Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.
A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.
Stress Relief Tool – Get Good Quality Sleep

Stress Relief Tool – Get Good Quality Sleep

I know, this is an obvious tool. And if you are extremely busy, like most of us, you probably stress about getting good sleep—there’s an irony for you.

There are some very simple ways you can ensure a better night’s sleep, even if work and/or some other issue(s) are giving you anxiety. For example, give these a try:

  • No electronics in the bedroom. No TV, no phone, no laptop, no nothing unless it is a simple alarm clock. The phone is the biggest perpetrator, as a simple text or ping is like Pavlov’s dog responding to a stimulus. Once that ping wakes our brain up, we have a harder time getting back to sleep.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and follow a consistent ritual (brushing your teeth, putting sleeping clothes on, etc.) teaching your body and mind to expect sleep.
  • Use the bed for only two things: rest and sex. If you work at home, don’t work while lying in bed because it will confuse your body and make it harder for you to fall asleep when you really want to.

The key determinants of quality sleep include:1

  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night; and
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep.

And one of the big mistakes we can make is to try and catch up on our sleep on the weekends. Though it feels good temporarily, having an inconsistent wake-up time disturbs your natural sleep pattern. Your body cycles through an elaborate series of sleep phases in order for you to wake up rested and refreshed. One of these phases involves preparing your mind to be awake and alert, which is why people often wake up just before their alarm clock goes off (the brain is trained and ready).

When you sleep past your regular wake-up time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired. This isn’t just disruptive to your day off, it also makes you less productive on Monday because your brain isn’t ready to wake up at your regular time. If you need to catch up on sleep, just go to bed earlier.2

 

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Stress Relief Tool – Get A Massage

Stress Relief Tool – Get A Massage

As stress builds, we tend to carry it in our neck, shoulders, and lower back. Over time, this body tension can affect our productivity and our quality of life. Treating yourself to a professional massage could be just the ticket to help you cope. In an hour or less, you can get a full body massage, or treat a particular area of your body. You come out of the massage feeling refreshed and relaxed.

If it is inconvenient to schedule or you are uncomfortable with the idea of going to a spa or massage parlor and having a stranger massage you, consider getting a massage chair for your home. There are several stores where you can give them a try (in airports, for example) to see what features might be of interest to you. I bought a massage chair for my home, and I find that using it for just 15 minutes in the evening before I go to bed helps me relax and get to sleep quicker. The money I have saved versus spa massages has more than paid for the chair.

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Guest Post – 6 Steps to Improve Your Sleep Quality and Improve Your Mental Health

Guest Post – 6 Steps to Improve Your Sleep Quality and Improve Your Mental Health

Improved mental health is one of the many benefits of better sleep. So if you are constantly tossing and turning at night, you could be waking up with more stress, and at higher risk for issues like depression and anxiety. So how can you turn things around and boost your emotional well-being? You can start by using these simple tips to adjust your nightly routine, improve your sleep environment, and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep and the best mental well-being.

Your Aching Back

You’re probably aware that discomfort can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. For those suffering with chronic issues like back pain, on top of that, the pain can negatively impact mental health. It’s like a double whammy, so if you suffer from back pain that is impacting your slumber, it’s important to address the issue. Oftentimes a new mattress can make a huge difference, especially if your current one is more than ten years old.

Gentle Transitions

If you use yoga to wake yourself up in the morning, why not use yoga to help yourself sleep better at night? A gentle flow can help prepare your body for rest, and meditation can help calm your mind as well. Supportive and restorative yin poses, like supported butterfly and legs-up-the-wall are best before settling into savasana in your bed, and for best results, practice at least five minutes of meditation at some point in the evening as well.

Sleeper’s Haven

As MSN explains, your bedroom should be a haven for sleep. To create the right ambiance in your bedroom, avoid using bold, bright colors, and instead, opt for soft tones that help relax your mind. Also try layering your bed and floors with soft fabrics, to create a cozy spot for your body to unwind and fall asleep faster. You can also add relaxing scents, such as lavender, bergamot and sandalwood, to help soothe your mind. Many people find that a dehumidifier can help them sleep, particularly during the warmer times of year. Excess humidity can bring about mold and dust which can make sleep difficult by irritating your skin and respiratory system.

Maintain Proper Temperatures and Lighting

The quality of your sleep can hinge on your circadian rhythm. This simply refers to the internal processes inside your brain and body that let you know it’s either time to sleep, or time to stay awake. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there may be something throwing your internal clock off, such as lighting or temperature. If you want to re-establish a healthy circadian rhythm, try lowering the thermostat to 60-68 degrees and dimming the lights as bedtime approaches, both of which signal to your mind and body that it’s time for sleep.

