A fresh new approach to stress by Leslie Charles and Mimi Donaldson

DOES THE WORLD NEED ANOTHER BOOK ON STRESS?
IT NEEDS THIS ONE!

If the only joy in your life is found in a bottle of dish washing liquid, don’t despair. If feeling pressed and duressed has become a daily routine and your stress level can leap tall buildings in a single bound, there’s still hope. At last, here is an enjoyable and unusual book that will transport you to a kinder, gentler world where you can live, love, and work in a more resilient and revitalized state.

According to the American Institute of Stress, over eighty percent of visits to the doctor are stress related. US consumers now spend over five billion dollars a year on over-the-counter drugs; we’re popping ibuprofen tabs like they’re M & Ms. How ironic that the wealthiest, most envied culture on earth is also the most anxious, incensed, and discontent!

For example, how many people do you know who are consistently relaxed, laid back, and having fun? Chances are your list will be pretty short, but the pressing question is was your name on the roster? If so, you’ll love this book for what it has to say. If not, you need this book for what it has to say. Bless Your Stress is an insightful, unusual, and sometimes outrageous look at how we create and perpetuate our stress load.

Stress? Just mention the word and people rant about how much they have. We tend to think of it as a bad thing, but stress is organic, all natural, and as old as humankind. Considering that the only completely stress-free zone is a cemetery (for the residents, that is), this makes having some stress in your life quite a blessing, indeed!

Bless Your Stress received an honorable mention at the New York Book Festival held June 27-28 in New York City!

Find out more:

DO YOU NEED THIS BOOK?

How many people do you know who are consistently relaxed, healthy, having fun, and fully enjoying life? Do you even know anyone who fits this description? But here’s the real question: if you compiled such a list, would your name be on the roster? If so, you’ll love this book for what it has to say. If not, you need this book for what it has to say!

Despite the serious nature of this topic, we promise that Bless Your Stress will make you nod in agreement, smile in amusement, and maybe laugh out loud. It will also inspire you into action. This book will help you discover how you unknowingly create and maybe even perpetuate your stress. It will help you break the stress cycle and create a more fulfilling future. If you can relate to any of the following, this book is for you:

  • You finally find time for a ten-minute relaxation break to breathe and relax like the stress experts suggest but after three minutes you’re more stressed than before you sat down. This is because you can’t stop thinking about everything you should be getting done right now instead of sitting there like a lump, doing nothing.
  • You spend more time than you’d like to admit thinking how much better life would be if your boss, neighbor, coworker, or a certain family member were to undergo a massive personality transplant.
  • You engage in psychic relationship management, wishing that the people around you could simply read your mind and know what you want without your having to say so.
  • You finally start your new diet on Monday, but by Friday you blow it so badly that you compulsively stuff yourself all weekend. You end up feeling fatter and more desperate than you were the week before.

Sound familiar? See, we said you’re not alone. As human beings, we all have our contradictory ways of trying to handle the pressures in our lives and some of them don’t work terribly well. Got stress? If so, you’re in good company. These days, stress is more common than the common cold and more plentiful than political pundits in an election year.

Of course, you already know that every day can’t be picture perfect. Just like sex, chocolate cake, and Super Bowls, some are better than others. But relief is in sight, and it doesn’t come in a capsule or bottle; it comes from you. Just read this book a bit at a time, try these ideas, and we guarantee things will improve, even on the days when stress chooses to raise its prickly little head. But stick around: you’ll discover the good news (and the bad news) about stress, how it fits in your life, and how you can whittle it down to size. You’ll be glad you did.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: BLESS YOUR STRESS

The obscure we see eventually; the completely obvious takes longer. -Edwin Newman

Too Stressed to be Blessed? A message with massive potential-just what you’ve been waiting for!

Assess Your Stress – Awareness: just like accessories, it separates you from the animals

Confess Your Stress – Life is not a duress rehearsal: irks, jerks, and quirks (what stresses you?)

Address Your Stress – Please pass the whine: what really happens when you push the panic button

Less Your Stress – Unthinkable or unsinkable? It’s entirely up to you

Yes Your Stress – Discovering the inner child you didn’t know you had: your inner brat

Finesse Your Stress – Don’t distress: remove the W.A.R.T. with finesse

Press Your Stress – Fueling up for peak performance by following Miss Piggy’s advice

Bless Your Stress – Instant blessings: handling the irks, jerks, and quirks with a smile

Profess Your Stress – Finding your trump card, improving your game: deja you

BOOK EXCERPTS

If there’s one word that describes our society, it is stress. Hurried, harried, and too busy, many of our citizens find themselves in a persistent state of overwhelm, overload, and distraction. Like lapsing into a momentary ADD-like state: they get busy, they get preoccupied, they don’t pay attention, they make mistakes, they blame themselves for their dumb mistakes (or somebody else does), their stress goes up, and so it goes. This doesn’t sound familiar, does it?

