Posts Tagged ‘creatinginnerpeace’

THE FOUR SURPRISING CAUSES OF STRESS

How many of you would like to live a stress-free life? I’m guessing it would be quite a few. Most people I know view stress as a negative experience. Yet like any emotion, it doesn’t have to prove detrimental to our health or overall well-being.

Stress is actually less complicated than one may believe. Like anger, it is only a symptom of a deeper issue. And like anger, there can be thousands of triggers but only a handful of root causes. Stress is defined as “a state of being characterized by feelings of physical, emotional, or mental tension”. The true causes of stress lie not in what is occurring around us but rather by what is taking place within us. All emotions, of which stress is one, originate internally. Consider the following internal origins of stress:

Fear: Feelings of worry, anxiety, concern, and apprehension all contribute to an individual feeling stressed out. We worry about finding a good job, moving to another city, losing our spouse or being alone. Each time we anticipate a negative circumstance we generate feelings of uncertainty. And fear of the unknown is one of life’s greatest causes of distress. Do you struggle with the What If Syndrome? What if I get lost? What if my husband gets cancer? What if the plane crashes and I die? What if my child doesn’t get into the college of his choice? Or what if he does and I can’t afford the tuition? We project the worst possible outcome and proceed to worry over things that may never manifest.

Fear is a lack of trust in a situation, another person, ourselves or God. In a situation, we may feel unsafe, such as sky diving for the first time. This is a dangerous sport. I could be seriously injured. Or we may fear others – a person is perceived as untrustworthy, a threat to our security and well-being. A jealous co worker has the potential to get me fired. There is also a lack of trust in ourselves – we lack confidence in our abilities to handle whatever situations life presents to us. I could never survive the loss of a child. And finally and most importantly, fear is a lack of trust in God. We question our understanding of Him: if He really is a loving God, why do bad things keep happening to me? I pray for healing every day and still I suffer with chronic back pain.

Solution: The way to overcome fear is two-fold. On a practical level: by building our self-confidence, in part, by reminding ourselves of everything we have faced, survived, and overcome thus far in life. On a spiritual level: by exercising our faith in God, knowing that He never promised that life would be easy nor fair, only that He would never abandon us, that whatever we truly needed (not just wanted) would be provided for us, and that if we followed His directive we would reap abundant blessings. Just look around you – everything you need is all ready here.

Frustration: Feelings of anxiety derived from the need to control a situation or individual lead to anxiety. When people don’t behave in a manner I deem appropriate, when they won’t comply with my wishes or demands, or when a situation does not proceed as I anticipated, I feel helpless and powerless. Being out of control causes apprehension within me as I realize something or someone else is determining the outcome of this situation and/or possibly my life. I do not trust anyone enough to give them power and authority over me nor do I want to leave my fate up to chance. I do not believe that either has my best interest at heart.

Solution: When I realize that control is an illusion (I have zero control over situations and/or others) and recognize that whatever enters my life is ultimately there for my higher good*, then I do not need to have the final say in how life reveals itself to me. I can relax and be more at ease, knowing that I have full dominion over how I maximize every experience I participate in. I choose how I think, feel, react to, and utilize each and every occurrence. I can transform any perceived negative situation into a positive simply by my internal choices and how I express them.

Perception: How we choose to see things, events or people defines our reality. Our perception is not determined by the actuality of our experience but rather by the thoughts we form about them. Here’s an example: the reality: I’ve told my children dozens of times to keep their rooms clean yet every time I check on them they are a disaster by my standards. My perception: They do this just to drive me crazy! The truth is that most children are not concerned with the order of their rooms. Messy is their normal. A simple shift in my perception can instantly alleviate my stress. They’re just being kids. They’ll eventually learn, I hope. And if not, it’s really not that important.”Life isn’t about truth and reality; life is all about perception.” – Janet Pfeiffer

Solution: Perception can be changed at any given moment. One only needs to re examine their thought process. Am I being fair and reasonable in the way I see myself, others or the world in general? Am I being judgmental and/or arrogant? I can remove labels from myself and others or modify them to be more understanding and realistic. In this way, when I adjust my perception (how I choose to view others and situations) I can reduce or eliminate stress and replace it with a sense of calm.

Expectations: We all have expectations that we place on others and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, many times what we are seeking from others is unfair or unrealistic. When our demands are not met, for whatever reason, we become stressed, angry, and disappointed. But is it realistic to expect that my husband have the same interest in music as I do? Is it reasonable to think I can work a full-time job, raise my children, and care for my elderly parents on my own, and do it all really well? Do I have a right to dictate to others what they should think, feel, believe, or how they should act? Is it reasonable to expect that what I am seeking in an given situation would manifest in the time frame I’ve allotted, in the exact manner in which I desire it considering all relevant factors?

