Friday, December 30, 2016

The Truth About Mental Health and Why It Matters

The article, "On Balance 2016 was a Pretty Garbage Year for Mental Health", by Lindsay Holmes of the "Huffington Post" linked below pretty well sums up the past year in relation to the status of mental health in our culture and it's portrayal in the media.

There is an incredible amount of ignorance about mental health. We saw this ignorance on display as part of the recent election and other political and social theater this past year.

Be Smart and Get Help

If you or someone you care about needs help, I encourage you to get it. There is no shame in going to the doctor to get treated for pneumonia. Seeking help for an emotional or mental issue is no different. It's smart to get help.
It's also smart for us all to recognize that using pejorative labels such as "crazy", "nut-case", and similar terms is factually inaccurate and mentality debilitating for the person throwing those terms about. 

Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care

One other smart thing to do: give yourself the gift of emotional self-care for stress. Stress - acute and chronic - makes any emotional, mental, or physical issue feel more intense. Indeed, for many people, problem thoughts, feelings, and emotional acting out occur only during periods of high stress.
Be smart. Read posts on this site and apply a few of the Stress-Mastery methods shared in those posts; attend a yoga or Tai Chi class; take a daily walk to reconnect with Mother Nature; use tapping methods such as EFT (see to help regain mental and emotional balance; find a meditation teacher or research and use one of the easily done DIY meditation methods.
Be smart. It makes sense to de-stress.

Love and blessings,
Steve Carter
Stress Solutions, LLC

P.S. To ensure you never miss a post, join our Stress Mastery community by simply entering your email address in the "Follow by Email" box on the right. No spam; no sharing.

Linked "Huffington Post" article: Lindsay Holmes, "On Balance, 2016 Was A Pretty Garbage Year For Mental Health"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Simple Way to a Calm Mind

There are countless ways to calm the mind. One challenge with many methods relates to the need to remove yourself mentally and physically from your day-to-day activities and sit quietly as you focus on a sound, an object, or your thoughts. 

What if there is an alternative to sitting for extended periods of time? Can you easily incorporate a simple mindful meditation practice into daily activities that take just one or two minutes and still provide hours of benefits? The good news is you can do that easily.

The Simple Steps

Begin by choosing an activity you normally do with little conscious attention. Activities such as brushing your teeth, shaving, walking, or eating all are perfect candidates. 

Before beginning your activity, stop for a moment and take two comfortable breaths. Feel the air enter the nostrils and attend to any physical sensations in your body. Notice if you're breathing into your upper chest, the middle chest, or deep from the diaphragm.  Change nothing; simply notice.

Turn your attention toward the activity. If, for example, you're brushing your teeth, slow down and pick up the toothbrush. Feel the sensations in your hand as you pick it up. Look at the toothbrush; really look at it and notice any writing, the color, the bristles, and it's overall shape. Just notice the individual parts of the toothbrush and then open your focus and notice the whole toothbrush as you're holding it.

Turn your awareness to the tube of toothpaste. Look at the tube with fresh eyes. Notice any writing, colors, the size, and how it feels in your hand. Notice it's weight and shape. Slowly unscrew the cap and squeeze toothpaste onto the toothbrush. Do this slowly and watch without judgment. 

As you slowly bring the toothbrush to your mouth, notice the physical sensations as you open your mouth. Where do you begin brushing? Notice without judgment. 

Give your attention to the physical sensations of brushing. Notice any sensations in your face, neck, chest, back, hands, arms, and shoulders. Simply notice.

When you are done, watch the water rinse off the toothbrush, replace the toothbrush to it's normal resting place, and replace the cap onto the toothpaste.

Stand up straight, take two more comfortable breaths, and scan your body. Notice your sense of calmness, presence, and peace. Take a final comfortable breath and go about your day.

Two Minutes of Mindful Attention Can Bring Hours of Benefits

The one to two minutes you dedicated to mindfully attending to brushing your teeth will result in biochemical, mental, and emotional benefits that can last for hours. 

You can throughout your day repeat this same mind-calming process with other activities that are normally on autopilot.

Congratulations! You are now a mindfulness meditation practitioner. 

With love and blessings,

Steve Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC

P.S. To ensure you never miss a post, join our Stress Mastery community by simply entering your email address in the "Follow by Email" box on the right. No spam; no sharing.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Change the World for Good - One Question at a Time

We are always asking questions. Sometimes the questions are conscious, but usually they aren’t.

The key question that is always in play with the subconscious mind is, “What does this mean for me?”. 

A second related question always in play when considering two or more options is, “What’s in it for me?”. 

When it comes to choosing among options, your brain is always tuned to WII-FM.

The Problem With These Two Questions

These two questions are primary drivers of emotions and frequently of behavior. The problem is we’re seldom aware that these two questions are the sole directors of our conscious thoughts, our emotions, and frequently our behavior.

Positive Questions Create Positive Outcomes

I suggest trying this experiment: set an alarm on your smartphone, schedule a short break on your calendar, or otherwise create notifications every two hours or so throughout your day. Each time the alarm is activated, use it as a reminder to ask yourself a positive question designed to change your mood, your thoughts, and your actions.

Examples of positive questions are:

  • "What am I grateful for in this moment?"
  • "Is there someone around me who needs cheering up? What honest complement or words of encouragement can I share with that person?"
  • "Have I told someone I care about today how much I appreciate them? I’ll call them now to tell them."
  • "Am I doing my best work on this project? How can I add value to this project, an upcoming meeting, or otherwise improve the experience and outcome for everyone?"
  • "Have I smiled enough today?"
  • "Have I taken one or two minutes to stretch, breathe deeply, take a short walk, or otherwise do something physical to lower my stress?"
  • "Have I acknowledged at least one thing I’ve done well today and told myself, ‘Well done!’?"

You Can Change the World One Question at a Time

Consciously choosing to ask positive questions changes your thoughts, your feelings, and frequently your behaviors. Equally important, positive questions create a field of positive energy for everyone around you. 

Each positive question you ask results in our world being a happier and more productive place.

Why not have a go at being a world changer today?



P.S. In January, you can join us for the no cost, "Question Your Way to Abundance" webinar. 

Visit, sign up for the Stress Mastery newsletter, and you'll be notified later in December about the free January event.