How a CEO Transformed the Stress that Nearly Broke Him

Recently I read about a CEO confessing that stress nearly broke him.

Can you relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed with stress?

Would you like to learn how this leader turned his stress from a source of suffering to an opportunity for growth?

I recently shared this story in my keynote at a conference of leaders. I thought the CEOs would be able to relate.

But then I realized that you are also the CEO of your own life. You also influence people and make a difference to those around you. So you too are a leader and may relate to this story.

Antonio Horta-Osoriois a 53 yr old CEO of Lloyds’ Banking Group in Europe. In an interview with Louise Carpenter of the Times in October 2017, he said that his job stress nearly “broke” him, dealing with serious insomnia shortly after joining the bank in 2011.

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When he started as a CEO at Lloyds, the state of the bank was a “life-or-death” situation. He felt it his personal responsibility “to lead the team to turn it around and give the taxpayers’ money back.”

He finally did it. In May 2017, the bank became fully private and the exchequer got £900m more than its original investment nine years back.

But the stress during that time had an effect on his mental health. Within seven months of starting his job, he spent nine days at the Priory clinic to prevent a nervous breakdown. His insomnia (lack of sleep) had reached a tipping point and was affecting his abilities. “It almost broke me,” he said.

It was hard for him but he saw a psychiatrist. He admitted; “I was not used to asking for a lot of advice or showing a lot of [emotions] because I’d been a CEO since the age of 29 and it is a very lonely job – people require leadership, even in moments of adversity and difficulty.

To go from there to this humble experience and learning to ‘share’ with someone else, yes, it required some learning, I admit.”

Many of us feel like we need to be superhumans as this CEO confided; “I thought I was Superman. I felt I could do everything.”

Do you become less of a person if you are not superhuman?

Horta-Osoriois changed his opinion. He said; “Before this, I had thought the less sleep and more work, the better.

It showed me I was not Superman. I became a better person, more patient, more understanding and more considerate. It was humbling but you learn.”

He discovered that thinking can lead to behaviors that can cause more stress. He identified and challenged his thinking and changed his behavior. It helped him improve his mental health and resilience.

He noticed that our current culture contributes to stressful behaviors. He recognized that there are rising stress levels at work. People consider quitting their jobs due to stress but feel that talking about their stress in the workplace will damage their careers.

So, he took a bold step. While most people hide their mental difficulties, he opened up. He took steps to increase mental health awareness and change corporate culture.

In his speech at the Mental Health at Work launch, he said that mental health issues are similar to any physical health like a broken leg or infection and it should be dealt with, in a similar way.

See this 1 min clip from his speech here

Today, his bank has developed several programs to promote mental health and wellness at work. I liked the following five in particular:

  1. Opening up communication where people share stories without fear of judgment. They utilize employee assistance programs.
  2. Resilience Training for leaders and teams. They started with the Optimal Leadership Resilience Program for managers.
  3. Creating an accepting corporate culture where there is a focus on developing strength. They focus on where the energy comes from and how to manage themselves and their work.
  4. Creating parity (equal coverage) for mental health. For a long time, insurance companies discriminated against mental health. (I wrote a paper on mental health parity during my residency in 1998). Luckily in the US, we have mostly come around on paper, but not necessarily in thinking.
  5. Mental Health Awareness week: In their series on ”Me on a good day” 2000 people shared their “Tips for staying healthy.”

In March of 2019, 40 CEOs of fortune 500 companies in the US gathered for a round table with the American Heart Association. They worked on strategies to decrease stigma and make your workplace mental health-friendly.

There is a toolkit available for companies now to implement some strategies at their workplaces, available at http://www.askearn.org/mentalhealth/

So what can you do? You may think that you are not in a position to bring such a level of change. Think again.

This leader had to bring the change in himself first. Then influence people around him.

One time I surveyed my friends about wellness programs at their organizations. (As I provide corporate wellness programs I am always interested in people utilizing those).

I understand that some business owners or independent contractors may not have access to such programs. But, I was surprised to find that many employees who do have access, don’t utilize them.

Many didn’t even know if those services were available at their work.

Some didn’t use it even when their companies provided incentives.

Why?

Why do we wait until we are in crisis?

Why can’t we be proactive instead of reactive?

Many people don’t take steps even when they get signals from their bodies in the form of insomnia or irritability or pain.

