Everything changes, every minute, of every day. Of course, not every change affects us specifically. But most do, and in the examples that follow, you might find something you have experienced, and smile. At least that's what I hope you do, because I write these blogs to the smallest audience on the Internet in an attempt to cheer people up, give them hope, support their positive outlook on Life, and challenge their thinking about a whole range of things.
For example, I have been writing a new SciFi story (very slowly!) which was going extremely well until I got an email from a friend, pointing out a few logic faults.
And then everything changed .......
I started to examine the whole story line, characters, and the message I was trying to convey. So I started again, editing what I had written, got a few pages extra into the story, and my Mind dried up. I look at the story every day, trying to kick-start the creative process, and so far, nothing happens.
It's like working on a short term contract, getting into the role, meeting the people, gradually absorbing the atmosphere and environment and wham! For no apparent reason, your contract is terminated, and everything changes.
A strong sense of loss, discombobulation, an unease that you are "tainted", and will never work again.
You are out driving your family to a dinner at a friend's house, it's twilight, and a magnificent is creating buckets of comments from the back seat drivers, things like "it's pollution that creates all the colour", and "look at the beautiful clouds", and then some idiot slams into you from the side, having run the lights, and everything changes.
No one hurt, thank GoD, but very upset, and being all girls,they are now telling everyone within earshot how stupid the other driver is. The reaction is normal, when you get scared or frightened, venting helps get back your equilibrium, and lowers your blood pressure.
One more example - you are working at your desk, in the "zone", when you suddenly get pulled out of your concentration to take a phone call. The call does not go well, and as you force the handset down to the desktop, everything changes. Your calm and creative attitude is trashed, your emotions are on fire, and suddenly you have a bad taste in your mouth.
What is it about these Life "tilts" that so distracts us? Why do these changes affect us so much? Particularly when statistically, at any given time, there is the probability that another 10,980,566 people will be in the exact same situation that you just found yourself in.
The simple fact is that we assume we are in control of our own situations, and expect to be able to extend that control beyond our reach. What we are emotionally reacting to is the perception that we have lost control. Control which, in truth, we never had.
Your mental attitude and balance is easily tipped, and it happens several times a day, only the extent of upset varies.
And it is extremely hard to let the little upsets go, because no one likes being our of control.
Successful people management is all about getting people involved from their perspective, giving them ownership and control over what they do. Trusting them to do the right thing by themselves and by you. It's only when you challenge their ownership that you will get resistance.
So what happens when everything changes?
You move into a stress state, the degree depending on your physiology and psychology.
And to help you understand and manage stress, I have attached a whole discussion on the subject that you might find useful
Just remember, when everything changes, it hasn't really, only your attitude and belief system has changed, and that is an easily managed situation!
Read on .......
From the time you are born, only one thing about you is true. And that is, sometime, somewhere, you will die.
If you view these two events – being born, and dying - as the start and finish of something great – your Life, and Your contribution to the planet as a human being – you begin to understand what it means when someone says, “A person is defined and judged by their actions, what they do, not who they are, or pretend to be”.
What you do between the start and finish of your Life utterly defines you.
If you look at the back of your Birth certificate, you will not find any story about who you are to be, what you might do, what mountains you might climb, what rivers you might fall into on the way. Likewise, your Death Certificate lists absolutely nothing about who you were, what you achieved, your successes or failures, your hopes or desires.
Both documents only list the absolute rational facts concerning your given names, those of your parents, and details concerning authorative witness.
The only “story” that will exist about you will be in the collective memories of those that knew you, and the various books, documents, photos, pictures, data bites and bytes, and records that you passed through on your way.
There is one other literal truth about you – when you are born, you come into the world with a limited, finite, unknown quantity of “Life” energy, which starts to be expended from the very second you take your first BREATH.
Many, many things from that moment on, will contribute to robbing you of your rightful natural Lifespan. Things like eating badly, smoking, drugs, bad environment, lack of will power, poor Life choices, accidents either physical or mental, and the greatest Life shortener and killer of all, self induced Stress.
At this point, it’s enough for us to realize that Stress affects us all, shortening our natural Lifespan, and killing us before our Time. We will look at Stress in all its evil in the next chapter. What we need to do first is to discover what causes Stress, so we can get your Life back in balance.
