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Chicken Soup for Success

Consider enrolling in programs taught by instructors skilled in guided imagery, progressive relaxation, and visualization

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My friend, Mark Victor Hanson, had written several books since the mid 1980s, but no best sellers. In 1994, he and his pal, Jack Canfield, pondered an idea that eventually became Chicken Soup for the Soul.

A Million Dollar Title

Even before they settled on a book title, these co-authors used visualization to derive what Mark called a “million dollar title.” After many weeks, the phrase “Chicken Soup for the Soul” emerged.

When Chicken Soup for the Soul was first published, there was little fanfare. So, Mark employed visualization again.

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He took a copy of the New York Times bestseller list, and using the same font and point size, he pasted Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson in the #1 position for non-fiction books. To draw energy, he put the list on his wall, where he could see it everyday, and would contribute to the book’s rise to national and then world prominence.

After the book’s success, I wrote to Mark and told him, “You are the best example of someone who clearly envisioned himself to spectacular success.”

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is much like visualization. Instead you rely upon another person, who takes you through a series of steps designed to bring you to a more relaxed state. The instructor or group leader might first ask you to close your eyes, sit erectly but comfortably, and perhaps concentrate on some part of your body or your breathing.

A guided imagery session might start with your forehead and work down to your feet, or vice versa. Depending on the purpose of the session, it could help you to achieve progressive relaxation, a stress reduction technique.

Progressive relaxation involves tensing each muscle of the body – for example, your shoulders – and then letting go. Then tensing them again, and then letting go. If you’ll try this right now, you’ll see that after the third time that you ease up, your shoulders feel more relaxed, perhaps unusually warm.

Guided imagery works well because you simply respond to vocal instructions. This helps you to diminish any internal mental chatter that could otherwise impede your quest to achieve relaxation.

Coming to Your Town

In nearly every city, you can enroll in adult education programs taught by instructors skilled in guided imagery, progressive relaxation, and visualization to reduce stress, become more focused, and gain more energy. And a variety of online instructional resources are readily available.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Doing Our Best in Handling What Was Unforeseen

Despite obstacles, there is a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish

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By now, everyone has mentally marked 2021 as one strange year. (Actually with Biden and Harris ‘leading’ the United States of America, it was already marked to be a disastrous year).

While we can’t guard against the unknown, we can do our best with what we have. Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day?

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that still could throw us off.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Finding Meaning in Daily Activities, Even Now

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on a task or project immediately. Maybe a client calls and needs something ASAP. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

Stymied No Longer

If you are like most people, you might become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day.

Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?  There is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen issues and tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question is ‘Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?’

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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Avoid the Post-Vacation Slam

Build in a small period for decompression and it will serve you well

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The holidays are here… Would you like to minimize stress associated with your  your travels?

Suppose your time away from the office is ending. Once back at work, you have a stack of messages on your desk. Your mail is eight inches high. There are email messages, memos, reports, and announcements all over the place. You experience extreme pressure to catch up. The moment you return, the whole world seems to falls in on you.

The Remedy

Plan your trips so that you return before you announced you would. Include a “decompression” phase in your plans; your trip is not complete until you comfortably reintegrate yourself. Also:

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Finding Meaning in Daily Activities, Even Now

* Take one less vacation day and build in a day for transition and decompression rather than coming back too abruptly.

* Avoid returning to work on a Monday if you can; a Monday is already a high-pressure day.

* Instruct others to handle or reroute as many phone calls as possible; and to segment your mail and other papers that come in. Return to a clean office and a clean desk.

* Unpack all your bags quickly. You might be tired, but the task will only be more burdensome later. Put all notes and papers in their place as soon as possible if you ever intend to act on them.

Whether taking time away near a holiday or merely for a few hours in mid-week, build in a small period for decompression and it will serve you well.

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