Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks!: A natural, fun, easy to implement approach to recover and regain control of your life

 

If you suffer from generalized anxiety and panic attacks

If you suffer from stress or burnout If you lack confidence or self-esteem or fear failure……

If you’re a perfectionist or find the challenges of life overwhelming… …

then my new book, Anxiety Rescue is exactly the right book for you—because it will cheerlead, motivate and encourage you to fight for your dreams and achieve your goals.

 

Anxiety Rescue is the ultimate prescription and medication free cure. Using the timeless wisdom of other successful men and women who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and despair—and succeeded anyway,  Anxiety Rescue  reveals in six easy steps:

✓ How to define success on your own terms…

✓ How to find your truth and live an authentic life…

✓ How to set and achieve audacious goals…

✓ How to take strategic risks (rather than reckless ones)

✓ How to overcome your fear of failure, criticism, and change…

✓ How to make money, follow your passion and still pay the bills…

✓ How to beat low self-esteem…

✓ How to identify real priorities that are central to your life’s true meaning…

✓ And how to empower your business and personal life… There is not only wisdom on every page, but actionable, immediate steps you can take to make a difference in reaching your own goals and dreams.

 

Available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books

It always really touches me when I realize that what I do has an impact on people. We’ve all been through tough situations. Not many of us escape childhood unscathed. Few of us survive working life or relationships without scars. I work from that experience. If what I say, write, or do inspires people or gives them strength, courage, or hope, I’m over the moon.

Like many of my books, I write to inspire myself. I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books.

Anxiety Rescue is one of these books. I’m tempted to say that it’s a concise guide to overcoming anxiety and making the most of your life. It is. And it isn’t.

As I wrote this book, so many factors which impact anxiety came to light. Many of them are ignored by general practitioners and doctors—the very people many of us go when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or just plain unwell. Some, are viewed skeptically by psychologists and psychiatrists.

Yet times are changing, the old ways aren’t working. Prescription medication and pharmaceutical drugs are being consumed in exploding quantities, and still, anxiety rates and other mental illnesses are still soaring.

Increasingly science is validating what ancient wisdom has been telling us for years. You only have to consider how main-stream meditation, yoga, acupressure, and other holistic therapies have become, to witness the emergence.

Anxiety Rescue is based on clinically-proven techniques and integrates modern science with other healing modalities. Yet it also harnesses the magic of creative approaches to healing. Which is why I’ve turned to two of my greatest inspirations—Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Anxiety Rescue summarizes their timeless wisdom and strategies to tame anxiety, quell despair, overcome obstacles and maximize health, wellbeing and success.

we can heal ourselves

From my own professional and personal experience, I know we can heal ourselves. A great deal many people don’t need pills to feel calm, happy, healthy, and inspired. Some do.

I am not against prescription drugs, but what concerns me, as it may you, is that many anxious, stressed, and depressed people are not offered a choice. Nor do they benefit from someone taking an inventory of their life and analyzing the traumatic events or stressors that may be impacting their anxiety levels.

Like Len, who, aged 42-year-old man who had suffered work-related burnout, and sought relief from his doctor. He was, quite rightly, alarmed that his doctor told him that the only cure was medication. He left his doctor’s office empty-handed.

Ten years later, a diagnosis of complex trauma, not only made sense but also provided a roadmap to lasting healing. I’ll be sharing more of his story in a book I plan to write called, Leaving Jehovah—Surviving the Cult of Toxic Control and Shame.

Or, Sarah, who’d been taking anti-depressants for years but had noticed her anxiety rates returning and no longer wanted to be on medication. Counseling and engaging in talk-therapy gave a voice to wounds she had repressed. When darkness was brought to light, and armed with new tools of self-care, including meditation and nutrition, her anxiety rates disappeared.

I’m not bagging medication. Not by any means. My purpose in writing Anxiety Rescue is to share alternative routes to healing—lasting ones that enable you to be empowered and chose the best course of action for you.

No two people are the same. We have not had the same childhoods, the same school experiences, or workplace trauma. I speak from my own experience—both what has worked for me, and what has worked for my clients.

With over twenty-five years of expertise working in therapeutic professions, most lately as a child therapist and relationship counselor, I know what works.

As you’ll read in the chapter, “My Story,” I’ve swum through a tsunami of trauma, hurts, and humiliations and drawn on a range of modalities to help me not just survive, but also thrive.

My hope is in reading this book, you will emerge stronger, happier, healthier, and more thankful too.

A large part of my healing has involved following my joy—something you’ll learn to discover for yourself in this book.

I use my passion journal to visualize, gain clarity, and create my preferred future—including my health goals. My clients find this works for them too—along with the other strategies I share in Anxiety Rescue.

In this era of anxiety and distraction, the need for simple, life-affirming, health-enhancing messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a page at random, or work through the four pillars of health sequentially.

I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your guide, as it has been mine. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’, and embrace how you feel, or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

Laura, who at one stage seemed rudderless career-wise, did just that. Workplace stress was a major source of her anxiety. Finding her passion and following her joy sparked a determination to start her own business. She felt the fear and went for it anyway, emboldened by a desire to live and work like those she looked up to. It was that simple.

As with all of my books, many of the examples I share were inspired by true events in my own life. At the time of writing, I recalled one of the first times I trusted the spiritual realm. I was a teenager when my paternal grandmother was channeled by a psychic and my disbelieving and skeptical self was asked, “Your grandmother says you don’t believe she is here. But she is holding out a flower, and she is asking, ‘Do you remember the jasmine flowers growing over the house?’

I didn’t.

But when I drove home I called into to Araby Lodge, where my grandmother used to live, and where until her death, she bred and trained her beloved horses. At the time my father lived in her house. I asked him, “What is that vine growing over the house?”

I didn’t want to tell him anything about what the psychic had said because I was still skeptical and I didn’t want to influence the answer. My father said, “Oh, that old jasmine vine? That’s been there forever.”