Turn Off Screens and Keep Them Out of Bedrooms

Many people relax at night by scrolling through social media or watching television, but Verywell Health explains by exposing themselves to blue light before bed, those folks could be severely impacting the quality of their sleep. Exposure to the blue light of screens disrupts that all-important circadian rhythm mentioned above. To remedy this, and improve your sleep for better mental health, be sure to turn off screens well ahead of your nightly bedtime and avoid the temptation to turn the back on by keeping televisions, tablets, and cell phones out of your room.

Take Care With Diet Choices, Especially During Evenings

If you mostly consume an inflammatory diet, studies suggest that you could be unintentionally throwing off your sleep patterns, and impacting your mental health in general. Refined carbohydrates, processed foods and red meat can all make inflammation and sleep issues worse, so consider eliminating problematic foods from your diet to see if your sleep quality improves.

Improving the quality of your sleep should be one of the first steps you take to manage your mental health. If these tips don’t help, or you are still having issues dealing with your emotions, it may be time to seek the advice of a mental or physical health professional. Your health, your happiness, and even your life can all depend on getting the sleep you need.

Author:

Cheryl Conklin
Wellness Central
cheryl.conklin@wellnesscentral.info
www.wellnesscentral.info

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Stress Relief Tool – Trauma Release Exercises

Stress Relief Tool – Trauma Release Exercises

When we get anxious, our body carries stress in our neck, shoulders, back, and joints. These are the obvious signs and signals our body is giving us. However, if you have been carrying significant anxiety and emotional baggage inside you for years, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®) could benefit you.

TRE is an innovative program that assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma. The exercises safely activate a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system. When this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return to a state of balance.

TRE is based on the fundamental idea—backed by research—that stress, tension, and trauma are psychological and physical. TRE’s reflexive muscle vibrations generally feel pleasant and soothing. After doing TRE, many people report feelings of peace and well-being.1

If you are interested in this technique, you can buy a book2 or video3 to help walk you through the process. However, it might be best to first start by attending a workshop4 facilitated by a trained professional to see if this process works for you.

I first experienced TRE at a weekend retreat, and while it was quite strenuous on my body, I felt an enormous amount of stress relief, which convinced me of its merits.

 

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Guest Post – How to Overcome Ego Depletion

Guest Post – How to Overcome Ego Depletion

Each day, you likely have a long list of responsibilities and roles you’re supposed to meet. When what’s expected of you becomes too much, it’s not uncommon to experience stress and burnout. Both of these are actually forms of ego depletion.

Your ego refers to the part of your brain that makes smart decisions. It mediates between your impulses and what you know you should be doing. Your ego is the part of your mind ensuring you don’t click over to social media when you’re craving a distraction from work. However many people believe that it is possible for you to over-use self-control, thus resulting in ego depletion.

There are many causes of ego depletion. Working too long on a particular task can lead to a form of ego depletion known as directed attention fatigue. Making too many tough decisions in a day can lead to decision fatigue. Finally, prolonged stress can also lead to burnout and ego depletion. Essentially, anytime you need to use your self-control to focus or do something you’d prefer not to do, you deplete your willpower.

However, we can’t simply avoid our responsibilities in order to avoid ego depletion. Instead, there are a number of strategies you can employ to make your willpower go further, and your stressful tasks less stressful. Keep reading this helpful infographic by Turbo for tips:

Note: Please include attribution to Turbo when sharing this graphic.

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Stress Relief Tool – Mental and Emotional Release

Stress Relief Tool – Mental and Emotional Release

Many of us have stress that has been building for years – often referred to as emotional baggage – that is out of proportion to the trigger that makes you react negatively in the first place. The only way to truly lead a less stressful life is to remove this baggage.

Mental and Emotional Release (MER™) is a process that works with your unconscious and the memories that your unconscious has organized according to your individual “timeline.” Using a specific interview process, a masterful MER practitioner helps you uncover the “root cause” of the baggage (which may or may not appear to be a significant event to your active mind). Then the master practitioner guides you back to the root cause, having you float over your timeline to retrieve the learning that you were supposed to gain from the experience and release the negative emotion.1

MER has been proven effective with addressing emotional baggage such as anger, fear, sadness, and guilt. Incidentally, guilt is only good for pushing you toward making things right again. After that, it becomes shame, and shame is a toxic substance which will eat you up inside.

MER is also effective in helping you remove your limiting beliefs, which are preventing you from moving forward with a challenge, expressed in statements such as, “I can’t” or “it’s too hard.” If you are not sure if you have a limiting belief, there is a great worksheet that artist and speaker Phil Hansen created that can help you get clarity around this subject.2

Not only has MER worked for me, it has worked for many of my clients who get the breakthrough experience that comes from having their emotional baggage disappear. The only downside of this process is that some of my clients have a hard time believing that their baggage is indeed gone. That’s because of our mistaken belief that we need years of therapy sessions when we just need to address the root cause of the negative emotions.

