10 Tips to Reduce Stress

The holiday season is upon us.  Such a joyous time as we indulge in get-togethers with family, friends, and co-workers.  However, it can also be a stressful time as we juggle attending parties, shopping for gifts, and planning, cooking, and hosting events.  On top of that it is the year-end for many organizations, which often means extra work.  What if we could reduce that stress just a wee bit?  I am sharing a few tips and practices for you to use during the holiday season and all year round.  After all, stress doesn’t just come once a year.

Often, we need to start with ourselves and reflect on our actions, behaviours, and feelings as a starting point.  Taking just a few minutes for reflection provides you with the information you need to determine where changes can be made. 

Of key importance to reducing stress is identifying the causes, our frame of mind, and what we want to accomplish.  The purpose of the information being presented is to accomplish a decrease in stress during the holiday season and into the new year.

I am using HeartMathresources for the tips I am sharing with you.


two yellow flowers surrounded by rocks
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If you are reading this, you are demonstrating hope.  You have identified something you want and are taking steps to achieve what you want.  You have hope for change in your future.  Hope is a positive emotion, and we want to have as many positive thoughts and feelings as possible.  Where our mind goes, our energy flows (I don’t know the original author of this, but Tony Robbins did say something similar).  Let your mind go to love, calm, and peace.  

Start the Day Right

“Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed, today.”  Most of us have been told that once or twice in our life.  Some days it is hard to be positive.  I have some chronic health challenges and it is not unusual for me to wake up in pain.  I am always grateful to wake up, and on the days I wake up pain free I am extra grateful.  Unfortunately, that is not how every day starts.  On the good days it is easy to be grateful and have a positive outlook for the day ahead.  On the not so good days I need to take some time to focus on heart feelings.  Heart feelings, as described by HeartMath include gratitude, appreciation, care, kindness, and compassion; you might be able to add more, but those are good starters.  Before you get out of bed identify two or three things for which you are grateful.  Examples: I am alive, I have food available for breakfast, the sun is shining, or we are getting some much-needed rain.  Put a smile on your face, even if just for a few seconds. 

Take a couple of minutes to do some focused breathing:

  • Choose a heart feeling such as kindness, gratitude, love, compassion, calm.
  • As you breathe visualize your breath flowing in and out of your heart and chest area.  Breathe in kindness.  As you exhale, exhale kindness to all around you.
  • Repeat this a few times and throughout the day if negative thoughts enter your mind.

You Choose

Every day we make numerous choices; from what to have for breakfast, to the route we take to work, plus financial and work-related choices too numerous to list.  What we want to remember is these are choices, and we are in control.

When we are stressed, we don’t make good decisions. Think about this – after an argument have you ever thought to yourself “why didn’t I say…?” or even “why didn’t I walk away?”   Learn to take a moment to choose your response rather than react. Between stimulus and response there is a time for a brief pause – a gap, where we can choose what to say or do. Make use of the moment. Did your mom ever tell you to count to 10 before you say something?  I know my mom certainly did as I often blurted out what I thought only to land myself in trouble.  I still need to be diligent to remember to do this.  We can’t take back words.  Once spoken they are out there and can cause hurt, anger, or happiness and deep thought.  Choose wisely.

woman in beige coat standing near white wooden book shelf
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com


What is the outcome you want from a specific situation or event?  Can you get the outcome you want?  Of course, you can. You might have to do a bit of work, though.  How? 

Example: You have a recurring meeting that is often challenging with much disagreement and little accomplishment.  Many of the attendees disagree and don’t seem to be able to reach any sort of consensus. You find yourself becoming increasingly stressed and anxious just thinking about these regular meetings. The outcome you want is to not dread the meeting, not be stressed or anxious.  The solution: take time before the meeting (or other pending stressful situation) to put yourself in a positive frame of mind.  I suggest using Heart-Focused BreathingTM a HeartMathTM Technique.

Focus your attention in the area of your heart.  Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area.  Breathe a little slower and deeper than usual. Find a rhythm that is comfortable for you.

As you continue breathing imagine yourself in the ‘situation’.