Do we have to suffer unnecessarily just because of the stigma?

What can you do?

I suggest;

  1. Find out if your organization provides wellness programs for both mind and body. Utilize the resources for improving your resilience even if you don’t have any mental problems at this time so you don’t develop one.
  2. If you don’t have access through your work, develop your own program by reading books, taking courses and attending community programs.
  3. Then start working within your circles of influence to increase awareness. Cultures are not changed by one person but each person plays a role and creates a ripple effect that impacts people around them.

Take a small step towards your mental wellness and resilience today.

Dedicated to your health and happiness

Dr. Rozina.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

How to Relax Your Mind and Develop Problem Solving With Art Meditation

 

The other day, my friend Sam shared that she was going through a stressful period in her life. She knew that meditation could help her but she had difficulty sitting quietly to meditate. Her mind could not stop constant thinking.

Do you ever face a similar problem?

Many people with active minds have a hard time sitting for traditional meditation, especially during stressful times.

Did you know that the word meditation means to focus? When you focus on one thing with your full attention you get all of the benefits.

Just as you can target all of the sun’s energy on one spot by using a magnifying glass, you can target all of your mental energy on one target using meditation.

If you are not able to sit quietly for traditional meditations ( which are mostly passive), you can still get benefits by using different active forms like walking, laughing, art, etc. Sam’s eyes sparkled with excitement when she found that even Art can be used as Meditation.

Would you like to learn how to relax with art meditation too? Then read on.

Sam loved art as a child, but as an adult, she had stopped it because she felt that art is only for children.

When I said that art can help both children and adults reduce stress, feel relaxed, give joy, and help develop the right brain improving problem-solving skills, she was intrigued.

Why do you think art helps in so many ways?

I shared with her my husband, Jay’s story of how art helped him get through stressful periods in his life. (Read more in the book Stress to Joy )

Briefly, he used to love art as a child but he was advised to do something else to earn his living and do art on the side. As a result, he did not touch any art activity for 20 years.

A few years back, when he was feeling stressed at work, he started painting again. It allowed him to cope with his stress, relax his mind, and sleep better.  It helped him see his problems with new perspectives and solve them creatively.

After a few years, he found the courage to change his IT career and become an art instructor. Now he has an art studio where he focuses on bringing out the artist within each person.

When he’s absorbed in doing an art project, he is so absorbed that his brain gets relief from stress.

One time when I saw him doing pottery on a wheel, I realized how art could be a great mind-training tool. It can train your brain to be in the moment. Therefore I started collaborating with his Art Studio to offer the Art Meditation Workshops.

At the beginning of the workshop, I give suggestions on how to intentionally practice mindfulness while doing art. When you pay attention to each moment as it unfolds, intentionally and non-judgmentally, your creative process becomes your meditation- Art Meditation.

I have noticed that some adults face one problem with art. Sam said that one time when she tried to do an art project, she felt frustrated instead of feeling relaxed.

As we talked, she identified that as a professional, she expects perfection in everything. She expected perfection in her art also and that caused the frustration.

In his workshops, Jay jokes; “If your piece looks the way you wanted it, great. If not, then it is a piece of art.”

So, we watch for any judgmental thinking. If it comes, we let it go. We enjoy each moment and experience the process as it evolves. I notice that participants feel relaxed and excited at the same time.

You can also get that relaxed and excited feeling by engaging in some form of art meditation. Pick any form that you like and try it. Even simple coloring could be relaxing.

Start with the intention to stay mindful and enjoy it no matter what. Watch for any judgemental thinking and practice letting go. You will feel calm and develop the problem-solving part of your brain.

If you remain judgmental and self-critical, you would not be able to enjoy the process. The tool of relaxation may turn into a source of frustration.

If you do allow yourself to be absorbed in the creative expression with an open mind, you will get the benefits of meditation despite a busy mind.

So go ahead and take a few minutes to engage in some kind of creative expression, calm your mind and body and develop problem-solving skills.

If you would like to attend an art workshop with me at Feelartistic art studios, respond to this message and I will send you a coupon for an upcoming workshop.

Dedicated to your health and happiness

Dr. Rozina.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

 

When your trouble feels too big- inspirational song lyrics and video

The other day, my friend Laila said; “Some times life is tough.”

She is going through some difficult times and I have been trying to empower her with some tools.

So, today I woke up with the thought of sharing this beautiful Urdu song I had heard in the past.