My heart nearly leaped out of my chest. It was at that point that I began to believe in spiritual and psychic phenomena, and in time, many years later, to awaken my own gifts. These gifts weren’t awakened without considerable anxiety—something I talk more about in the chapter, “Shadow Work.”

It’s a timely reminder of just how far following my passion and being free to be me has taken me—the shy girl who was once afraid of being seen and was terrified of her ability to channel.

As I share in many of my books I hope the following quote is as apt for you as it was for me:

“Your staying in the shadows doesn’t serve the world.”

Here’s to learning from our anxiety and transforming our lives with passion, joy, and purpose!

Broken into small, bite-sized segments—you’ll soon find yourself jotting notes down, finding someone else so you can share the insights and experience, and resources made available to keep you happy, healthy, motivated and focused. Dig into this book and let Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel and other successful men and woman be your mentors, inspiration, and guides as they call forth your passions, purpose, and potential. 

Say YES to happiness NOW! It’s never too late to end anxiety and follow your joy to live a life you love.

Anxiety Rescue is available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

enjoy the free excerpt from Anxiety Rescue below

 

Your Body Barometer

The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

The more you truly care about something, the deeper the consequences can be when you don’t act on your desires.

When you aren’t true to yourself and you don’t do the things you aspire to do your mental, emotional and spiritual health can suffer.

Common signs of neglecting the call for success and forsaking your ambitions can include: tiredness, depression, anxiety, irritability, and strained personal relationships. In short, you’re lovesick—starved of the things that spark joy.

The body never lies, but many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs. It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, But the reality is your mind, body, and soul is screaming out for more. Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more liberating alternative.

 

Your Challenge

When you feel unfulfilled, bored, unchallenged and demotivated what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel the fear but love life passionately anyway?

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe, artist

 

 

THE POWER OF PASSION

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me.”

Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

Your Challenge

What will passion do for you?

The really important stuff is not in my résumé. It’s what has gone on almost unnoticed in the secret chambers of the heart.

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

 

DRESS JOYFULLY

The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.

~ Coco Chanel

 

Coco was a trailblazer in women’s fashion. When she arrived in trousers in Venice people were shocked, but shock quickly turned to awe. Women wanted what she had—and Coco was only too happy to sell it to them.

Her joyous color was black. She loved its simplicity and understated elegance. Perhaps it reminded her of the habits the nuns, who so tenderly cared for her, wore.

Whatever the catalyst was, Coco had the vision to turn black, the color of mourning, into the symbol of independence, freedom, and strength. She also created the now iconic little black dress!

Your joyous color may be yellow, blue, or gold. Or it may be multi-patterned and have all the colors of the rainbow. Floating dresses in the finest silk may instill you with confidence, or perhaps you prefer something more tailored.

Whatever your color, whatever you wear be sure that it makes you feel joyful.

 

Your Challenge

Act as if. Take a job or lifestyle idea you are considering, or have always wondered what it would be like, and act as if you are living that role. Dress the part.

Have your colors professionally confirmed by a trained image consultant—when you dress in the colors that suit your skin tone you’ll look younger and feel fabulous.

 

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

~ Coco Chanel

 

“Love your work”

Prior to writing this post, I had sent out news of my new book to my email subscribers. Immediately I received an email from one of my readers.

“When I read the first few sentences I could immediately relate – it’s exactly how I feel at this very moment (sadly).

I feel so tired and overwhelmed just trying to get through each day, let alone any curveballs that may come my way.
It’s so debilitating and I feel like this is ‘my lot’ and no happy ending.
I will be sure to download your ebook. I have your Passion Workbook sitting next to me in the car – yet to read… Too tired (always tired).
Keep being awesome! Love your work 🙂
Her email made me happy – and sad. Happy the words spoke to her. Happy that even though she felt so low, my email sparked some energy—the energy of love. I could sense some enthusiasm…even in the darkness. I also felt sad—sad that she feels this way. I know EXACTLY how this feels. Millions and millions of people feel this way. I know that there is a cure. I know you don’t need medication, drugs, or alcohol to rescue you. I know the difference that the power of love and healthy obsessions can make—I talk more about the power of positive obsessions in my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Your Beautiful Mind.
As I wrote back to her, she also inspired me too also get moving with creating an audiobook. That way when she and others who also suffer from anxiety, fatigue, and despair, when they are driving can be fed some inspirational juice…
I also invited her to consider scheduling a coaching session with me—sometimes it’s just too hard to go it alone. If this sounds like something you could benefit from click the following link to schedule an appointment
http://www.cassandragaisford.com/schedule-an-appointment/

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her next book, The Anxiety Cure: Love Your Body, will be released.

 

Here’s a quick round-up of our 5 latest blog posts you may also enjoy:

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Stress Less – Sleep Your Way to the Top

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”

~ Arianna Huffington, businesswoman

Time stays long enough for those who use it well and protect it fiercely. But many people either, find it difficult to switch off at night, or they sacrifice their sleep in the mistaken belief they’ll be more productive.

Sleep plays a vital role in your health and wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep helps you maintain your mental and physical health and enhances your quality of life.

Modern science proves conclusively that if you skip out on sleep you’re compromising not just your productivity and efficiency, but also your health.

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a February 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleeping less than seven hours a day, they report, can lead to an increased risk of frequent mental distress, impaired thinking, reduced cognitive ability, and increased susceptibility to depression.

Lack of sleep also increases the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. None of which will aid your quest for happiness and prosperity.

When stress becomes too much, is your quality of sleep affected? The next time you’re worrying and feeling anxious around bedtime, try one of these simple hacks to relax and quieten your mind enough to fall asleep:

Take time to unwind after a stressful day

Before going to bed, take some time out to unwind from the stresses of the day. Allow at least 30 minutes before bed for a quiet, ‘preparing to sleep’ activity. Enjoying a calming cup of herbal tea, listening to soothing music, reading a novel or book of poems (paperback), an aromatherapy bath with lavender and other scented oils, or even a relaxation or meditation practice.