Essentially, Stress is caused by the real difference between your perceptions (what you believe is happening, and act out) and your reality (what is really going on). Initially, this might be a difficult concept to understand, but the simple way to approach Stress is that if your heart rate is elevated, your skin flushed or hot, your muscles in tension, and your mind is tense, tight, confused, disturbed, angry, upset, or just plain befuddled, then the chances are you are suffering from the normal Life shortening effects of self induced Stress.
And Stress is both insidious and accumulative.
Insidious because it creeps up on you when you least expect it, robs you of your ability to think and act, and accumulative because it does a little bit of damage every time, that over your Life, effectively reduces your potential. The physiological damage Stress generates is irreversible. The psychological damage Stress inculcates can be both reduced and repaired. Better still, with the correct use of your mental faculties you can actually reduce your predisposition for self-inducing Stress, and dramatically enhance both the quality and quantity of your Life.
If you think of your Life energy as the available power in a giant battery, then it’s easy to see that as the power is used, the energy in the battery runs down, until eventually it is dead. You can speed up the power draining process by using the battery for something it is not designed for; short circuiting the terminals; using too many things hooked up to it; or just by simple abuse.
The same is true of your Life energy. Make your body do something it’s not designed for, like ingesting smoke, drugs, fatty foods, or foreign objects, and you use disproportionate quantities of Life energy trying to get your system back into balance. Having a severe mental attack, by hating someone or something, yelling, losing control, becoming furious, behaving in an emotionally forcefully manner, all contribute to sucking out your Life energy at a faster than normal rate. A virtual “short circuit” of your mental and energy generating processes. By trying to do too many things at once, making mistakes and not learning from them, and dissipating your efforts through lack of control, you contribute to a disproportionate use of your personal resources – just like sucking the energy out of the battery.
And by just not taking reasonable, balanced proper care of yourself, you allow your Life energy to slip away forever, like sand running out of a sock.
Where does Making Peace come in?
If you are at WAR with someone, or something (government, neighbourhood, any hate object), then you are focusing your mental and physical resources on a very destructive emotional process, one that leads to massive quantities of self-induced Stress, and one that sucks up your Life energy faster than a speeding bullet!
WAR is HATE, WAR is PASSION, WAR is DREAD, WAR is FEAR, WAR is LOSS, WAR is never won, it is merely resolved, usually by force, with so called winners and losers, and there are always more looses than winners..
History tells us though, that as Time marches inexorably on, the difference between the winners and the losers diminishes, making it very hard to explain rationally, in retrospect, exactly what all the fuss was about.
One side looses 157,546 People, killed in the conflict. The other side only looses 10,231 People, and they are celebrated as the conquering heroes!
Who really lost?
Humanity, and the families of the thousands of People killed on both sides.
Nobody. Some dirt may or may not have been advanced on, some ideal momentarily shown to be brighter than a shooting star (shooting stars are dying rapidly as they produce their sometimes spectacular effect) and someone’s pride may or may not have been satisfied.
It has been said, “Nothing of any great import or lasting value has ever been resolved by the use of force – not even victory”.
Now, you may point to the Great Wars of any century, and justify them on the basis that a great Evil was defeated by the powers of virtue and good. That may be true. But it is also true that at some point well before the War started, it could have been avoided.
All it would have taken is a few strong Personalities to stand up and lead their People into Peace – because of their utter conviction that they, themselves, were at Peace with themselves, and that they wanted that State for everyone else likely to be enjoined in any disastrous, soul destroying, WAR.
In even simpler terms, someone’s EGO and GREED got in the way of Making Peace.
Those of you who get this far, and are outraged by this concept, should go no further, for you are not at Peace with yourself, and therefore can never be a Peacemaker! In all probability, your EGO is such that it often gets in the way of your achievements, self-limiting how far you go, and how high you reach.
You will be centred on “you”, and will likely have trouble reaching down into your personal truth to be objective about your real role in the Universe.
You will not believe that Making Peace is possible, or perhaps even worthwhile, and you will funnel all your negative energy into making your destructive view of your world come true.
When you HATE, emote negative PASSION, DREAD an outcome, FEAR something or someone, you are setting yourself up for a bitter emotional bargaining process that costs much more than it ever returns. It sucks our your Life energy, fuels your negative inner posture, and then increases the rate at which you consume you Life energy, effectively shortening your natural Life expectancy by years! A mean, nasty, vicious cyclic pattern that has only one outcome – you die faster, earlier, and in a manner probably not of your choosing.
