come back to you – in a similar positive manner.

The only way that this energy can come back to you is to restrict this energy so that you may share it with others. This, in turn, will create positive energy in a number of ways, such as building up positive wealth, conferring the power to heal or giving you the desire to accomplish what you want.

But the question remains as to how to restrict this flow of energy so that you can share it with others. In the concept of Kabala, true sharing is mainly restricting the flow of energy that comes to you. Simply, you do this by changing your mindset or the way you think, by training yourself to think positive thoughts, to have a desire not just to receive but to give as well because when you give more, you receive something better in return.

When you say to yourself something like this, “If I make lots of money this year, I will give it to the poor, I will donate it to the church, I will donate it to charity or will donate it to the nearest poor hospital for sick children,” then you are channeling your energy into a positive direction – by giving up something that you have because you are doing good for others. You are helping sick children get well, or you are helping those who are in most need of your help.

But at the same time, if you are feeling a lack of emotions and doing nothing about it, then you could even stimulate and highlight the pain and the anguish that another person is feeling because you are using negative energy. If we learn to channel all our positive energies in our brain to do something good or to help someone in need, then our real desire for wealth, and for happiness are right there in front of our noses.

There is, of course, the channeling of negative energy into our bodies. If you donate to charity, for example, just so you can have your picture taken for a local newspaper or you donate to charity because there is a reward that you’ll be receiving or that you’ll be congratulated by a known politician because of the things than you have done for the sick children, then the flow of energy stops there.

So, in other words, we all need to tap the positive energy within each one of us because it gives us something much better when we share or when we receive with the right motivation.

To gain unlimited energy, our minds must be filled with positive thoughts, with positive motivation and with the purpose or intent of giving something without expecting anything in return because something much better is waiting for us on the other side.

Kabala can work in your life – through the act of being generous and through other good deeds that you do in everyday life.

Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
All of us, in one way or another, experience depression and anxiety, or sometimes panic attacks, especially when dealing with circumstances or struggles beyond our control. It seems as if these negative emotions are interconnected with each other, and they truly are. But in some cases, they differ in terms of their symptoms. However, these emotions bring out unlimited energy within each one of us – energy that is stored and willing to get out, be it in a positive or a negative way.

Let us analyze each of these negative emotions one by one.

Depression is defined as an expression wherein a person experiences a mild or severe case of loneliness, with feelings of being unloved and unwanted. Symptoms of depression are usually withdrawal, difficulty eating or sleeping, and inability to do the things one used to like to do. Some depressed people also have suicidal tendencies. When a person is depressed, his thoughts are distinctly negative.

So how can a person with a mild or severe case of depression bring out the positive energy in himself so that all of these negative emotions will not get the upper hand?

Think about this, when you have energy or the lack of it, it influences a lot of things such as your mood, your temper, your attitude or your behavior. When you have energy abundantly, you are very alert and productive and eager to do the things that you like to do. But for a person with severe depression, bringing out the unlimited energy is as difficult as walking on water.

But there’s still a lot of hope for depressive people. They still can bring out the unlimited energy stored inside so that they may able to bring back their enthusiasm for life.

Here are five processes that help to give you unlimited energy and happiness.

Evaluate and analyze what you want to do in the future. Find the time to return back to your favorite hobbies and give yourself a break once in a while by doing something you’ve never done before, such as tackling a new sport or indulging in a new experience.

Try to imagine what your future would be like. If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it? Just make sure that the vision of your life is vivid and has clarity so that there will be no unclear messages involved.

Close your ears to negative feedback. Those people who are depressed are usually those who can’t take criticisms lightly, even if it's constructive. Just do it literally – close your ears and say something positive about yourself. Tune out all those negative comments that you might hear from others.

Make friends. The best way to get out of depression is to go out and meet new friends. Have fun with them by participating in their favorite sports or hobbies. Likewise, return back to your old friends and talk to them when you feel depressed. This could boost your energy by just being with your friends and making the most out of life.

Evaluate what you need to do and what you don’t need to do by assessing who you are, and what you most likely have at that moment. This is in terms of your health, your wealth, and your time.

Anxiety and panic attacks are quite similar in the sense that they offer the same symptoms to an individual. The only difference is the cause that brings out these anxiety and panic attacks. To bring out the unlimited energy stored inside the human body, there are several cures to get rid of panic attacks and anxiety.

One of them is called EFT or the Emotional Freedom Techniques. Take note of the word freedom. It connotes a lot of things, and one of them is freedom from panic attacks and anxiety and giving unlimited energy in the body to restore that same glow you used to have before, and to be energetic at all times, no matter if there is a discrepancy in your schedule or something unexpected crops up. To some people, these are just some of the symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety. They are already used to a routine and when a friend unexpectedly drops by for a visit, a presentation at work is suddenly put on your lap or a meeting you head blows up in your face, then panic attacks and anxiety may not be far behind.

This method was developed because it was believed that all the negative emotions in the body are an interruption in the body's energy system, and therefore, obscures the energy stored in the body. This process is quite similar to acupuncture except that it doesn’t use needles to cure. Instead, the process involves stimulating energy meridian points on the body by tapping on them with fingertips. In addition, EFT also taps the additional source of unlimited energy in the body. This technique could actually eliminate feelings of stress and anxiety in the person.

Repressed Emotions
While depression and anxiety are rather straightforward reactions to difficult life situations, sometimes people cannot even look at their problem or admit that it exists. And so they go into denial and repress their negative emotions altogether. Pushing the problem into the back of their mind gives a certain sense of relief and reduction of stress, but only in the short run.

The problem does not really go away, and at some level, they know it. In fact, they must always struggle to keep denying the problem and to keep it from popping back up to the surface of their consciousness. This demands a huge effort, but since it is an unconscious reaction, the person is not aware of the effort and of the huge expenditure of energy they are constantly putting out. Even though they do not show symptoms of depression, and will insist that everything is fine, thank you, they may complain of fatigue, or of being overworked, or of how exhausting the children are, or just feel that life is a struggle. And in fact, for them, it is, but they don't know the deeper issues that cause them to have that feeling.

This can go on for years, and often the only way for them to get out this quandary is to have some kind of crisis where they are no longer able to maintain their defenses and are obliged to look under the cover and face the thing (or things) they have been running away from.