Clear mental clutter

If you have the events of the day or other issues running through your head before bedtime, start writing them down in a journal for you to revisit later. The simple act of writing down your troubles – and noting how you feel about them in that moment – can help you make sense of the root cause of your problem and free up some space for more important activities like sleeping.

Schedule time to worry

If you want to sleep better, you need to empty your mind of all thoughts, tasks and stresses. Another way to clear your mental chatter is to ‘box your worries’ by scheduling in dedicated ‘worry time’. This is a programmed time that is dedicated to – you guessed it – worrying. A scheduled 30-minute window in your day allows you, and even encourages you, to think constructively through the problem.  Many of my clients tell me that when their ‘worry time’ comes around their issue has disappeared or become less important.

If the issue is still lingering, by granting yourself some time to focus on the issue worrying you, you’re forced to either formulate a solution, or to let it go.

Be proactive and create a to-do list

Another active way to clear your head and get to bed is with a master to-do list. Write down ‘things to do’ in a list in your diary so that you don’t need to keep thinking about them over and over. This is why planning your ‘tomorrow’ the day before is also an effective strategy. You can sleep well knowing that you have your bases covered. This also minimises decision fatigue.

Did you know that humans are only capable of keeping seven to nine different things in our working memory at once? When you try to recall all the tasks you need to complete, this uses up valuable mental energy and can prevent you from sleeping soundly.

Creating a list transfers your chores from your mind to the page (paper or digital), freeing up valuable brainpower. You’ll be better able to analyse tasks and prioritise, delegate, or even eliminate some of them. It’s a win-win success strategy.

Numerous studies reveal that a to-do list can also make you happier. Don’t sweat it if  you don’t manage to cross everything off your list, the act of compiling one can still help you reach your goals, manage your stress levels and help you relax enough to get some well-earned sleep time.

Disconnect

You can also enhance your sleep by turning off all devices and leaving them outside your bedroom.

“I will not sleep with my phone in my room,” Jessie Burton, the author of The Muse, shared on one of her blogs. After suffering from burnout and severe anxiety she created a not-to-do list to restore and protect her mental health.

In the next chapter, you’ll dive deeper and uncover the life-changing benefits of unplugging, taking control of technology and enjoying regular digital detoxes.

Call to Action

If lack of sleep is keeping you awake and night, and making you tired during the day consider reading and applying the strategies in Arianna Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time.

Be ruthless about prioritising your well-being. Remind yourself of the benefits that flow while you sleep, and when you enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

How to hatch a job when all the odds seem stacked against you

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket during your job hunt, spread the quest for success and have a minimum of 6 different options on the go. This will help minimise anxiety and disappointment. I recall being given this tip by a career coach I worked with when I was really unhappy at work and had developed shingles.

The same coach who got me to draw how I felt during the job search process. And, as I shared in my mid-life career rescue books,  I drew the picture of the bird trapped in a cage with the door open but she didn’t think she could fly. My coach cried.

But then she and I developed possible solutions, including applying for a minimum of six jobs even if I didn’t think I had a hope of getting them.

And I didn’t think I had a hope.

I really felt nobody would employee me. But my coach kept me focused on my dreams. She helped me realise what I really needed it in a job to feel happy – at work and in life.

And she help me believe that even though I thought it was impossible…that maybe – and that was a tiny, tiny maybe for me at the time with how I felt – that  maybe I could make my dream career come true.

So I applied for these jobs – even ‘far out’ ones I didn’t think I could get. But I still only had five job applications in my career basket.  So on a wing and a prayer, and because I needed one more to keep my coach off my back, I made a “cold call” (they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them) and approached an organisation that I thought had the integrity and true commitment to caring for people in the workplace  that I really needed and which was lacking in my current role.

And blow me down – if I didn’t get offered  the job I never thought I would get. Plus the company I really wanted to work for didn’t have a job but they created one for me – actually we co-created it, because I was so clear about what I needed and what I could offer. And they were clear about how I matched what they needed to. Proof that when passions collide expect to get hired. In fact they said to me, “Thank you so much for walking in the door.” (so if you’re nervous and feel your imposing on people – don’t be! They’ll be glad you showed initiative – and if they’re not? Move on.)

I became the National Manager of Careerlines for an Employer Assistance Programme provider – a new division which complemented their personal and crisis counselling services. They let me develop a new business, with all the tools and approaches I wanted and felt was important to help people make good career decisions, over stress and trauma in the workplace and find their happy place. My first client was suicidal – so I promptly asked for training to become a professional counsellor – just to be sure I was keeping people safe.

A few years later, with the experience behind me, I began my own business on the side – then went solo a year or so later! Yay!!

So long story short – you gotta dream – you gotta protect it. Even if it means faking it until you make it and applying for jobs when all your feel is despair. Stepping stones not quantum leaps to success!

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Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Podcasts to listen to

The Cassandra Gaisford Show*** The Cassandra Gaisford Show ***
 
I’m so excited to be re-introducing the podcasts I started 8 or so years ago. Technology has moved on – and I’m moving on with it. Thank you to Olivia Gamber, a career expert in the US for giving me some great tips – and interviewing me for her own show. I’ll let you know when this goes live.
 
The Cassandra Gaisford Show is where I interview inspiring men and women from around the world and tell you THEIR story of finding, launching, and growing their own passion-driven life and career. I call these people – Passionpreneurs Now let the journey begin…
 
I’m super excited to be interviewing Vesna Hrsto tomorrow. Vesna is a Melbourne-based naturopath and life coach who specialises in helping women have it all without burning out! Many of you will remember Vesna from that amazing sumitt she interviewed me for, “The Woman Reinvention Project: Fire Up Your Energy, Work With Passion & Enjoy More Freedom Now, By Doing Less.”
 
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 10.24.34 am
You can re-listen to this interview here
But before the show goes live here’s your chance: If you could ask Vesna anything what would it be?
 
Post your replies below in the comments section and I’ll do my best to weave them in to my interview or have them answered later.
 
