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Deal With Stress

Five Factors to Consider When Setting Goals

creative-visualizationFor many of us goals are an important part of our planning for the future. They motivate us, keep us focussed on our dreams and ultimate aims in life, give a clear purpose to our actions. However, there are a few things it’s useful to consider when we first start to formulate our goals.

Let’s look at five factors to consider when setting goals:

1.  Firstly it’s important to be clear that the goals we set are our own. Many people spend their early years highly motivated to win the praise and approval of the important adults in their lives. As they become older they may continue living with that mindset, continue working hard to satisfy the wishes of their parents, siblings, family, teachers. Over time they may come to realise that their motivating factors have nothing to do with their own dreams in life, they’ve been following the various hopes and wishes of other people. Whilst it’s great to be the first person in your family, neighbourhood, school to go to university, take up a profession, become famous you need to be clear that that’s what you really want for yourself. Be clear about what’s right for you.

2.  Set goals that add value to your life, that stretch you and bring satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Simply wanting to be rich or famous may motivate and enthuse you for a time, but the most successful people are often the ones who really love what they do and are happy to work long and hard, frequently with little immediate reward or result. Their energy comes from their enthusiasm and love of what they do, as well as their ability to appreciate the longterm benefits of their efforts.

3.  Value what you already have in your life, as well as being motivated to improve your ongoing standard and quality of life. Dissatisfaction often brings a negative approach where we focus on the bad areas of our lives and put a frustrated or resentful spin on them. It can mean that we lose sight of the importance of previous experiences, the people we’ve met along the way. Value past and present friendships, the people who help, encourage and support you. Appreciate each step of the journey, the challenges you face, skills you master, the various ways you learn to turn difficult situations around and win through.

4.  Give yourself credit for your successes. Some people reach one goal and then immediately start looking for the next project or initiative. Stop for a moment and relish each achievement rather than being constantly driven, always in pursuit of the next challenge in life. Enjoy valuing each success that you accomplish, each result that you are involved with.

5.  Be flexible, so that if something doesn’t work out the way you intended or hoped you are ready and willing to be receptive to another alternative. Be open-minded to the bigger picture, able to see the potential for exciting, interesting and relevant opportunities that may present themselves along the way. Do you really need to go straight from A to B? It may be that you choose to be totally focussed on the main goal and prefer to resist other options; you may regard them as a distraction and not of especial interest to you. However, other people may enjoy the opportunities to be flexible and relish the diversity, interesting detours and unexpected mini-successes that occur along the way before they reach their ultimate success.

Author Bio: Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams. For more articles, information or to make contact please visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net

Categories
Deal With Stress

How to Relieve the Stress of Insomnia

stress-of-insomniaWe all have nights we can’t sleep. But if you repeatedly have trouble sleeping, or feel the stress of being too tired to sleep, then you might be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia may be caused by stress, or happen when we feel fine. Still, even if we feel relaxed at bedtime, we can easily become stressed if it is 3:00 a.m., we’re wide awake, and the clock is ticking toward another frantic day.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), as many as 30% of adults complain about insomnia. This inability to sleep, no matter how tired you are, occurs most often along with outside stimuli or events. Simple stress, for whatever reason, is a very common cause. But unlike single events which might cause us to lose sleep one or two nights, insomniacs worry about endlessly lying awake, and the anxiety and stress of insomnia can build over time.

Insomnia may be caused by lifestyles. If your partner snores, or you sleep with a large dog, you may be more irritated by sleep loss than you realize. Trying to go to bed knowing you face these challenges, outside noises, and other disturbing stimuli, can cause you to stress over situations you feel you can’t control.

Ignoring sleep disturbance problems won’t make them go away. Your partner might need to look for snoring remedies, and heaven forbid, the dog might have to move. If you can’t change outside noises, ambient sound machines or music may mask the sound enough to help you relax. Personally, I have tried every kind of earplug on the market, and they don’t work for me. But they might for someone else.

Other lifestyle causes include being sedentary, eating or drinking too much caffeine, sugar, or even just eating too late at night. Happily, making changes to our behavior really can impact lifestyle based insomnia, even if it has gone on for a long time.

Special events can cause insomnia, too. Remember being a child, too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve? As adults we can still lose sleep before a big event. There may be stress from planning and organizing, or our minds can simply be full of all the details to keep straight. Ironically special events often make us want to look our best, and as the clock ticks by we worry about the bags under our eyes instead. Fortunately, the insomnia that happens when we are excited does not last for long.

What’s different about chronic insomnia?

The AASM breaks down 11 different types of insomnia, many of which go away after lifestyle changes, or simply on their own. But if you can’t get to sleep, you toss and turn, wake up in the middle of the night for months, or even years, then chronic insomnia may be to blame.

While the occasional sleepless night can cause a lack of focus for a day or two, chronic insomnia can cause extreme mood swings, contribute to depression, give us headaches, and make us generally hard to live with. The more sleep we lose, the more stressed we feel, and the more we worry about not being able to sleep.

When to talk with your doctor.  Chronic insomnia can have underlying physical causes that you are not even aware of. Conditions like sleep apnea require someone else to observe you when you finally do sleep, to determine if you stop breathing. Long term medications may also cause sleeplessness, or your insomnia could be a result of some other undiagnosed condition.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT-I) has shown to be helpful for chronic insomnia brought on from emotional issues. Since lack of sleep only compounds stress, anxiety and depression, improving your sleep can definitely improve how you feel. The Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine maintains a list of specialists who can provide CBT-I.

The AASM maintains sleep centers in different parts of the U.S., for a variety of sleep disorders. For information about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of insomnia, as well as how to find a certified sleep physician or CBT-I specialist, visit their website, http://www.sleepeducation.com/sleep-disorders/insomnia/overview-facts.

If you have insomnia, you already feel how much stress it adds to your daily life. It may be time to put your sleeplessness to bed…once and for all.

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