If you suspect that something is lurking in your subconscious, remember that shadows are often much bigger and scarier than reality, and look for a good therapist who can gently help you to confront your hidden issues. Once they are finally laid to rest, you'll be surprised at how much energy you suddenly have!

Undiagnosed Illnesses
In the following section we will be talking about the “mind” side of the mind-body connection, but don't forget that the “body” side of the question may reveal hidden physical issues that could be draining your energy and need to be addressed.

So besides delving into your psyche for hidden psychological factors, if you are suffering from fatigue and never seem to have the energy you need, you should get a thorough medical checkup. If you get a clean bill of health, great! Then you can start applying the methods in this book. And if your doctor does find a problem, you can still benefit from these methods in addition to the appropriate medical treatment.

If you feel that there is something physical that the medical profession has not detected, then you're going to have to do some research on your own. There are a number of things that can sap your energy that traditional allopathic medicine does not always diagnose. These include chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, but also parasites, such as candida or pin worms. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also play havoc with your energy level, and may need to be added to a good nutrition program for optimum results.

Mind and Body
As said earlier in the first few paragraphs of this chapter, there is either a direct or indirect correlation between the mind and the body. Whatever the mind thinks, the body will follow and this is great if the mind thinks positive thoughts!

But what if the mind thinks otherwise? What if negative thoughts hound the mind? Now this creates a problem, for when the mind thinks negative thoughts, it is likely to deplete the energy stored in the body.

How does that work?
Just like depression, panic and anxiety attacks, which are all negative emotions, the person who experiences all of these things will have less physical energy because they are only focusing on the negative thoughts in their minds.

To bring out the unlimited energy stored in the body, there is only one thing to do, and it’s quite simple. Since the mind does great things to the body, think of great things too, think of positive thoughts, and in this way, your mind will dictate to your body what you should do for that day – with all those positive energies.

Aside from thinking positive thought, here are some additional practical tips to get positive energies into your mind, so that it will bring unlimited energy into your life, and wire your brain to thinking positive thoughts to bring out the energy within you.

Brainwave Entrainment: The brain emits various frequencies that are related to certain states. There are several types of sound and light technologies that stimulate the brain to produce more waves at frequencies that can lead to beneficial effects for the person. Much experimenting has been done with Alpha waves (8 to 12 hertz), which are considered helpful for relaxing, and Theta waves (3 to 8 hertz), which are used in hypnotic programming because they seem to make the person more receptive to suggestions. Positive suggestions can help to reinforce positive thoughts and increase energy.

Subliminal Programming. This is a technique where you receive positive suggestions in the form of visual or audio messages that are below the threshold of conscious perception, but can be perceived by the subconscious mind, which then can integrate the message. When you hear these positive suggestions, this can release positive energies to flow through you and then your energy is boosted. Computer software like Subliminal Power does this for you while you use your computer normally.

NLP or Neurolinguistic Programming. This technique uses commands and programming to rewire your brain and to bring out positive thoughts in your mind. It also gives a boost to the energy you most likely need for the day.

In summary, your mind needs only one thing to bring out all that unlimited energy stored up inside of it. Just like what Robin Williams said in the movie “Hook”, “Think positive thoughts.”

And it will do wonders for your energy.


Alternative Exercise Techniques

Reiki and Seichim
The name Reiki means “life force energy”. On the other hand, Seichim is defined as “the sacred power or might.” Bring these two exercise techniques together and you have the unlimited energy that you need for everyday obligations and responsibilities.

Reiki and Seichim techniques are basically very peaceful and calming techniques to counterattack stress, anxiety, depression and panic. They bring balance and harmony to one’s mind, body and soul, and more importantly, they bring out hidden energy in the body – the same energy that you use to put your child to sleep, the same energy that makes you walk for a few miles in the streets and the same unlimited energy that makes you want to talk for endless hours.

One of the ways of tapping this energy is through these methods so that the energy can actually flow from you. This energy has actually been used by you but these types of exercises help you to develop and increase that energy.

Both of these exercise techniques work on three aspects of life: the physical, the emotional and the spiritual level. Reiki helps an individual bring balance to his body and to integrate all of these three aspects of life. Seichim, meanwhile, refers to a type of energy that can heal and that can transform not only the body but the mind and soul as well.

When unlimited energy is brought out from the body, it can bring healing to anyone and can even help in creating a pleasurable feeling for anyone.

The technique to these types of systems is basically a transfer of energy from a Master Reiki and Seichim teacher to a student. This is done through a series of attunements, wherein a series of symbols are actually kept in a person’s energy field. This attunement process opens up the individual to the energy that is kept hidden in the body and in this way, he can bring healing not only to himself but to others as well.

When you work through these systems, it works the energy from the spiritual level down to the physical one and brings with it several kinds of emotions such as sensitivity and empathy. This makes the body open to energy and in this way, the healing process can start.

EMF Balancing Technique
It is not only through physical means that all the energies of our body come out but through communication as well, and this is what the EMF Balancing Technique does.

The EMF Balancing Technique works with an energy system that is an element of the human energy anatomy. There are six stages to this technique, which aims to have an effect on the human electromagnetic field.

The system that is found in the human energy body which, when optimized, would help the individual have an unlimited supply of energy is called the Universal Calibration Lattice.

This method is quite similar to tai-chi movements, which are done by a teacher while the student lies on the massage table.

But unlike the physical methods of stretching, exercising and body movements, the EMF Balancing Technique actually does the opposite. The practitioner talks silently in an unspoken language of energy with the client, which brings out a different kind of energy directly through what is called a Template of Light within each person that is unique and sacred for each one of us. When the communication transpires, the client feels a surge of energy gradually building up in his body and giving a message of strength, wholeness and oneness. It is only up to the wisdom of the client whether he wishes to respond according to the communication that is resonated.

The main benefit of the EMF Balancing Technique is to carry the electrical charge in the body that is present in all human beings. The energy that is stored in our human anatomy is connected with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which aids us in developing our abilities to communicate effectively.

There are quite a number of people who have benefited well from this technique and the benefits are as follows: improved well-being, intense peace in the heart, greater mastery in your life and sometimes, even a special kind of healing.