To out find more about Vesna navigate to her site here www.vesnahrsto.com. To listen to some of my earlier (pre-historic but still inspiring) podcasts navigate to here: www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/media/podcasts
 
Some of my favourite podcasts currently include The Creative Penn Podcast, by Joanna Penn; The Self Publishing Formula, co-hosted by Mark Dawson and The Tim Ferris Show, hosted by the author of the 4-Hour Work week (and other amazing feats).

I love listening to passionate people share amazingly interesting things with others all around the world. And listening to a podcast is a great way to maximum limited time. I often listen to them while driving, doing shopping and many otherwise mind-numbing tasks.

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue – the rise of the older worker

AA030453Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue 

Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for writing your book?” In part, it was my experience as a psychologist and career counsellor, and the  experiences of my clients. Like, those who were made redundant after 40-years of loyal service, and offered only 2 hours of support to help them rebuild their shattered lives.

Or the lady in her 50’s who told me, “My boss has offered me one hour of career counselling. She said, ‘If you can’t work it all out in that time, you’re more useless than I thought.’  Really? How could someone say that to another person? My client was so traumatised, so demoralised, so depressed, she’d lost all her self-esteem. “What say we do the skills exercises,” she said to me, ” and we find out my boss is right, I don’t have any talent.”

And, I’ll never forget my first client, who told me, all he wanted to do was die. I realised then that a career coach and career counsellor doesn’t just help people find a job, or minimise workplace stress, they help people reclaim themselves, their soul, their lives. They help people take control back and reclaim their power.

But the ‘why’ which motivated me to write was also the emails I received from people who read my newspaper columns in the New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post, and the depth of their hopelessness and despair. Despair that stretched beyond them, affecting those who loved them. Many of them couldn’t afford to see me, or anyone else, professionally to get the help they so desperately needed.

Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”

Career Rescue

It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.

It was the experience of this man and many others like him that resulted in my decision to write my first book Happy at Work for Mid-Lifers. And it was the success and the feedback from those that read it that that led me to release a revised and updated version as Mid-Life Career Rescue.

As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. In the search for employment, it’s not uncommon for mid-lifers to make over 500 unsuccessful job applications.

“It’s particularly hard being an unemployed, single  female in your late fifties, says Helen Walmsley-Johnson, a self-styled protesting middle-aged woman and the author of a new book, The Invisible Woman. ” I didn’t realise I had hit middle-age until until my wheels started to spin in the quagmire of ageism. What happens is your options narrow. If you say, ‘I’m a 60-year-old woman’ people can’t see you in front of them. Something pops into their head, which is how they envisage a 60-year-old woman. And that’s not how we are now – it’s now how I am.”

As a coach I’ve helped people overcome ageism and either get hired, or employ themselves.

But once again, I’m aware that not everyone can afford to see a professional coach. So I thought a book would be a more affordable, accessible option.

The Rise Of The Older Worker

Your life expectancy is on the rise, so if you don’t like your job at 50, change it. You don’t have to prove yourself or impress others, you’re freer now, than at any other time in your life, to be your true SELF.

Yet, so many people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. Even non mid-lifers do that! “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28 year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change, “ said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits.

And there’s plenty of examples, if you look for them, of golden-oldies living and working with passion. Like Artist Jacqueline Fahey, who is just about to turn 86. She says this time in her life is friendlier to being creative than the years when she was being a wife and mother.

“I don’t have to prove myself any more,” she says. ‘There are plenty of people who disapprove of my painting, writing and what I hold forth about. I don’t like or dislike it; I just don’t care.”

When one of my clients, Marion, realised that unless she made some positive changes in her life now, people would not remember her as she wanted, she refound her appetite for life.

 “I don’t want people to say ‘she was a nice lady who played it safe.’ I want to be scandalous! I want my kids to say, ‘what’s mum up to now?’” she laughed.

Marion gave up the security of her teaching career in The States, moved to New Zealand and purchased her own beauty therapy business. Lonely, following the death of her husband 15 years earlier, she also plucked up the courage to date again. “I’m using my new experiences to show older woman that they can love and live again and I’m pampering them in the process!”

Viva la Mid-Life Revolution!

As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives.

I also believe that people need fewer check boxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many – and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >>

I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast – but to reassure you that, if you purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue from Amazon, or download Happy At Work For Mid-Lifers from my website, you’re in safe hands.

When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an ageing workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was – wait for it…

to help people have an imagination!

As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes I’ve gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works. In my books I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy, and the reason behind my success in my own life and with clients, is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy in life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.

Setting You Up For Success

“Aren’t you setting people up for failure?” a disillusioned career coach once challenged me when I told her my focus was not on helping people find any job, but finding one that gave them joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she needed a career change.

Twenty-five years cumulative professional experience as a career coach and counsellor, helping people work with passion and still pay the bills, answers that question. I’m setting people up for success. I’m not saying it will happen instantly, but if you follow the advice in Mid-Life Career Rescue or Happy at Work For Mid-Lifers, it will happen. I promise.

Your Life Is Waiting

“I’ve spent 40 years looking out of the window wishing I was somewhere else,” one of my clients told me. That’s not only depressing but also such a huge waste of talent and precious time. Life’s too short to spend days, weeks and years in a job that robs you of energy, zest and enthusiasm.

We spend over 3,000 hours a year at work, and when we’re not at work we’re thinking about it. Work-related issues are major sources of stress and career unhappiness. Left unresolved they can spill over into other areas of your life, infecting your relationships with colleagues, family and loved ones.

Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late.

Your story can be like Mandy’s, who in her 50’s, after reading my first book Happy at Work for Mid-lifers  wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:

“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down – it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months.  It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”

And what a new life it was. Mandy packed up her old life as a disillusioned consultant and unhappy wife in New Zealand and moved to outback Australia after successfully applying for a new role. She landed a three-year contract as an Infrastructure and Assets Manager, overseeing the construction of the Art Centre and new houses, as well as the commercialisation of the airport and the development of major roads.