Now, radiate love and positive energy into this upcoming event or situation.  This creates a positive energy field.

As the meeting or situation progresses you can practice this again if you feel things are not going well; you can reset the energy field and restore harmony.

In-Between Times

How do you spend your time between events?  What goes on in your head as you drive to work, or waiting in line for whatever, going for a walk, or exercising?  Use this time to consider practicing heart qualities such as kindness, compassion, care, love, or appreciation.

Use the Heart-Focused BreathingTM Technique from the Outcomes section and radiate one or more of the heart qualities to people for whom you care.  This practice will benefit you and those for whom you care.  Remember, where the mind goes the energy flows.

red led light with silhouette of a man
Photo by Alexis Caso on Pexels.com

Quick Self-Assessment

This is something to do a few times during the day.  Stop and consider where you are really at with your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes – your mood.  Where is your energy being directed?  Is your energy being drained or boosted?  What we often consider the normal, little annoyances of routine can be extremely energy-draining.  Frustration, annoyance, and impatience all drain our energy.  What can you do about this?    

  • 1. Identify the drain. 
  • 2. Do Heart-Focused BreathingTM
  • 3. Picture a more positive response to the situation. 

While stuck in traffic I have begun focusing on my breathing and listening to uplifting music.  Afterall, there is nothing I can do about the actual situation. Consider your perceptions; is your glass half full, half empty, or refillable?

Making Important Decisions

We often worry about upcoming decisions or events, frequently without foundation.  Think about what benefits you have received from worry.  Probably none.  So why do we allow ourselves to get into that worry state?  Habit?  The result is usually accumulated stress.  Worry and stress aren’t conducive to creative solutions to our concerns or problems.

The big concern related to constant worry and negative thoughts is the accumulation of stress and its associated outcomes.  Chronic stress over time eats away at our resilience, ability to be creative, and choose appropriate solutions eventually affecting our health mental, emotional, and physical.  But how do we stop these things occurring?  Traffic is out of our control, we won’t get along with everyone, and sometimes our jobs are on the line if we don’t attend those annoying meetings: so, what do we do?  Make Heart-Focused Breathing part of your daily routine.  This will help reset your baseline, help you shift your perception of the events, and over time you will be better able to handle and come back from those stressful situations.  Additionally, our world needs more love, compassion, and kindness and taking this small amount of help will help you develop those qualities.

Make your decisions from a place of calm, love, and kindness when you are in control of your emotions.

Relationships – Getting Along

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all get along?  Think of John Lennon’s Imagine – living life in peace, sharing all the world.  The answer is love.  Learning to love one another is possible.  We don’t have to agree with everyone, we might even choose to not associate with some people, but we can still share love from our hearts.

We can set aside judgment, biases, and different beliefs.  Be open, learn, and listen.  The more you practice love, forgiveness, and kindness the easier it will flow to those around you.  Start with self-love, self-compassion, and self-forgiveness. This might take some time, be gentle with yourself, one small step at a time.  Don’t be ruled by stress and the fear that is so easily spread through the media; learn to think for yourself.  Heed the advice of Stephen Covey “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Your Purpose

What is your purpose in this life?  Many of us ask this question, others just go with the flow.  What were you meant to do that no one else on earth can do?  You might find your purpose or what you want to do changes over time – that is ok, you are living and learning.  Listen to your heart and to your intuition.  Examine your desires, wishes, and values to determine what is most important in your life.  From there you might just find your purpose.

Changes – Together We Can Change the World

We see wars and chaos everywhere.  News and social media are filled with tragedy and fear.  Kindness is free, give it openly.  Gracefully accept kindness from others.  Be kind to yourself.  Learn to love yourself so you can love others.  Learn to forgive yourself so you can forgive others.  Share your wealth.  Make note of all for which you can be grateful each day.

Wrap it all Together!

person s holds brown gift box
Photo by Kim Stiver on Pexels.com

Make small changes toward reducing your stress and improving your life.  Gratitude is a great starter – no matter how bad the situation there is something for which to be thankful.  Know your small acts of kindness, compassion, caring, and love can make a huge difference to you and those with whom you interact.  