I started looking for it on YouTube. Sometime back, I had watched an inspirational video on this song with the plight of little ducklings. I couldn’t find that video but I found another one with the plight of a cat and a dog.

The cat in this video looks very much like our cat, Masala. So I was instantly attracted. And, when I watched it, I was totally inspired. I thought hmmm, what if I can share the English translation and video of this song with you?

It may inspire you too ( Especially if you believe in God or a Higher power). It may entertain you as the melody and singer’s voice are so soothing and the cat and dog are so cute. Even if you don’t understand the Urdu lyrics, the story may give you the courage to face any trouble that you may be facing. So enjoy.

English Translation of the Lyrics:

Don’t tell this to God that your troubles are big

Don’t tell this to God that your troubles are big

Rather, tell the troubles, my God is Great.

Let the storms come, welcome them with a smile

God has made you strong enough to face storms in life

Don’t tell this to God that your troubles are big

Rather, tell the troubles, my God is Great.

my God is Great!!!

Gold becomes pure when it is heated in a fire

Only by crossing rough terrains, one can climb Himalaya

Your efforts will bring fruits, ultimately one day

The tree will grow & bloom for sure, as you have sown the seed

Don’t tell this to God that your troubles are big

Rather, tell the troubles, my God is Great

When HE is with you with all His Light & Might,

Your every act will bear fruit in his company.

Never feel defeated, take the first step with courage,

HE is with you to take a thousand steps

Don’t tell this to God that your troubles are big

Rather, tell the troubles, my God is Great.

My God is Great!!!

Here is the video on the plight of this cute cat and dog with this song dubbed.

So no matter how big your trouble is, don’t lose hope. It will pass. Try, Try, and Try again until you succeed.

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: Focusing on your strengths helps you to focus on solutions more than the problems. Therefore a gratitude practice makes it easier to get through difficult times. Many people tell me that they want to journal their gratitude but have difficulty finding the time. Good news. In a few days that difficulty is going to be eased as the Stress to Joy app comes out. You would be able to journal your gratitude directly in this interactive and easy to use the FREE app. Let me know if you are interested by responding to this message: YES for the App.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

 

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How to Get You Through Life’s Challenges Without Losing Hope

The other day, I ran into my friend Judy, and she seemed very stressed. She was wearing a wrinkled outfit. She hadn’t taken any care of her appearance before running to the store. She seemed to be dragging the weight of the world. Over a cup of tea, she opened up to me about her family stress and other life challenges.

She felt like her stress is never going to end. I shared with her an analogy that helped her change her perspective. She got up with renewed hope and courage. She said, “This too shall pass. Until it passes, I am not going to let it stop me from enjoying my life.”

Would you like to learn that powerful perspective to get through your life challenges? It may help you to get through stressful periods in your life. If so, read on.

Judy was feeling so entangled with her stress; she asked me; Is this stress going to be permanent?

What would you answer if you were me?

You may say, nothing in life is permanent. If circumstances are painful, they pass. If they are enjoyable, they pass too.

So what is your best option? Accept whatever is and do the best within your circle of influence. Some challenges in life come from outside you and others you create due to your reactions. You don’t have control of external stressors, but you can influence how you react.

You are feeling more stressed because you think that your life challenges are never going to end. Let’s consider these stressors as traffic lights on the road of life.

Traffic lights are sometimes frustrating, yet they help the flow of traffic.

Sometimes you get all green lights, and you drive along smoothly.

Sometimes the lights are yellow, and you have a choice. Push that accelerator and get through if you are close to the intersection, or slow down for a brief stop.

Sometimes the lights are red, and you have to stop for a short while and then move on.

Occasionally, the lights aren’t working. In that situation, the traffic jams. Usually, external help is needed. You need someone who can direct the traffic, ease the jam, and allow the traffic flow to resume.

No matter how bad the jam, things start flowing after some time.

The bigger the jam, the longer it may take. It depends on;

promptness of response,

the cooperation of people, and

the effectiveness of the techniques that are used to direct the traffic.

All these factors help people go from stuck to unstuck and allow them to get on with their lives.

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Let’s use this analogy to think through different times in your life.

