Archive for the ‘Stress Management’ category

How Should You Handle Your Difficult Clients And Improve Situations?

November 21, 2007

Last Friday was a very interesting day for me. The training I conducted that day was on “Managing Difficult Clients”. It was customized in great detail for a public service institution where the consultants tend to face angry, worried or frustrated clients, not all the time but often enough. I love it when such challenging situations are presented; it makes me actively seek out solutions to resolve them.

During the discussions and the interactive practices, the participants often share of their encounters on the different scenarios that happened. Hence we had a very purposeful examination of the difficult client types. In addition, I also highlighted on the internal dynamics and external forces that made clients become difficult and what the consultants should do to improve the situation.

Here are some of the possible reasons why clients are difficult, followed how you can handle them better:

1. Your clients feel that they are just a number.

You should treat them as a unique, special and appreciated individual.

2. Your clients are trapped internally.

You should help them shift their paradigms to open up possibilities.

3. Your clients are in negative emotional loops.

You should help them move from negative emotions to a positive one.

4. Your clients are often at their wit’s end.

You should provide them with possible alternatives or solutions.

5. Your clients need to vent their frustrations.

You should provide them room and space to air their frustrations before they are willing to listen.

6. Your clients are simply being difficult for the sake of being difficult.

You should assert yourself with firmness, yet with diplomacy.

7. Your clients feel awkward relating and opening up to you.

You must build and maintain rapport with them at all times.

It is often with such tact and wisdom that we must work with our difficult clients. However, the improved results are always better learning lessons and we, too, become better persons.

Let us Excel Beyond Excellence!

Crunch Time! What Must You Do To Master Over It?

September 23, 2007

There are often times where you are put through extremely tight situations. When I mean ‘tight’, I do mean so tight that even a minute of difference count. A rushing, a scurrying, and a meeting in a nick of time.

Some pointers that you can use to overcome it:

1. Use breathing technique

2. Keep your mind clear

3. Manage between rational and emotional aspects of yourself

4. Be precise with time planning

5. Get friends to support you and take over some tasks

6. Coordinate extremely well and work closely with them

7. Charge your phone and have sufficient sms

8. Keep fit

9. Smile to defuse anxiety

10. Keep people and purpose in focus in whatever you do

11. Begin with the end in mind

Biology The Cause Of Stage Fright? Experts Shed Light And More…

September 12, 2007

I read with ardent interest what recently reported about public speaking. The article mentioned about the fear of public speaking and stage fright goes back to biological reasons with ourselves.

Yes, we are talking about the moments of trembling, fast-beating heart pulsations, the increased sweatiness in your palms and the blankness in your mind.

You are standing on the stage raised above, with tens, hundreds or even thousands of eyes scrutinizing you all over. Those images of hungry carnivores seem ready to pounce on you at the mere uttering of your words, if you should mispronounce them or abuse your phrases.

Feels like live meat, isn’t it?

Indeed, we are referring to these and more…

According to the report, the 3 most common symptoms of stage fright include dry mouth, short-term memory loss and sweaty palms.

And biologically speaking, Mary Fensholt, a consultant and author of “The Francis Effect: The Real Reason You Hate Public Speaking and How to Get Over It,” attributes this to “the digestive system temporarily shutting down, the adrenal gland-produced hormone cortisol flooding the body and our primate ancestors’ need for increased traction in the forest canopy.”

To take it further, “even blushing can be understood as a form of arousal to perceived danger; the reaction carries increased oxygen to all parts of the body.”

She tapped on the theories of sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, and argues that “historically, being intently scrutinized and singled out was a prelude to being eaten by a predator, so human ancestors evolved a strong fear response against setting themselves apart from the protection of the group.”

Neat huh?

Shara Sand, clinical assistant professor of psychology at New York’s Yeshiva University adds that “stage fright represents the fight or flight response.”

“What primitively is going on is that there’s a kind of exposure and vulnerability,” she says. And even though there isn’t any real danger, it can feel like there is.

Well, it may not be such a bad thing

“A little bit of stress, a little bit of anxiety actually makes you a little sharper,” says New York clinical psychologist Lubna Somjee. “It heightens your arousal, it makes you cognitively more quick.”

What then, can we do about minimizing stage fright?