But it’s true for all of us. There are times when stress seems to materialize out of nowhere and take over like some kind of shape-shifting alien who entraps you in its force field. During these moments you may feel helplessly caught up in the hustle and bustle of the moment, unable to rescue yourself from its clutches.

You Talkin’ to Me?

Are you one of the hurried, the worried, the busy, the bugged, the dashing, the gnashing, the itchy, the twitchy, the bustling, the hustling? Do you race from one commitment to the next, draining your energy, robbing your peace of mind, and stretching your budget while still wanting more? Are you trading precious sleep and relaxation time for so-called productivity, lamenting that there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep your mind and body (or relationships) in perfect shape like those relentlessly blissful people in ads and on magazine covers?

There are too many too busy, too scheduled, too stressed, too over worked, worked over couples who can’t stop long enough to take a breath, let alone make love or keep their relationships in shape. Now called the DINS (Double Income, No Sex) these overloaded, overwhelmed individuals find themselves frantically trying to do as much as they possibly can every day, to the point of near exhaustion. Yet each morning, they’re back out there, compulsively repeating the same frenzied pattern, as if some alien force has erased their memory of the day before. They don’t seem to realize there are other options, like stop already! You might know someone who fits this description.

THERE’S MORE

A Lot of Nerve

Though stress has always been a part of the curious condition called life, it wasn’t always so commonplace, nor so extreme. There was a time, not so long ago, when people would make a vague statement such as “My nerves have been bothering me lately,” and that was pretty much the end of it. No rants. No fussing. No trips to the medicine cabinet. No calls to the family physician begging for a prescription. No one protesting that they were in even worse shape. This was the way life was and you just accepted it: sometimes your nerves bothered you and most of the time they didn’t.

Well, you can’t get away with a simple little statement like that today. Once the word “stress” became a part of our vocabulary, things began to change. It worked its way up the corporate ladder and got a promotion. It became real. After all, stress sounds far more serious than a little case of nerves. It’s now an official condition with an extensive assortment of pharmaceuticals for treating it. Stress is now something we worry about, talk about, obsess about. And we’ve gotten really good at it.

The Good News About Stress

So here it is. Stress is a part of life; it’s here to stay. We’d like to think you are too, for as long as you can, and we’d like to help you to do it in style. Yes, stress is an issue for all of us, but hope and salvation are waiting in the wings.

Look up the word “bless” in a good dictionary. Beyond the first definitions you will find that the words bless and blessing are synonyms for happy and happiness. In other words, by blessing your stress you set the foundation for your own happiness.

Blessing your stress is an affirmation of your existence, acknowledgment of life’s mixed bag, an openness to all of life’s experiences, and armament for facing up to the tough stuff. Blessing your stress is a way of refusing to let the little, inconsequential irritations corrode the quality of your days. The more you bless, the more you let go of your stress.

We all know that life is a mixed blessing. Joy and sorrow. Good and bad. Up and down. Blessed and stressed. But some people don’t recognize when they’re in the middle of the blessed times. It’s easy to obsess over things that don’t really count: a drippy faucet, lousy drivers, slow lines, bad hair days, ruined manicures, traffic jams, spinach between your teeth, or weather warnings interrupting your favorite TV show.

When you focus on the little things that are wrong instead of the big things that are right in your life, it’s easy to get jaded and off center. That’s why we wrote Bless Your Stress . It’s a great place to visit for a mental tune up or attitude adjustment, kinda like happy hour without the booze. We hope you’ll belly up to our book, stick around for awhile, and enjoy a wise and witty blend of novel ideas designed to bring you lasting relief. Whew! We feel better already!

ABOUT LESLIE CHARLES

Author
Speaker
Consultant
Jewelry Designer

Award-winning Certified Speaking Professional C. Leslie Charles has pleased audiences with her wit and wisdom for over two decades. Her customized keynotes, seminars, and workshops entertain, enlighten, and invigorate her learners to take action on practical, doable life-changing strategies.

As the author of eight books including the critically acclaimed Why Is Everyone So Cranky?, Leslie has enjoyed extensive media exposure.

With a “bootstraps” background that includes hardship, poverty, and loss, she speaks with humble authority on what it takes to live and work with enthusiasm, integrity, and a resilient spirit in spite of all.

For more about Leslie Charles, visit:

LeslieCharles.com
WhyIsEveryoneSoCranky.com
PreciousPurpose.com

ABOUT MIMI DONALDSON

Author
Speaker
Leader

For over twenty years, Mimi has captivated audiences from the Fortune 100 to the just plain fortunate. She’s won acclaim for her rousing keynote speeches, compelling workshops, and in-house training programs.