We demand a lot of ourselves and live in an age where multitasking and workaholism (that’s not a real word but you know what I mean) are considered virtues. When we fall short of those ideals we label ourselves as failures. Likewise, we place an excessive amount of pressure on others to conform to what we believe is right and/or acceptable. We impose our beliefs, lifestyles, interests, work ethics, etc. on our families, friends, coworkers, and others and when they do not comply we become frustrated and angry.

Solution: While it is useful and reasonable to have some expectations in life, we must be careful to make certain that they are in alignment with reality and are fair and just to all concerned. If they are extraordinarily high or unreasonable, we are inviting stress into our minds and bodies. Eliminate any demands that are unnecessary, readjust those that are unfair, and take a kinder more gentle approach to life. Remind yourself that life and those in it are not meant to conform to your dictates. Embrace what works for you and gently relinquish that which doesn’t. Allow life and others to simply be.

In conclusion: If you want less stress in your life, it is not always necessary to change your circumstances (although that may be a viable option). Sometimes, a simple shift in perception (how we view things) or an adjustment in our expectations (being more realistic and fair-minded) can make all the difference in the world. Remember, if you can’t change the world, change how you view it and how you interact with it. You will be much more relaxed and peaceful, able to more fully enjoy life in all its wonder and glory. And isn’t that a worthy goal?

People and events that contradict my ideals will always be a part of my life. By addressing the underlying causes of stress and living a faith-based life coupled with the wisdom to fully embrace every situation I experience, I can approach each day with greater peace and composure thereby significantly reducing the amount of stress that enters my life. And a peace-filled lifestyle supports a joy-filled existence.

*Q: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

THE 12 YEA’S OF CHRISTMAS: “GETTING ALONG WITH FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Is world peace really possible? Maybe, but peace begins within, then extends into the home before it can reach global proportions. Sadly, the holidays, proclaimed the most wonderful time of the year, are more realistically the most stressful, bringing out the worst in people rather than the true spirit of love and generosity.

Most Christian families dream of a traditional Hallmark Christmas: perfectly wrapped gifts hidden beneath an impeccably decorated tree; the aromatic scents of sumptuous food baking in the oven; colored lights that magically twinkle to the sounds of traditional Christmas carols; and family members enjoying the company of loved ones seated around the dining room table.
Yet for many, the most wonderful time of the year is actually comprised of arguing, fighting, stubbornness, resentments, rifts, and personality clashes. The very messages of peace, love and kindness are buried among arrogant egos. Not having a perfect family does not mean families cannot share a joyful holiday season together. People can learn to get along with family members they are not particularly fond of or who are difficult or dramatic. Simply follow my “12 YEA’S OF CHRISTMAS” plan.

1. Minimize your time together. There is no hard and fast rule stating that we must spend all of our time, or even a full day, with our loved ones. Too much time together can lead to drama: people getting on each other’s nerves or increasing the risk that someone may say or do something offensive, thereby setting off a series of heated conflict. Instead of a long drawn-out holiday dinner, plan a 2 hour brunch instead. Less time = less risk.

2. Be prepared. Plan ahead how you’re going to interact with one another, especially those who may potentially create drama. Going blindly into a possible dramatic situation can leave one feeling unprepared for whatever chaos may ensue. Just as one knows exactly what to do in the event of a kitchen fire, one must also be prepared for any inappropriate behavior from family. The better prepared, the more effective one can be in minimizing any damage and returning the situation to a joyful celebration. If Aunt Harriet criticizes everyone and everything, enlist the aid of other family members to remind her that today is a day of joy and any unfavorable remarks of any kind are momentarily banned.

3. Focus on the good. Find something about those challenging members that you like, admire or respect or perhaps a fond memory you have of them. Use this as your opening conversation. For those less-than-favorite-but-must-socialize-with family members, remind yourself that every person has something favorable about them. Keeping in mind that thoughts determine our feelings which ultimately dictate how we treat one another, be certain to form an positive thought about the individual before engaging with them. Begin your interaction on an affirmative note: perhaps offer them a compliment. The person who initiates the conversation sets the tone. And remember, every family member has value and adds value to the overall dynamics of the day.

4. Remind yourself of the message. The holiday season is about love (aka kindness). Fill everyone’s stockings with kindness. Go out of your way, for just this day, to be kind to everyone, especially those who are the most difficult. Vow to bring out the best in everyone at the gathering. Put aside your dislike of them as best you can and be the example of true generosity. Feelings and behaviors are contagious and you can be an inspiration for others to follow your lead. Be a leader. Help your grandmother hang up her coat; offer to set or clear the table for the host; spend time taking with your moody nephew.