This technique brings a special journey to anyone who wants to grow, to live life to the fullest and to strengthen their spiritual discovery with unlimited energy.


Exercise Programs

A visit to the gym gives you suggestions and ideas on how to get trim, get into shape and bring your energy a notch higher. You will find machines such as the treadmill, the dumbbells and the stair lifter, as well as instructors of impressive muscular build; to some people, they are an encouraging sight because who wouldn't want to look like them? These people could definitely lift you up on one shoulder in an instant and could protect you from muggers with just a blow.

It is generally thought that if you are of athletic build or in shape with six-pack abs, then you are definitely filled with energy. In some cases, yes, this is true; people who have been exercising a lot, not only in the gym but in their own homes, are usually filled with unlimited energy – they could climb a flight of stairs in a few seconds, work twelve hours a day without even feeling a little bit tired and still have the energy to attend to the needs of their family.

What is basically the secret of someone with unlimited energy? Can the gym really make a person rejuvenated and energized the whole day? Or is there some kind of technique that is quite hidden from the masses that would make a person feel almost unstoppable?

In some cases, going to the gym or running a marathon does indeed help. This is part of engaging in an exercise regimen not only to strengthen your stamina and give you lots of energy to fulfill the day but to build you up gradually to sustain you and your workload. Some specific benefits of exercise are that it lowers high blood pressure, helps burn fat, boosts the immune system and can improve the mood and reduce the chance of depression.

Generally speaking, when you are in great shape and have lots of energy in a particular situation, the greater your chances are of keeping a healthy body.

To give you unlimited energy, there are actually several things to help you to be at your prime – without lifting too much weight. In fact, just staying at home and doing a couple of breathing exercises can make a difference for you.

Here are a couple of ways to get your body and your energy rolling, so to speak.

One type of exercise that is even implemented in the gyms nowadays is yoga. When you think of yoga, different images may come to mind, such as people in obscure postures or people breathing in rhythmic movements.

There are actually different kinds of yoga, and all of them have different functions that can enhance and vitalize the human body.

But aside from yoga being a form of exercise that could even cure various kinds of illnesses, there is really more to yoga than meets the eye. It is a form of exercise which not only minimizes negative feelings such as jealousy and frustration, but also develops unlimited energy and becomes a source of power.

Let us study one kind of yoga, which gives you unlimited energy.

One of these kinds of yoga is called the Kundalini Yoga, which is also called the “Yoga of Awareness”, and there is actually reason behind this. There is a hidden or coiled up energy found at the base of the spine when a person is in a sleeping position, and this awakens the energy hidden underneath it. In a nutshell, this type of yoga focuses on the nervous system only and this is where all the energy is coiled up and needs to be opened in order to release all that unlimited energy.

There are seven chakras located in the body. This kind of yoga entails different positions and various breathing exercises. The way it works is that it stimulates the energy of the body from the lower chakra to the upper chakra. The chakras have essentially seven energy levels, beginning at the bottom of the spine and ending at the top of your head. There is actually an eighth chakra, which can also be called the “aura” of a person. It is believed that the energy found in the spinal cord usually awakens and stimulates the nerve cells that are related to this eighth chakra.

When the potential energies are awakened in the body and enhance the higher centers, then creative potential, mental clarity and improved nutrition result.

The underlying principle in this type of yoga is that it is the understanding of the “pranotthana” which means an “intensified life energy.” Kundalini, from the name of the yoga, means “the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved” – a fancy way of describing the flow of energy in a person’s body.

Deep Breathing
Yoga, of course, puts great emphasis on breathing and has several breathing techniques of its own.

But even if you don’t practice yoga or a specific technique that incorporates breathing techniques, you’ll still get more energy by breathing deeply. The problem is that when we are stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. Could that be a remainder from our ancestors in the jungle who held their breath to escape notice from a marauding saber-tooth tiger? Or perhaps a way of saying “Stop the world; I want to get off!” when things are going badly in our lives. In any case, depriving ourselves of needed oxygen at such times can lead us into a downward spiral. Just at the moment when we need more energy to face and handle our problems, we find ourselves with less energy than we had before, and this state of affairs can lead us to discouragement and a feeling of hopelessness.

The advantage of deep breathing for people who are in this state of mind is that it doesn’t take any equipment or advance preparation or huge output of effort. You just decide to breathe a bit deeper than usual, and you can start by taking some deep but easy breaths. And then a few more, and then go on from there. You’re already breathing anyway; you might as well add a bit more air each time. There’s nothing difficult about it at all.

And if it does feel difficult, then there may be deeper issues that need to be addressed, such as feelings of not deserving to live a healthy life, or a lack of desire to live, or any number of other emotional issues.

The channeled flow of unlimited energy makes this type of exercise different from the rest. Joseph Pilates incorporated the involvement of the mind into the practice of physical exercises. In his method, he insisted on the need to control the body movements with the mind.

The uniqueness of this kind of exercise, which is now gaining in popularity all over the world, is the correlation between the mind and the body, and that it not only lengthens the muscles of the body but also seeks to stabilize and support the spine, much like yoga. Pilates was actually developed to improve the health of every aspect of the body – a healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy life, which gives unlimited energy to the person engaged in this type of activity.

The objective of Pilates is more than the usual enhancement of strength, agility and balance – it produces efficient workout techniques that make energy unlimited to an individual. And just like yoga, Pilates also uses breathing exercises, not only to stimulate the body but to improve the mind and increase energy as well. But unlike yoga, Pilates focuses more on the movements than on the poses. Pilates also puts emphasis on the lengthening of muscles while strengthening them and helping bones move efficiently and smoothly.

With Pilates, flexibility, good posture, joint release, as well as strength, all contribute to the energy that is needed for everyday action, since it doesn’t only develop force and power, it gives the individual a sense of free movement through the different technique it uses.

In Pilates, the benefits are endless, and involve all the activities that you do every day, giving you unlimited energy. The fundamentals of Pilates, such as the breathing exercises, the right posture, and the movements can actually be applied while driving, cleaning, weight lifting, running, hiking, walking, dancing, relaxing, sports, and even standing or sitting. The list is infinite and Pilates can be the basis in anything that you choose to do.


