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Stress Management/Wellness

Every day presents us with opportunities for peace and joy, and stress. We get to choose how we react to people and our surroundings and events, on a daily basis. I have made great strides in handling stressful situations, but my success is based on being aware in each moment of each day, that I am the one who chooses how I think, how I feel, how I react or how I respond to any situation (or person). This is how you can control yourself in any event:

1. Stop. Slow down. Don’t fly off the handle with a quick reaction that is not thought out.
2. What are you thinking?
3. What are you feeling?
4. What are you choosing to do? Will your choice make you (and others) feel better or worse?
Not at just this moment, but tomorrow, and the next day and the next week.

Blowing up raises our blood pressure and pushes people away from us––it alienates people and makes us look out of control. By taking several deep breaths and choosing to respond calmly, you can keep yourself and others calm.

You can find more information on managing stress in my book, Happy Tales. Be sure to see the books listed under Recommended Reading at the back of my book. Two that stand out in my mind are: Boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. In addition, please read the final sections of my book titled Tips For Handling Stress, and Summary and Lessons Learned.


During my ten years of searching for peace and joy, I found my own version of what is called mindfulness or meditation: it is walking in nature. Just being in nature––whether looking out your kitchen window, driving in your car, or walking outside––changes your mental location; and by leaving your house, you change your physical location. This is very powerful and can lead to a positive change in your attitude. Your mind and your thoughts are where stress management begins.

Following are important things to practice:

1. Concentrate completely on what you see and hear in nature. Let yourself relax. Follow the flight of a bird. Focus on a squirrel leaping through the grass or running up the side of a tree. Watch raindrops falling from the sky.

2. Escape into the scene. Look up. Watch the clouds expand and float by. Imagine standing on the edge of a puffy cloud. How high up is it? Imagine being a bird and what it feels like to glide through the air with a blue sky and yellow sun above you.

3. Use your senses. Look at shapes and colors of clouds, trees, water and animals. Listen to their sounds. Breathe the air. Feel it on your face.

4. Just be in the moment and let the moments unfold, minute by minute.

5. Give thanks for the simple, beautiful things in life.

6. Read How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh, or any of his books. They are short, simple and life changing.

7. Carry peace and joy items with you: a keychain with a dolphin on it, a poem printed on a colored piece of paper, a photo of a loved one or your dog, cat or pet.

8. Put similar items in your home that give you joy when you see them: a plant, a rock, a wall painted in your favorite color, etc.

9. Change your schedule. Allow more time for yourself and what you like to do. Like a pocket garden, allow yourself secret pocket moments of joy.

10. Take time to find out what really makes you happy. I have been completely honest with myself and now I refuse to buy into the standard things that others choose. I refuse to chase something just because others do. Big, fancy vacations are not me. I’ve worked for twenty years in the corporate business world, (ten years at IBM from 1970-1981, and ten years in the business I started in Los Angeles.) Now I absolutely cherish being at home with Sabre and my husband, or taking hikes at the farm, at a nearby park, or along the beach. I love being out in nature. My husband has projects and bicycling, etc., that he pursues while I write or design, and we have things we do together.

I feel the closest to my Higher Being (for me that is God), when I am in nature. So, when I take a walk with Sabre, I pray along the way. Looking skyward, I recite my favorite verses or just pray my thoughts for that day. That way, I never get to the end of the day without praying, without getting in touch with peace and joy in myself, in my Creator, and in the world around me.