And the chances are that you will die unhappy, bitter, and unfulfilled.
It also helps to accelerate the destruction of those around you.
And yet, over half the world today is at WAR with the other half, using bigotry, persecution, starvation, denial, politics, religion, bullets and bread as weapons of mass destruction, more efficiently than any atomic bomb.
You cannot open a newspaper, or tune in the TV News without seeing violent bloodshed, startling poverty, or raw emotion in the context of someone being killed, some country flattened or sunk by a disaster, or news yet again of a human tragedy of such proportions that seemingly no one can cope with it.
The rhetoric is always powerful and justified by the other side’s actions (or assumptions of their actions), and the iron fist is always delivered by the young and the fit.
Why do we do this? How does any intelligent person like you tolerate this destructive, negative, type of Behaviour?
Because most of us really don’t understand the consequences of WAR in individual, personal, terms. We put it far away from ourselves, as if the very remoteness of the disaster protects us from its consequences.
But WAR is not waged by countries, or things. WAR is waged by People. People like you and I. All over the world, for all sorts of reasons. And if it truly is a People thing, then starting with you, you can stop it, make a real difference, simply by starting with yourself.
Check you EGO in at the door.
Make Peace with you.
Then make Peace with everyone around you.
And then use the force multiplication of a group of dedicated Peacemakers to spread Peace like a virus, to every domain you can reach.
We are a huge collective society of different races, cultures, beliefs, religions, Behaviours, attitudes and habits, and yet we are one.
One Person, just like you.
Can you really make a difference? Can you make Peace in your Time?
What the Mind can conceive, you can do!
As a wise man once said, “It’s all in your mind”, and fortunately, it is just that. All in your mind. So let’s take a quick look at Stress, and your part in it, and take the first tentative steps towards Making Peace – at least with yourself, as a very good start.
The Death of Stress.
Stress is a killer. If you want to enjoy a long, healthy, productive Life, you simply have to learn how to kill off Stress stone motherless dead as fast as you possibly can. Hard words for a Peacemaker, but necessary. And if you haven’t got what it takes to kill it, then at the very least, you have to discover how to manage it, so that you are in control of your Life, and not have Stress in control of you.
Stress is caused either by the physical and emotional reaction to a trauma, such as when you injure yourself, or it is self-induced as a direct result of your perceptions being completely out of sync with your reality. In truth, in most People, this is the major cause of Stress, and Stress induced illnesses, of which there are many.
And they are all silent and professional killers!
High blood pressure, cardiovascular failure, organ failure, reduced mental capacity, stroke, rapid ageing, and numerous other diseases to many to mention wait in the wings of Life ready to pounce at the first quiver of tension.
Let’s look at Stress from a clinical point of view, and discover how to rein in this killing machine, and make it your slave. In truth, your first big step to Making Peace, and it’s easier than you think.
The Study of Stress is primarily focussed on the Physiology and the Psychology of the Human organism, and its interaction with external and internalised stimulus. Theses are big words, but with a very simple heart. They mean that we look at how the body and the mind interact in the environment, and the effect each has on the other in the process of living.
Your body, and how you affect your environment; and the environment, and how it interacts with you and your body.
Now, every body has many, many constituent parts, but in the interests of keeping you interested, we’re going to look at you as having a homogenous “physical” part, and a “mind” part. Let’s break this down further into simple pictures.
Physiology (the “physical” bit) is the study of the biomechanics (the way things work) of physical activity, caused by chemically derived stimulus (these chemicals are produced in your body as a function of your normal activity, and make your muscles work, your heart beat, your blood flow, and lubricate your mind). In simple terms, we look at your frame (skeleton), your cardiovascular system, and what holds it all together (the many constituent parts mention above), such as your cartilages, ligaments, tendons, and muscles – this is Physiology in its rawest sense.
The “mechanics” of being a Human being.
Your body – the “physical bit” – is stimulated by interpreted input from your five senses - sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. Or your body is stimulated into action by a direct command from your “Mind”. Either way your mind becomes heavily involved in this process, and we label the study of this type of activity “Psychology”.
Psychology is simply the understanding of Neuromechanics, or the ability of the “Mind” to perceive and interpret the information received from the five senses, and cause an action as a result of this stimulus - or generate activity of its own accord inline with your attitudes and beliefs (both of which determine your actions).