Negative emotions disappear using MER because they require time to express their meaning. Therefore, a switch in the temporal perspective (timeline) reframes the emotion. Switching the temporal perspective also shows the emotion to be the illusion it is, and it thus disappears in our unconscious mind.

Here’s the caveat: you must be willing to trust the process and get in touch with your unconscious mind. I know it sounds sort of “woo-woo” in the short description above. I was a skeptic as well until I experienced it firsthand and felt a dramatic shift in my overall demeanor. I was so compelled by this technique that I committed to becoming a master practitioner of MER to help others get rid of their emotional baggage.

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Stress Relief Tool – Grounding Through Earthing

Stress Relief Tool – Grounding Through Earthing

Scientific research indicates that your body can be protected and helped when you electrically reconnect to the Earth. That is, when you are grounded. These studies have indicated that grounding helps to decrease our levels of inflammation, improve circulation, and reduce our stress levels.1 But with all the electronics in our daily life, we have a tendency to lose our electrical connection. And wearing shoes doesn’t help.

Walking barefoot in conductive surfaces such as grass, dirt or sand is all it takes to draw the earth’s energy. This could be your backyard, a park, or beach. You can stand, walk, or sit, just ensure your bare feet are in contact with the earth. Feel the energy of the earth through your feet and notice how much more relaxed you become.

Note that wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive. And if you don’t have the time or desire to go outside barefoot, there are alternative products you can purchase for your home such as pads for your bed, floor, or favorite chair. Simply Google “earthing mat” to learn more.

 

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Stress Relief Tool – Take a Power Nap

Stress Relief Tool – Take a Power Nap

We all know the importance of getting good sleep. Well, when things don’t go according to plan, we sometimes cannot get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. On those occasions, taking a power nap might help with your stress level.

A clinical study found that people who stay awake throughout the day become progressively more sensitive to negative emotions. In contrast, those who take an afternoon nap are de-sensitized to negative emotions yet more responsive to positive ones.1 No wonder many high-tech companies offer sleeping pods and quiet rooms for their employees.

While the study gave participants the opportunity for 90 minutes of sleep, most sleep experts agree that if you want to have a quick jolt of alertness, vigor, and/or decrease fatigue, take a 10- to 20-minute nap.2

If you find yourself dozing off at work in the afternoon, rather than potentially making mistakes that will bring you stress later, do the following: find a quiet room. Set your alarm timer for 20 minutes, sit or lie down and close your eyes. Breathe deeply in and out until you fall asleep. When the alarm sounds, give yourself another minute or two to fully wake up before returning to your work.

 

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Stress Relief Tool – Roll Out Your Stress

Stress Relief Tool – Roll Out Your Stress

Muscles tight in your shoulders, lower back or legs? A simple self-care technique for stress relief is to use a foam roller while lying on the floor. It allows you to effectively massage areas of your body quickly without the added time and cost of a real massage. It’s especially effective after dealing with a stressful commute or holiday shopping.1

Google “foam rollers” and order one that fits your budget. Choose one that is advertised as on the softer side, to be more forgiving on your muscles. Take a few minutes in the evening to roll out your tight muscles while watching your favorite show or listening to music.

And if you are short on cash and don’t have the money to buy a foam roller, an old tennis ball might also do the trick.

 

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Stress Relief Tool – Drink More Water

Stress Relief Tool – Drink More Water

Considering that our bodies are mostly water, you need to be aware of the vital importance of hydration. Not everyone realizes that the health benefits of hydration extend to stress relief. Being even just a little dehydrated can increase our body’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, leading to feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, and overall irritability.1

To avoid getting dehydrated, calculate how much water your body needs at rest. That’s working at a desk, puttering around the house, reading, and doing all of the other things you do throughout the day. This is your bare minimum water requirement for what your body needs to function.

The simple equation for determining this is to divide your body weight in two and drink half your body weight in ounces (not literally half your weight). So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of water per day if you’re not doing anything strenuous. If you’re working out or hiking at a high altitude or outdoors, you’re going to need to add to those 100 ounces.2

When I first found out about this equation, I had a very hard time drinking that much. However, I soon noticed that I felt better, and I started losing weight as I drank more and more water. The downside of course were more frequent stops at the bathroom, but that was an excuse for me to get up and move around during the day. I also found that adding a little Stevia natural sweetener helped make drinking water much easier for me, especially when I discovered different Stevia flavors from SweetLeaf.com.

 

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