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I got this is one of my email newsletters and thought I would pass it on…

-Paul

Sometimes you need to get away, but you don’t have the time or money. Don’t despair: A mental vacation can help reduce your stress.

By Diana Rodriguez

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

take a mental vacation

Small stressors can quickly add up to major stress and one big stressful event can send you reeling, with no idea of how to start addressing it. If you could just get away for a little stress relief, you know you would be okay. But too few of us have the time — or the money — to run off on an impromptu vacation.

Well, you don’t have to spend a dime or go anywhere other than a quiet spot nearby to take a mental vacation.

Stress Relief: Take Off on a Mental Vacation

If you don’t find a way to reduce stress, your health will pay the price, both mentally and physically. It’s not necessary to get a lengthy massage or head to a beach to relax — you can unwind every day in simple ways and still get a major benefit.

"People who are under a lot of stress have physical problems related to constantly being under stress," says Sally R. Connolly, a social worker and therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. "And if you don’t find ways [to relieve it], even in small periods of time, you can have long-term consequences." It’s crucial to add stress relief to your everyday routine, she says.

Connolly suggests learning techniques to reduce stress and trying to sneak in one or two each day. "Even if it’s five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night, just find time to do that," she says.

Stress Relief: Six Quick Mental Trips

Visualizing a stress-free place and other relaxation techniques are quick and easy ways to help your whole body calm down and give you just the boost you need to get on with your day. Connolly suggests these six ways for you to slip away on a mental vacation to reduce stress:

  1. Read a book in bed. Connolly says this is a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door. Your bed is warm, cozy, comfortable, and a peaceful place for you. It feels luxurious, and getting lost in a good book is a perfect way to forget, then refocus, your own thoughts.
  2. Visualize relaxation. Steal a few quiet moments to close your eyes and think of an image that relaxes you — such as the warm sun on your skin and the sound of the ocean, a big country field sprinkled with flowers, or a trickling stream. Connolly suggests thinking back to a time when you felt peaceful and relaxed, and focus on releasing the tension from your toes to your head.
  3. Look at pictures from a happy time. Connolly recommends pulling out snapshots from a photo album of a family vacation or a fun dinner with friends. Reflect on your memories of that occasion, and what made it so enjoyable. Spend a few quiet moments reminiscing, and you’ll find yourself more relaxed.
  4. Look out a window. Distract yourself by focusing on something other than what’s stressing you. Grab a steaming cup of coffee or tea, close the door, and take a mental break. Do a little people watching, appreciate any birds within view, or enjoy some fluffy clouds rolling by. Allow yourself to daydream for a few minutes.
  5. Listen to a relaxation CD. Invest in a couple of these CDs for a short daily escape, says Connolly. You may like to hear chirping birds, rolling waves, or gentle rain — whatever your choice, closing your eyes and listening to these soothing sounds while doing some deep breathing can help you relax and de-stress.
  6. Take a walk. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Head out for a quiet early morning walk or lace up your sneakers on your lunch break. Walking along a trail, waterfront, or other peaceful place when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Treat yourself to a 5-, 10-, or 20-minute mental vacation each day and train your body to relax and reduce stress — you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after taking just a few luxurious moments all to yourself.

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Working off of yesterdays blog about how we treat boys in this nation, I thought I would dive in to the problem a little more.

If we look at the boys being raised, how we as a society send such a mixed message to them, how parents want to raise soft and tender boy, boys with a heart. We want to raise boys as if they are not boys, we want to remove the boyness from boys.

The whole “pop” psychology thing of being in touch with your feelings and the how does that make you feel questioning of boys has, effectively, removed boyhood from boys. We have created a whole generation of boys that truly do not know how to be boys. Look around you, look at what our so called boys are doing.

One of the true signs that we have ventured to far off course is the simple fact The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do By Conn Iggulden, Hal Igguldenthat we even have to talk about how boys should act. Look in the book stores, there are tons of books for parents on how to raise your boys and there is even a book for boys on how to be a boy…. Come on! Now I am not the most athletic person, truth be told, I really only like Baseball, and that passion only runs so deep in me. I sucked at playing sports as a boy, but, and I repeat, but no one had to tell me how to act as a boy, I was able to figure that all out on my own, thank you very much! Now some will say that i did not do a very good job at it, that my adventure as a boy lacked in some areas, and that would most likely be true. But I stand by the fact that I did not need a book nor did my parents need a book to tell me how to act as a boy, it was instinctive to me, my parents did not try to raise me any other way, they did not try to make me sensitive (I was by nature) nor did they try to make me sporty, they let me grow up who I was and treaded me as a boy.

