Top 5 Speakers on Health & Wellness

More and more clients are adding Speakers on Health to the Agenda as they begin to understand the value of a healthy workforce. Employees that see their employers taking a greater interest in their employee’s health are more loyal and dedicated to the organization and their jobs. Healthier employees also deliver better performance, better customer service and are better at handling any challenges that may come up. Below are 5 of our highest rated Speakers on Health.

Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author.  He has discovered, through multiple expeditions with teams of research scientists specializing in population studies, the five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones – where people live the longest, and are healthiest and happiest.

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Dr. Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman, Ph.D., is well known in academic and clinical circles and is a best-selling author. He has written twenty books and 200 articles on motivation and personality. Dr. Seligman works on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and on optimism and pessimism.

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Jenny Evans

Jenny is a speaker, award-winning author and on-air expert on resiliency, stress, confidence, performance, exercise physiology and nutrition. She is the founder and CEO of PowerHouse Performance and author of the award-winning book The Resiliency rEvolution: Your Stress Solution for Life- 60 Seconds at a Time.

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Andy Core

Andy Core is a credentialed, award-winning thought leader on increasing employee engagement, productivity, and wellness motivation. His talent lies in helping hard-working, conscientious adults thrive at work and in their personal lives.

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Dr. David Posen

Dr. David Posen was a family physician for 17 years before devoting his time exclusively to stress management, lifestyle counseling and psychotherapy in 1985.  As both a keynote speaker and seminar presenter, David has spoken widely to education, government, business and professional groups across North America.

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To Learn more about these speakers contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]

 

6 Ways to Get Healthy At Work

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Companies have woken up to the fact that encouraging and helping employees lead healthier lives benefits everyone. We are regularly asked by Companies  for Speakers that can deliver practical ideas on Health and Wellness that their employees can use everyday.  The following are 6 of our best Health and Wellness Speakers sharing their valuable insights on how you can be healthier at work:

Jenny Evans, Speaker & Author on Stress & Resiliency: Eat regularly. A lot of people skip meals and snacks for many reasons like poor planning, forgetting to eat, perception of not enough time, etc. Not eating for extended periods leads to disengagement and poor health and wellbeing. Schedule a meal or small snack every 3-4 hours and stick to it. https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Jenny-Evans

Gregory Florez, Speaker & Author on Health & Vitality. 7 out of ten of you reading this are dehydrated.   Dehydration is tied to everything from headaches, to dry eyes, to loss of concentration, and can speed the development of many lifestyle related diseases.  Perhaps the easiest “hack”  for maintaining or losing weight is this: When you first feel hunger often times your body is needing fluid.  Drink a liter of water first then wait ten minutes-the time that it takes for the signal from your brain to reach your stomach.  You’ll be surprised how effective this can be.  Keep water with you all day long, andalways in front of you-out of site is out of mind.https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Gregory-Florez

Joe Piscatella, Bestselling Author on Optimal Cardiac Health. Get up and move around! Sitting for long periods of time is linked to higher levels of obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.  By getting out of your chair and moving throughout the day, you not only reduce the risk of chronic disease, but it helps to sustain mental health in our multi-tasking, out-of-time and highly-stressed world.https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Joe-Piscatella

Dr. Heidi Hanna, Keynote Speaker, Author, Performance & Wellness Coach. By far, the greatest thing you can do at work to improve your health is take breaks to move your body, take a few calming breaths and quiet your mind. This brain recharge strategy used for just a few minutes each hour will decrease stress hormones and circulate glucose and oxygen for a mood and performance boost. Add even more brainpower benefit by reflecting on something or someone you feel grateful for.https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dr.-Heidi-Hanna

Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow, Renowned Explorer and Bestselling Author of Blue Zones. Commute to work via bike or public transportation.  Commuters get on average, 19 minutes of physical activity (walking)-which is associated with 11% lower rates of heart disease. Also make friends with two healthy co-workers.  Health habits are contagious and work friends tend to be long term.  Moreover, according to Gallup, a best friend at work is the biggest predictor of whether or not you like your job. https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dan-Buettner

Christine Cashen, Speaker & Author on Communications &  Go on a “Secret Mission”. Pick up a clipboard or folder and walk around the office quickly as if you have somewhere to go. Sometimes a physical break can bring a much needed mental break. Mission Accomplished!https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Christine-Cashen

Pin this to the Office fridge and improve everyone’s Health.