  • When the lights are green, life is going smoothly. There are no significant problems or challenges. You feel happy. It is time to strengthen your emotional muscles and build resilience.
  • When the lights are yellow, you are facing some challenges in life. You get through by either; accelerating your efforts or slowing down.
  • When the lights are red, you need to stop and regroup. Increased stress, illness, or loss may have made you stop. Life cannot continue “as is” for a short time. You must stop what you are doing, assess your situation, then make some choices to change your situation.
  • When the lights are not working, life gets jammed. A catastrophe may have occurred. A significant loss may be causing substantial disruption in the flow of life. You get stuck; everything is chaotic. You can’t seem to figure out how to get unstuck and cope with the challenges. Those are the times to ask for help. A professional can help you and guide you through your challenges.

Judy’s situation wasn’t horrible; she was just overwhelmed with the usual demands of life. She needed to slow down and assess the situation. She made some changes in her expectations and felt better.

What is the color of your traffic light at this time?

Is it green, yellow, or red? Has it stopped working altogether?

Enjoy if its green, slow down if it is yellow, stop for a while and seek help if it’s red or malfunctioning.

Know that no matter what color is your light, it will change. No matter how big the challenge, it will pass, and you will be able to continue your journey on the road of life.

I hope this analogy helps you. Let me know what you think.

Dedicated to your health and happiness,

Dr. Rozina

P.S. – This article is an abstract from the book Stress to Joy. If you like it, you may also like many more techniques in this book. For a limited time, get a 55% discount. Click here and use coupon code: STJ55 to get your copy and start transforming your Stress To Joy.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

 

A Powerful Strategy to Face Challenges Without Breaking Down

The other day, I saw one of my readers, Ellen at the store.  She had read my last email; How to Restore Balance and Reduce Stress using Emotional Coping Account. She particularly liked the idea of making daily deposits to increase the balance in her Emotional Coping Account.

She asked for some suggestions. I shared with her a sample of the Coping Balance sheet and examples of deposits. Her eyes sparkled with excitement and she decided to start adding more deposits to her account to become more resilient. Would you like those resources too? Let me share.

Here is an example of the balance sheet.

Emotional Coping Account

Example of Balance Sheet

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As you notice, the withdrawals are the stressors of our lives.  For the most part, they are things that are beyond our control, such as the weather or broken traffic light.  But the deposits are the things that we do have control over, such as changing our plans from a picnic to an art project.

If you like, click here to download a blank sheet that you can use to assess the current balance in your Emotional Coping Account.

Another thing that I have noticed is that it is hard for people to remember what their deposits are when they are in a negative state. When they have a list of potential deposits, it helps them. I have my deposit list as my daily reminder on my phone.

When I am reviewing things to do that day, I check which one I am going to deposit today. Why don’t you also make your list of all your potential deposits to remind you of things that you can do?

List all the things that you can do that make you feel good, energized and expanded with joy. If you are having difficulty identifying your deposits, you may ask yourself, “What actions helped me in the past? What did I love to do?”

Most people come up with one answer; vacation. I love vacations too. But, can you be on vacation all the time?

Sometimes you have to work. Plus vacations can be expensive.

So, what are other inexpensive deposits that you can do within your limitations? Think of walking, doodling, deep breathing, connecting with nature, reading, taking a relaxing bath, meditation, art, or connecting with loved ones.

Make your list and post it in a prominent place as a reminder.

Or you can make the list on your phone as I do. I bet that even thinking of things that relax you and bring you joy helps to bring your emotional balance a more positive spin!

Try to add one small deposit in your Emotional Coping Account. If you don’t make deposits and continue withdrawing, you can get in trouble. If you make regular deposits, you will have a good reserve on hand.

You would be able to maintain your positive mode, even if some unexpected stressor comes up. So go ahead, check the balance in your emotional coping account and start making daily deposits today.

And Smile!

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: In our high demand society, work-related stress is leading to many illnesses like heart attacks. Therefore, now I am on a mission to take stress to joy training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

How to Restore Balance and Reduce Stress

Does your life feel out of balance? What can you do?

Let me share this excerpt from the book; “Stress to Joy” that may help.

A couple of years back, the central heating system in my office building was not working.  We needed to use portable heaters. These heaters put a lot of demand on electric circuits. Our system gave us signals of this demand overload, and a few times we noticed flickering lights. 

When we continued to use those heaters, the circuit breaker blew a fuse. It was for our protection. It was to prevent greater damage, but it also meant a loss of power and our whole unit went dark. No electricity also meant no heat and no functional systems to do the work on computers. The business closed until electricity returned.