The study of Psychology looks at the Central Nervous System, the Parasympathetic Nervous System, and the Conscious, Unconscious, and Subconscious way your “Mind” works – for you, or against you.
The Conscious “Mind” perceives language, words, and symbols. The Unconscious “Mind” interprets and generates your perception of pictures and abstract images. The Subconscious “Mind” is where your imagination resides - ideas are generated, and where your power of visualisation comes from.
You “see” the word “boat” (conscious); you turn this word into a picture of what the boat might look like to you (unconscious); then you imagine what you might do on or with this boat (subconscious).
Interestingly, the Mind does not distinguish between “real” and “imagined” information, and this is where self-induced Stress really starts to build and hit home.
Because your Mind is unable to distinguish between a “real” situation, and an “imagined” situation, the reaction it creates in your body is the same. This is a critical issue, and one that needs to be examined in greater detail.
In other words, your Mind drives your mental and bodily responses based on either a real or imagined situation, and doesn’t mind at all that it is reacting to something you have created, imagined, or misinterpreted, or just plain got wrong!
Simply, Stress is a primitive response to a perceived threat of attack. This primate reaction is built into us at the very level of our genes, and while with training and awareness we can modify its effect on us, we can never ignore it, or pretend that it does not exist. Our “hardwiring” simply does not allow it.
As an example of how we train ourselves to “manage” the threat of attack, think about Fireman or Soldiers training to hurl themselves right into the very heart of danger time and time again, to achieve their task. They are overcoming their natural instincts to flee, by moderating their response to the initial “fear” caused by the obvious danger they face. Training can overcome fear, and overcoming fear reduces you exposure to the killer Stress.
The Stress is still very real (or even imagined to be real), but your response to the Stress is moderated by your physiological and psychological training.
When you become Stressed, adrenalin is produced in huge quantities and surges through your body, creating the instant potential for fast and violent activity. Your blood pressure rises, as your cardiovascular system closes down the peripheral blood vessels to minimize potential blood loss from injury. Your heart rate increases, as your body readies itself to fight or flight. Your neck hairs bristle, and blood flow is diverted from internal organs to your muscles. This means that precious blood, usually circulating to your brain (where your three Minds do their work), flood to your lower body, providing extra fuel for your muscles to use as you physically and mentally prepare to run away from the perceived danger (real or imagine). When this happens, your mental abilities are diminished, your powers of deduction and reason become degraded, and your intellect takes a huge hit right in the IQ basket.
In Psychological terms, this is known as the “Fight or Flight” Syndrome, and is a primary motivational response derived from the survival instinct.
In this “heightened state” the ability to perform tasks is degraded, mental facilities are limited, perspective changes, Behaviour changes, and individual potential is significantly reduced toward the instinctive end of the performance scale.
Worst of all, your Life energy is being sucked out of you faster than you can blink. In a sense, Stress increases the rate at which you are dying!
Now, it is likely that you have been Stressed before, and not recognized any of the symptoms mentioned here. But if you were to be clinically monitored during even a moderate Stress attack, all of these reactions would be present to some extent.
If you want some statistics on the killer Stress, consider this - in the United Kingdom, Stress and Mental Disorders cost 30 million working days every year, and more than 5 billion pounds (3% of GDP).
In the USA, compensation Claims based on Stress Disorders have increased from 5% in 1984 to 25% of all Claims in the last eight years, and cost $US200 billion annually! Even in a relatively small Country like the Netherlands, every 4 minutes of every working day one Person is diagnosed as having a Stress derived Psychological Disorder.
Since 1984, Stress related Claims in Australia are up 395%, and now represent over 10% of all Disability Claims. Excess Stress is linked to Heart Disease, Strokes, Hypertension, Ulcers, Bowel Disease, Musculoskeletal Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Neuroses, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse. And every one of these conditions will kill you before your Time!
Medical specialists often point to the fact that they believe over 90% of all diseases and conditions in the Human body result from some form of Stress-induced activity. So while you may die from a heart attack, kidney failure, cancer, renal failure, or other complication, the precursor to the finality of the outcome was that you were Stressed in the first place, creating the cycle of destruction that takes your Life before your rightful time.
You need to understand Stress, and you need to discover how to mediate its effect on you and those around you. You need to train your Mind in Stress recognition, prevention, and management.
You need to remember to “BREATHE”, and the acronyms, “SMILE”, “HOT”, and “RACE”.