8 Speakers Who Will Take Your Top Performers to the Next Level

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How do you the make the best even better? What do you strive for once you have won Gold? How do you motivate the motivated ? These are the kinds of questions that Top Performers are always asking. The Speakers  below are experts in the field of peak performance and have the answers that will take your best people to the next level and beyond:

Dan Clark | Motivational Speaker on Teamwork & The Art of Significance

Dan Clark is one of the most requested Speakers  on the circuit for clients who want to inspire their audience to raise the professional and personal bar. His presentations outline simple and actionable processes to improve performance and go from successful to significant. Dan’s presentations leave attendees with a deeper understanding of the next steps that ought to be taken to generate more – more engagement, more loyalty, and more revenue.

Chip Eichelberger | Author & Motivational Speaker

Filled with energy and enthusiasm, Chip Eichelberger’s presentations motivate and electrify audiences. Through small changes, Chip will guide your high performing team on how to achieve even bigger results. Attendees will leave his presentation feeling equipped with the tools to deepen their existing client relationships, excited to begin new ones, and how to take their achievements to the next level.

Ryan Estis | Expert on Leadership, and Business Performance

Ryan Estis’ keynotes are hard-hitting and high impact, and will show your top performers how to tap into their fullest potential. Audiences will leave feeling organized and prepared to compete in more competitive markets, increase their own productivity, and drive business growth.

Jenny Evans | Stress Resiliency Expert, Speaker & Author

You cannot completely rid yourself of stress. Rather than trying to avoid it, resiliency expert Jenny Evans trains audiences how to use their body’s stress response to their advantage. She also teaches attendees how to recover from stress quickly and easily, as well as how to build up tolerance for it. The more equipped employees are to handle stress, the more efficient and productive they will be.

Tom Flick | Former NFL Quarterback, Authority on Peak Performance

Tom Flick draws on his extensive knowledge as an athlete and leader in corporate America to deliver a high intensity, and inspirational message to his audiences. He is a skilled storyteller who will galvanize attendees to take the necessary steps to achieve greatness.

Dr. Heidi Hanna | Speaker, Author, Health & Performance Consultant   

According to Dr. Heidi Hanna, energy is our most powerful resource when it comes to being successful in business and in life. Being overworked and overstressed decreases our brain function, preventing using from reaching our full potential. Dr. Hanna teaches audiences about Energy Management and how build brain health and power, resulting in optimal performance. Attendees leave Dr. Hanna’s sessions with more energy, and a clearer, sharper mind to take on any task or challenge.

Dr. James B. Maas | Peak Performance and Sleep Expert & Author

We all know that sleep is important, however, Dr. Maas has extensively researched the subject and his findings regarding the correlation between sleep and performance are quite astounding. He has found that sleep is a more significant determinant in predicting longevity than diet, exercise, and hereditary factors. Dr. Maas teaches audiences how to improve their quality of sleep resulting in more efficient, productive, happy, and healthy individuals. His presentations are full of great take-aways that can be put into action almost immediately (but be sure to finish the conference day first!)

Greg McKeown | Time Management and Innovation Speaker, Author of the Bestseller Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Innovation speaker Greg McKeown  has researched the most successful leaders and found they all had a key component in common: they all know how to strategically prioritize. Modern prioritizing is not simply organizing and ranking your tasks by importance, but actually saying “no” to certain tasks. “Doing it all” is not constructive – it hinders your effectiveness. By following Greg McKeown’s guidance, your top employees will increase their productivity and achieve more meaningful success.

 

*Speakers are listed in alphabetical order

Travis Bradberry: How do Successful People Stay Calm?

Dr_Travis_Bradberry_HeadShotThe ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

If you follow our newsletter, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.

Travis Bradberry Stress Chart

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

They Disconnect

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

They Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It’s time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

They Reframe Their Perspective

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

They Breathe

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

They Use Their Support System

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.

Source: How Successful People Stay Calm

6486483About Dr. Travis Bradberry – Author and Speaker on Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Psychology:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning author of the #1 best selling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training.

