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From All Hallow’s Eve to New Year’s Eve—Reject the Stress

Halloween anxiety is not what you may think.  It is not a fear of Halloween –BOO!  (Don’t be scared.)  It is an anxiety that occurs with the anticipation of the upcoming Holiday Season.  As soon as Halloween is over, at 11:59pm, retailers across the country mark down the remaining candy and decorations and start to pull out all the stock—Christmas stock—and hire seasonal workers to get all of the holiday decorations up as the race begins to be among the first to be fully decorated to jump-start the spending rush.  After all, “’tis the season to be jolly.”

Staying mentally and emotionally strong and focused will help to reject the stress that is associated with the holiday season.  Preview the following list to get a heads-up on stress.  Add to the list as the week progresses into Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.  And above all, share the list with family, friends, and colleagues.

  • Make a list of the items that you intend to purchase prior to making the trip to the store.  The list may serve, in part, to keep you focused.
  • Stay clear of “window shopping.”  New items hit the stores in October and become more and more visible as it gets closer and closer to Christmas Day.
  • Proceed with caution with lay-a-way plans.  If you cannot afford it, then re-evaluate whether you should purchase it.  Living beyond our means make for a stressful situation.
  • Keep it simple.  Spending less to impress means having more to store.  You would be surprised at the number of stores that have jumped on the “comparative pricing” bandwagon.  Take advantage of it.
  • Try online shopping to stay away from stressful conditions.  The decorations and music supplied by retailers to get you in the mood also stir up memories that could leave you sad and depressed.
  • Pack away the tear-jerker movies—even the ones with happy endings.  Crying over someone else’s problems only tends to magnify problems that you never knew existed.
  • Re-design your exercise routine.  Add something new or different for the season.  Include a new exercise buddy.
  • Advocate for lighter and more nutritious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  Start researching recipes today.  And vow to re-think the guilt desserts—you know the ones that you center your New-Year’s-resolution around.  If nothing else, think moderation.
  • Focus on the reason for the season and shy away from the heavy commercialism.  Look to your family and friends for love and support and your faith for strength and guidance.  Prayer and meditation are excellent ways to reject stress.

–Ain Modeira Baderinwa

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Ask the Stress Rejection Doctor: How to Handle Election Drama

Dear Stress Rejection Doctor,

Over the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a great amount of stress over the upcoming election. The 2012 Presidential election is a large stress factor in the lives of many people in this country right about now.  Critical issues will be affected by the outcome of this election.  Over the past eight years, the bottom has fallen out of the stock market, unemployment rates have increased significantly, the bottom has fallen out of the housing market, and millions of people have lost their homes.

When I look closely at the upcoming election, I realize that the outcome can significantly affect my life as well as the lives of the people whom I love and care for the most.  Lucky for us all, Presidential election stress only happens once every four years.

First, I stress out over the Republican and Democratic primaries, deciding who will represent each party.  Once that decision is made, most of us settle into supporting one candidate or the other.  There’s also a large group of us who are undecided which is yet another aspect of presidential election stress.

Second, I stress out over the campaign advertisements, the mudslinging, questionable information from both sides, whether it’s fact or fiction, and who’s going to better represent my long term goals and objectives.  When it’s finally time to vote, I stress out over waiting in long lines to cast my ballots while thinking about what happens if my candidate doesn’t win.

Some possible stress rejecters are to go to early voting and avoid the inevitable long lines.  If I miss the early vote times, I plan to take reading materials that are not related to the election.  Also, I plan to work on some positive solutions for my own situation regardless of the election outcome.

I would love to have some professional feedback on how to best handle election stress over the next few weeks.

Signed

Election Stressed

 

 

Dear Election Stressed,

I commend you for articulating what the vast majority of Americans and others around the world are feeling regarding the American Election Drama in which we are all engulfed. The campaign for the presidency of the United States has everyone talking and worrying about the outcome. The polls show vacillating positions on who is leading in local and congressional elections and, more specifically, between President Obama and former governor Romney. It seems like a crawling marathon with media dramatically giving updates every 15 minutes on the status of the race. The pace at which the economy improves and increase of jobs  impact unemployment rates and whether people will be able to keep their homes or purchase homes, cars, etc.  Moreover, when there is economic strife, the economic problems affect the levels of tension and relationships between family members and among people. Conversations around the water cooler at work become more heated and personal opinions about co-workers and associates are affected as well. The stormy clouds of stress are well settled over America.