I encourage you to check out HeartMathResources at Resources | HeartMath Institute for additional information to find ways to reduce your stress all year long.  If you need additional guidance to get your stress under control and find the beautiful life you deserve, give me a shout; I’m always available to chat.

Decision Making Technique

person standing on black sand beach in front of question mark
Photo by Marlon Trottmann on Pexels.com

Decision Making Using a HeartMath(R)Technique


When planning a project or event what is your usual process? How does it work for you? Could it be better? Whether it could or not let’s examine something you might not have tried. Let’s incorporate both head and heart in your decision making.

Think about the following:

  1. Did urgency influence your process?
  2. Did your process account for the human factor? (physical, cognitive, social, cultural, and emotional)
  3. Do you embrace your core values? If not, what happens with your projects or events?

Choose a project, plan, or idea you want to develop i.e., finding a new home.

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Rollo May

Heart and Mind Mapping

  1. Identify the idea, decision, or plan to work on and write it at the top of your page.
  2. Give yourself lots of room – divide the page in two or consider using two pages.
  3. Draw two circles – one for the mind and one for the heart – put them in the middle of each section.
  4. In the Mind Map write down all the ideas, to-do items, concerns, worries in a spoke format from the centre circle. Don’t edit or analyze, just get the information out. When you can’t think of anything more move to the Heart Map.
  5. Use the Freeze Frame Technique to clear your mind and access your heart intelligence. Ask your heart what else this project needs. Give yourself several seconds before you begin to write.
  6. Now add the perspectives you gained from the HeartMath(R) Freeze Frame Technique(TM), using the same spoke format. Once again, do not edit. You can use images if they work better than words. If doubts or reactions pop into your mind, add them to the Mind Map.
  7. You might need to repeat the Freeze Frame Technique for more coherence. You might have to do this entire process more than once.
  8. Look at both maps (even if you are going to come back to them after engaging in the Freeze Frame Technique again). What do you observe about the two maps? How are they different? What actions do you need to take? Reset yourself with the Freeze Frame Technique(TM) as needed to help identify your priorities.
  9. You might find that some ideas need a separate Heart Map of their own.
  10. What have you discovered?
  11. Any insights?
  12. What are your next steps? Create an action plan.
  13. Anchor* your actions – like Pavlov’s dog, connect a stimulus that will elicit a reaction to move on the actions you have identified.
Not Pavlov’s dog, my late Sadie

*Anchoring is a Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) way of talking about classical (Pavlov’s) conditioning, but it made a lot more sense.

What Does a Leader Look Like?

What does a leader look like?

Lincoln is considered a leader. A statute of Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC United States
Photo by Gagan Cambow on Pexels.com

When you see someone can you immediately know they are a leader? Do they look different? Do they behave differently? Has your first impression of a person always been correct?

A leader can be short or tall, fat, or thin or anything in between, and skin colour doesn’t matter. If we are going just on looks to determine if someone is a leader, does it matter what they are wearing?

Are these stylish friends standing outside their vehicle all leaders? Is one of them a leader? Are they all followers?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
A possible leader, or maybe a follower or influencer - woman standing indoor
Photo by Konstantin Mishchenko on Pexels.com
Blonde young woman presenting grunge style - could she be a leader?
Photo by aydin aydinpolaris on Pexels.com

What do the leaders you know have in common?

I encourage you to take a few minutes and think about leaders you know. Identify the similarities and differences. Leaders come to us in many situations home, work, sports, community, politics, religion, school, and social interactions are some we can consider for starters.

As children we probably didn’t think of our parents as leaders, but as we got older, we realize that is exactly what they were and are – they lead us – rightly or wrongly but usually with the best intentions. What qualities do they have that you would consider are needed to be a leader? This is similar to others in our life.

We are all leaders at some times. You can’t go wrong improving your leadership skills. Learn more about Leaders, Followers, and Influencers from my previous blog.

Good and not so good leaders in our lives.

As with most of you I had teachers and bosses who were good leaders, ok leaders, and downright poor leaders. I had leaders who helped me toward my potential. I had leaders who lied and some who put me down. And, I had leaders who were people in leadership roles but didn’t really do anything much of anything. Some people are assigned leadership roles and they don’t want the role or have any idea of what is needed.