His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review. Dr. Bradberry’s latest book is Leadership 2.0.

Could You Be a Stressaholic?

04-07-2014Stress, like love or beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder. In perhaps it’s most simple definition, stress is simply a stimulus for change. Positive opportunities such as a family vacation, getting married or even winning the lottery all come with their share of stress and stimulation. And while it’s easy to blame stress on what’s going on around us, a significant part of our relationship with stress is based on the hidden internal stress we deal with each day — eating too much of the wrong foods or too few of the right ones, living a sedentary lifestyle or overtraining at the gym, being a perfectionist or lacking motivation to get up in the morning.

So how do you know if you have an unhealthy dependence on stress? The following few questions may help you figure it out:

  • Do you thrive on tight deadlines?
  • Do you often leave things until the last minute?
  • Do you have a difficult time doing nothing at all?
  • Does it take you a few days off to feel like you’re on vacation?
  • Do you spend much of your vacation time thinking about work?
  • Do you constantly worry about what you might be missing?
  • Do you feel stressed when you’re disconnected from your cell phone or computer?
  • Do you find it difficult to turn your brain off at night to sleep?
  • Do you feel as though there is never enough time to get things done?
  • Do you ever feel as though the work you put in for the day is not enough?
  • Do you lack time to see your friends or participate in hobbies you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel as though you’re constantly running from one thing to the next?
  • Do you find yourself finishing, or wanting to finish, other peoples’ statements?
  • Do you wish I’d stop asking questions so you can get on with the book already?

Chances are, you answered “yes” to a good amount of these questions. But, who cares? We all have stress, and it’s not going anywhere — so we might as well accept it, right? I even had a client tell me once, “I love my stress and I don’t want to manage it.” She spoke aloud the truth so many of us are living, whether we accept it or not: we thrive on stress. It makes us feel driven to succeed, boosts energy, and gives meaning to our life. Our conversations often seem to involve a competition of who’s more stressed. “How are you?” “Stressed.” “Me too.” And then each party goes on to explain why they’re so stressed, with the person who’s worse off winning in our backwards way of thinking. This twisted social story tells us that busier you are, the more stressed you are, the more important you are. Just take Seinfield’s George Costanza, who made it a point to look annoyed so that his boss would assume he was doing something important.

The problem is not that you can’t handle your stress. You’re likely doing a fabulous job getting the things done that need to get done, meeting deadlines, and even attending a social event every once in a while (especially if it’s work related). But what is your experience of your life? Are you taking time to appreciate what you’re working so hard to accomplish — or are you just speeding through in order to tackle the next item on your to-do list?

Perhaps more importantly, are you aware of the long-term impact that this stress-filled life has on you? Probably not. Or maybe like most addicts, you know the consequences of your behavior but you’re so hooked on it that coming down from stress feels uncomfortable — and with such a busy schedule it’s just easier to stay amped up than deal with the detox of letting go. Remember the advertisement “this is your brain on drugs”? It certainly made a lasting impression. Unfortunately, it’s not just drugs that can cause our brains to feel scrambled. Unmanaged stress might be just as dangerous.

Stress (and drugs) have been shown to have the following side effects: increased heart rate and blood pressure, an increase in blood sugar, breakdown of muscle tissue, decreased digestive functioning, ulcers, blood clotting, migraines, skin problems, premature aging, loss of brain cells, social isolation and loneliness, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, substance abuse, relationship problems, lack of focus, multitasking and disengagement. In fact, a 20-year study by the University of London completed in the early 1990s found that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high-cholesterol foods. And stress may even be as addictive as drugs. In addition to the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, stress also releases the “feel good” chemical dopamine, which encourages repeat behaviors by activating the reward center in our brains. This may be at the heart of many addictive behaviors and substance abuse issues.

While it may seem a bit extreme to consider stress an addictive substance, it turns out the just about anything can become addictive depending on the individual who is responding. Addiction expert Stanton Peele has suggested that there is no habit that cannot become excessive, compulsive, or life endangering. According to Peele, “Addiction… is not a label to be applied to specific things but to an involvement a person creates in time or space.” It’s all about the relationship that we build with our habits of behavior.