“I wanted a new adventure and I’ve found one!” she wrote to me. “I’m excited and terrified.” Others saw Mandy as an inspiration, paving the way for other mid-lifers to make courageous life and career changes.

My clients, and readers like Mandy, tell me they value the fact that my advice is gained from both my personal and professional experiences and is both practical and inspirational.

Keith was 55 when his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service. “The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth,” he wrote to me.

“I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the ‘mind chatter.’ Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence.

“Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have found it very useful in terms of the information provided and tools available for self-awareness and future planning.  This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers.

“I feel energised every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.” (put feedback link into the web page for this book)

Reach For Your Dreams

Passion, happiness, joy, fulfilment, love – call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book encourages you to reach for your dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations you have for yourself. You have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people like you who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose.

 

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Don’t stress: how to conquer the 21st-century evil

stress lessWork-related stress is one of many modern-day evils. Rather than rage an all out assault, in one foul swoop, job over-load makes a far more insidious, stealthier attack.

Little warning signs, like rising irritability, tiredness, and a faint sense that all is not well, are often ignored. Pushed to one side, rated as insignificant, many people mistakenly believe stress can be pushed to one side – something that can wait. Until it’s too late.

“It’s a busy time of year,” you may say. “I’ll take a break over the holidays.” Or you may convince yourself that once you get your current project finished you’ll get some rest.”

You continue to burn the candle at both ever-diminishing-ends, drinking endless cups of coffee to stay awake, or drowning in alcohol to help your over-active mind escape.

Your boss wants more productivity from you.

More. More. More.

Like Mathew’s company – a leading NZ financial institution. Despite their escalating profits they’ve cut back his bonuses. He has to work harder to earn back what he’s lost.

But, worse – they’ve cut back on employees too. Mathew’s so overloaded he’s beyond stressed. Relentless deadlines, sky-rocketing unachievable targets, and insatiable demands led to a heart-attack.

“They need me. We’re short-staffed at work,” he tells me, as he returns to work. Prematurely.

When is enough, enough?

“The world continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough”, author Bede Jarrett, once said. Passionate anger, constructively used, can become the fuel that drives you to embark on transformational, liberating change.

 

What are the 21st century evils?

Let’s start here (I know there are more) – greed and fear and narcissism.

Greed of the corporations who want more, more, more. For less, less, less.

I know there are good employers out there. But I know the opposite is also true. I hear the war stories every day in my work as a career counsellor and psychologist. The worst employers inflict fear on employees in myriad of ways.

Maybe you haven’t been told you’re expendable in so many words, but the inference is there. “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” one woman was recently told, when she tried to challenge bullying behaviour. “Get on with it, or we’ll reduce your hours and you can go and stock shelves.”

Really? Is this how people treat each other. No wonder recent workplace surveys report over  83% of the workforce is disengaged.

The narcissistic employer only cares about one person, one goal, one world view. Theirs. Do you have a narcissistic boss – check out this article >>  I’ve had many!

Dis-empowered, fearful employees worry that if they push back and say, “This job needs two people,” or if they try to work less hours, in order to hopefully achieve more, they’ll get over-looked in the next promotion round, or marked down as under-performing in their performance reviews. Worse, they worry they’ll be sacked.

No money, no life. Right?

“We know the people who will do well here,” a former manager once said to me on my first day at work. “They’re here at night, and they’re here in the weekends.”

No one dared question this mentality. Certainly not me, then a recent graduate, and single-mother with a mortgage to feed. I watched colleagues fall like flies. Heart-attacks, anxiety attacks, depression. Succumbing to the consequences of work-place stress. Many lost their battle with the booze. Some lost their marriages. When I developed shingles, and was warned that I might go blind, I knew this wasn’t my best life. This wasn’t any life. Not one worth living.

Power up for health

As Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor, psychiatrist and author, once said, find meaning in your situation. What are you learning? To stand up for yourself? To value your health? To value your relationships? To value YOUR LIFE?

If Viktor can find meaning witnessing the truly evil behaviour of Hitler’s mindless followers, and suffering at the hands of the German’s hostilities in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau, you can find meaning in your workplace evil.

 

Heed the early warning signs

Think traffic lights. Green, yellow, red. Green – all’s going well, things are flowing. You’re in the passion and well-being zone.

Yellow, things are getting a little congested, your natural zest is slowing. It’s time to take your foot off the brake. It’s definitely not time to accelerate your pace, or take a chance and risk running a red.

Red! You ran the stop sign. What on earth were you thinking? Someone’s going to pay – that someone is you. If you’re ‘lucky’ you might get let off with a warning. If your luck’s out – bad. You’re dead. Physically or mentally. Whether it’s a heart attack, or a nervous breakdown – it’s a long journey back.

Like Clive who burnt out so badly one morning he just couldn’t get up. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t function at all. It took three years…and only now can I say, “I’m back.”

At 55 he’s reinventing his career. And yes, he’s found meaning and purpose from his own suffering. To help others live significant lives – devoid of stress.

“I’ve been to too many funerals, and heard to many pre-death confessions, where people have told me, “My life has been one of regret…I wish I had….”

So Clive, is taking his life back. Reinventing his career, his life. Living and working with passion and purpose – and balance! He’s training to be a life coach and working as an EAP counsellor. He couldn’t be happier – and healthier.

 

You’re human. You have limits. Your life matters.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will.  If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted – making you sick.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

 

What can you do right now?

You have three choices:

  1. Know what you can change – and change it
  2. Accept what you can’t – and live with it
  3. Leave. Leave a situation that is creating harm.

 

Peter hated his job so much he quit, with no job to go to. You may not have that luxury. You may not be that impulsive.

Perhaps quitting, will take time. But whatever you do, take action. Don’t remain passive. Do not be a victim. Plan your escape. Put more energy into finding your next job, your next best-fit career, than you do your current work.

Get excited!

New is exciting

New is unexpected

New is that moment of stunned silence when you first see it

New is intuitive-know-how that makes everything effortless

New is the joy that you may never have experienced

New says, choose me

And new never cares what other people think

New is the changing you – the new job, the new career, the new way of working and living that now waits

Of course, making the right move, does take some planning.

