Don’t Let Worry Waste Your Time

Worry, Stress, Anxiety

Worrying is a waste of your precious time
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I woke up at 2:30 in the morning with an email from my client stuck in my brain. The document I’d sent them was acting strangely. It was, for all intents and purposes, unusable. Confusion. Panic. Worry. They hit me like a bucket of ice water to the face. I couldn’t get back to sleep. What had happened to the document? Should I get out of bed and go into my office to fix it?

Life and Work Balance is vital for our health and happiness. Our society, however, is a demanding machine that never sleeps. We, as individuals, must schedule our personal time and stick with it. I broke this rule when I finally caved to my worry and worked Sunday morning (my prescheduled day off) to fix the problem. Lack of sleep, residual tension and no personal time left me feeling worn out. Did the client need my document on Sunday? No. They were content to wait until Monday morning. All my angst was a waste of time.

Avoid Worry with Healthy Choices:

Unplug from the Daily Grind– I had no business checking my email right before bedtime. Stop viewing work emails, texts, and social media at a set time each evening. A peaceful night’s sleep is essential. I need it and so do you. The work will be waiting in the morning

Set boundaries for your well-being– Stick to your personal plans. Don’t cancel fun activities with your friends, because you’re stressing over a work task. It’s tough when you run a business or are held accountable for a project. I get it. However, if you work too many weekends, your employer will come to expect it from you regularly. Then goodbye personal life!

Take care of YOU first! Approach the work or problem after you’ve rested and refreshed your mind. You’ll find the solution comes to you much faster.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

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Top Five Ways to Reduce Your Stress

Stress, Stress Awareness

Stress Awareness Month © Kaspars Grinvalds – stock.adobe.com

April is Stress Awareness Month (not that we need a reminder).  Life can become overwhelming at times. We all feel the pressures from negative sources in our society. They are persistently vying for our attention, our emotion, our outrage, and our money. We, however, make the choice to listen or to ignore these messages.

Our brain is an amazing processor of information. It takes audio, visual and sensational (touch) data, figures out what it means to us and then transmits instructions to our body. Stress can induce our “fight or flight” reaction. We grow tense. Our adrenalin spikes as does our heart rate. This is perfect if you’re running from a charging bull. Staying stressed out for long periods, however, can do serious damage to your body.

Stress Triggers You Can Change

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. Fear of Being Judged
  3. Fear of Being Rejected

You’ll notice “FEAR” is in all three of the triggers. Hmmm. And aren’t they really all the same thing? Let me give you some advice about dealing with these triggers. Know that everybody fails. It’s how we learn. If you’re worried about people laughing at you for failing, then understand those people aren’t worth having in your life. Seek out people you will lift you up rather than tear you down. Remember: You had the courage to try!

Topsy-turvy Nonsense You Can’t Control

  1. Politics
  2. Natural Disasters
  3. Aging
  4. Death
  5. OTHER PEOPLE

I think the most profound advice I’ve ever been given was “Live your life.” Nobody can really control any of these stress triggers. Worrying about them is counterproductive. Focus on what makes you happy, because we are all headed to the grave. I’d prefer to go after having enjoyed a full life being who I am and doing what I want.

Reduce Stress, Meditate

Manage stress to stay healthy. © Romolo Tavani – stock.adobe.com

Five Daily Practices to Reduce Your Stress

  1. Meditation – I know I harp on this quite a bit in my posts. Sitting in a quiet place and taking a few minutes to just breathe does help. Take it a bit further by letting your mind explore what lays beyond the space of your body. You will begin to understand your problems are merely a temporary blip in a grander Universal scheme
  2. Exercise – Sometimes, you’ve just gotta sweat it out. Daily exercise can boost your mood, give you more energy and help you to sleep better. Speaking of which…
  3. Get More Sleep – Your body and your mind need a good night’s sleep. Worrying about what’s happening during your waking hours leads to insomnia. Insomnia leads to more stress. It’s a nasty cycle you must break. Try taking a hot bath before bed to relax
  4. Aromatherapy – Your nose knows best. Healing herbs have been used for centuries to treat illness and “dis-ease.” Nature is the best healer and provides hundreds of plant-based solutions to our body’s health problems. Lavender, for instance, is very calming. I sprinkle a few drops of Lavender oil under my pillow or put it on my wrists each night before bed. It knocks me right out. I also grow a big barrel of it beside my front door to instill a sense of peace as visitors enter my home.
  5. Take Care of Your Temple – Software developers have a saying, “Garbage in, garbage out” meaning put junk food in your body and get lousy performance. Next time you eat a greasy hamburger, observe how it makes you feel. Maybe you’re satisfied at first, but don’t you feel a bit heavy a few hours later? Try a healthy meal of grilled fish and steamed veggies. I’ll be honest. It isn’t going to give you the same temporary rush, but it will make you feel lighter and more energetic throughout the day

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Stuck Inside Your Box?

Individual, Motivation, Inspire

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Society loves boxes. Large, small, blue or yellow – every item must fit in its designated container. It’s an efficient method for organizing inanimate objects quickly. Hundreds of books line the shelves in our local bookstore. Each claim to have the best solution for stuffing items in the various boxes.

People, however, are not inanimate objects. We are individuals with multiple facets to our personalities. Society’s cold logic can be lazy and sometimes cruel. We put individuals in boxes because it makes our judgment of them much easier. Sadder still, we as individuals begin to believe we are stuck inside the box society has assigned us.

