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Life not only feels better but actually goes better, and I function better, when I'm achieving my goals than when I'm not. Knowing our goals helps us be organized, and we need to ask ourselves if the things we're doing are leading us towards our goals. One way to help with our tendency to inertia is to thoughtfully set reasonable goals and to pay attention to them. Breaking things into small steps is one form of setting achievable goals. Reaching a goal gives positive reinforcement; it helps us to avoid demoralization and to keep going. Reachable realistic goals. Small steps. Do you see how they work together? Three years ago, Renee received a new diagnosis of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and her pain became more and more difficult to manage. Renee has a lot of stress because of the pain, managing all her medical appointments, caring for her 92-year-old mother who lives nearby, and helping out with her young grandchild. Sometimes she feels like she's just barely keeping up with the things she has to do, and there is no time or energy left for the things she wants to do. She is very interested in learning about strategies to deal with stress because she has noticed that her pain seems to flare up whenever she has more stress in her life. What Is Stress? In assigning home practice, its importance is often reiterated, and care is taken to ensure participants understand what is being expected. Handouts are given at the end of every class with relevant readings but also with a written list of the home practice assignment and recording log to encourage adherence. This log is valuable to continue the process of reflective observation on experience as well as externalizing it and reinforcing its accuracy in reporting back. This package can also be emailed to participants who missed that session to ensure they know what was covered and keep up with the practice. Time is allotted in every session to review the previous week's home practice and at the end to assign new work. The teacher needs to ensure that there is adequate time devoted to the home practice review in order to deal with its challenges and motivate the group to do it. Given the density of the program, the review of home practice may get short shrift.

It is essential that it receive as much attention as other components of the program. In the first few sessions when taking up home practice, the group explores obstacles to practice to both identify and normalize them. The group quickly generates strategies for dealing with these barriers. During discussion, it can be helpful to revisit the attitudinal foundations as relevant to home practice, including patience, trust, kindness, nonstriving, and curiosity. As with any aspect of teaching , a question like, "What attitudes might be important to support home practice?" will facilitate this learning better than just telling the group which attitudes to adopt. In subsequent sessions, discussion centers less on overcoming obstacles and more on the home practice experiences and insights that grow from them. Every experience is an opportunity for learning regardless of whether there is ease or struggle and whether a group member completed the home practice or not. Stress is a normal part of daily life, and a healthy part of our survival system. It is usually turned on by a feeling that you are in danger. The stress reaction is a strong and powerful instinct that happens in the body without you having to think about it. Stress works best for short-term threats that are soon over, especially physical threats to the body. For example, stress will help you to run from an attacking animal or get out of the way of an oncoming car. Only you know what is on your plate and what you need to make self-care work. Here are some things to do to better understand your needs and priorities. Write your list of the projects you are working on for your health. Identify the level of importance of each one versus the flexibility you need. Evaluate cost and look at options like free meet-up fitness groups. Prioritize your tasks by estimated time and effort involved. Creating your own self-care plan requires knowledge as well as an understanding that a good plan is comprehensive and integrated. Adding exercise without looking at what you eat will not work.

Leaving out a reflective component like meditation that nourishes your soul will not keep you in balance. Create realistic goals and expectations. Start with the small steps that will add up to big payoffs later. Commit to taking a one-step-at-a-time approach by mastering what you are doing and then moving forward. Leo was able to rid himself of his debts in a little over two years while supporting his wife and family of six children. I</a> stopped living paycheck-to-paycheck and learned how to stick to my budget, spend less, save and pay off debts. <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://businessvisor.co.uk'>I</a> started with some smaller bills in 2006, and paid off every single debt by the end of 2007. <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://latestthoughts.co.uk'>It</a> was amazing! <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://meltingdish.co.uk'>I</a> now live debt-free.' Knowing when you want to achieve something by helps focus your efforts on completing and achieving what you want to do. <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://moreindepth.co.uk'>Be</a> careful, though, not to become overly concerned with deadlines. <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://newprocesses.co.uk'>You</a> may be someone who is motivated by reaching deadlines and achieving targets. <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://rankmysite.co.uk'>Great!</a> <a href='http://tv-sat.at.ua/go?http://veganonline.uk'>On</a> the other hand, you might be someone who is moreprocess orientated'. This means that, for you, saying, for example, I want to lose a stone by Christmas' orI want to have changed my job by April' isn't always the best mindset. Although pressure can be positive and motivating, it can also create stress. If you don't meet the deadline or reach your target, you risk feeling like you failed (even if you are better off than you were at the start). Or you might be concerned about the time it is going to take to achieve what you want; you worry that if, for example, you start working freelance now, it could take months to build up enough clients to make it worthwhile. Or that if you leave your partner, it might be a long time before you meet someone else. I am prone to falling into traps, traps of time wasters and dead end projects. Dead end projects never have a payoff, don't lead towards one of my goals and thus are a waste of time.

Many time waster are not big projects but just nonproductive, like watching TV, often to avoid something that I actually need to be doing. A few years ago an original tune popped into my head. I liked it and was afraid I would forget it. Fortunately, my computer has a recording program on it, so I hummed the tune into the mike. Now it's safe; I won't lose it. I also have a fancy program that lets me write music. I could transcribe my tune into that and come out with an actual music score, with the notes all written out. I started doing that. It isn't a user friendly program and I'm not used to it, so I was having to learn as I went. It went pretty slowly. After about an hour I had some of it done and was improving in using the program. Then I stopped and asked myself, "Why?". The stress response is sometimes called "fight or flight" mode because it makes the body stronger and faster to help you to fight or run away from threats. It does this by bringing extra blood to the muscles and freeing up lots of energy for action. The body takes this extra blood and energy from other systems, like the brain and the digestive tract; this is why they do not work as well in times of stress. Sometimes stress can also make you "freeze," much like a squirrel might do when it sees a car coming towards it. This form of "freezing" or "shutting down" may help you hide, and protect you in a threatening situation where fighting or running would put you at more risk. It only takes three minutes of feeling safe for the "fight or flight" response to turn off. Once you feel safe again, the body goes back into its usual, calmer, mode. This is sometimes called the "rest and digest" mode, because it helps the body to heal and work smoothly.

The body is healthiest when it spends a lot of time in this more restful state. Transcribing this tune was novel, a new process for me, and it was personally interesting, and it was certainly challenging. So my focus center was turned on, but what was the point? How was I going to use it? It became clear that I was wasting time. This was a dead-end project, going nowhere. Probably there was something else I needed to be doing, perhaps something difficult or unpleasant. I enjoyed transcribing the notes for a while, but when I recognized that it was a dead-end project, I was able to stop. I've at times gotten into chat-rooms, and also into writing letters to the editor. I've enjoyed both of those, but they can easily be black holes sucking up my time. It's usually not clear what real benefit is going to come of that. I rarely do either anymore. There must be thousands of traps. I can always find something to do, and spend a lot of time on it, only to realize afterwards that it really wasn't very important. The body can't tell the difference between real physical threats and things you think or imagine. The body has the same stress response, whether you face physical dangers or mental stresses. For example, you might notice that you get stressed by just thinking about a meeting or a test. The body will have the same stress response whether you're being attacked by a tiger or you're overwhelmed with paperwork at the office (even though you are perfectly safe). Two other attitudinal foundations are those of curiosity (investigating experience with interest before acknowledging its disappearance) and compassion (a kind-hearted and tender approach to each moment, allowing it to be present, even if it is difficult or painful). A teacher who embodies these qualities leads participants to explore experience with interest; he guides them to develop an awareness of and interest in the how, what, where, and when of experience rather than just the why.