When we lose sight of our natural pulse, or worse — intentionally disrupt it in order to accomplish something — we trigger an adaptive response that becomes addictive. At its core, addiction is a dependence on some external or internal stimulus that causes either a feeling of pleasure or avoidance of pain. Early-stage stress addiction usually attracts us to sources of stress to get something positive — a neurochemical satisfaction such as dopamine release, an intrinsic (internal) reward such as feeling needed, or an extrinsic (external) benefit such as money, power, or success.

As our addiction progresses, however, it becomes less about what we might get and more about avoiding loss, which brings with it an even stronger tie to our basic survival mechanisms. Instead of intentionally turning to stress-providing stimulation for positive reinforcements we now require them to avoid the pain of its absence. We shift from triggering positive dopamine to avoiding negative cortisol, from seeking importance to avoiding insignificance, and from accomplishing success to merely remaining employed. This fear-based shift moves us from what appeared to be healthy striving to merely surviving.

We can reverse this process by neurochemically rebalancing our brain, nourishing our mind and body with love and support, and establishing training behaviors or habits that strengthen our ability to resist stress’s addictive nature. As we’ve already discovered, stress itself is not the problem. Depending on or accepting stress without recovery despite hazardous consequences–such as fatigue, dissatisfaction in life, loss of joy, anxiety, etc — is what destroys our health, energy, and engagement.

Stress in and of itself is neither good nor bad; it just is. Therefore it is not the existence of stress that causes an addictive dependence; rather, it’s our individual response to the stress in our lives over time. Each person has unique experiences with stress throughout the lifespan; certain situations cause severe disability, while others enhance learning and facilitate growth.

In fact, a life without stress would be stressful. It would push us out of our comfort zone in the opposite direction, with a lack of stimulation for growth. Research shows that one of the highest spikes in human mortality occurs within six months of retirement. It is quite dangerous to go from being always “on” to a screeching halt. The human system is not designed to function in a state of all or nothing; yet because of our hectic environment and constant connection, people tend to be pulled back to the extremes. To operate most effectively, we need to find the balance between stress and recovery that enables us to experience challenge and growth without constantly breaking down.

The Stressaholic Recovery Process – Recharge Your Energy and then Reprogram Your Life

Stress can be good for us: facilitating important learning and stimulating personal growth. However, like an old rubber band we crack and break down when force is applied to our weakened system because we lack flexibility. Our world today is filled with outside stimulation and stress inducing factors, with unrelenting demands on our time. But when we have the energy to be pliable and resilient, we are not only able to bounce back from challenges; we also become stronger as a result of the exercise.

Therefore, successful and sustainable stress management must start with a core foundation of energy to keep your brain and body functioning in a more optimal state. This allows the brain to facilitate opportunity-based processes for focus and attention, creativity and flexibility, and endurance over time. The messages that the body’s various hormones send the brain to regulate energy flow — and maintain things like glucose and oxygen supply — will provide us the stability we need for optimal functioning.

Consider your stress management strategies as building blocks of a pyramid.

The foundational techniques will be those we continue to go back to when we feel overwhelmed or out of balance. This rest process will serve as the supporting structure we need to continue moving up to the pinnacle of health, happiness, and performance. Key strategies to creating adequate rest go beyond just getting enough sleep. It’s critical that we also build in rest periods at least once every 90 minutes during the day to recharge our battery. Rituals such as listening to inspirational music, practicing deep breathing, doing some gentle stretching or going for a walk outside should be scheduled throughout the day and made a priority. Eliminating stimulating foods and other substances (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine) also helps the body reduce inflammation.

Once we have adequate rest and recovery built into our routine, we can then look to nourishing nutrients that will strengthen our core practice and provide even more resilience and stability. We add nourishment through the foods we eat (such as healthy fats, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables, just to name a few), incorporating moderate physical activity throughout the day and boosting positive endorphins in the brain through positive thinking, meditation, and gratitude. By utilizing our repair techniques, we will create healthier cells and stronger neural pathways in the brain to keep our body and mind performing at their best.