We needed to replace the fuse to get electricity back. This was also a temporary fix, as the fuse kept blowing until we fixed the problem.  We needed to restore balance. We could either decrease the number of portable heaters or increase circuit capacity.

Similarly, when your body is giving you a signal by showing stress-related symptoms like headaches, heartburn, or sleep problems, it is important to make modifications. 

If the demands continue to be more than the capacity, the circuit breaker of your body will blow a fuse and result in illness. It does that to force you to break the stress cycle and prevent more damage.

At times, you may also need professional help. It will help you further your capacity to respond to the higher demands of your life. This capacity to tolerate and respond to stress is called emotional resilience. A way to track your level of resilience is balancing your Emotional Coping Account.

What is an Emotional Coping Account

Many of my patients/clients understand this concept better with the analogy of a bank account. 

You understand the concept of deposits and withdrawals from a checking account. Right? What happens to your account balance if you have more withdrawals than deposits? 

It goes into the negative. Your checks bounce, and you get in trouble.

What do you do to stay in a positive balance? 

Decrease the withdrawals and increase the deposits. 

Similarly, you need to decrease stress and increase joy to stay in a positive state of mind.

What are your deposits to your Emotional Coping Account? 

Do you have more deposits than withdrawals? 

If you have a positive balance in your Emotional coping account, you will be able to handle the ups and downs of life with ease. If not, you may experience unnecessary suffering. 

Make some changes to regain your balance.  The Stress to Joy program (besides professional help, if needed) can guide you to restore that balance and prevent further problems.

Click here for a previous blog and the Youtube video explaining this concept.

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: In our high demand society, work-related stress is leading to many illnesses like heart attacks. Therefore, now I am on a mission to take stress to joy training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

Stress To Joy – My Story

I hope you are enjoying some of the exercises I have sent to you in the past.

Today I would like to tell you why I chose to focus on writing the book “Stress to Joy“.

You can help yourself by developing these tools to decrease your stress and increase your joy. In that process you’ll find that your focus would improve, your efficiency and productivity will improve and you will feel happier. Joyfulness is contagious. You will find that when you are happy, it spreads to people around you too. As you pass the kindness forward, you would help me spread the message further.

So what is my story? Why did I decide to work on Stress to Joy? There are three main reasons:

  • I see suffering.
  • I experience stressors in my life.
  • I have been blessed with the knowledge and education to help.

Let me clarify a little more.

First, I see suffering in my patients, in my friends and in the communities around me. I have been practicing Psychiatry for almost two decades in different settings, hospital, community, and private practice. Now I specialize in treating the most severe and resistant forms of depression by using an MRI based treatment called TMS ( Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).

People come to me after they have tried many different techniques and medications and suffered for a long time. I try to do more than just provide the treatment they come for. I want to help them develop resilience so they can prevent a recurrence. Every time I see a patient who has been suffering for a long time I wonder how much suffering could have been prevented if this person could have received help earlier.

Due to a problem with stigma, I find that people don’t want to seek help until it becomes totally intolerable.

I searched deeply about what can be done to prevent suffering in the first place. I found that when people learn certain tools to manage their day to day stress and develop certain approaches in life, a lot of suffering could be prevented. I felt that if I can share these tools with people in earlier stages, then I can empower them to decrease their stress, increase their joy, and in turn avoid unnecessary suffering.

Second, I experience stress in my day to day life.

Juggling between different responsibilities of family, business, profession, and community; I experience stress first hand. I also had a life-changing experience when I got into a car accident and broke my right hand. I have shared that in more details in my book “Stress To Joy”.

Due to both the stress of adjusting to life after the accident and the day to day life stressors, I had to learn and utilize many tools to help me maintain my ability to feel the joy and continue to help others. I wanted to share those tools with others so it could help them too.

Third, I had an opportunity to get educated in systems that emphasized prevention and promotion of health in addition to treatment.

My medical school, Aga Khan University, in Pakistan focused on community health where we worked with a particular community throughout our medical school to improve their health through health education. When I went for my residency in psychiatry at the University of Illinois in Chicago, I took a public psychiatry track.

I was also able to do my Masters in Public Health at the same university. So my education gave me tools to work on empowering through education. My patients, my friends and my life all have added to the tools and have been great teachers.