Food and Eating Habits

The Go, Grow and Glow Foods
Okay, let’s face it. Children, especially, love to drink sodas, they love to eat candies and chocolates (and in some cases, almost every day), and love to eat the same kind of food every day despite the insistence of parents to try out another type of food.

But the insistence goes beyond that. And in this first chapter, we introduce the basic food groups that not only children, but adults as well, should find healthy and stimulating to liven up their bodies.

Ever since we were in elementary or even preschool, we have all heard about the energy foods to keep us growing. Remember the go, glow and grow foods? These are all considered energy foods.

Let us study them one by one and let us see if they give enough energy to sustain us throughout the day. If not, let us see how.

The go foods are considered as the energy-giving foods. The go foods are basically the carbohydrates and the fats, which are essentially the chief sources of energy. Examples of this food group are the root crops, bread and bakery products, pasta, cooking oil, butter, rice, corn, margarine, and other fats and sugars. Some of these foods are actually rich in Vitamin A, such as root vegetables. Others are fortified with Iron or Iodine. In general, the go foods help children, and even adults, run, jump and play all day long, a much needed boost to their energy.

Meanwhile, the grow foods are thought of as the body-building foods. These foods are rich in minerals and protein which are needed for growth and repair of body tissues and also take part in giving energy to the body. Examples of the grow foods are poultry, eggs, meat, fish, milk and milk products, organ meats, dried beans and nuts. These foods are also fortified with Vitamin A and iron which can easily be absorbed by the body. Aside from giving energy, the grow foods are important to maintain the physical appearance: it gives you shiny hair and sparkling eyes.

The grow foods, also called the regulating foods, are important for growth, for healthy eyes, for high resistance to infection and for strong bones and teeth. Grow foods are rich in fiber (which is important for intestinal regularity), vitamins and minerals. Foods belonging to this group are the following: squash and, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables and foods which are rich in Vitamin C such as mango, guava and orange. For children, the grow foods can help you become strong and make you grow.

These basic food groups are often represented as a pyramid. At the bottom of the chart are the go foods. In the middle of the chart are the grow foods and at the top of the chart are the glow foods. These foods basically work together to give the body much-needed energy and help us function as individuals in our daily lives.

But of course, when you eat too much of any of these foods, then there is a bit of a problem. I am not just talking about the physical aspect of eating too much of everything. There is more at stake than that because once the physical aspects get affected, so will the emotional and mental factors. In short, it affects every part of the body, mind and even the soul. Energy slows down and there is no more room for excitement and exhilaration in your body. All that is left are the symptoms – dangerous symptoms that might leave you breathless, and even lead to illness.

Symptoms of Eating One Type of Food
Whether we like it or not, unhealthy eating contributes to more than drained physical energy – it doesn’t give you a lift of the spirit and keeps you down always. Too much or too little of everything is a sign of trouble.

Unhealthy eating can lead to obesity, or sometimes, underweight. Usually, with obesity it leads to different illnesses, the most common of which is a heart attack.

And if you thought that smoking tobacco or cigarettes or being with friends who smoke are the only things that can bring you lung cancer, think again. Unhealthy eating can also contribute to lung disease, especially when you are not eating fruits and vegetables – the grow foods. When you don't eat vegetables and fruits, your resistance goes down and your energy level is not at its peak.

Some of the diseases which can occur for those who do not have a well-balanced diet and who don't do exercises are the following: diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, strokes and many kinds of cancer.

Skinny people may also have the same illnesses as a result of unhealthy eating. It might not be as obvious as those who are quite obese, but the symptoms of unhealthy eating are still there.

Special Energy Foods
In this age of pharmaceuticals, where drug companies spend millions on new pills to take care of our ills, you might be surprised to learn that there are still people who swear by deceptively simple remedies that can be found in anyone’s kitchen cabinet.

Some of these are: apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemons, salt, honey, seeds and nuts. The next time someone tells you “I take a glass of water with apple cider vinegar every morning and I’ve never felt better”, don’t dismiss them as being just a bit cracked, or as very suggestible to what seems to you to be merely a placebo. (And by the way, what’s wrong with placebos, if they work, and according to many controlled experiments, they do work about thirty percent of the time.)

Some of these foods work by establishing a better acid-alkaline balance in the body. When we eat too many acid-forming foods, our bodies end up being too acidic, and that spells low energy, at the least. Unfortunately, many of the foods we love are in the acid-forming category: sugars, pastries, and a lot of fast foods. They’re called convenience foods, but they’re not so convenient in the long run, because our bodies do not always find them convenient for furnishing energy.

We know baking soda is alkaline, but it may come as a surprise that apple cider vinegar and citrus fruits, including lemons, have an alkalizing effect in the body. Most fruits and vegetables are in this category too.

You may also be surprised to find salt on this list, since it is a favorite no-no in a lot of the literature on nutrition. Many of the convenience foods are overloaded with salt, so we can get too much of it, but we must not forget that salt is absolutely necessary to our bodies. It also can be used therapeutically, for example, to clear out the nasal passages, because it is a powerful germ-killer.

Seeds and nuts are known for being very concentrated food sources. They contain everything that is needed to develop into a full-blown plant. Some people avoid them because of their high calorie content, and this is unfortunate. It’s all a matter of balance, and including them regularly in a balanced diet can really boost your energy levels. Also, they are so, well, convenient, that they are a much better choice for a snack food than, say, potato chips.

In addition to the more well-known ones, such as walnuts, pecans and sesame seeds, do get acquainted with the sunflower seed. Good roasted, but even more nutritious raw, they can also be included in breads, cookies and other dishes.

Another seed that is getting some well-deserved attention these days is linseeds. They are packed with omega-3 oils, and are an important addition to an energy-building diet. Once ground or pressed into oil they easily spoil, though, so it’s better to buy them whole and grind them as needed – an electric coffee grinder works perfectly for that.

And all of the above foods (well, maybe not the baking soda) are really good-tasting. Even the apple cider vinegar can be quite pleasant to taste if you put two teaspoons of it in a glass of warm water and add a teaspoon of honey.

