STRESS – Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self

May 1, 2012

STRESS – Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self

Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self

One definition of stress given in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation”.

One definition that I propose is “Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self”. In this definition, I am only considering emotional factors that cause bodily or mental tension but I acknowledge that there are other factors and that these factors are interrelated.

Consider how often in your day you can relate your stress to your mental thoughts and the emotions that those thoughts elicit. Our thoughts have a profound effect on our physical and emotional well-being.

If your thoughts center around negative self-talk, the potential results will be a negative self-image and self-limiting beliefs that will not only increase poor performance but will also add to a sense of defeat and despair or depression.

Persons who feel that they have options are better able to confront challenges in logical and systematic terms. A perceived lack of options leads to feeling trapped which sets off the “fight or flight” response and a whole set of chemical and hormonal reactions in the body that add to or create stress and tension.

We can create our reality with our thoughts. By this, I am not affirming magical thinking. Our reality is based in our thoughts. If I see the glass half-empty I am in a paradigm that is different from seeing the glass half-full. Positive thoughts lead to positive beliefs, positive chemical and emotional reactions in our bodies, and positive actions which lead to positive outcomes.

When our thoughts are negative, it is good to examine why they are negative and determine how the outlook can be changed. There are, indeed, negative things going on all around us. It is how we perceive these challenges and respond to them that determines our levels of stress.

I must also point out that stress in and of itself is not a bad thing. The “fight or flight” response is important in dealing with a dangerous situation! But chronic stress has a toll on our emotional and physical well-being!

Thoughts that are senseless (not based on reality or fact) are not productive. They are harmful and cause undue stress. The stress is compounded when the senseless thoughts are about the self. Senseless thoughts such as negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs must be eliminated and replaced with thoughts that are based in fact.

If, however, you are having negative thoughts that are based in fact, then solutions to turn the negative facts into positive facts needs to be addressed. Example: “I can’t  succeed because I’m not smart enough.” First, it is good to recognize the truth for what it is. Second, while it may be true that this person doesn’t have the skills in the present situation to succeed, the response should not be defeat or despair. The response should be, “How do I acquire the skills needed for success in this field or what field do my natural talents lend themselves to?” This takes a large amount of stress off the person, because instead of feeling helpless, the person feels empowered to make choices!

We can choose to see the glass as half-empty or half-full. We can choose our paradigm. It takes practice and persistence to choose positive thoughts. It takes self-knowledge, insight, and courage to step out of our comfort zone. Sometimes, it takes another person to help us see where are thoughts are “Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self”!

For help in discerning senseless thoughts and ways to overcome them, feel free to contact me!

To your success!

Restoring Balance

April 2, 2012

Restoring Balance

How does one restore balance? There are many approaches to this problem. Identifying what needs to be restored is a good starting point. Recall the four Rs of balance mentioned last month. See the  diagram below and refer to the March blog post for more information on the four Rs.

Let’s use rest as an example. Are you sleeping less than seven hours or more than eight hours per day? If you are there is probably an imbalance in yourself that needs to be adjusted. Recall that poor sleep quality or inadequate amounts of sleep can affect all areas of your health so it is vital to have this parameter of rest in balance.

How do you get the proper rest? What is causing an improper amount of time spent in sleep or poor quality of sleep? Simply lying in bed for seven hours will not restore balance. The amount of time in sleep as well as the quality of sleep are the parameters for rest balance.

Once factors that are impeding good sleep are uncovered, the work of restoring sound sleep begins because without this vital apart of the balance triangle, the remainder of the self cannot come into balance.

One method of discerning the factors that are interfering with appropriate rest are to categorize them as intrinsic or extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic factors are those from within such as health problems (sleep apnea, for example) that are interfering with quality sleep.

Extrinsic factors (such as medication side effects) are factors outside of the body that are contributing to the problem. Usually extrinsic factors are easier to resolve but not always.

When sorting through all the potential causes of poor sleep you may need assistance from others. For example, do you sleep poorly due to restless leg syndrome? A partner can help identify this potential problem and you can then address it with your healthcare provider. Additionally, speaking to your healthcare provider about health, medications, and possible other factors is also a good idea. You might need to speak to your employer about your work schedule if this is a factor. Shift work is known to be a contributor to poor sleep quality. A good reference on this can be found at

Sometimes it helps to have an impartial person such as a coach to assist with getting back on the road to balance. That is where I can help. As a family physician, I have invaluable insights into many factors that can present as problems and I can also provide resources such as medical articles for your information. Being impartial, I can make assessments that might not otherwise be obvious. As a coach, I am there to assist and empower you to take control of your life balance.

Feel free to contact me for more information about this blog post or any other questions that you might have.

The blog topic for May will be about STRESS – Senseless Thoughts Repeated Endlessly Surrounding Self.

The Four Rs of Balance

March 22, 2012

March 1, 2012

The Four Rs for Balance

Balance in life can be measured or segmented in many ways. My formula for balance involves the  four Rs. These are relationship, rest, recreation, and refreshment. See the diagram below for how these lend to balance. These are areas of the self that need our utmost attention. As these areas start to come into balance, other areas such as work, finances, etc. can be addressed, although commonly they are addressed simultaneously. This blog only addresses the self and balance.

I place relationship in the center of the triangle and make it the largest parameter because I think it is the most important. By relationship, I mean the primary relationship in our life which is God. We are all hard-wired for God and when that relationship is not on solid ground, all other relationships and areas of our life are out of balance. Everything we are and do flows from our relationship with God. Relationship with God is necessary for:
  • the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit which are vital to our character and development of virtue (I will not delve into this further because it would take a whole blog topic to cover how our relationship with God is vital to our survival.)

The next most important area for balance which is at the top of the triangle is rest. Without rest, things quickly fall apart. Recreation and refreshment have about equal weight in terms of balance. By recreation, I mean time spent recharging our batteries as well as time spent on exercise, so really two areas for the price of one R. With refreshment, I mean the food that sustains us, our nourishment. So these are the four Rs. Now I’ll delve into three Rs that make up the points of the triangle.

Rest is vital for many reasons. Rest of at least 7 hours per day of quality sleep is necessary for:

  • clarity of thought and mood stabilization
  • adequate energy levels
  • proper metabolism (Lack of quality sleep increases the risk of obesity and many other health problems.)

Recreation in the form of relaxation:

  • recharges our batteries
  • adds to the quality of life
  • reduces stress
  • increases satisfaction in other areas of our life

Recreation in the form of exercise improves many areas of our health:

  • improves brain function – alertness, concentration, and cognition
  • improves quality of sleep
  • stabilizes mood, reducing anxiety and depression
  • improves energy, stamina, flexibility, balance, strength, and coordination
  • improves circulation and heart health
  • strengthens lungs
  • improves digestion and bowel function
  • improves glucose metabolism
  • helps maintain a healthy weight
  • improves longevity

Refreshment in the form of nutrition is vital to health. Good nutrition:

  • maintain healthy weight
  • supplies energy
  • supports immune system
  • aids digestion and bowel function

Information on dietary guidelines can be found at

For a BMI calculator to determine your ideal body weight, please go to

Lack of balance with the four Rs can lead to problems with health, relationships, employment, etc. I will discuss how to regain balance in these four areas in my blog next month.

Please feel free to post your questions and comments below.


I will be writing a short blog post monthly beginning on March 1st. Please leave your suggestions below on topics that you would like to see covered on this blog.

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Please note: Information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and is not meant to treat any health conditions or to be a substitute for seeking care from your personal healthcare provider.

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