What’s that mean, treaded me as a boy…

I was encouraged to play out side, to get messy to climb trees to make forts to play cops and robbers to use my imagination to create exciting new worlds for me to explore, to get holes in my jeans and to do all the other things that boys do. Being a boy  is an adventure in misadventures, it’s being allowed to fall and being told to get back up again and do it all over, and if you fall again, well that’s life. It being allowed to make mistakes and to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, to learn from experience that you just don’t say that to little girls.

Creating new worlds with only a stick from the big oak tree in your back yard and your imagination, that is boyhood at it’s best, play dates and structured time (or at least to much of it) is in opposition to boyhood, it removes the opportunity for spontaneity of a boy, creating a programmable boy and not a living boy.

What have we done to our boys? How did we get to this point? All in the name of woman’s liberation, in our efforts to create equality we have dummied  downed our boys, stripped them of boyness to create a non-gender rather than celebrating the two unique genders we have.

We need to get back to the basics, boys are boys and girls are girls, that’s all there is to it. We are different, one is not better than the other, just different from each other. Now here is were I will get in trouble, but such is life. There are something’s that boys do better than girls and girls do better than boys. There are some actions that are all boy and some that are all girl. That’s just the way it is, sorry but we are not the same, we are equal in the fact that we are humans, that we are created by God, but our equality does not translate in to sameness, we are not the same, we are two different creations with two very different and distinct callings and skill sets. It’s just nature, a fact of life, try as we may (and have over that last 40 years) we cannot make boys in to girls, nor girls in to boy. We are separate genders and we can not make a new non-gender to fit our own selfish needs.

It’s time we accept the fact that boys are boys and girls are girls…

Paul

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Here are the numbers:

  • 21 percent have learning disabilities
  • 7 times more likely to have ADHD
  • 65 percent graduate high school
  • 44 percent are undergrads in college
  • 42 percent are in graduate school
  • 10.3 percent seriously consider suicide
  • 4.6 percent attempt suicide
  • 27 percent are heavy drinkers
  • 30 percent use tobacco
  • 29 percent have carried a weapon
  • 1o percent under age 13 have had sex
  • 11 percent tried marijuana before age 13
  • 63 percent have had sex by the time they are high school seniors

 

What a list of numbers, what a shocking value and depending on what label I attach the the list will determine your reaction to the list. If I were to say that the list represents African-American’s we would be outraged, if it represented females we would scream sexism. If I were to tell you this was research from an third world nation we would say we expected this.

But if I tell you this is the numbers of our boy, here in America, most would just set it aside, think nothing more of it. Were is the outrage, were is the cry of unfair treatment. Lets look at some of the numbers again, using a comparison to girls here in America.

  • 72 percent of girls graduate from high school and only 65 percent of boys
  • 56 percent of undergraduates are girls and only 44 percent are boys
  • 24 percent of girls admit to drinking heavily as opposed to 27 percent of boy
  • 21 percent of girls use tobacco 30 percent boys
  • 4 percent of girls under age of 13 compared to 10 percent of boys under 13 have had sexual intercourse
  • 5 percent verses 11 percent of boys under the are of 13 tried marijuana

 

So I ask you one more time, were is the outraged, why are we not taking to the streets demanding that we save our boys. There are some who say, it’s about time, that girls have, for far to long, lived in the shadows of boys. And others that would say, someone has to win, why not the girls.

It saddens me to see our country like this, and trust me, there are a lot of things that make me sad about this county, but that is for another blog. This one is about the missing cry, the lost tear for our sons.

Have we gotten to a point in our evolution were boys are tossed to the sideline, all in the name of feminism? Have we gotten to the point in our history were we are willing to let one segment of our population got the sidelines? In some respects we have already gotten there, we have already created a class of citizens that are disposable. We have taught our sons and daughters that life is of no real value, that we can “terminate” life anytime we choose, so why are we surprised that we are willing, as a nation, to allow our boys to die a slow death.

America is a nation that is on the verge of a great change. We are standing at the edge of the cliff that will tumble us over the edge in to a future that will forever alter our great nation.

We just dint arrive here, we have been walking towards this cliff for years, taking very small steps. But as of late, our step has quickened, we are taking giant steps towards the edge. For the first time in our history we are about to step over the edge… to plunge in to the abyss…

The problem of our boys, the numbers above show that we as a nation have turned in to a nation of micro-issues. We grab on to “hot” issues and “fix” them, often times at the expense of others. We look at the single issue ignoring the multiple issues that are connected to it, that surround it.

To fix the fact that girls lagged behind in school, we tossed the boy to the side. We set up programs that directly hurt boys in the name of helping girls. We looked at the singular and not seeing the multiple.

Someone has to loose right? Someone needs to pay for the inequities we created, so why not our boys?

Look at the men we are creating, they use, to be boys, look around you, and ask yourself, why do we have families with out fathers, were did all the men go? I’ll tell you, we educated it out of them, all in the name of creating a fair and level playing field. Problem is, it was not fair nor was it level. We are not paying the price for it.

read the numbers above one more time, look at the percentages and ask yourself, were is the outrage?