5. Refrain from judging and labeling. Every person has personal issues, you and I included. Separate their behavior from who they are intrinsically (children of God). Their poor conduct s is reflective of whatever is troubling them. Don’t take personal offense. Be compassionate and understanding. Look beyond the outward behavior to the intrinsic goodness of who they are. Repeat after me: “They are worried/stressed/hurting but they are my family. Their behavior does not apply to me. Sometimes even I misbehave. Therefore I will respond with compassion.”

6. Practice introspection. Ask yourself, “Why do I allow their behavior to bother me? What is it within me that needs to heal so that this will no longer be an issue for me?” Only when we look within and question our own reactions and reasons behind them do we have the ability to truly enjoy our family. If my cousin overeats, why is that an issue for me? Once I am able to find the answer to that question, their eating habits will no longer bother me and I am free to simply enjoy their company.

7. Establish a commonality. Particularly with those who pose the greatest challenge to us, finding common ground provides somewhat of a bond between us. Two women who are mothers, men who share a love of professional sports – these are areas where people can relate to one another, thus providing a deeper understanding of the other. And understanding leads to trust, the very building block for strong relationships. If Aunt Joan made the deserts, tell her you found a great new recipe that you’d like her opinion on.

8. Avoid sensitive or controversial topics. Use humor whenever necessary to diffuse tension. One can thoughtfully redirect the conversation should it enter the “danger” zone of a highly volatile topic. “Let’s not discuss my credit card debt tonight, Uncle Harry. Let’s talk about your last vacation. Was it fun?” Or, the shift can be more discreet. If a sensitive issue comes up, redirect it by saying, “Oh before I forget, I wanted to let you know that next week I have a doctor’s appointment and I need someone to watch the kids for me. Is that possible?” From that point, you can easily continue on less controversial matters.

9. Set limits and boundaries. No one needs to be subjected to offensive or inappropriate behaviors, not matter how understanding or patient they are. If cousin Joe is drinking excessively, one can certainly tell him (politely but firmly) that he has had enough to drink and offer him coffee or a soft drink as an alternative. Keep in mind, that boundaries must be fair and reasonable and only put into place if the so-called offense is serious enough to warrant it.

10. Practice forgiveness. Forgive the insensitive remarks, mistakes, and lack of finesse. Let things roll off your back. We need not actively address each and every incident that does not meet our standards of appropriate behavior. If someone comments that my dress is unflattering on my body type, I need not make an issue out of it. I can ignore it, let it roll of my back, and chalk it up to a thoughtless comment. To confront the party at that moment could create a scene that could certainly ruin the holiday for myself and others. If necessary, if it is important enough, I can address it at a later date.

11. Love vicariously. Keep in mind that the person you label difficult is probably loved by someone you love. Treat them kindly out of respect for the other party. Think about how you would feel if your child was behaving badly and others spoke unkindly about him or worse, treated him as such. Would that not be painful for you as well? Even if I may not be fond of my son’s wife, he loves her and I love him. Therefore out of love and respect for him, I treat her as if she is special to me, for indirectly she is.

12. Remember your authentic nature is love. To be anything less than love to anyone else will create conflict and dis-ease within you. Be true to yourself; be gracious, generous, and kind at all times. Remember, too, that karma is always at work. What you send out will be returned to you. But more importantly, you will be judged by God. Be an example of His goodness in this world, especially to your family, for He always repays our kindness.

We all have obnoxious, self-centered, opinionated people in our families, including ourselves. We could choose to avoid them from Nov. to Jan. or we could argue our way through the holidays. However, there is no honor in either. To make a concerted effort to peacefully and lovingly engage with our diverse family members enables us to test our full potential of being the spiritual creations we are; to live our Divine beliefs and practice the true message of the holidays which is love and peace, goodwill to all mankind. Take the time to incorporate the 12 YEA’S OF CHRISTMAS into your holiday season, regardless of your specific religious beliefs. You can have harmony in your home for the holidays.

“We cannot be a world at peace until we are first a people of peace.” The Secret Side of Anger by Janet Pfeiffer

PEACE ON EARTH. GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS TO ANGER

I’ve spoken many times about the importance of all feelings, anger included. With every emotion we experience, we have the ability to learn much about ourselves. No feeling is inherently wrong. It’s how we choose to express and use them that determines their value.

In my book “The Secret Side of Anger”, I address the three root causes of anger, what they are indicative of, and how to heal each of them. Not being a proponent of controlling anger except in extreme and temporary circumstances, I have found that the best approach is to understand why a particular feeling has emerged, learn how to express it appropriately (if doing so is necessary at all), and ultimately how to heal it. Following this formula ensures that there will be no residual effects from repressed or prolonged emotions which may possibly cause additional problems in the future. I provide very pragmatic strategies in order to accomplish this effectively. However, one can also take a purely spiritual approach to healing anger as well. Let’s examine each of the root causes and the spiritual solution to each.