We then rebuild these chemical and cellular processes in our final recharge step by incorporating strategic training challenges that temporarily break us down, a little bit at a time, in order to stimulate just enough stress to cause our system to adapt and become even stronger. We can strengthen both the body and mind by utilizing exercises such as interval training, balance and coordination activities, and mental stimulation through brain games, visualization, and neurofeedback. It’s important to always be cognizant of the rest and repair techniques we need to maintain so that the challenges we now seek out provide an opportunity for growth – rather than chronic break down.

In the final two steps of our stress management process, we will build upon our foundation of strategic energy management to create a more positive mindset – one that will allow us to perceive the stress in our life as healthy and beneficial. As we rethink stress we’ll be able to use it to our advantage. Mindfulness, journaling and visualization are just a few ways we can walk through the steps of changing our mind for the better. We’ll then continue to create support for our habits of thought and behavior as we redesign our daily routine to support our optimal performance pulse; periods of stress balanced with periods of recovery.

Two key shifts must happen in order to break free from stress addiction. First, we need to recalibrate our operating system by replenishing necessary energy at the most basic levels, chemical and cellular. We must then reprogram our lifestyle by rewiring our habits of thought and behavior. To learn more about the Stressaholic Recovery Process, you can watch this recent interview with Judy Martin of Work/Life Nation or check out Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship With Stress.

Source: https://bit.ly/1efL6ug

About Dr. Heidi Hanna – Speaker on Performance and Wellness:

As a performance coach and keynote speaker, Dr. Heidi Hanna has trained thousands of individuals on practical ways to incorporate nutrition, exercise, and positive psychology strategies to improve their health, productivity, and performance. Her vast coaching experience and passionate coaching style help motivate individuals and teams to develop sustainable success at both a personal and professional level. Heidi is CEO and founder of SYNERGY, a coaching and consulting company that specializes in customized health and wellness solutions for individuals and organizations. Heidi’s publications include SHARP: Simple Strategies to Boost Your Brainpower, and the NY Times best seller The SHARP Solution: A Brain-Based Approach for Optimal Performance.

For more information on Dr. Heidi Hanna, please visit: https://bit.ly/1dYJgTQ

Shine a Light on Your Fears

03-17-2014I believe that many of us spend our lives running wildly through an endless pitch black corridor desperately searching for a light switch.

The dark consists of all our fears. Suddenly we find a light switch and frantically turn it on. Light! Relief! Our fears are gone. We are happy. Whew!

But then the bulb dies, or the power fails, or worse — someone turns the light switch off — and oh no — we are plunged into the unhappiness of fear again. If this happens, fear returns and hopelessness can follow.

If we stand in that darkness long enough and breathe, when we resist the panic of fear, we see a light shining from somewhere. We look around and realize that light is shining out of us!

And the longer we look at it, the brighter it becomes. That’s our joy! You carry that joy with you 24/7, it’s yours. You will never be in the dark again — it’s the ultimate fear eradicator.

As a little girl, for some reason I don’t understand, I was afraid of the dark. I was particularly afraid of the ‘scary monsters’ that lived under my bed.

I let my fear become so overpowering that I gave into hopelessness and stayed in bed, too scared to move. It was always amazing to me that as soon as the light was turned on, the room was “safe” again.

Most of our fears are like that — they dissolve when light is shone onto, or into, them. When all appears dark, we aren’t always aware that we have just closed our eyes! We are not seeing the light shining from within us! Nor are we seeing true reality. We are only seeing our perceptions and judging them.

fears

Unfortunately, it can seem easier to let fear rule the day and research indicates that some of us may have “fear loops” operating in our brains automatically. These then drive our patterns and habits. To change them we have to wake up and become conscious of them.

Just believing hope exists can increase it! Hope gives us courage, persistence, willpower, resilience, strength and joy. Hopelessness takes them away. How you choose to think makes all the difference.

Source: Huffington Post | Healthy Living

About Amanda Gore | Health, Performance and Communication Author:

As a communications and performance expert, Amanda Gore believes success in business is always about feelings – the the way we feel about a product, organization or person influences how we behave and informs our decisions about how we spend, or who we conduct business with.

Taking the stance that business has been paralyzed by its own over-analysis, her presentations break down the barriers that separate people in an invigorating, action-packed ride towards self-discovery and ultimately, real and lasting change.

