Reduce Stress With Present Moment Awareness

It’s happening again; tension in your shoulders squeezing you, stomach clenching, and that familiar vice grip of pressure in your head. Here comes the stress and overwhelm, visiting you with the same familiar list of stressful thoughts.

Great teachers like Buddha, or in our day Eckhart Tolle, offer present moment awareness as a way to reduce stress, release anger and improve health. We’ve all heard how wonderfully healing it is to be in present moment awareness with its seemingly illusive calm, so how do we get there?

Our mind unceasingly interprets the never-ending flow of information pouring into our brain. Every day, we experience upwards of 10,000 of these interpretations as thoughts, many of them running like a newsreel ticker, repeating the same stressful stories.

To fully experience the present moment we must find a way hush those thoughts, even for just a minute.

A quick, easy way to release the grip of stressful thoughts is with a gratitude practice. Gratitude instantly shifts the focus out of our head full of thoughts, and gets us back into the present moment.

Most of us weren’t taught a gratitude habit, instead we’re encouraged to consume a daily diet of bad news; things going wrong, diseases we could develop, and dangerous conflicts. We’re conditioned to stress by an unrelenting flow of information telling us to worry.

The primitive part of our brain that insured our survival kept us focused on danger; ignoring a rustle in the grass could result in becoming another predator’s next meal! Today, that part of our brain still functions, but instead of the tiger in the grass, we react to the stories stalking us; the tanking economy, the deteriorating environment, or the personal conflict we keep replaying in our mind. When we can’t turn it off, that fear brain overwhelms us with chronic stress.

The good news is that fear and gratitude can not occur together! It’s impossible for the mind to think stressful, fearful thoughts and be grateful at the same time! Gratitude quiets the fear brain and snaps us back into the peace of the present moment.

Gratitude Formula

First, find one thing that fills you with thankfulness. It can be the smallest of things; your brain will respond positively without caring about the size or value of your choice. Dwell for a few moments on why you are grateful for this thing, then let the why settle to the background of your gratefulness, like the blue sky on a softly clouded summer’s day.

Now, make a statement of gratitude: I am grateful for ____________.

For a few minutes repeat your gratefulness statement to yourself. Remember there is a subtle difference between thinking about gratitude and practicing gratitude. Let yourself feel grateful.

You can change your wording, such as; I am so thankful for______, or thank you so much for______, but stay with a simple phrase.You can thank yourself, your higher power, God, Gods or Goddess, it doesn’t matter as long as you feel grateful.

Are you so stressed you can’t come up with something? If you are reading this you are probably in the top percentage of the world population that has clean running water, food, and a bed. Are you able to take a breath? Focus on being thankful for your breath, softly repeating the word yes on your in-breath, and thank you on your out-breath.

After practicing your gratitude statement for a few minutes, notice how you feel. Are you more relaxed and calm? Did your muscles relax, even slightly, and your mind slow down? When practicing gratitude, your brain floods with specific neurotransmitters, the good stuff that creates pleasant feelings and counteracts stress!

When you feel stressful thoughts taking you out of the present moment, use this gratitude practice to bring yourself back. Keep a gratitude journal. Practice gratitude statements every day. Besides bringing you back to the present moment, reducing stress and increasing positive brain chemicals, you may find there is an abundance of things to be grateful for in your life, coloring your world with joy and peace!

Negotiating Debt Settlements

If you thought that debt consolidation is the only way to settle your debts, think again. There is another effective method by which you can pay off your creditors and it is debt settlement. Debt settlement, otherwise known as debt negotiation is a process where you or a qualified professional contacts your creditors and negotiates your debts to a subsidized affordable amount.

Negotiating debt settlement can be a very economical option to pay off your debts. You can hire the services of a professional debt arbitrator to handle the negotiating process on your behalf or you can even consider doing it yourself with the help of expert advice and tips. Usually debt settlement services offer resources that can help get the best settlement but it is crucial that you find an ethical agency to get the best quality services.

Debt settlement can effectively help save you money, but you need enough finances to make a lump sum payoff to your creditors. Before going for debt settlement, you need to determine your affordability to arrange for the money to pay off your debts. The most common ways to arrange the required money is through tax refunds, second mortgage, home equity loan and savings. If you are planning to apply for a loan, ensure you review your repayment abilities carefully or you may end up with more overwhelming debt.