She holds a Bachelors Degree in Speech and Dramatic Arts from the University of Iowa, and a Masters Degree in Education from Columbia University. For 10 years, she was a staff Human Resources Specialist with Walt Disney Company, Northrop Aircraft, and Rockwell International.

Mimi has recently been a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government.

Mimi Donaldson is co-author of Negotiating for Dummies , published by John Wiley & Sons. It has been published in six languages and has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

For more about Mimi Donaldson, visit:

www.mimidonaldson.com

Be Quick:

QUICK STRESS CHECK

How have you been feeling lately? Has your stress exceeded the safe limit? If you described yourself as “mellow” would your family or coworkers howl in protest?

Complete any statements below that describe your current state of being so you can establish a base line.

Lately, I’ve mostly been feeling…

__ Harried, hurried, and hassled because…

__ Busy, badgered, and beat up because…

__ Pressed, preoccupied, and pushed to my limits because…

__ Tired, wired, and mired in responsibilities because…

__ Afflicted, conflicted, and way too restricted because…

__ Rested, receptive, and ready for more because…

__ Happy, healthy, and hopeful because…

__ Satisfied, gratified, and on the upside because…

__ Joyful, jubilant, and just having a great time because…

__ Blessed, blissful, and bountiful because…

Completing these sentences gives a stronger sense of whether you spend more of your time stressing or blessing. Are you more like a bottle of Red Bull or a cup of chamomile tea? Taxed or relaxed? Whether the process is conscious or not, stress is a choice. The point is so simple it can easily be missed. This is the time to come forward and confess your stress so life can take a turn for the better.

QUICK QUIZ

Stress or Bless: the beginning of chapter 2

After reading this chapter you’ll be better able to assess everyday situations for their stress potential. To further this purpose, we’ll start out with a quick quiz. It has only two items. You have a choice between a stressing response and a blessing response: choose the reaction most typical of you. Be as honest as you can, and if that’s too difficult, read the quiz to someone who knows you well and let them answer. Then, once you’ve finish the heated discussion that will most likely follow their assessment, put a blessing on their comments, and read on.

Let’s Play Guess Your Stress!

Situation: You have owned and heavily used an ink jet printer for three years now. Today, for the first time, a clerk at the office supply store explains their policy: every time you return a used printer cartridge to their store you will receive a free ream of paper.

You:

___ a) Are ticked off because no one ever told you about this and you can’t stop thinking about all the free reams of paper you missed out on.

___ b) Are delighted to hear this news and you’ll take advantage of it as soon as the current cartridge runs out.

Debrief: Yes, it would have been nice to have known this three years ago but you didn’t have a clue about the store’s policy, and hey, you were in a pretty good mood before you heard this news. Life doesn’t have an “undo” button like computer software, so why let your attitude go south? You have better things to focus on such as reading more of this book or savoring a piece of chocolate while visualizing all the free reams of paper looming in your future.

QUICK TIP

No More Bad Breath

When the long lived actress Sophie Tucker was asked about the secret to longevity, her answer was, “Keep breathing!” When Dr. Andrew Weil was asked if there were one single thing a person could do to enhance overall health and well-being, his answer was, “Breathing . ” Well, there’s breathing, and then there’s breathing, but we seldom consciously think about this autonomic life-giving function. Believe it or not, there are classes on breathing: all kinds of them!

Right now, shift your attention to your breath. Are you breathing from your chest or your belly? Are you breathing deeply or superficially? Most of us have no clue about our breathing patterns, but here are some points to remember. When you’re stressed, you will have a tendency to hold your breath or breathe in short, shallow gasps through your mouth. This will increase your anxiety.

Your breath should come from your belly, not your chest. Breathe in through your nose, not your mouth. Expand your belly on the inhale and gently contract your stomach muscles on the exhale. Teach yourself to make periodic breath checks throughout the day so you can pay more attention to your breathing patterns. If you start feeling stressed, stop and take a deep breath (through your nose). Slowly inhale, then slowly exhale. Remain still and repeat this cycle three times. You can’t be both stressed and blessed at the same time: taking deep, slow breaths will help calm and center you. It will help you think more clearly. Some people put a little sign in their office that simply says “Breathe”, to help them remember to breathe properly.

QUICK REMINDER

We human beings have always possessed both the ability (and the need) to laugh. It’s no accident that there’s a comedy channel and even local comedy clubs where we can go forget our troubles for a few hours. The more stressful and serious a society becomes, the greater the need for relief. Considering there isn’t an epidemic of Rent-a-Stress companies springing up everywhere, it would appear that everyone has enough of their own right now.