First Cause: Hurt – people often say or do things that hurt us. Let me rephrase that: we often allow ourselves to be hurt by the inconsiderate or rude behaviors of others. Anger, hurt, embarrassment – all feelings are a personal choice we make (albeit sometimes subconsciously) that are rooted in our thought process. Thoughts create feelings. I form a thought about what is occurring and why (the person’s motives behind their actions) and thereby choose the corresponding emotion. Believing we are being targeted or that there is something inherently wrong with us, we allow ourselves to take personal offense to what the other party is saying or doing which in turn leads to emotional distress.

Spiritual Solution: How do we prevent the actions of others from causing us pain? First, it is critical that we understand that behavior is an external expression of an internal issue. People act out what they feel. Their behavior is never about us. We must learn not to take personal offense to it but rather be an “objective observer” of what is transpiring around us. We can allow the experience to remain neutral and need not assign an emotion or value to it. (It is neither good nor bad; painful nor enjoyable.) Much like an emergency room doctor, we remain emotionally detached from their actions.

Secondly we need to remember that people are human and make mistakes; they sometimes act out inappropriately as do we. We are called upon by God to respond with understanding, to be patient and forgiving. Keep in mind, too, that what they are going through is a necessary part of their life’s journey. Do not interfere and do not judge. Be kind, set some boundaries if necessary, and forgive always.

Ephesians 4:2 “Always be humble and gentle; be patient with each other making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Second Cause: Fear, the second root cause, is based on a lack of trust. We fail to trust others, a situation we may be facing or ourselves (we doubt our abilities to handle whatever life places before us.) But most importantly, fear is a lack of trust in God. We want to have control over our lives and/or expect that life unfold according to our plans. When that is not forthcoming, we become anxious and fearful. We are concerned with how our current circumstances will impact our lives and if, in fact, we will be ok. We have no faith that God will always make certain that whatever enters our lives is ultimately for our highest good.

Spiritual Solution: From a purely spiritual perspective, learning to have faith in a loving God who always has our best interest at heart allows us to feel more at ease with our current circumstance. Conversation with God, otherwise known as prayer, alleviates anxiety and worry. So pray. Ask for guidance, strength, knowledge, wisdom, direction. God reassures us that if we ask we shall receive. Rather than pray for what we want to have happen, pray for the ability to endure it and emerge with greater awareness. Keep in mind, too, that although God hears and answers all prayers, like any loving parent sometimes what we ask for is not in our best interest and in those times the answer we receive may be “no” or “not now”. Faith enables me to realize that what is meant to be, according to God’s will, will surely appear in my life and at the exact right time it is meant to.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 43:2 “When you go through deep waters I will be with you.”

Third Cause: Frustration (aka stress) goes hand-in-hand with fear and is derived from the need to control. We want or expect things and people to be as we believe they should be according to our standards and values. When what we are seeking is not forthcoming, we experience a sense of powerlessness, a loss of control – the very definition of anger. Keep in mind that control is an illusion. Other than one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, we have no control over anything external. At best, we can influence the outcome of any given situation; we can influence or inspire change in others. But all human beings have free will and regardless of how much we ask, beg, coerce, manipulate or threaten, people will only comply with our requests when it appears to be in their best interest at that time.

Spiritual Solution: We’re all familiar with the expression “Let go, let God”, a cliché filled with much wisdom. The Bible reminds us that there is a time and a season for everything under Heaven. We were not meant to have everything work out exactly according to our plans nor at the precise moment we anticipate it. Whatever enters our life is exactly what we are meant to experience in that moment. When things are not forthcoming, it may be that they are not meant to be or that it not been in our best interest or that perhaps the timing is wrong. Perhaps, God has a specific plan and our desires are not compatible with them. Maybe there is something even greater waiting to manifest in our lives. Therefore it is imperative that we let go of the need to control and allow life to unfold exactly as it is meant to. That means specifically to allow others to be who they are without imposing our demands and expectations on them; to allow them to learn and grow in their own time and way; and to grant them the opportunity to fulfill God’s Divine plan for them rather than conform to ours.

Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord: plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

There are a host of powerful tools available in order to resolve the anger (aka hurt, fear, and/or frustration) within us from a deeply spiritual standpoint: prayer, nature, meditation, Scripture, and music (particularly worship music) are just a few that are always readily available.
Remember, all roads lead to God. When we fully understand and choose to live life from a purely spiritual perspective, we are at ease with whatever and whomever enters and/or leaves our lives. All is exactly as it is meant to be so be at peace.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+