She demonstrates how people can re-connect to the energy and emotional layers that really drive performance, innovation, relationships, engagement and creativity in their business and personal life utilizing positive psychology, epigenetics and emotional intelligence.

For more information on Amanda Gore, please visit: https://bit.ly/1nUWi5E

Conflict Strategies for Nice People, from Team and Leadership Psychologist, Liane Davey

02-24-2014Do you value friendly relations with your colleagues? Are you proud of being a nice person who would never pick a fight? Unfortunately, you might be just as responsible for group dysfunction as your more combative team members. That’s because it’s a problem when you shy away from open, healthy conflict about the issues. If you think you’re “taking one for the team” by not rocking the boat, you’re deluding yourself.

Teams need conflict to function effectively. Conflict allows the team to come to terms with difficult situations, to synthesize diverse perspectives, and to make sure solutions are well thought-out. Conflict is uncomfortable, but it is the source of true innovation and also a critical process in identifying and mitigating risks.

Still, I meet people every day who admit that they aren’t comfortable with conflict. They worry that disagreeing might hurt someone’s feelings or disrupt harmonious team dynamics. They fret that their perspective isn’t as valid as someone else’s, so they hold back.

Sure, pulling your punches might help you maintain your self-image as a nice person, but you do so at the cost of getting your alternative perspective on the table; at the cost of challenging faulty assumptions; and at the cost of highlighting hidden risks. That’s a high cost to pay for nice.

To overcome these problems, we need a new definition of nice. In this version of nice, you surface your differences of opinion, you discuss the uncomfortable issues, and you put things on the table where they can help your team move forward.

The secret of having healthy conflict and maintaining your self-image as a nice person is all in the mindset and the delivery.

To start shifting your mindset, think about your value to the team not in how often you agree, but in how often you add unique value. If all you’re doing is agreeing with your teammates, you’re redundant. So start by telling yourself “it’s my obligation to bring a different perspective than what others are bringing.” Grade yourself on how much value you bring on a topic.

Here are a few tips on improving your delivery:

1. Use “and,” not “but.” When you need to disagree with someone, express your contrary opinion as an “and.” It’s not necessary for someone else to be wrong for you to be right. When you are surprised to hear something a teammate has said, don’t try to trump it, just add your reality. “You think we need to leave room in the budget for a customer event and I’m concerned that we need that money for employee training. What are our options?” This will engage your teammates in problem solving, which is inherently collaborative instead of combative.

2. Use hypotheticals. When someone disagrees with you, don’t take them head on—being contradicted doesn’t feel very good. Instead, a useful tactic is to ask about hypothetical situations and to get them imagining. (Imagining is the opposite of defending, so it gets the brain out of a rut.) If you are meeting resistance to your ideas, try asking your teammates to imagine a different scenario. “I hear your concern about getting the right sales people to pull off this campaign. If we could get the right people…what could the campaign look like?

3. Ask about the impact. Directing open-ended questions at your teammate is also useful. If you are concerned about a proposed course of action, ask your teammates to think through the impact of implementing their plan. “Ok, we’re contemplating launching this product to only our U.S. customers. How is that going to land with our two big customers in Latin America?” This approach feels much less aggressive than saying “Our Latin American customers will be angry.” Anytime you can demonstrate that you’re open to ideas and curious about the right approach, it will open up the discussion (and you’ll preserve your reputation as a nice person).

4. Discuss the underlying issue. Many conflicts on a team spiral out of control because the parties involved aren’t on the same page. If you disagree with a proposed course of action, instead of complaining about the solution, start by trying to understand what’s behind the suggestion. If you understand the reasoning, you might be able to find another way to accomplish the same goal. “I’m surprised you suggested we release the sales figures to the whole team. What is your goal in doing that?” Often conflict arises when one person tries to solve a problem without giving sufficient thought to the options or the impact of those actions. If you agree that the problem they are trying to solve is important, you will have common ground from which to start sleuthing toward answers.

5. Ask for help. Another tactic for “nice conflict” is to be mildly self-deprecating and to own the misunderstanding. If something is really surprising to you (e.g., you can’t believe anyone would propose anything so crazy), say so. “I’m missing something here. Tell me how this will address our sales gap for Q1.” If the person’s idea really doesn’t hold water, a series of genuine, open questions that come from a position of helping you understand will likely provide other teammates with the chance to help steer the plan in a different direction.