Remedy to Staying Healthy
It has been said over and over again that the key to having a healthy body is eating healthy foods and regular exercise. According to statistics, the leading contributors to physical death are an inadequate diet and physical inactivity.

Statistics from to the US Department of Health and Human Services show that the leading contributors to a premature death, are a faulty diet and physical inactivity, with 310,000-580,000 dying yearly.

These figures even show that these factors are 13 times more deadly than guns and 20 times more deadly than drugs.

So, when faced with such scary numbers, what can you do? Simple. Just follow this advice – if you make sure you have a balanced diet and practice some kind of physical exercise, you will find a new burst of energy. In this way, you can more easily handle your problems, and focus more easily on the things that matter to you the most.

As mentioned earlier, eating a well-balanced diet contributes greatly to having a physically fit body. A well-balanced diet means having a taste of everything, and not just focusing on one food group. In this way, you can easily counterattack the diseases that might come your way – whether you are obese or skinny.

Along with having a well-balanced diet, exercise is also very important in giving your energy a boost. There have been studies that link exercise with having a fit mind, and being able to focus more on the things that you need to do in your career and in your personal relations. When you exercise, it doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. Walking and running around the neighborhood are already good forms of exercise. When you exercise regularly, you revive the energy that’s building up inside of you and you will be able to achieve the things that you want to do for each day.


Spirituality and Stress

Seldom do we celebrate life’s wonders with the attitude of gratitude. Parents take their children for granted instead of marveling at their uniqueness and development. Students become desensitized to the beauty surrounding them on campus. Professors forget to appreciate the cloistered environs in which they are honored by being allowed to devote their careers to labors of love. And creation itself often receive short shrift in a hurried society concerned with fast food and quick weight-loss diets. Quicker, faster, more, sooner, easier: so little time to nourish the soul, to develop optimal spiritual health.

Spiritual health has been defined in a number of ways. Some of these recognize the existence of a supreme being, whereas others relate spirituality to one’s relationships with others and one’s place in this world. Another definition is the ability to discover and express your purpose in life; to learn how to experience love, joy, peace, and fulfillment’ and to help yourself and others to achieve full potential.

Spiritual health may include answers to such questions as “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” questions that confront you with the very fact of your existence and the meaning of your life. Answers to these questions may comfort you and alleviate stress with assurance that your life is headed in the direction you desire. On the other hand, your answers may disturb you. Should that occur, use that dissonance to make changes in your life to be more spiritual – take more walks in the park, so to speak. Celebrate loved ones and natural wonders, find activities in which to make a contribution to your world and the people who inhabit it, leave something of meaning behind, experience who you are and let others experience that as well. All of these changes will make you less distressed, more satisfied with your life, and more effective in your interactions with both your environment and the people about whom you care.


Relaxation Techniques

Diaphragmatic Breathing
This is what we call very deep breathing, and it is quite effective as an immediate response to stress. To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back, with the palms of your hands placed on your lower stomach area. As you breathe, expand your chest area while keeping your tummy flat. Next, expand your abdomen so that your stomach rises and falls with each breath while chest size remains relatively constant. Practice it at various times of the day.

Body Scanning
Even when you are tensed, there is some part of your body that feels relaxed. Body scanning requires you to search for that part and, once identifying it, spread that sensation to the more tense parts of yourself. The relaxed sensation can be imagined to be a warm ball that travels to various bodily locations, warming and relaxing them.

Massage and Acupressure
Massage has a way of relaxing the muscles of a tense body. But acupressure – pressing down on points of the body where knots or bands of muscle tension frequently occur – appears to be one of the more popular forms. To use acupressure correctly, you should obtain a chart of acupressure points.

Yoga and Stretching
Yoga comes from a root words that has many meanings: to bind, join, attach, and yoke; to direct and concentrate one’s attention; or communion with God. The stretching involved in yoga can be quite relaxing, and the prescribed yoga positions encourage this benefit. However, be careful not to stretch in a way that is uncomfortable (remember, you are trying to relax) or in a way that will cause injury.

Quieting Reflex
Quieting reflex is a relaxation technique designed to elicit relaxation quickly, even in as short as six seconds. To practice QR:

Think about something that makes you afraid or anxious.
Smile inside.
Tell yourself “I can keep a calm body in an alert mind”.
Inhale a quiet, easy breath.
Let your jaw go loose as you exhale; keeping your upper and lower teeth slightly apart.
Imagine heaviness and warmth moving throughout your body – from head to toes.


Autogenic Training

Autogenic Training Defined
German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz had used hypnosis with his patients. In 1923, he developed autogenic training, which consists of a series of exercises designed to bring about these two physical sensations and, thereby, an auto-hypnotic state. Autogenic training is a technique to treat neurotic patients and those with psychosomatic illnesses. However, its use quickly expanded to healthy people who wanted to regulate their own psychological and physiological processes.

Although autogenic training and meditation both lead to the relaxation response, they get there by different means. Meditation uses the mind to relax the body. Autogenic training uses the bodily sensations of heaviness and warmth to first relax the body and then expand this relaxed state to the mind by the use of imagery.

Benefits of Autogenic Training
The physiological effects of autogenic training are similar to those of other relaxation methods that elicit the trophotropic response. Heart rate, respiratory rate, muscle tension, and serum cholesterol levels all decrease. Alpha brain waves and blood flow to the arms and legs increase. Other studies show that autogenics also helps with bronchial asthma, constipation, writer’s cramp, indigestion, ulcers, hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, diabetes and back pains.

Autogenic training has been found to reduce anxiety and depression, decrease tiredness, and help people increase their resistance to stress.

Doing Autogenic Training
There are two basic positions for doing autogenics: one, reclining; and two, seated. In the reclining position, you lie on your back, feet slightly apart, toes leaning away from the body. The seated positions have two advantages: you can do them almost anywhere, and they are less apt to result in sleep. On the other hand, they don’t allow as much total muscle relaxation as the reclining position.

The stages of Autogenic Training are sequential. You need to master the skills of each stage before practicing the next. Six Initial Stages Of Autogenic Training:

Focus on the sensations of heaviness throughout the arms and legs.

Focus on the sensations of warmth throughout the arms and legs.

Focus on the sensations of warmth and heaviness in the area of the heart.

Focus on breathing.