Get real about what’s important

“I used to be the sort of person who usually put her head down and worked towards a goal and if I worked hard enough and aimed for my goal, then success would follow. And for the first time my life plan wasn’t working out,” said Juliet de Baubigny, a powerful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Her entrepreneurial genius, is said to have contributed to the transformation of companies such as Google and Amazon.

Several years ago her marriage ended in a bitter divorce, her young son was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and she ended up in the ICU with bilateral pneumonia, all within six months. “It makes you question faith and humanity, “she said. “So I thought, how do I redirect this?”

Juliet – heeded the call for change – embarked on a quest of discovery.

“I consulted every shaman, every psychic, every priest to learn about what was really important to me what my value system was.” The result? “The things that matter most in life are health, family and doing what you love.

Juliet’s imparts her wisdom to her children, “Do what you love, work hard, tell the truth and be kind.”

If only more kindness prevailed at work. Just think what a better place the world would be.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again. Do not, under any circumstances stay in a job that is making you physically ill. Perhaps, your mindset needs to change. Perhaps it’s the job. But whatever the cause, take action now to find the cure. Conquering this escalating modern day evil is so critical that I devoted a whole chapter to it in my new book, Mid-Life Career Rescue. And readers agree. As one reviewer wrote:

“An important book for anyone in a job that is making them physically ill

Cassandra Gaisford’s book, Mid-Life Career Rescue, puts passion first, exactly where it should be! She gently nudges us out of complacency by reminding us our career doesn’t have to be life-draining if we are willing to take time figuring out what we want and the skills we have to actually do it. And then brilliantly she provides all the action steps we need to make a move by asking simple, yet powerful questions to help us find the answers already there inside of ourselves.

I definitely recommend reading the chapter on stress in her book. I wish I had the valuable information she laid out 15 years ago when I went through a ‘brown out’,” one step before complete ‘burn out.’ If I knew what physical signs to look for I would have left that job way earlier than I did. Unfortunately for me I learned the hard way what a stressful job situation can do to you both mentally and physically, but you don’t have to. Instead, you just need to read Mid-life Rescue, and follow the advice of Ms. Gaisford.”

Learn the easy way

Work-related stress may be one of many modern-day evils; but it’s one you can wage-war on. Take your power-back. Proactively identify workplace stressors and seek to eliminate or minimise their impact.

The best weapon in your armoury? Love. Work with passion – do what you love, and love yourself enough to maintain the balance. Love your job, love your health, love your relationships. Love your friends. Love your family. You can have it all – sometimes doing less, really does give you more.

 

So my friend, tell me, “How will you reclaim your one precious life?”

 

I’ll leave you with these wise words from Rumi,

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all. Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invites them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

 

 

Career expert Cassandra Gaisford, is the author of the Amazon #1 best-selling book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late.

Visit www.worklifesolutions.co.nz and get her free eBook, “Find Your Passion.”

 

P.S. Perhaps, the solution to workplace stress is to employ yourself. If you’re a mid-lifer wanting to explore this as an option, my good friend Brian Jones, has written an excellent book – called “Over 50? Start Your Business! Build Wealth. Control Your Destiny. Leave a Legacy.” It’s on special currently –  only $0.99 on Amazon. What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Do you hate Monday’s? 3 ways simple ways to change careers

Do you hate Monday’s?

So many people dread Mondays…hopefully not you! I read recently that there are more fatal heart attacks on Monday at 9am, than at any other time of the week. A shocking, but not surprising statistic. When you hate your job you’re health is the first to suffer.

According to Dr. Larry Dossey, a Texan physician, deeply rooted in the both the scientific and spiritual worlds, ‘the best predictor for a first heart attack is not any of the major risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes mellitus), but rather job dissatisfaction!”

Dr Dossey’s view is that our thoughts and feelings about the loathing, dread or challenge of our work can create a heart attack. How? According to leading psychopharmacologist Candace Pert, thoughts and emotions create a chain of toxic chemical reactions in the body.

So it makes sense, if you want the opposite to be true – a healthy body, mind and spirit – you’ve got to be happy at work.

I was so miserable at work once, it took all my positivity to get through the day. Here’s a couple of things that helped me while I tried to find another way to make a living. You’ll notice, sitting around whining to others isn’t one of them!

  1. Look for the silver linings that can help you transform a crisis into an opportunity. What’s the gift of being unhappy at work. Chances are your career dis-satisfaction is the call for change!
  2. Happiness isn’t something that just happens – it’s something we actively participate in creating. There’s no better place to start than training your mind, and shaping your attitude.Even when life turns to lumpy custard find something to be grateful for.
  3. Take control – feeling helpless, accepting the unacceptable, and procrastinating about taking action can lead to feelings of depression, hopelessness and quickly erode your confidence. Taking action will quickly help to get rid of the job blues. What can you do today to take control? Downloading my new book and working through my roadmap to success might be one of them!

If you, or anyone you know, could do with a career rescue, or you just want to make some new intentions for 2016, my new book Mid-Life Career Rescue is on sale at Amazon today at the special price of $0.99. Unhappiness at work does not discriminate for age! The book is not just for mid-lifers but people in their 20’s, 30s and 40s too.

It’s currently ranked #1 in Hot New Releases!

Here is the link to the book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017L7G3B4, please help me to keep it growing, by downloading and leaving a review. The review can be one simply sentence, and hopefully you’ll mark it 5 stars!

Thank you!

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Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Your Body Barometer Test

Book_whitebg copy 2Excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue

You may have already been feeling stressed before you picked up this book. Perhaps you’ve been unhappy at work for such a long time symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched.
Or perhaps the idea of making some changes is causing you to feel anxious. Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.
Stress is something we all feel everyday. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you you’re alive and can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a reason to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can even be hard to remember the things that make you happy or to believe in yourself. Your self esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Stress can even take its toll when you’re looking forward to making a positive change.

