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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

Modern technology makes our lives easier in many ways, and yet paradoxically has added to our stress like nothing ever before it. While we may not be running from hungry tigers in our daily lives, we are bombarded with news, texts, emails, and “urgent” things that needed to be taken care of “yesterday.”

All of this stress adds up, so we need to consciously work on alleviating it to improve our health and well-being.

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True Lack

Our Western world is very oriented towards external, material success, but what is true “wealth”? It’s not money, or fame, or influence.

Robin Williams, one of the most beloved comedic actors of all time, sadly took his own life out of fear of Parkinson’s Disease. In contrast, Michael J. Fox, suffering from a more advanced version of the same disease, chose to spend his energies helping others by raising both awareness and money. Robin Williams probably had more going on that spurred the suicide than just the physical disease. Was he depressed? Had he been depressed long before the physical illness set in?

No matter how much money you have, it doesn’t make up for a lack of emotional resilience and faith. And no matter how little money you have, you can have an abundance of emotional resilience and faith.

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Acupressure for Hiccups

When I was a kid, if I had hiccups I’d take a spoonful of sugar and chase it down with a full glass of water. It works! But the sugar hiccup cure is not that convenient unless you happen to keep sugar on hand (I don’t even have it in my kitchen anymore). And it costs calories!

Acupressure is another way to cure hiccups and no props are needed. There are many different acupressure points that you can try for hiccups. Each person is individual, so you might find a certain combination works best for you.

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When Self-Help Isn’t Helpful

Self-help is a big business, and it’s not surprising that advertising promises “amazing results!” for all sorts of self-help schemes and products. The challenge is how to separate out the stuff that actually works from what doesn’t.

I’m actually a big fan of self-help for the most part, but the industry is rife with BS and big promises. Self-help often fails, and sometimes it fails in a big way. How many people do you know (or perhaps it’s yourself) who bought some sort of expensive “abundance” program only to still have financial problems after the big purchase? (Or maybe they got worse!)

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Thankfulness vs. Self-Congratulatory “Gratitude”

I’m not sure what happened, but the meaning of “gratitude” seems to have changed over the years. Gratitude used to be about acknowledging and appreciating someone else for their help or service. Now, instead of being grateful to someone, we’re grateful for something.

“What are you grateful for?” is a question that turns inward on the self instead of acknowledging the generosity or kindness of others. What are we really saying here? Is the unspoken question really: “How lucky do you feel that you have all this stuff (or money, or relationship, or success) vs. that poor sap over there who is broke and alone?”

Genuine gratitude should not actually depend on what you have. You could have nothing, but be grateful to someone for being kind to you, or grateful to God for giving you life.

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Easy Do-It-Yourself Liquid Water Enhancer

Mio Water Flavor EnhancerWe need to drink sufficient water to keep ourselves hydrated, but water on its own can be tasteless and bland. So what to drink? There is herbal tea of course, but I was always more of a tea “sipper” – it’s not something I drink in large quantities.

I was also never a big soda fan, but I love juice. Juice, sadly, has a lot of sugar in it. In an effort to cut down on the calories in sweetened drinks, I started drinking stevia-sweetened Kool-Aid.

Alas, using low-calorie sugar substitutes can paradoxically raise blood sugar levels, and after a few bouts of hypoglycemia, I started to wonder if the stevia Kool-Aid was the culprit. (Mind you, I was drinking it all the time!)

I started looking into the latest trend of “liquid water enhancers” and it is surprisingly difficult to find natural ones. Many are filled with chemicals and even “propellant.” Health food stores like Sprouts don’t seem to carry natural ones yet (last I checked, locally). The best I have found at my local HEB grocery store is Stur, which is all “natural” and sweetened with stevia.

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Dealing With Tolerations to Reduce Stress

upset-robot-300pxA “toleration” is a nagging issue, perhaps seemingly minor, that has been left hanging for a while…but which, even though it seems small, adds to your overall sense of stress and overwhelm. Example tolerations include: a leaky faucet, a cluttered desk, or a disorganized closet.

Technology devices are breeding grounds for tolerations: Perhaps your computer has some malware on it, or your phone battery is draining too quickly.

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Life Purpose: What’s It All About?

womansittinginnature-300pxNo offense to atheists, but I’m glad I believe there’s more to this world than a random accident of matter and energy coalescing to form the miracle that is the universe. Don’t get me wrong – I still have no idea how a perfect God could just exist out of nowhere – it makes no sense – but I can concede that my human brain is perhaps too limited to understand what the truth really is.

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Servant Leadership vs. Virtue Signalling

anonymous-rich-man-s-strut-300pxOnce you start to shift your focus from self-gratification to servant leadership, you’ll find many opportunities to fall back into old egoistic habits. One of the biggest challenges to anyone wanting to be a servant leader is the tendency to turn the desire to help others into another form of self-righteous pride. This can be an insidious temptation that can creep up into your consciousness if you are not careful. Question: Are you focused more on actually being of service, or wearing your service like a badge of honor?

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