Focus on sensations of warmth in the abdomen.

Focus on sensations of coolness in the forehead.

(Source: The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson, 1975)

With experience in autogenics, it should take you only a few minutes to feel heaviness and warmth in your limbs, a relaxed and calm heart and respiratory rate, warmth in your abdomen, and coolness in your forehead. Remember, though, that it usually takes several months or more of regular practice to get to that point. However, don’t be too anxious to master it, since trying too hard will interfere with learning the skills. Proceed at your own pace, moving to the next stage only after you have mastered the previous stage.



Understanding Meditation
Meditation is simply a mental exercise that affects body processes. Just as physical exercise has certain psychological benefits, meditation has certain physical benefits. The purpose of meditation is to gain control over your attention so that you can choose what to focus on rather than being subject to the unpredictable ebb and flow of environmental circumstances.

Types of Meditation
Transcendental meditation is but one form of meditative practice. Chakra yoga, Rinzai Zen, Mudra yoga, Zen meditation, and Soto Zen are examples of other meditative systems. In Soto Zen meditation, common external objects (like flowers or peaceful greens) are focused on. Tibetan Buddhists use a mandala – a geometrical figure with other geometric forms on it that has spiritual or philosophical importance -- to meditate upon. The use of imagined sounds or of silently repeated words, called mantra, has also been used.

Regardless of the type of meditation, however, one of two approaches is used: opening up of attention or focusing of attention. Opening up of attention requires a nonjudgmental attitude: you allow all external and internal stimuli to enter your awareness without trying to use these stimuli in any particular manner. As with a blotter and ink, everything is just absorbed. When the meditative method requires the focusing of attention, the object focused upon is something either repetitive or something unchanging.

Benefits of Meditation
Because it is so popular and can be learned quickly and easily, meditation has been one of the most researched of the relaxation techniques. Its physiological effects include a decrease in muscle tension and a decrease in heart rate. When experienced meditating people were compared with novice ones and people taught a different relaxation technique, it was found that the most significant decreases in heart rate occurred in the experienced and short-term meditating ones.

Psychological effects include less anxiety. At this point, you realize that the mind cannot be separated from the body. Consequently, you've probably guessed that the physiological effects of meditation have psychological implications. Numerous studies have found evidence that the psychological health of people who meditate often is better than that of non-meditating individuals.

For instance, people who meditate have been found to be less anxious. To add, teaching people to meditate can diminish anxiety. Researchers have also found that meditation is related to an internal focus of control and greater self-actualization.


Stress Management Techniques and Strategies

While some life situation interventions can be successfully employed when no one else is directly involved, there are interventions that are useful when the situation involves other people as well as yourself.

Asserting Yourself
Men and women who find it difficult to say “no” when asked by the boss if they can handle one other chore or responsibility, and youths who can’t say no to friends when teased into trying a mood-altering substance, have the same problem. Training programs have been mushrooming throughout the country and world to help people say “no” when they should, say yes when they want to, and in general, behave in a self-actualizing manner.

The relationship of assertive behavior to stress lies in satisfaction of needs. If you generally act assertively, you are usually achieving your needs while maintaining effective interpersonal relationships. If you generally act non-assertively, you are not satisfying your needs, and those unsatisfied needs will become stressors. If you generally behave aggressively, your needs are met but at the expense of your relationships with others. Poor interpersonal relationships will become stressors. You can see that, to siphon off stressors at the life-situation level, you need to learn, practice, and adopt assertive behavior as your general pattern of satisfying needs.

Assertion theory is based upon the premise that every person has certain basic rights. Unfortunately, we are often taught that acting consistently with these rights is socially or morally unacceptable. We are taught some traditional assumptions as children – which stay with us as adults – that interfere with basing our behavior on these basic rights. These assumptions violate our rights, and we need to dispense with them.

Examples of these misconceptions and our basic rights are the following:
Misconception: It is selfish to put your needs before others’ needs.

Right: You have the right to put yourself first.

Misconception: You should always try to be logical and consistent.

Right: You have a right to change your mind or decide on a different course of action.

Misconception: People don’t want to hear that you feel bad, so keep it to yourself.

Right: You have a right to feel and express pain.

Misconception: You should always have a good reason for what you feel and do.

Right: You have a right not to have to justify yourself to others.

Misconception: When people are in trouble, you should help them.

Right: You have a right not to take responsibility for someone else’s problem.

Misconception: When someone takes the time to give you advice, you should take it very seriously. They are often right.

Right: You have a right to ignore the advice of others.

Misconception: Don’t be antisocial. People are going to think you don’t like them if you say you’d rather be alone instead of with them.

Right: You have a right to be alone, even if others would prefer your company.

Misconception: You should never interrupt anyone. Asking questions reveals your stupidity to others.

Right: You have a right to interrupt in order to ask for clarification.

Misconception: Things could get even worse; don’t rock the boat

Right: You have a right to negotiate for change.

Misconception: You should always try to accommodate others. If you don’t, they won’t be there when you need them.

Right: You have a right to say no.
(Source: The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, PhD; Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, MSW; and Matthew McKay, PhD)

Assertiveness is not only a matter of what you say but also a function of how you say it. Even if you make an assertive verbal response, you will not be believed if your body’s response is nonassertive. Non-assertive behavior can also be recognized without even hearing the words. It includes:

leaning forward with glaring eyes


pointing a finger at the person to whom you are speaking

putting your hands on your hips and wagging the head

clenching the fists

(Source: Escape From Stress, Stop Killing Yourself, by Kenneth Lamott)

Practice and adopt assertive nonverbal behavior while concentrating on eliminating signs of non-assertiveness and aggressive behavior.

Conflict Resolution
If you become effective in resolving conflict, your interpersonal relationships will be improved. The result of this improvement will be a decrease in the number of stressors you experience. Less conflict of shorter duration resolved to your satisfaction will mean a less-stressed and healthier you.

Resolving conflict can be relatively simple. What confounds the situation, however, are usually a lack of listening, an attempt at winning, an inability to demonstrate an understanding of the person with whom you are in conflict, and a rigidity that prevents you from considering alternative solutions. Here is a simple procedure to resolve interpersonal conflict. The steps of this communication process consist of the following:

Active listening – reflecting back to the other person his or her words and feelings; requires the listener to paraphrase the speaker’s words so the speaker knows that his or her meaning has been received. By reflecting the speaker’s words and thoughts, the listener creates an awareness on the speaker’s part that the listener cares enough to really understand his or her views.