Paul

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At this time it is more important than ever that people try to improve there skill sets. With more and more people out of jobs and less and less jobs available the difference between you and the other person could be as little as whom has taken more steps to improve there skill sets.

So what are skill sets, basically they are the little classes you take on Microsoft word, or how to navigate the web or even the soft skills like communication classes or seminars. These are the skill sets I am referring to, the soft skills, the personal development skill sets.

We can always learn something new, and we should always be in the process of learning. But in today’s job market it is imperative that we do so, we must have the upper hand on the others looking for that job. What makes us different than the other could be a simple as one online course. And yes there  are tons of free ones out there. Or it could be a seminar you attend, and yes there are free ones out there. But keep in mind you will need proof, so keep the event flyer and take good notes or even record it if you are allowed to. But even if no proof of attendance is offered list it and use it.

Look in your local papers, see what community groups or churches are offering, attend as many as you can and sigh up for the mailing list. In today’s market place many local groups are offering free interviewing classes or seminars on job hunting. Take them all, load up on the training and keep your mind active.

And if you are a training, and have a class that would be beneficial to others, consider offering it for free or low cost at your local church or community group, in this economically hard times, we all need to give a little.

I am offering my services, free of charge, to help others out, both here on my blog, but also live and in person. Why don’t you join me. What, you may ask, can you offer?

You say your not a public speaker, you have no useful talent to offer, hogwash I say!

We all have something to offer, maybe your good on the computer and can type fast, offer your services to type peoples resume’s and cover letters. Or maybe your a good sewer, offer to hem or fix someone’s interview outfit. Maybe you have a day care center, offer free day care for people going on interviews. We all have something to offer, even if its a listening ear, God gave us all gifts, and it is in times like these that we should share our gifts with others.

By the way, if you are interested in having me speak for your group please feel free to contact me at paul@staticplace.com , i would be happy to discuses the possibility with you.

 

Paul

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How often do we participate in a conversation, but in truth we are only really waiting for our chance to speak? I know I do this, especially when it is a heated debate, I want so badly to speak my mind. I have been working on not doing that to much, but its like a favorite candy bar, you walk by it and have to have it. I just can’t always control myself, i just have to have that candy, i just have to get my argument out, its all the same thing to me.

We know, just from our own experience that when people listen to what we have to say and we listen to them, the debate or argument or just plan conversation goes better. There is a natural pace and flow to it. Now to listen does not mean agree with, but to just listen and take it in, allowing it time to settle in your mind and to form a thought.

Listening is a skill we all need to improve at, we all need to be reminded every now and than to just shut the mouth and open the ears. To listen to the sounds of everydayness and to the voice of reason. Listening is not just a skill for conversations with others, but it is also a skill for conversations with nature and self. The quit time we spend just sipping our coffee in the early mornings, or out on the front porch with a cup of tea at dusk.

The skill of listening to the silence is difficult, but not unattainable. Simon & Garfunkel stated it best in there song, The Sounds of Silence:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

The seeds that are planted when we listen to the silence of self and nature can grow in to the changes we dream of, the new creation of self, only if we can learn to listen to the silence of self.

The task is daunting the reward is great. The other day I posted about self time, and in the past i have written about this topic and I will come back to it often. It is a skill that seems to be lost in a modern world where silence is looked at as unproductive or a waste of valuable time.

In days gone by silent time was treasured and looked upon as a treasure for only the well off. In today’s world we look at silence as a sign of laziness and a sign of the less fortunate.

Look at any great leader of the spiritual ways, Jesus, Buda and Krishna all call for and practiced moments of silence. As a Catholic we have moments in our celebration of of Mass that incorporate silence (or it should be, but not all Churches recognize this) we have seasons that calls us to prolonged silence and intense soul searching. The Church sees the importance of listening to the silence.

Listing to the silence of the soul allows you the intimacy of self, the oneness of time and growth and the universality of joining in the the silence of the ages. Silence offers a sort of magic that transcends time and space, giving us the freedom to listen to the voices of the past or future with the present always there.

I am not saying that through silence we can communicate with the dead or travel through time and space, but I am saying that through silence we free our mind to imagine the possibilities of our many tomorrows by  listening to the echo’s of yesterdays.

I have fixed many a problem through the quietness of listening to the silence, allowing my mind to freely flow over the waves of nothingness. Creating a openness that allowed the sounds of reason enter into my soul planting the seeds of forgiveness or love, plucking the hatred out by its roots and allowing the waters of creation to feed me.

So today, sit and have a conversation with the silence, open your ears and listen to the nothingness of the universe and hear the voice of God speaking.

Paul

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