So I decided to help more people. In addition to providing treatment, I am focusing on prevention more. I have made an intention of helping more than a million people and you can help me in this endeavor.

How can you help? By helping yourself and others around you.

You can help yourself by learning and practicing these universal tools (simplified in the book “Stress To Joy”) to minimize your stress and maximize your joy. You can help others first by being role models. Your joy is going to impact people around you and as you share and pass the message on, the ripple effects would spread the joy in the world around you.

If you don’t learn to manage your stress better and develop happiness habits, you will continue to build stress and feel like your life is passing by without much joy. If you do apply the principles, you will feel that each day is an opportunity for growth, peace, and happiness.

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: This technique is from the “Stress to Joy” program. Many people suffer from high work stress which leads to stress-related conditions like heart attacks. Therefore, I am on a mission to take this training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

How to Stay Positive During Difficult Times

How to Stay Positive and in the “Present” When The Present is Not Pleasant

Do you ever find it easier to stay positive and enjoy the present moment if it is pleasant, but not as easy when it is not? When things are not going according to your desires?

Let me share a technique to stay positive in the present moment even when things are not going your way.

The other day, Kelly and I were driving to a meeting. It was raining a lot. The traffic was moving so slow that we were at risk of being late for the meeting and my friend was getting frustrated. She said; “I hate this rain.” I asked her; “How does this thought  help you?” She replied; “It doesn’t. It makes me feel pretty bad.” When I reminded her of mindfulness that we were talking earlier. She said sarcastically; “This is what I exactly wanted. I love being stuck in traffic due to the rain.”

Is that mindfulness? No.

So what can she do? How can she shift her thinking so she can become mindful at the moment even if she doesn’t like it?

She and I tried to apply the three steps of Stress to Joy system which are:

ACR: Acknowledge, Calm and Reflect.

  1. Acknowledge: We noticed and acknowledged our circumstances ( rain, traffic and running late) and our reactions.
  2. Calm: We calmed down by bringing attention to the moment. We became aware of what we saw ( the rain, the traffic, the sky and slowly changing perspective). What we heard (the sound of rain and car and our breathing and talking). We observed how it felt on our skins (the temperature) and the kinesthetic feeling of the car moving. In essence, we became mindful by bringing attention to each moment intentionally as it was unfolding without judgment (whether we liked the experience or not). Even when we felt a strong judgment, we observed it.
  3. Reflect: We reflected what was in our control and what was not. Rain or traffic was not in our control but driving carefully and making the most of the experience was. We could not change the weather to our desire, but we could adjust our desire to the weather. I shared with her one of the poems I had made in the past for my son to replace the poem he had learned in the school;

“Rain, Rain go away, come again another day.”

(a bad attitude to teaching, the kids, especially when they live in a place like Seattle).

We replaced it with :

“When it rains, I won’t rain,

When it shines, I won’t shine,

When it’s cold, I want cold,

When it’s hot, I want hot,

I want whatever the weather is,

and, therefore,

I am always happy, as I always have, what I want.”

So my friend and I decided to focus on what we could do. We tried to stay aware, moment by moment, both what was outside of us and how we were reacting and adapted our thoughts.

My friend did not say I love rain ( she does when she is playing in it) but she changed her thinking from “I hate this rain” to “I notice that I am getting frustrated at this time as I am running late. Rain is outside my circle. I have done what I could; I left in time, I am driving carefully, and I have informed my contact that I may run late. Now, there is no sense in continuously worrying about it. So I am going to enjoy this moment. We talked, listened to music and noticed the beauty and greenery made possible by the rain. We enjoyed the changing scenes and my friend commented; “I was so occupied and worried that I was not noticing all the beauty around me. I could have missed all this if I had not changed my thoughts.”

My friend had a choice. She could have continued to ruminate on what was not in her control or change her thoughts and perspective.

You also have a choice.

When you don’t choose to change, you are choosing to continue your pattern.

If you don’t notice how your words, thoughts, and attitudes are affecting you like my friend, you may continue to feel frustrated and irritated with daily stressors and may say or do things that do not help. If you do adapt your perspective by acknowledging, calming and reflecting, you may be able to decrease your stress feelings and increase your health and happiness despite your circumstances. You will be able to stay positive and mindful in the present even when the present is not pleasant. What are you going to choose?

If you liked this article and felt it can help others, please share.