Stress that goes on for too long cumulatively builds up and can make you sick. Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress – if not addressed, our body’s adaptive resources become exhausted. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much bad ‘stress,’ so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively removed the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back  in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

Heed the early warning signs

According to a definition from The Department of  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures we face in our lives, and it arises when we feel we cannot cope. This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying you can’t cope, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you’re not aware of how much strain you’re under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy, she can’t remember the last time she felt really joy.

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as – OVERSTRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Listen to your body barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they start to seed you’ll avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work and/or your life.

How stressed are you?

Take the following body barometer test and highlight any symptoms you’re currently experiencing. Then take a look at the following stress-busting tips and create your own stress management plan at the end of this chapter. Starting from a positive, healthy foundation will help you make changes in your career and life successfully.

 

Your Body Barometer Test

Physical Signs of Stress

• Increased heart rate/Pounding heart

• Sweaty palms

• Elevated blood pressure

• Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw and back muscles

• Headaches

• Diarrhoea/Constipation

• Unable to pass urine or incontinence

• Trembling/Twitching

• Stuttering and other speech difficulties

• Nausea/Vomiting

• Sleep disturbances

• Fatigue

• Being easily startled

• Shallow, rapid breathing

• Dryness of mouth or throat

• Cold hands

• Susceptibility to minor illnesses

• Itching

• Chronic pain

Emotional Signs of Stress

• Tearful

• Impatience

• Frightened

• Moody

• Highs and lows

• Feeling of loss/grief

• Depressed

• Anger

• Irritated

• Short-tempered

Cognitive/Perceptual/Thinking Signs

• Forgetfulness

• Preoccupation

• Errors in judging distance/space

• Reduced creativity/creative thinking

• Lack of concentration

• Diminished productivity

• Lack of attention to detail

• Orientation to the past

• Diminished reaction time

• Clumsiness

• Disorganisation of thought

• Negative self-esteem

• Negative self-statements

• Diminished sense of meaning in life

• Lack of control/Need for too much control

• Negative evaluation of experiences

• Negative thinking

• Pessimism

Behavioural Signs of Stress

• Carelessness/Accident prone

• Under-eating/Over-eating

• Aggressiveness/Fighting/Hostility

• Increased smoking/Starting smoking

• Withdrawal

• Argumentative

• Increased alcohol or drug use

• Listlessness

• Nervous laughter

• Compulsive behaviour

• Impatience/Agitation

Action tasks: Stress-busting and Building Resilience

Whether or not a person experiences stress at work depends upon the person’s perception of what is going on and the person’s coping skills. It is not the circumstance, it is your REACTION to it that counts.~ Dr Al Siebert, Author

 

1) Identify what’s stressing you out – stress is cumulative, and if it is prolonged or we have too much on the go at once our normal coping skills can be diminished.

Making a list of all the things that are worrying you or that stress you out, and then trying to work out solutions is an effective way to get some control over your stress levels. Think possibilities not actualities to unlock creative ways of resolving.

2) Take control – remember it is not the event which is stressful but your reaction. You can beat the stress response by taking control of the things you can influence with events that are foreseeable.

For example, Mary’s boss used to stress her out because he always dumped things on her at the last moment. To reduce her stress levels she decided to proactively manage his diary, and she also called a meeting and told him she would work more effectively if she could have a greater lead time to prepare. He was glad she told him as he had no idea his behaviour affected her in this way.

3) Prepare – identify stressful events in advance, and minimise the stressful situation – e.g., get up earlier to avoid running late, go to interviews for jobs you don’t want so you can practise and be less stressed and more skilled when the interview’s for a job you want.

You can also reduce your stress reactions by doing things that build resilience, i.e., if you know you have a heavy load coming up factor in more self-care activities, improving your diet, having a massage, meditating, relaxing or exercising, are just a few of many ways.

4) Plan your defence – what is the most realistic solution to your current situation? What options do you have? Plan small, realistic steps: don’t try to do everything at once. Choose a few important goals: some things may have to go by the board. Praise yourself when you achieve a goal on the road to success.

5) Try a different view – all the stress experts agree that it the way that we view events that creates stress. In 2013, research by The European Heart Journal found that those who believed stress affected their health ‘a lot’ or ‘extremely’ had a 50% greater risk of suffering a heart attack, even when researchers adjusted for biological, behavioural and psychological risk factors

So if you want to reduce your stress levels you need to change the way you view stress and the things that cause it. It’s the old glass half full or half empty battle! Here’s a few helpful ways to do this:

a) Do a reality check – look at the here and now: will what you are worrying about or stressing over ever happen? Where or what’s your evidence? If it did happen, what would be the worst case scenario? Is that so bad? Will it kill you? Is there a way to minimise the risk of a bad outcome? What can you do in the here-and-now.

b) Self-talk – Thought is energy, so it’s critical to think and talk positive. Compelling research my Dr, Bruce Lipton, a developmental biologist best known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person’s beliefs, reveals that thoughts really do become things. If you want to create a positive outcome you must grow and foster positive beliefs – even if in the short-term you have to fake-it-to-make-it.

Resist saying things you don’t want to make real. Instead of saying, “I can’t cope,” try replacing it with, “I can do this; I’ve handled change before,” or, “I trust myself to be able to handle this.”

To see confirmation of the power of language on your DNA view this clip on YouTube, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWAuc9GivFo) – Dr. Emoto’s, a water researcher from Japan, findings on the energy of thoughts. His water demonstration shows without doubt how your thoughts and intentions shape the physical world.

Positive messages create shiny, diamond-like reflective qualities while negative thoughts create deformed, collapsed structures with black holes and yellow tinged edges. We know this intuitively every time we’re around someone who is negative but many stressed out people don’t realise their negative, complaining, or angry energy is toxic to those around them. As Einstein once said, “everything is energy.”

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” ~ Wayne Dyer, Author

I hope you enjoyed this sneak preview – to be in the know when Mid-Life Career Rescue is released please email careerrescue@worklifesolutions.co.nz

Best wishes

Cassandra

P.S. Send me an email if you’d like a free copy of my workbook Stress Busting and Building Resilience.