 

The issue of which candidate is truthful or will work best for the American people and not create another Bush administration has been further clouded by PACs that finance negative ads. Record sums of money have been received by the PACs for Republicans, Democrats and even Stephen Colbert. The negative ads preceding and following the presidential debate have been intense and were intended to sway those who do not think for themselves and critically analyze the whole picture.  Again, I commend you for not just settling under the cloud of negativity that exists but looking to come up with some solutions to the problems that you view as stress creators. Succinctly put, stress is created when we perceive there are obstacles in front of our goals with challenging, difficult, or no solutions seemingly available to solve the problem(s).  There is the short term position of burying one’s head in the sand and denying there is a problem. But that approach simply does not work. Here is a suggested process to relieve your stress relative to this political drama and other situations: 1) define the problem, 2) analyze the problems and ascertain the truth as you see it taking into consideration the facts that you have available, 3) sift through the possible solution(s) to the problems, 4) decide on the best possible option(s), 5) take action on your chosen option(s),  6) review your choice(s) periodically to see if you need to restructure your plan to handle the situation, and, needless to say, 7) commit to the practice relaxation techniques like Intra Muscular Tension Control (www.stressrejectersnation.com), Deep Breathing and positive/rational thinking. Use the Intra Muscular Tension Control to work on specific areas in your body where you seem to carry the tension.

 

                   Now, Election Stressed, let’s put this model into action.

 

1)     Define the problem -You have wonderfully cited stressors related to the economic and employment problems and how they have effected Americans.

2)     Analyze the problem – lots of questions may be asked as you work to create more personal tranquility. Here are just a few questions. How was the problem created? Who or what conditions created the problem? What conditions or people continue to contribute to the problem? Who are the people attempting to truly solve the problems? Are there obstructionists, if so who are they? Is either of the candidates an obstructionist or supporting obstructionists oriented policies? How likely is it that they are going to change their policies or bedfellows?  As you know, there is a difference between thinking and worrying/ “OMGing” about things. Moreover when you are truly thinking and analyzing the problem, you are less likely to be stressed and conjure up other negative emotions like anger. Your goal is to settle your mind. You can share your opinion but you can never guarantee that you are going to change someone else’s mind. You may be unable to change the mind of someone who is not willing to be rational or has other hidden agendas but you can help yourself to feel better. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree with someone who is so well defended in their opinion that they cannot take in the facts. Your serenity is at stake so that battle may not be worth fighting.

3)     Sift through possible solutions – gather as many facts as you can about the policies of the candidates and evaluate the facts. If there are no facts offered consider that candidate A or candidate B may well be hiding the truth…the devil is in the detail or small print. The fact that there is little or no clear information coming from a candidate may help you form a concrete opinion about who to support. Decide on the best possible option(s) —After you have looked at the facts, choose your action. Which candidate can you support in good faith? That could well be your best possible option. If there is some other way for you to support your candidate, choose to take that action. Be a doer not a worrier. Set aside some time to make a decision instead of going back and forth daily with the media and TV news casts.

4)     Minimize stressors  – I would suggest minimizing your daily intake of media drama about the candidates and who supposedly has crawled ahead by one inch on a particular day. After all, there are weeks to go in the campaign which ends with the election on November 6, 2012. Give yourself a deadline date to make a decision and stick to it unless something greatly revealing comes to light.

5)      Review – review your choice in a reasonable period of time, maybe weekly. You do not have to be caught up in the hysteria of this campaign season. Since there are weeks to go in the campaign, choose one specific day a week to review your decision and if you think you need to adjust your decision give yourself the power to do so.

6)     Practice relaxation techniques – regular practice of relaxation techniques is always prescribed because inadvertent stressors regularly present themselves and the stressors associated with the campaign are intentionally presented.  When you are walking down a road comprised of irregularly sized rocks, you will feel a lot different than when you are walking down a smoothly paved road. Relaxation techniques can help you adjust to the bumpy road. Additional relaxation techniques include things you can control like a Stress Rejecter’s 3 point attack: a) scheduling deep breathing exercises 3 times during the day for about 2-3 minutes, b) be in tune with where you tend to carry tension in your body and use the Intra Muscular Tension Control process specifically on that set of muscles 3 times a day or as needed, c) 3 times a day schedule the use of comedy (jokes, programs, etc.) and/or music to help relieve your tension and d) commit to yourself that you will create your serenity wherever you are and do so.