Are we suggesting you should eliminate all of the tension in your life? No, and you won’t want to. You see, death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. The only completely and totally Stress Free Zone that exists is a cemetery (for the residents, that is). In other words, absolutely no stress means you’re now riding the Pale Horse, hitchhiking with the Grim Reaper, cooling down with the Big Chill, drawing those heavy, fatal curtains one last time. Do these bleak images make you feel at least a wee bit better about the stress in your life?

Hey, if you’re still able to gaze down at the grass instead of staring up at its dirty underbelly, this in itself is something to celebrate. After all, a bad day alive beats the heck out of a good day dead! So we’re not going for utterly stress-free here, just a lower ratio. Like the story of the three bears, you don’t want your stress load too big (overwhelm) or too small (boredom). You want it to be just right. Maybe it would help if you thought of stress as life’s way of giving you a friendly nod. “Howdy partner! Grab a chair and sit a spell. Relax. Put your feet up and take a load off.” Maybe even read this book!

QUICK BLESSINGS

Instant Blessings: Handling the Irks, Jerks, and Quirks With a Smirk
From Chapter 9

Stuff will happen: you already know this. Now take a moment to imagine what your life might be like if you combined a little creativity with your sense of humor so you could stress less and bless more. Here’s the question: Will your getting angry, snarky, or short tempered stop the rain, enlighten muddleheaded motorists, make elevators speed to your floor, cause lines to move faster, make your cell work better in a dead zone? Getting all hyper over these things only affects you . It doesn’t do squat for inanimate objects or even other people! Bless these moments, don’t obsess over them.

Stress is a big bully and it will try to get away with as much as it can. Stress can get all fluffed up and look ten times its size but you don’t have to be intimidated by the special effects. You don’t have to let it push you around. Like letting the air out of a balloon, you can whip stress down to size Small instead of XXXL. How do you neutralize the bully? Ridicule it. Mock it. Laugh at it and you’ll put stress in its rightful place:

“Bless this bleeping bottom feeder for giving me an opportunity to perfect my patience…”

“Bless this nutsy ninnyhammer for giving me the chance to practice my tolerance…”

“Bless this muckered mess for providing me with an opportunity to regain perspective…”

“Bless this shambles of a situation for it allows me to use my sense of humor…”

If You Bless, You’ll Decompress

How could anyone possibly utter any of these sentences with a straight face? Just make up the most outrageously smirky statement you can think of when the chips are down. Memorize it, and as the doctor says, take as needed. Release that playful inner imp of yours and have some fun. Enjoy your taste of emotional independence. When you bless your stress creatively, cleverly, and continuously, you whittle down the dimensions of the blathering bully.

Rubes(R) cartoon (c) Leigh Rubin-Used with permission.

ABOUT THE CARTOONIST

Hot News! Our favorite cartoonist, Leigh Ruben, is featured in the opening credits of the movie, Moola.

We invite you to watch his clever work.

For more click here.

Maybe you could call Leigh Rubin a sit-down comedian. But whatever you call him, he’s just gratified to have the opportunity to make other people laugh. With his cartoon panel, Rubes, in hundreds of newspapers across the country and gracing millions of greeting cards, mugs and T-shirts, Rubin has plenty of opportunities.

Rubes, in the form that cartoon aficionados now know it, began appearing in newspapers in 1984 and the first paperback collection of Rubes was published in late 1988 by G.P. Putnam & Sons. His most recent series of books include The Wild Life of…Love, Cats, Dogs, Pets, Cows and Farm Animals.

Originally self-syndicated, Rubes is now distributed by Creators Syndicate to more than 400 newspapers worldwide. As one of the most popular single-panel cartoons, Rubes is a regular feature in SkyWest’s United Express and Delta Connections magazines. Rubes appears in such major daily metropolitan papers as the San Diego Union Tribune, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Washington Times, the Sacramento Bee, the Houston Chronicle, the Orange County Register, and the Los Angeles Daily News.

Leigh Rubin’s newest cartoon collection – “The Wild Life of Love”¬†will be released on Valentine’s Day. If you’ve ever wondered about the love life of your pet or those pesky squirrels in your yard, Rubin has the answers. Guaranteed: this book will “less” your stress!

To see Leigh’s books and a daily cartoon: http://www.comics.com/creators/rubes/html/comic_books.html

Leigh’s Publisher: www.willowcreekpress.com/rubes

Need a Speaker?

If you’re planning a meeting, conference, or in-house seminar and you’re searching for a speaker or trainer who will enlighten, amuse, stimulate, educate, and activate your audience members, consider bringing the authors of Bless Your Stress to your organization.

As a team or individually, Leslie Charles or Mimi Donaldson may be just what you’re looking for. Both are seasoned speaking professionals who share the value of taking exceptional care of their clients while meeting needs and objectives.
Whether you choose the subject of Bless Your Stress or other topics, you can expect a professional presentation that includes solid content laced with humor and wit, customized to your specifications.

Call Leslie Charles at 517.253.8918

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