What I want in a leader!

Attributes of a leader
Leadership Attributes – an overview

I want to step away from how a leader might look and identify behaviours I expect.

How a person looks doesn’t determine what they can and cannot do. A person’s behaviour however, tells us much more about the type of leader they will make.

Get to know the person before you decide if they are a leader and determine what kind of leader they are by their actions and words. How they treat others, how they behave when no one is watching will tell you a lot about the type of person and leader they are.

Leadership is a life-long journey.

Learning and developing leadership skills is a never-ending process. I expect a leader to always be learning and encouraging others to learn. Don Clark’s web site is one I have often referred to for leadership information. It is nicely broken down into short bits that are quick and easy to read. A coach, a guide, and a mentor are terms I expect to be part of a leader’s qualities. What do you think?

How to Attract High-Paying Clients: Is This Your Goal?

Everything we do influences everything else. How are you influencing the world?

I receive emails, Facebook notices, LinkedIn information on numerous courses and programs to attract high-paying clients. I have even taken one course. That course was highly valuable. The only problem is that I don’t want to attract only high-paying clients. There is nothing wrong with getting high-paying clients, in fact, if coaching is your full-time job, it is probably a good idea. However, I am retired, I don’t want to work full-time. I also want to make coaching services available to people who cannot afford the thousands of dollars often associated with receiving coaching.

Why would I want to do this when I can potentially make much more money? Several reasons: 1) I want my services to be available to everyone, 2) I value myself but I don’t believe that has to be attached to dollars, 3) Everyone deserves to be their very best and that usually means they need some sort of guidance, 3) I don’t want to have to work that hard, I am retired and full-time work is not for me, and 4) I don’t like making cold calls. I’m a retired RN, both my master’s and doctoral degrees are in leadership (Master of Health in Leadership Studies, and Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership), can you guess where my interests lie? I like to help people.

How do you define wealth and success? I don’t equate success and wealth with money. I am highly successful and wealthy. My success is because I have a beautiful family, a home, I’m retired from a job I loved (nursing), I have returned to school many times and have enjoyed it. My wealth is similar, it is my beautiful family, my dog, my home, jobs I have enjoyed or loved, I am alive, and in remission from cancer, I feel good about myself – most of the time. There is more I could add to these lists, but these are the first ones to come to mind.

I have been fortunate to have had support for all that I do. I haven’t always had that, but I have for most of my life. I have not become successful and wealthy (not monetarily) on my own. I have had a wonderful education, mentors, coaches, family, and friends who have helped me along the way. I am also an avid reader and have read oodles of self-help books over the years. At 71-years I am still learning, and I love sharing what I learn.

Some of the greatest support I am receiving right now is from HeartMath®. I am putting together an online course and HeartMath® people and information has been invaluable. I am a Certified HeartMath® Trainer so I am fortunate to have access to incredible people and information. I also belong to numerous groups which provide me with information and support. My husband is a constant support in all that I do. Numerous friends also help me, especially now as I run programs by them for feedback. I believe everyone deserves access to support, coaching, mentoring, and information, and these things should not be only for the financially wealthy. I also believe that those who work shifts, have more than one job, are unemployed or underemployed, or who have chosen to not work at a paying job also deserve access to these same things.

Am I underselling myself? You can decide that for yourself. If a financially growing company wants to hire me, I will expect to be paid accordingly. If individuals are financially wealthy, they also will be expected to pay accordingly. One thing to remember, my wealth does not rely on dollars. Seeing others become satisfied with their life, learning, being in control of their emotions, improving their health (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual), and living the life of their dreams is incredibly rewarding. If I can be successful, wealthy, and happy without the huge income I can offer my services to everyone, regardless of what they can pay.

I haven’t found an ideal way to advertise my wide variety of pricing, but I believe this is my start. I have some ideas for advertising and will be getting started with putting those on my website soon, some wordsmithing is in order.

How do you define your success and wealth?

If I can be of service get in contact drelaine@drelaineleadership.coach, www.leadnurses.

I am at your service.