Somjee advises to do breathing exercises, visualization, focusing on relaxing your muscles and drinking a glass of grapefruit juice to stimulate the salivary glands.

And since “if you can relax your body, your mind simply follows.”

One of the key is realizing that your responses are completely normal, Fensholt says.

For even the best speakers and performers do experience stage fright. They just control it better.

Speak well to Excel!

How To Minimize The Shock And Depression When Delivering Tragic News?

August 25, 2007

Life is filled with unexpected events. When these events comes with a negative twist, they shock us and render us out of sorts. If tragic situations occur, people panic and often fall into emotional despair. That sudden strike of desperation drives people to their mental edge. Without proper communication, relation and support, breakdown soon sets in.

In my training and coaching sessions, I often work with coaches, counselors, consultants, trainers and speakers (CCCTS) on how to handle such circumstances in their own professional duties. These raw emotions and incidents do break out from time to time and may even catch the help-givers off guard. Being prepared and being vigilant is definitely a requirement not to be undermined.

When the tragic news are brought out into the open, it is our job to assist the person to accept the facts better. We should also further guide them to eventually self-manage their emotions and resources as far as realistically possible.

As there are different types of news with varying levels of shock and severity, there are, correspondingly, several steps we can employ to break the news to them. These steps are called Delivery Tracks. They form a series of steps or tracks when news are delivered in order to be as positive as possible to the affected persons.

The following delivery track is one of the method. It is generic in nature and can be slightly revised to fit the response of the affected.

A standard pre-requisite is that the news must be delivered by a strong minded person with positive outlook. The more tragic the news is the tougher his mental dexterity and rationality is. Yet the irony is that he or she must also be gifted with an empathic touch to the affected person.

The recommended Delivery Track or steps are as follows:

Step 1: Sound the person out, making sure the person is in sound and rational mind.

Step 2: State or hint beforehand that the news might be something uncomfortable or uneasy for him or her to bear. The aim is to get the person mentally and emotionally prepared for the news.

Step 3: Start from the peripheral setting/circumstance before going to the core incident. This allows the person to understand the progress of event, hence enabling the tragedy more understandable as a result of consequential comprehension. (ie, the ability to understand and appreciate how things happen.)

Step 4: As you deliver the news, remember to tone down the words but not missing out on the facts. It’s a very fine balance at this point. Here, your communication and counseling skills will be put to test.

Step 5: Check the acceptance level of the person before revealing the issue bit by bit. You have to be well-equipped with people reading skills, allowing you to calibrate and match the other party.

Step 6: Offer a better and positive way of looking at things whenever possible. I would like to say all the time, however, not every can think of a new refreshing perspective just off the cuff.

Step 7: Round up the news delivery by committing to be there for the person. Present any solutions or support you may have and catering to the person’s needs. And you must mean what you say.

Step 8: Offer the person an opportunity to be counseled or coached after the deliver of message and news.

Step 9: Follow up regularly to ensure acceptance rate and availability of social support.

While it’s always hoped that tragedies will never happen, the life truth is often one of eventuality than possibility. Our social coping strategies must always be sound and catered for the affected party.

The solace and comfort we can take is that with every challenges, setback and obstacles we brave in life, we grow in strength and in character. This makes us so much more apt and equipped to excel beyond excellence.

Slow Down Culture

July 8, 2007

As today is Sunday, it is often a time for most busy people to take time off and relax…

Here’s an article about the slow down culture written by an unknown person. Thanks, Au Yeong for passing me this message.

Take time to read and reflect on it…


Slow Down Culture
(Written By unknown)

It’s been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience.

Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It’s a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results.

Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:

1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning.

It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn’t say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, “Do you have a fixed parking space?

I’ve noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot.”

To which he replied, “Since we’re here early we’ll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don’t you think?” Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there’s a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing.

Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle.

Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of “hurry” and “craziness” generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality”, “life quality” or the “quality of being”.

French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British (True?).

Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%.

This slow attitude has brought forth the US’s attention, pupils of the fast and the “do it now!”.

This no-rush attitude doesn’t represent doing less or having a lower productivity.

It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress.

It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans’ essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It’s time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there’s a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, “I can’t, my boyfriend will be here any minute now”. To which Al responds, “A life is lived in an instant”.

Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world.

No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time.

We need to live each moment.

As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.


A Chat With The Heart Specialist

June 30, 2007

Here’s an article that will help us take better care of our hearts and our lifestyle. Thanks to Au Yeong for sharing the information on Dr. Devi Shetty.

Be well to Excel!

A Chat with Dr. Devi Shetty (Heart Specialist)

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart ?
1. Diet – Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise – Half an hour’s walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No

Qn: It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest.
How do we understand it in perspective?

Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes

Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints .

Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa , who was my patient.

Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare

Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
Ans: Yoga helps.

Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and the worst is oil.

Qn: Which oil is better – groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad .

Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?

Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position , place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters?
I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, edentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.

Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not have a software engineer as a child

Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart ? What precautions would you recommend?

Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short / long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans : No.

Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans : No

Qn: How would you define junk food?
Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , samosas, and even masala dosas.

Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans : No.

Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack?
Ans : Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
Ans : No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and
going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?

Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.

Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans : There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion
is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing
attitudes towards lifestyles.

Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Ans : No.

Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans : Nature protects women till the age of 45.

Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans : Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended ) . . .

Why Should You Harness The Power of Rest?

May 11, 2007

Resting for a moment is actually an art in itself. Many people become too caught up in the hurried pace of life and, as a result, got lost of themselves and where they are going. In a world of fast changes, sometimes slowing down for a while is the answer.

Work can also crop up pretty unexpectedly and pressures may mount. Continuing to work beyond your personal limit is not necessary the answer and neither can it be truly productive in the long run.

When things get to fast, learn to rest. Learn to know when to and when not to rest. That’s why its an art.

Rest is not truly sleep. Rest is a form of quick recharge. Sometimes the physical body rests but the mental still works. In some cases, the person is able to put his physical self on auto-pilot while the mind takes a breather. Such is the beauty of rest.

Rest is a power in itself. You should harness it well. The following are the nature and power of rest:

* The ability to take a rest reflects a sense of control of your life and your thoughts.

* Rest allows you to recollect and remain calm, not being carried away by emotions.

* Rest makes you analyze the situation you are in and the risks involved.

* Rest forces you to take another point of view while consolidating your current resources.

* Rest stores up energy for the real action that follows, driving home an even stronger impact than before.

* Rest allows you to rediscover yourself, what you really want and who you really are.

* Rest because sometimes your body needs to, be it to reduce stress or get away from pressure.

* Rest because its also a way of life and a path to life balance.

* Lastly, Rest is also a preparation to Excel Beyond Excellence!

Be Well. Rest to Excel.

Still Holding Your Breath?

April 17, 2007

Funny things happen to you when you hold your breath a tat longer than usual. Things might go hazy, heads go goggy and something smells funny. Some claim to be able to see their entire lives (present and past?) and some received a closer spiritual experience. It’s different experiences for people.

But how does it feel when you start to breathe again? That next first breathe of cool, clear air that goes into your lungs. It’s a sense of relief, isn’t it? It’s like back from the brink of demise…

Many of us simply hold our breath for too long. Nope, I am not referring to literal acts of self-suffocation. I am talking about our pace of life. A lot of people wake up in the morning, hold their breath and keep “enduring” until its time to hit the sack once again.

Busy, busy eh…

Then life’s suffocation occurs. The stress gets to them, the pain emerges, the illness plagues them and frustration sets in…

The breath has been held too long. Too long for comfort and human capacity.

When was the last time you un-hold your breath? Ever thought of taking in the next breathe of air? Not stale smell of stress, but fresh air of rejevenation.

Have you held your breath for too long?

Remember to breathe in when you have to.

How To Handle Exam Anxiety And Exam Stress?

April 9, 2007

A common experience that happens during examination period.

It’s called exam anxiety and stress.

There are a number of ways to deal with this. Let me share with you some of them:

1. Have a revision plan and stick to it.

2. Watch a funny movie.

3. Take your mind off the exams for the moment. Indulge in your hobbies for a pre-stated time.

4. Chit-chat with a positive and encouraging person.

5. Correct preparation brings confidence. Understand the exams structure, sequence and topics. Know what to expect.

6. Eat the right food and sleep well.

7. Trust yourself and your capability. Insist on this.

Best wishes for your exams!