You can learn more about this approach in my book; “Stress to Joy; Your toolkit to Restore Peace of Mind in Minutes.”

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: This technique is from the “Stress to Joy” program. Many people suffer from high work stress which leads to stress-related conditions like heart attacks. Therefore, I am on a mission to take this training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

materialistic

How can you reduce materialism? – Encouraging Gratitude in Kids

Nowadays kids are getting influenced so much by the social pressures of getting this toy or that.

I just read this article about how encouraging gratitude in kids can reduce materialism. I thought you might like it, therefore, I am sharing. Check it out here

What do you think? 

Share your thoughts if kids could benefit from a gratitude practice too. 

Have you been practicing your gratitude journal? If not, start your practice because materialism is not only affecting kids, it is also affecting adults. 

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: This technique is from the “Stress to Joy” program. Many people suffer from high work stress which leads to stress-related conditions like heart attacks. Therefore, I am on a mission to take this training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.

how to overcome fear

How to Overcome Fear

The other day, my friend Mary Ann shared her difficulty with the fear of driving, since an accident. She was not sure what to do, even when her family tells her just to overcome it. I shared some thoughts with her that helped her a lot. Let me share them with you in case you or someone you know faces a similar situation.

My friend Mary Ann had a frightening experience one day while she was driving. It was a bad weather day, and a sudden rainstorm made it impossible to see. At one point, her car started to skid. She slowed and soon regained control of her vehicle. She was not in heavy traffic, so there was no accident. But her trouble with breathing and heart-pounding continued for some time.

After that, she experienced stress whenever she thought of driving. Her fear; “What if it happens again?

“Just drive,” her husband said. He wanted her to get over it and run errands as she always had done.

Mary Ann wanted to, but she was not able to overcome the fear. She was worried about another accident and especially the feeling of anxiety she experienced at that time.

She has tried to overcome this fear on her own, but nothing she has tried has worked.

She is reluctant to see a mental health professional due to fear of being called “mental.” Instead, she just avoids driving, limiting her ability to function and enjoy her life. She feels terrible and silently suffers.

Telling her to “just drive” is like telling me to “just swim.” I did not learn to swim as a child, so I can’t “just swim.” I have to train my mind to overcome the fear of water and teach my body to float. I have to develop my muscle memory to swim from scratch, as it was never previously developed.

Until I learn the skill, it would be tough for me to follow the suggestion to “just swim.”

Similarly, until Mary Ann learns to overcome the fear of accidents, she cannot “just drive.”

What can she do?

Most people say; Get professional help. That would help. But is there something she can do to help herself? Before and while she is seeking professional advice?

What would you advise her?

Would following the three basic steps of Stress to Joy Program help her? Let’s see. These basic steps are represented by acronym; ACR.

  • Acknowledge the block/fear and why she wants to overcome it.
  • Calm her body’s reaction.
  • Reflect what is in her control and what is not and make an intentional choice

Acknowledging her fear and the reason she wants to overcome it will give her a direction to focus.

Practicing calming techniques will decrease her body’s reaction and her mind will be clear to think through her issue.

Reflecting will allow her to identify and process her fear thought; “what if it happens again?”

She may challenge the thought. “In my years of driving, the bad experience happened only once. I was able to drive without any problems thousands of times.”

What is the chance of an accident like that happening again? One in thousand times. That is less than 0.01%, so why am I just focusing on that 0.01% and not the other 99.99%?

Yes, It could be dangerous, so I need to take precautions, but I don’t have to stop everything. I have a choice.

“I choose to focus on the 99.99% chance that I will be able to drive and go where I want to go. I will take precautions to avoid that 0.01% chance that I can’t control.”

Do you think my friend will feel better?

If she does not make the choice to help herself, her life will continue to be stuck due to her fears. If she follows through, she may be able to overcome her block and be able to enjoy her life again.

If you face fears and worries like that, do you think using this approach may help you?

You choose. Let me know how it works.

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

Dr. Rozina.

PS: This technique is from the “Stress to Joy” program. Many people suffer from high work stress which leads to stress-related conditions like heart attacks. Therefore, I am on a mission to take this training to workplaces. If you would like me to bring this training to your team, please get in touch.

# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker

www.drrozina.com

Join me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or sign up for my newsletter

The Stress to Joy® program is available in

eBook,

Print Book 

Audio Book

Online Course

Guided Gratitude Journal

I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.