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

3 super fast ways to stress less and get your energy back

Close-up of a heart balloon with a bandage on it

Close-up of a heart balloon with a bandage on it

If you’re like me you’re normally a powerhouse of productivity, but there are times when we all get fatigued. It may be because you’ve been putting in too many hours without a break, or it may just be the weather, the full moon – or anything else from an endless list of things that can zap your energy. Whatever the cause  may be it’s so important to listen to your body barometer. Feeling sluggish, lethargic, demotivated, depressed, overwhelmed forgetful, irritable or just plain stressed out are just a few of the many warning signs it’s time to make a change.

Why are we so stressed?

Like me, you probably have way too many things going on in your life and they’re not necessarily all bad. But even good things like having loads of passions, or loving your job so much you don’t want to stop, or being enthralled with all the fascinating threads on social media, can take a toll when done to excess.
So many of us are working too many hours, doing too many tasks, have too many activities, or are juggling several high stress jobs while raising a family. Don’t get me started on the crazy love-hate affair people have with their not-so-smart phones. Put simply, many of us are suffering from information overload – or what I call information obesity.
If you’re feeling stressed, if your energy is depleted, if you’re mojo needs some more juice to carry you across the finish line, then here’s something that will help.
Three of my favourite super fast ways to get your energy back. Many of the strategies require little time investment but have multiple benefits. If boosting mental performance and creativity, improving the quality of your love life and relationships and boosting your career and work success sounds good to you. Read on 🙂

hugh jackman meditation1. take a mind spa – meditate

“Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree,” says French Buddhist monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard. ”It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are.”

Science has proven that when people meditate they alter their brains in a good way – lowering stress levels and increasing energy and positivity amongst many other important things. If finding time to do two lots of 20 minute meditations sounds too hard, start small. Even giving your brain a break for 5 minutes can do wonders for your energy and sense of well-being.

Meditation is not just about distracting yourself from stress and pain; it literally changes you at the genetic level, writes Arianna Huffington in her best-selling book, Thrive.

“Meditation is the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large.” ~ Arianna Huffington

“Meditation is the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large.” ~ Arianna Huffington

Ridding yourself of self-limiting thoughts, controlling your reactions, discovering an inner contact with a creative source, and having more creative insights are just a few of the benefits that can flow from meditation. The whole experience is primarily an experience of wholeness, rightness, and power.

2. massage for mind, body and soul

One of my favourite ways to top up my energy is to lie back and let someone else do all the work. Massage – isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessary health behaviour for the busy person. You can’t beat a good therapeutic massage –  it’s up there with meditation when it comes to delivering multiple benefits. As I send out this newsletter I’m heading off for a hot stone massage, here are just a few on the health benefits:

+ Drains and cleanses the lymphatic system – riding the body of built up toxins and boosting the immune system that helps us fight illness and disease

+ Relieves built up tension and promotes flexibility in the body

+ Cleanses the liver-relaxing the ducts in the liver, promoting easier flow

+ Increases serotonin levels – the chemical responsible for healthy sleep. A one hour massage has been proven by scientific research to deliver benefits equivalent to sleeping for six-eight hours. Great for the sleep deprived!

Best of all for one blissful hour I get to do NOTHING. Be sure to tell your massage therapeutist not to babble away during your massage – make it your sacred time.

If you don’t like being touched, try a Reiki massage – it’s hands off, clothes on and all about restoring your energy.

 

3. smell your way to health with aromatherapy

I’m a big fan of the power of nature and for a quick boost you can’t beat essential oils. They don’t call the healing power of smell aromatherapy for nothing. Once again the benefits are endless.

Having said that, some people are strangely suspicious. One lady, a health care worker at Wellington Hospital accused me of peddling snake oil when I suggested a few drops of lavender oil would help alleviate some of her tension.
You have to find the solution that’s right for you, but it’s important to be open-minded. The proper use of essential oils can enhance your emotional outlook and provide support and help balance your emotions during the day. Without providing an intimidating lesson in olfaction (the science of the sense of smell), the inhalations of these naturally occurring synergistic chemicals provide triggers to our brain.  These triggers effect our emotions.  Inhalation of these wondrous molecules also provides physical benefits that can work together to aid in our emotional state.

For example, Lavender is a well known mildly analgesic, useful for healing headaches, wounds, calming the nerves, insomnia and mild depression.

Rosemary on the other hand is a mild stimulant and is used to treat physical and mental fatigue, forgetfulness and respiratory problems among other ailments.

Here’s few blends professional aromatherapists recommend for alleviating some of the symptoms of stress:

Three drops Clary Sage, one drop Lemon, one drop Lavender
Three drops Grapefruit, one drop Jasmine, one drop Ylang Ylang

Put on a tissue, or in a diffuser or blender, inhale and enjoy.

 

Stress workbook cover copyI love writing these blogs to share with you strategies that work for me and for the clients I coach. I hope they help you improve your happiness, well-being and success. If you would like more help on this topic you can order my Stress Busting and Building Resilience eBook for only $12.99 via my website:
Stress Busting and Building Resilience – eBook

Cassandra Gaisford’s Stress Busting and Building Resilience eBook will give you tools to proactively identify and eradicate stress from your life. What you’ll learn from this eBook will reactivate and regenerate within you the innate health and well-being we are all born with and deserve.
You will become energised, inspired, happier, empowered and more successful. It all beings with taking care of you – and your precious mind, body and soul.

Just read this eBook and start feeling better – today!

My book : Stress Busting and Building Resilience is only available through my website.
http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/shop/stress-busting-ebook/

Cassandra Gaisford is a health psychologist, author and coach with a passion for helping people live their best life – full of joy, well-being and success. She was the resident life coach on Television New Zealand’s Good Morning Show and a columnist with two of New Zealand’s  largest national newspapers. She is the author of Happy at Work – now out of print and due for re-release in October 2015.

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