7)     Commitment to your personal serenity – commit to making your own positive and powerful thoughts as well as self empowering actions and you will enjoy more tranquility and smiles throughout the day.

Do not allow election drama to manufacture stress in you.

Dr. Thomas A. Parker, LPC, CPCS

The Stress Rejection Doctor

“Make it a great day and be a great friend to yourself.”

Please send your questions or comments to the Stress Rejection Doctor at
comments@stressrejectersnation.com

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Spotlight on Stress Rejecters In Action

“Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day.”

     The SRN’s Spotlight on Stress Rejecters In Action is on Ricky Hamilton. Ricky fights stress by fishing. He says that “when he is fishing every little problem floats away” from him. The SRN interviewer and camera caught up with Ricky at a resort on Hilton Head Island where he was leisurely fishing. He was enjoying himself and looked so relaxed the automatic question was how do you reject stress? The automatic answer was through fishing. Ricky is a father with two adult children and two younger children. He takes great pride in how he advises and mentors his children and others. His greatest accolades come from his profession as is a master chef in Las Vegas where he feeds the homeless. He gets great satisfaction out of the meals he prepares and serves to the homeless. His recipes and skills make meat so tender it just falls off of the bone and he has been commended repeated about how he meets the needs of a large number of people. Thank you Ricky for the great work you do and for sharing your secret for finding serenity.

The SRN’s Spotlight on Stress Rejecters In Action is on Ricky Hamilton. Ricky fights stress by fishing. He says that “when he is fishing every little problem floats away” from him. The SRN interviewer and camera caught up with Ricky at a resort on Hilton Head Island where he was leisurely fishing. He was enjoying himself and looked so relaxed the automatic question was how do you reject stress? The automatic answer was through fishing. Rickyis a father with two adult children and two younger children. He takes great pride in how he advises and mentors his children and others. His greatest accolades come from his profession as is a master chef in Las Vegas where he feeds the homeless. He gets great satisfaction out of the meals he prepares and serves to the homeless. His recipes and skills make meat so tender it just falls off of the bone and he has been commended repeated about how he meets the needs of a large number of people. Thank you Ricky for the great work you do and for sharing your secret for finding serenity.

“When he learns to fish he can see himself relaxing for a lifetime”

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STOP! LOOK! AND BE AWARE!

As a child you were told to stop, look and listen when approaching traffic or the street. That age old advice, slightly altered can do wonders for your stress reduction. You can work so hard to make things happen that you are easily blinded to your rising stress level until something major occurs. STOP. There are signs when you are overly stressed. Recently, two friends had a similar experience. They forgot or “lost” very valuable items like laptops and wallets. Fortunately, after relaxing a little and then re-tracing their recent activities in a more relaxed state, they were able to locate and retrieve the items. LOOK. See if you have been experiencing those moments when you lose or forget items that are usually taken with you or you handle easily. Allow that experience(s) to be a cue you see which  indicates that your level of stress is above normal. Give yourself the authority to be more ALERT to small indicators of too much stress. Do not settle for the old “I’m having a senior moment” line. Take control of your angst.

Are you literally trying to go in too many directions at once, do too many things at once or allowing  your multi-tasking to go into the red? When you fumble some activities or responsibilities, become overly irritated with others sometimes to the point of having your frustration or anger explode inappropriately, performing below your level of abilities, you will know that your stress is controlling you rather than you are controlling your stress. Other symptoms of unmanaged stress may be sleep disturbances, eating irregularities or physical problems.

To counteract or manage your stress better practice stress reduction techniques (see intra-muscular tension control), physical exercise, more verbal assertiveness, action achievement planning (time management) and let the fun seeking child within you out to play more often.

Dr. Thomas A. Parker, LPC, CPCS                 

The Stress Rejection Doctor


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The TAPA exhibit at the 2012 Annual Licensed Professional Counselors Assocation – GA presented Dr. Thomas A. Parker’s “Self Love-Self Care: A Stress Reduction, Relaxation and Sleep Aid CD”

Ain Daughtry and Johnnie Jenkins

Self Love-Self Care Display *CDs were sold at special conference rate*

Ain is responding to a patron. *CDs were sold at special conference rate*

LPCA Members on the go between sessions

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Lions Roar as the Class of 1965 Turns 65

 