BREATHE – possibly the simplest, fastest, most reliable way to start the attack on Stress is to BREATHE. Pretend your lungs are full of stale, bad air. BREATHE in deeply, right down to your boots, hold it for a count of ten, then expel it, pause, then do it again. Just this one simple exercise will cut your Stress condition by half! When you force BREATHE, you are pushing good, clean oxygen through your body, enriching your blood, and clearing a small part of your mind, usually enough to use objectively in starting to reverse the Stress process. You are also engaging in a conscious physical process that, just for a few seconds, breaks the Stress cycle. Just like hitting the big red “Stop” button on a speeding train.
SMILE – Stress Managed Instantly = Life Extension
If every time you feel Stressed, you SMILE, you’ll soon find that getting on top of it is easier than falling of a bike. Break the cycle, SMILE. Relax, BREATHE in and out, put your hand on your chest and feel the air rushing in and out of your ribcage. Picture it going around in a circle, in and out, in and out.
Lower your emotional temperature, and let your MIND free up to engage your intellect in solving the issue that has Stressed you out.
HOT - Honest Open & Transparent
This is a process thing, and an EGO thing. If, in every transaction, professional and personal, you insist on a HOT environment, where everyone commits to being Honest, Open, and Transparent, there will be very little Stress. This is sometimes hard to do, but as the primary Peace Maker, it is your responsibility to manage the agenda, by setting the example. In simple terms, if you want to live out your full natural Lifetime, stay away from People and Process where you do not have, or you cannot create, a HOT environment!
RACE - Recognize Act Control Express
This is the elemental secret to managing Stress. First, you recognize the symptoms of Stress – tension, shouting, incoherence, warm flushes, elevated heart rate, temperature, tightness in the head or chest, difficulty Breathing. You may even find that it is hard to think and act in a rational manner. You feel tight, wound up like a spring, agitated, ill at ease. Sometimes baffled, confused, unhappy, sad, emotionally drained. Well, just stop it instantly and immediately! Act!
By Acting on your recognition, doing something positive to break the cycle, snap the pattern, you seize Peace out of the jaws of confusion and Stress. Some People find it helpful to clap or make a physical gesture to trigger their anti-Stress response. Others simply SMILE, indicating that they are in control. Find what suits you best, and practice using it until you are so comfortable you could be standing in a room with hundreds of People, and not feel embarrassed to Act!
Taking Control needs little explanation, except to say that when you are in Control, you cannot be Stressed. Aroused, yes, but Stressed, no. Control is everything in beating Stress down where it belongs. It is when you lack Control that you are at your most exposed as far as self-induced Stress is concerned. In fact, it’s the “out of control” feeling that generates most Stress for most People.
Now, Expressing yourself is not as easy as it sounds. Many of us are naturally shy, and the idea of physically or verbally expressing ourselves in company is an uncomfortable one – one that may well lead to self-induced Stress!
But research has found that if, when you detect Stress in yourself, you make a “large” physical motion, such as an expressive shoulder slump, fist shake, foot stamp, or general body relax, you start to mitigate the effects of self-induced Stress.
The very act of physical purging is a Stress breaker, so long as you don’t take it to extremes. The purpose is to tense and then relax your big muscles to help you generate a picture of you being “calmer” than you were, not a reason to strike out and create hurt in someone else.
Now, there are a group of words that describe the passage of Stress, and in understanding the relationship they have to each other, you will be preparing yourself to better manage Stressful situations.
“Arousal” is that heightened state of awareness that we use to generate chemical elements in our system to promote superior performance.
“Characteristic Tension” is that state of arousal where we are in control, performing at our best or better, every molecule of our being tingling with anticipation and energy. This is the state in which elite performance takes place, that elusive “Zone” you have heard People talk about.
Both arousal and characteristic tension are “good” Stress states – we are getting the benefit of the adrenaline and noradrenaline, we are “pumped”, physically and mentally, we are at our peak. The moment you loose control of these states, you go straight into Stress, with all the negative impact of an atomic bomb going off in your system.
Some Stress is good. Stress under control is good. It’s only when you lose control, or perceive that you have lost control, or cannot be in control, that the killing effects of Stress can start to eat away at your system.
This is why using a big-muscle physical release is sometimes so effective in breaking the Stress cycle.
Try it for yourself the next time you are Stressed – see if it works for you.
Above all, remember the four Stress Busters – BREATHE, SMILE, HOT, and RACE!