Conflict — presenting a different point of view even when it is uncomfortable — is critical to team effectiveness. Diversity of thinking on a team is the source of innovation and growth. It is also the path to identifying and mitigating risks. If you find yourself shying away from conflict, use one of these techniques to make it a little easier.

The alternative is withholding your concerns, taking them up outside of the team, and slowly eroding trust and credibility. That’s not nice at all.

Source: The Harvard Business Review, https://bit.ly/1d4FQJl

Liane Davey, Ph.D. is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of YOU FIRST: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done. Liane combines her expertise in strategy with her deep insight into group dynamics to create powerful change in top teams.

Early on, Liane found industrial assembly lines fascinating. When she settled on psychology as a field of study, it was with the realization that human teams are the assembly lines of the modern business organization. Get the processes and connections right and you will have highly productive teams.

Get teams wrong and things bog down. Toxic teams are bad for organizations and result in lost productivity and nasty dynamics. The solution isn’t more team building. Liane’s Vital Teams™ and Team Inoculation™ programs help team members take personal accountability to change their team for the better.

A dynamic keynote speaker, Liane shares her practical yet profound ideas at conferences and management retreats. She works with executives of some of North America’s leading financial services, consumer goods, high tech, and healthcare organizations. In addition, she writes an ongoing blog on Team Effectiveness at changeyourteam.com and is a regular contributor to PsychologyToday.com and HBR.org.

For more information on Liane Davey, please visit: https://bit.ly/1bprY14

How to Live Longer: Adopting a Blue Zones Lifestyle

11-18-2013Featured on November 7th’s episode of 60 Minutes, reporter Liz Hayes visited the small Greek island of Ikaria where people are three times more likely than the average American to live into their 90s. Identified as a Blue Zone, Ikaria is one of five locations where people live longer and know how to be happier than the rest of us (https://bit.ly/19SRKYb).

In 2004, internationally recognized researcher and explorer Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and hired the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better. In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. They found the extra 10 years that we’re missing.

The key to getting the extra 10 years we’re missing is to follow the lessons from the world’s longest-lived people and create environments of health. For the first time in living history, the life expectancy of children is projected to drop. With obesity and diabetes on the rise, we are bombarded daily with hundreds of marketing messages encouraging us to eat things that aren’t good for us. Machines have engineered physical activity out of lives and networked electronics are replacing face-to-face human contact. We can counteract our environment of sickness by living by the simple lessons learned from the Blue Zones.

The Blue Zones identified are:

  • Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians;
  • Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia;
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – World’s lowest rates of middle age mortality, second highest concentration of male centenarians;
  • Seventh Day Adventists – Highest concentration is around Loma Linda, California. They live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts; and
  • Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

Buettner and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. They call this list of characteristics the Power 9.

Move Naturally: The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

Purpose: The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

Down Shift: Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.

80% Rule: “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.

Plant Slant: Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.

Wine at 5: People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

Belong: All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

Loved Ones First: Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).

Right Tribe: The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.

According to Buettner, by improving their lifestyle, people can look and feel better at every age and add 12 years to their life expectancy. The Danish Twin Studies established that less than 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words, most of how long and how well you live is up to you.

To learn more about what Dan Buettner discovered during each Longevity Quest, please see his two best-selling books The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way.

Source: https://www.bluezones.com/

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Dan Buettner is an internationally recognized researcher, explorer, and New York Times bestselling author and National Geographic Fellow. He founded Blue Zones, a company that puts the world’s best practices in longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives. Buettner’s National Geographic cover story on longevity, The Secrets of Living Longer was one of their top-selling issues in history and a made him a finalist for a National Magazine Award. His books The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way appeared on many best seller lists and were both featured on Oprah.

In 2009, Dan Buettner and his partner, AARP, applied principles of The Blue Zones to Albert Lea, Minnesota and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs by some 40%. He’s currently working with Healthways to implement the program in the Beach Cities of Los Angeles. Their strategy focuses on optimizing the health environment instead of individual behavior change. Writing in Newsweek, Harvard University’s Walter Willet called the results stunning.

Dan also holds three world records in distance cycling and has won an Emmy Award for television production.