Big Personalities Can’t Be Trapped in A Box

My Aunt Della was one of the first women to help me understand big personalities cannot be locked in a single box. Several years ago, my sister and I were spending a summer in Anchorage, Alaska. Before the days of cellphones and the internet, a phone call from the lower forty-eight was the best communication you could manage. Our family asked us to visit our seventy-six-year-old aunt who’d just moved to a condo in the city. Alaska was a challenging place to live back then, especially for an elderly woman. Many thought she was crazy to pack up and move there on her own. We had placed her in the “Age Box.”

I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother, Agnes, spent her youth in an untamed area of the West. She could break horses and strip down a rifle double quick. Aunt Della was a true daughter of Agnes. Despite her age, she’d purchased a cozy multi-level condo in a city she was determined to explore. The condo had steep stairs enclosed by high walls. I took one look and knew they were a death trap.

Aunt Della, as if sensing what I was thinking, ran up and down the staircase at a surprising pace for anyone over forty. She grinned at my sister and me.

“Seventy-Six Years Old and I can still climb stairs,” She said with a laugh.

We later discovered her daily exercise included a brisk walk to and from her local pub. Aunt Della had chosen to live her remaining life full of fun and friends. She refused to be stuffed in Society’s “Age” or “Widow” boxes.

What about you? Are you living life according to someone else’s category?

 

Individual, Motivation, Inspiration

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“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha

 

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

Live and Let Read

Spy Novels Books Read

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I’m wrapping up the “February Is for Book Lovers” blog series with a sub-genre of Mystery Thrillers. So, order your martini – shaken not stirred– and join me in a good Spy Novel discussion.

Wait. This Was a Book Before It Was a Movie?

Goldfinger and many others by Ian Fleming

The Guns of Navarone by Alastair MacLean

Eye of The Needle by Ken Follett

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

Super Badass Spies

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Matt Damon aka Jason Bourne)

Killing Floor and series by Lee Child (Jack Reacher)

James Bond series by Ian Fleming (Because you can’t have a Super Badass Spy section without him)

Classic Spies

Yes. James Bond again. Seriously, I could do an entire post just about this character and his author

The Ministry of Fear and Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

The Day of the Jackal by Fredrick Forsyth

Other Impressive Super Spies

Hunt for Red October and series by Tom Clancy (Jack Ryan)

Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva

I hadn’t really explored this Book Genre until a few years ago. Please let me know if you have suggestions for Spy novels. I’d love to read more!

Covert Ops Links

Goodreads Spy Thriller List

15 Classic Spy Novels by Penguin Books

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Chillers, Thrillers and Beasties

Horror Stories, Horror Books

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Darkness shrouds the night about me. I clutch at the blankets and burrow deeper into their fleeting comfort. Then a scratch at the door pierces the stillness. Thrusting a hand out, I grasp desperately for my sleeping protector. What is prowling just outside the door? Is it a fanged monster perhaps or some troubled poltergeist?

Setting my Horror novel aside, I discover kitty playing with a discarded rubber band. The heart stopping tension stays with me, however, as I crawl back in bed. Why do I read scary stories before bed time or at all? Heart pounding, shiver inducing tales of horror have been told around campfires of centuries. We humans love the thrill of being scared. Here are a few of my favorites:

Classic Horror Tales

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Modern Horror Favorites

  • The Stand by Stephen King (So many others!)
  • Relic,The Cabinet of Curiosities and other Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Just about any story by Dean Koontz
  • True Blood series by Charlene Harris
  • The Narrows by Ronald Malfi
  • Bird Box (the book not the movie) by Josh Malerman
  • The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

Have I missed one of your favorites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to add a good book to my reading list.

Chilling Links

Goodreads Horror Book Lists

Horror Writers Association(Proud to be a member)

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

The Many Faces of Fantasy

Fantasy Books, Dark Fantasy Books

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I moderated a panel last year on “The Many Faces of Fantasy”at Denver Comic Con. Getting the crowd involved, I asked them to shout out the many sub-genres contained within the Fantasylabel. I quickly ran out of fingers and toes.

My point: Fantasy has a little something for every reader. Into the Victorian era and steam powered contraptions? Try Steampunk. Do you lean toward tales of Horror? Dark Fantasyis for you. Maybe you have a fuzzy spot in your heart for Romance. Yep. Fantasy Romanceis a thing.

This genre could be a month-long blog series on its own, so I’ve decided to share my favorite sub-genres with you:

Urban Fantasy aka Grumpy Magical Character in a Modern City

  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Something from The Nightside by Simon R. Green
  • Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
  • Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka
  • The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (Great Author and Awesome Person)
  • Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
  • A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
  • Pariah by C.R. Richards (Shameless Plug)

High and/ or Epic Fantasy Adventures

  • The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Dragonbone Chair and its series by Tad Williams
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • The Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks
  • Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan (YA)

Dark Fantasy

  • The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  • The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney (YA)
  • Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman (Sub-genre is my opinion)
  • Heart of the Warrior series by C.R. Richards (Shameless plug!)
  • Phantom Harvest by C.R. Richards (2014 Best Fantasy Award Winner)

Have I missed one of your favorite books? Please share in the comments. I’m always looking for good books to read.

Fantastical Links

Goodreads Fantasy Books Lists

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.