A group of classmates from South Fulton High School’s class of 1965 celebrated turning 65 this year at an annual picnic in College Park, Ga. This class is proud of celebrating the unique double of being in the class of ‘65 and turning 65 this year. Sandra Bridges Elder, President of the class said that there will be a year long celebration featuring activities which include 3k walks, picnics, and church gatherings. The group’s members are very active and some are still working. The coordinating group of Sandra Bridges Elder, Ella Barnes, Harriette Steadman, Susie Barber and Jessie McCoy led an outstanding event. The picnic was a great success and included many classmates including former football players like star linebacker, Larry Strickland and Thomas A. Parker (The Lions lost only one game in two years and had back to back state championship football teams in 1963 and 1964). Great food highlighted by Jessie McCoy’s grilling skills kept everyone eating, laughing and telling stories about yesteryear—the good old days. Sandra spoke for everyone when she said, ” at this point in our lives it’s important to keep in touch with each other and stay active. Oh, yes, don’t forget the grandchildren. Nothing keeps you young like grandchildren. There are more individual birthday parties planned for the remaining year. Celebrations will culminate in December at our Blue and Orange Ball in December“.

Sandra Bridges Elder, President

South Fulton High School

Class of 1965

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SCHOOL BELLS Will be Ringing Soon

School is just around the corner. Regretfully, most of the summer with vacations or staycations have passed. Be determined to carry your new de-stressation practices into the new school year. Lots of fun activities can still lie ahead. Never-the-less everyone is preparing for the new school year. Teachers are getting themselves and their classrooms ready for the oncoming school year.  Parents are feeling the pressure of getting new clothes for the kids, school supplies and, in many instances, paying tuition, etc. for their kids. Ahhh…but once the kids are out of the house, the peace, at least temporarily, will be priceless. Schools opening and the upcoming Fall season both create a special time of year along with the good and the unwanted. The stress of change and new situations can be challenging. The Intra Muscular Tension Control (IMTC) relaxation process taught in the relaxation CDs could be ideal and help parents and teachers make their much needed adjustments. Help everyone in the family and school make a permanent transition into a less stressful environment. Relaxation products like the ones featured in the Anti-Stress Kit can help everyone in the family or school learn new ways of handling stress. The Anti-Stress Kit featuring signs and certificates for the “No Stress Zone, Less Stress Today Hours and the Proclamation Against Sustained Stress (PASS)” can be a constant reminder or class project for the new year. Prominent displays of these items can be your thousand words. Be positive agents for change.

Dr. Thomas A. Parker, LPC, CPCS

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The Art of the Staycation: His & Hers

The Art of the Staycation: His & Hers
EMBRACE YOUR SUMMER OF DE-STRESSATION

Kick off your summer of de-stressation by creating your own tranquil and relaxing space. If for some reason you cannot travel, be creative in selecting your “Serenity Place(s)”.   We have come up with a “His” and “Hers” suggestion list to place you in the mindset to create your own serene space.

Ladies…You can create your own Boutique in-House Hotel Spa!

1) Prep for your special guest…You!

  •  Clear the clutter from your home—or at least from the area you have    designated as your Serenity Place.
  •  Send children on a fun trip to Grandma’s! No need for the distractions while  relaxing.
  •  Create the ambiance.  Use the items that help to put you in a “zen” state. Bring out your favorite tea, light candles, try oil diffusers with a calming lavender scent.

2) Bubble Bath

  •  Many people have tubs that are only used when the shower is on. Put that construction to good use and fill it up with lots of bubbles. Stay until your fingers are wrinkled!

3) Facial

  • We can all use a little facial freshener.  Try this simple at-home facial that has been called “soothing and moisturizing” and uses only 2 common kitchen ingredients!

Egg Whites and Yogurt Mask
(from www.beauty.about.com by Julyne Derrick)

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites, separated from the yolk and placed in a bowl
  • 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (I like Greek yogurt)

Preparation:

Separate the egg whites from a couple eggs and place them in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt (do not use flavored yogurt!). Mix them up and apply to face. Leave on face for a few minutes then rinse face in warm water, followed by a warm washcloth.

4) Manicure and Pedicure

  • Get out your favorite summer nail color and give yourself a full on mani/pedi session.  Don’t forget to soak your feet before you start.

5) Massage

  • You will have to enlist help for this one. Grab your spouse, or head over to one of the many affordable massage parlors in your area. In either case, tips are welcomed!

6) Indulge in your favorite dessert.