Identifying your position – stating your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Exploring alternative solutions – brainstorming other possibilities, listing all possible solutions, and evaluating each proposed solution until both people agree upon one. With this technique, it initially appears that no one wins. However, in fact, everyone wins.

In addition to learning to be more assertive and to resolve conflicts well, other communication skills will help you get along better with friends, family, and coworkers, with the result being less stress.

Nonverbal Communication
Notice the body posture of your peers. During a boring class, they will probably be learning away from the lecturer or group. We call this physical behavior body language. Communicating by the body posture often says as much as the spoken word. When people feel uncomfortable about expressing their thoughts or feelings verbally, body language is sometimes the only form of communication they participate in.

We all recognize the importance of communicating nonverbally, since we smile when we say hello, scratch our heads when perplexed, and hug a friend to show affection. We show appreciation, affection, revulsion and indifference with expressions and gestures.

Verbal Communication
Unfortunately, the nonverbal expression of feelings and thoughts is easy to misinterpret. Consequently, depending on nonverbal communication alone to express yourself is to risk being misunderstood. Furthermore, if another person is depending on nonverbal communication to express feelings to you, it is up to you to ask – verbally – whether you are getting the right message. Without such a reality check, the other person, while totally failing to connect, might assume that he or she is communicating effectively.

Check out your impressions of someone’s nonverbal communication, and improve your communication by making your nonverbal and verbal messages as consistent as you can.

Planning Time To Talk
To improve your communication with others, you may need to plan time for discussions. Accept all feelings and the right for the verbal expression of these feelings, and take a risk and really describe your thoughts and feelings. Don’t expect the other person to guess what they are.

The listening and paraphrasing is effective in regular conversation, as well as during conflict. All of us can do a better job at listening. Try to pay more attention to this aspect of your communications.

Beginning with Agreement
You would be surprised at how much better you can communicate with someone with whom you disagree if you start your message with a point on which you do agree. For instance, if you are disagreeing about who should take out the trash, you might begin by saying “I agree that it is important that the trash be taken out now.”

“And” not “But”
The word “but” is like an eraser; it erases everything that precedes it. When someone says, “Yes, your needs are important, but…” they are saying, “Your needs may be important, but let’s forget them because I’m about to tell you what’s really important.” In other words, the importance of your needs is being eradicated and now we can focus on what really matters.

Substituting the word “and” for “but” is so simple and yet so significant. “And” leaves what preceded it on the table and adds something to it. “Your needs are important and…” means that we will not discount your needs; we will just consider them in addition to considering what will be presented next.

Too often we try to get other people to behave or believe as we do. Others naturally resent that, just as we resent it when others try to get us to behave or believe as they do. When we say “you”, we are making the other person feel that he or she is being criticized and needs to defend himself or herself. When we say “I”, we are focusing on our feelings, beliefs, and interpretations. Feeling less defensive, the other person is more likely to listen to us, and the result is communication that is more effective.

Avoid “Why”
As with statements that include “you” instead of “I”, questions that start with “why” make the other person defensive. “Why did you leave so early?” makes the other person have to justify leaving early. In addition, “why” questions are often veiled criticisms.

Social Support Networking
One of the protective factors suspected of preventing stress-related illness or disease is social support. Social support is belonging, being accepted, being loved, or being needed. In different words, it is having people you can really talk to, to whom you feel close, and with whom you share your joys, problems, apprehensions, and love. Social support can be provided by family members, friends, lovers, or anyone else who provides what is described above. The mediating effect of social support lies in the hypothesis that significant others help an individual mobilize psychological resources and master emotional burdens; share tasks, and the extra supplies of money, materials, tools, skills, and cognitive guidance to improve the handling of the situation. They help one deal with and feel better about stressors.

Common sense dictates that social support can help prevent stressors from leading to negative consequences. You have probably also found value in talking over problems and stressors with friends and relatives. You may not have known it at the time, but what you were experiencing was social support.

Social support has been found to be related to several indices of health and illness. Pregnant women with good social support, regardless of life-changes, were found to have only one-third the complications of pregnant women with poor social support. Women who were experiencing major life stress but had intimate relationships were found to develop less depression than women experiencing life stress but lacking such relationships. Unemployed men with high social support experienced lower levels of negative emotion than did unemployed men with low support.

One of the keys to developing social support networks is being open and caring with others. It’s often easier and less threatening to stay aloof and detached from others. Fear prevents getting close to others. We fear that, if we show love for another person, that person will reject us. We fear that we will be embarrassed. We fear that we will be ridiculed. To develop social support systems, however, requires an overcoming of these fears.

If we don’t take advantage of opportunities when they are presented to us, we probably will never have another chance. Why don’t you take a chance? Tell someone that you love him or her. Get involved with those around you. Show people you care about them. By doing so, you will be improving your social support network. You can expect this love, involvement, and care to rebound to you, allowing you to be more effective in managing the stress in your life.

Selective Awareness
A lot of us are very inexperienced at focusing on the positive side of situations. What do we do about it? The first step is to realize that in any situation there are good and bad, positive and negative elements. Thus, you can choose to raise your blood pressure, serum cholesterol, heart rate, and muscle tension, or you can choose not to alter these body processes. That choice is yours. Even if the situation is so bad that it couldn't possibly get any worse, you could choose to focus on the fact that things have to get better.

Right now, there are situations in your life that are causing you a great deal of stress. You may not like where you live, whom you’re living with, or the work you’re doing. You may not feel you have enough time to yourself or for leisure-time activities. You may not like the way you look. You may be in poor health. You may be alone. Some of these stressors you may be able to change; some you will not be able to. You now know, however, that you can become selectively aware of their positive components while de-emphasizing (though not denying) their disturbing features.

Why not go even further? Each time you do something that works out well, keep the memory of that with you. Tell others how proud you are of yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Take time just before bedtime to recall all the good things that happened that day. Don’t be like some of your friends who can’t sleep because they still feel embarrassed about something they did that day or worried about something over which they have no control.