If you have several debts to pay, it would be wise to pay off ones with the highest interest rates before the rest. Also when negotiating debt settlement, remember to arrange a deal where your creditors would not report the deficiency balance as this could impact your credit scores and your credit rating could suffer for several years.

Although most people hire professional help to negotiate debt settlement, it is possible to do it yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to negotiate debt settlement yourself:

ASK FOR A CUTBACK: It is always wise to ask for a cutback on your debts even though your creditors may try to pressure you for the full amount.

DO NOT BE HASTY – Never rush through the negotiation or you may end up making a pricy mistake. It is crucial that you remain calm, thorough and focused throughout the meeting.

NEGOTIATE ON TERMS – It is very important that you negotiate on terms to settle the debt. It is not as difficult as it may look and is pretty simple to master the terms and conditions. There are several programs that can guide you in negotiating debt settlement to help reach your desired outcome.

Mind the Three Ps For Effective Presentations – Posture, Presence and Projection

Effective presenters pay close attention to the three Ps. They make sure that their posture is erect, their presence is self-confident, and their projection is loud, but not too loud, and clear. They also use body language that enhances their message.

There are three elements that contribute to an effective presenter’s platform, or stand-up training, effectiveness. The first is posture: how you physically carry yourself. Do you stand erect, with your shoulders comfortably back and head up- or do you hunch your shoulders and shrink into yourself? Your posture has a direct impact on how your audience will perceive you (presence) and how easily they will be able to hear and understand you (projection).

The second is presence: the impression of your personality. You can appear professional, self confident, calm, and approachable. Or you can appear uncertain, anxious, distant, and humorless. It depends on your posture, your tone of voice, your willingness to smile, your comfort standing in front of people, your general or “on-stage” personality, your sense of humor, your choice of words, and your joy and/or belief in what you are doing.

The third is projection: the range and clarity of your voice. Some presenters are easy to hear and understand. Their words are loud and clear enough to distinguish their meaning. Other presenters speak softly or too rapidly, slurring syllables and making it difficult to hear and understand what they are saying.

Your posture has a great bearing on your ability to project. If you hunch over and constrict your diaphragm, it is almost impossible to get a deep breath and expel it in strong and carrying tones. However, if you stand comfortably centered and erect, and speak from your diaphragm, you will be able to bounce your voice off a far wall!

After you have taken the trouble to research and design interesting and effective learning content and activities, why would you want to unwittingly sabotage it by appearing meek and uncertain, and swallowing your words so that no one can hear them? The simplest way to check your three P’s is to have someone videotape a short presentation. Typically, people are pleasantly surprised when they play back their tape. In addition, if there is a need to polish one of the P’s, they have immediate and useful feedback.

Body language (how you look and move) can either enhance or undermine your message. Good body language will help you appear confident and knowledgeable. Poor body language will interfere with your message and your credibility.

For more effective body language communication, fight the urge to:

  • Lean into a stationary microphone (use a lavaliere microphone instead, and remember to turn it off during private moments…);
  • Stand poker straight or immobile, or do the opposite- rock or sway in place, or pace (yes, Tom Peters paced- and it made us dizzy!;
  • Use a single gesture repeatedly, or use obviously practiced gestures;
  • Chew gum or suck on candy (we really do notice!)- unless you are using a lozenge to keep from coughing, in which case, explain that to your audience;
  • Lean on or grip the lectern white-knuckled, as if holding on for dear life;
  • Look at the floor, or close your eyes;
  • Hide behind the audiovisual equipment, or turn your back to the audience;
  • Take deep sighs;
  • Play with your clothing, adjust body parts or undergarments, or lose your undergarments!
  • Shuffle your notes unnecessarily, or click your pen or laser pointer on and off;
  • Crack your knuckles, examine or bite your fingernails, clean your ears, or perform any other body care activity!
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest;
  • Twirl or pat your hair, or play with your jewelry (that includes you, too, guys!);
  • Jangle change or keys in your pockets; or
  • Whisper, whimper, mumble, or shout.

The next time you give a presentation, pay attention to your posture, your presence and your projection. Remember that your body language will either enhance or undermine your message, so stay poised and in control.