  • Vacations are all about breaking your normal diet rules. Indulge in your favorite dessert. With extra whip cream. (As long as this will not interfere with your doctor’s orders!)

If you are traveling and enjoying a vacation, make it great and enjoy every element of it.  If you choose a “Staycation” make it work well for you and your family. Here are some useful tips to enhance your summer:

1) Embrace the idea that whatever you decide to do, you will give yourself every chance to enjoy it as fully as possible

2) Encourage anyone accompanying you to enjoy it fully too. But realize you cannot make them enjoy it as much as you are enjoying what you are doing

3) Breathe deeply at least several times a day and take in how great it feels to be relaxed, and repeat that positive thought as often as possible until it becomes a part of how you create your reality

4) As you are relaxing, envision yourself as the laid back, calm person you are being at that moment as you are enjoying yourself and not involved a lot of harried activities

5) Take total credit for creating whatever degree of serenity you experience.

Do you deserve to feel this serenity? If you believe you deserve it, proclaim that you do as you follow these five steps each day.

 

Dr. Thomas A. Parker
Keanna Daughtry

 

 

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Stress in the Airline Industry II

In the April issue of Serenity Pathways, an article was written about Stress in the Airline Industry in which a number of airline employees from pilots to flight attendants showed that they were under significant stress and should not have been working with the public. Add American Eagle Airline employee, Jose Cerano to that list. His behavior caused passengers to make video recordings and complain about his treatment of passengers on board a plane that was waiting to depart. He was quoted as saying that the flight was his last and he didn’t care. However, leaving the company or retiring does not excuse abusive behavior and treatment of passengers. His employers are responsible for addressing whatever his malcontented concerns might be.

As a follow up to action taken about an earlier incident, on July 4, it was reported that U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled that JetBlue Airways pilot, Clayton f. Osbon, the primary subject in another incident was to be sent to a mental health facility until a hearing can be held on August 6, 2012 to see if he is mentally competent to stand trial for the March 27, 2012 in air incident. He was charged with interfering with a flight crew and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after the incident. The FAA can play a significant role in helping pilots and others in the airline industry to take effective measures to control their stress on an ongoing basis. Action by this agency would help insure more safety for the public. Let us do all that we can to encourage the FAA to take definitive action to address this ever increasing issue about passenger safety.

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Summertime and the Living is Easy . . . And Stress-free

The most relaxing activity that I have participated in, so far, this season was a White Party.  The party was held on my sister and her husband’s front lawn under the magnolia trees.  The décor was “white shabby-chic” and the scene was nostalgic.  Picture, if you will, people from all walks of life sitting around engaged in conversation sparked by bits and pieces of memorabilia perhaps last seen when we were children:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • a warm, sunny day under shade trees that were decorated with an array of white fabric waving back and forth with a gentle breeze that whistled through the branches in the over-sized magnolias.
  • guest arranging in age from mid-twenties to eighties dressed in white outfits—from Sunday best, to leisure suits, to white jeans—and a lovely assortment of white hats.
  • a white clothes line covered with tiny white flowers and white butterflies strung between two trees.  On the clothes line were white items of clothing attached to the line with large white clothes pins.  On the ground was an oval-shaped tin pail with more articles of white clothing and an old-fashion aluminum and wood rub board leaning against one of the trees.
  • the faint sound of “Whiter Shade of Pale” playing softly in surround sparking  conversations of “do you remember all of the different kinds of parties back in the day—house parties, blue lights in the basement, rent, waistline, and block parties?  The next song brings a shift in the conversation to the various dances from the past—the twist, mash potatoes, y-tootsie, hully-gully, the stroll, cha cha cha, the monkey, jerk, and who can forget the two-step!
  • atop a white linen table cloth was a beautiful spread of the most delectable delicacies to please the most discerning palate:  baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, green beans, black-eyed peas, corn bread, rolls, croissants, toss salad, hot dogs, barbeque ribs and chicken, cup cakes, pound cake, cheese cake, peach cobbler, Italian cream cake, and cookies.  Oh yea, and ice cold freshly squeezed lemonade and sweet tea with chunks of mango and strawberries.

After such a scrumptious meal, settle back in a lounge chair or walk around bare-footed in the thick smooth green grass that feels like carpet under your feet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raise your Glasses of Tea and Lemonade and Let us Toast:

To a Stress-free Summer!

 

-By Ain Modeira Baderinwa (B. Annette Daughtry)

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