Stop to smell the roses. Life can be a celebration if you take the time to celebrate. What prevents us from being aware of life as we live it is often the routine of daily experience. When we experience something over and over again in the same manner, we become habituated to it. We are desensitized to that experience and interact with it out of habit, paying little attention to what we’re doing. We do that very often. For instance, let’s bet that when you travel to school or work, you take the same route each time. In fact, you probably chose this route because it was the fastest one. Other routes may be more scenic or interesting, but you chose speed as your number one priority.

Do you experience the “getting there” or only the “having gotten there”?

Have you ever consciously felt the texture of the steering wheel you hold so often?

Do you ever listen to the sounds of your car and the neighborhood through which you travel?

There are other ways to experience life more fully, too. The idea is to make yourself consciously aware of your experience, as you are going through it, by adopting less routine and habitual behavior.

Humor and Stress
Following is the definition of an optimist. A 70-year-old man has an affair with a young, vivacious, curvaceous, twenty-year-old woman. Before too long, she finds out she’s pregnant and irately calls her lover. “You old fool! You made me pregnant!” The elderly man answers, “Who’s calling, please?”

Humor has been shown to be an effective means of coping with stress. It can defuse stressful situations and/or feelings. Research investigations have verified this conclusion.

Humor can take several forms. It can use surprise, exaggeration, absurdity, incongruity, word play, or the tragic twist. Regardless of the type of humor, its effects on health have been studied for many years. Humor results in both physiological and psychological changes. Laughter increases muscular activity, respiratory activity, oxygen exchange, heart rate, and the production of endorphins. These effects are soon followed by a relaxation state in which respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension rebound to below normal levels. Psychological effects include relief of anxiety, stress, and tension; an outlet for hostility and anger; an escape from reality; and a means of tolerating crises, tragedy, and chronic illnesses and/or disabilities.

Humor can also be used inappropriately and actually cause distress. Anyone who has seen the hurt look on a person’s face after being the butt of a joke has witnessed humor’s power to cause tension. Unfortunately, humor’s effects are not always predictable. Thus, humor should be used carefully when helping someone else cope with stress so as not to exacerbate the situation. However, once consideration is given to the potential negative effects of humor and they are judged to be minimal, don’t hesitate to use this approach when you think it would be helpful.

What you think of yourself affects how you behave. If you don’t think well of yourself, you will not trust your opinions or your decisions. You will, therefore, be more apt to be influenced by others. Not “marching to the beat of your own drum” may result in your conforming to the behaviors of those with whom you frequently interact. As a matter of fact, poor self-esteem is related to drug abuse, irresponsible sexual behavior, and other “unhealthy’ activities. People with high self-esteem engage in these activities to a significantly lesser extent.

Assertiveness, success, and social support are key components of stress management. Self-esteem is related to each of these. How can you assert yourself and demand your basic rights if you don’t deem yourself worthy of these rights? Self-esteem is learned. How people react to us; what we come to believe are acceptable societal standards of beauty, competence, and intelligence; and how our performances are judged by parents, teachers, friends, and bosses affect how we feel about ourselves. It is common sense, then, to expect our successes to improve our self-esteem and our failures to diminish it.

The very essence of stress management requires confidence in yourself and in your decisions to control your life effectively.

Because self-esteem is so important, the means of improving it deserve your serious attention. There are no magic pills to take or laser beams with which you can be zapped to improve your sense of self-worth. It has developed over a long period of time, and it will take a while for you to change it. With time, attention, effort, and energy, you can enhance your sense of self or at least feel better about those parts of you that cannot be changed.

The first thing to do is to identify that part of yourself about which you want to feel better. Perhaps an exercise program can improve that part, or you need to begin a weight-control program, pay more attention to how you dress, or use makeup more effectively. Along with control comes responsibility.

Externals blame both their successes and their failures on things outside themselves. “Oh, I did such a good job because I work well under pressure.” It’s the pressure, not the person. “Oh, I didn’t do too well because I didn’t have enough time.” It’s the lack of time, not the person. Internals might say “I did so well because of how I decided to adjust to the pressure and time constraints,” or “I did poorly because I didn’t work hard enough.” Internals accept responsibility for their successes and their failures.

Coping With Anxiety
Unfortunately, too many people fail to cope successfully with dysfunctional anxiety and only make matters worse. You may do drugs, drink alcohol, or in some other manner alter your state of consciousness to avoid dealing with the anxiety provoking stimulus. Obviously, these are only temporary solutions and are accompanied by unhealthy consequences. You not only keep your anxiety, but you now have a drug habit to boot.

Taking note of the selective awareness method, you can re-label any negative experience as a positive one. All that is required is to focus upon the positive aspects rather than the negative ones. If you have test anxiety, you could consider it an opportunity to find out or to show others how much you know. Rather than conceptualizing an airplane ride as risking your life, you can re-label it as an opportunity to ride on a sea of clouds or to see your hometown from a totally new and interesting vantage point.

Environmental Planning
Sometimes it is appropriate to adjust your life and environment to avoid the anxiety-provoking stimulus. For those anxious in crowds, living in a small town will probably be preferable to living in a large city.

This technique requires some objectivity. You must ask yourself what the real risk is in the anxiety-provoking situation. Self-talk may be used to realize that people are generally polite. They won’t boo or throw tomatoes. If they thought that you are absurd, they’d probably take listening so as not to appear rude. The worst that could realistically happen is they won’t ask you back again. That would mean you’d have more time to do other things. That’s not so bad, at all.

Thought Stopping
As simple as it sounds, when you experience negative thoughts, you can shut them off. To employ thought stopping, you should learn deep muscle relaxation techniques. Then, whenever you have anxious thoughts you want to eliminate, tell yourself that you will not allow these thoughts to continue, and use the relaxation method. The pleasant sensations of relaxation will reinforce the stopping of anxious thoughts, as well as prevent these thoughts from resulting in potentially harmful physiological consequences.

Systematic Desensitization
Systematic desensitization involves imagining or experiencing an anxiety-provoking scene while practicing a response incompatible with anxiety. Widely used by psychotherapists, this method was found to be nearly as effective when people used it by themselves.

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