Dreams Into Action


DE-STRESS with EASE using your EMOTIONS as a guide

Honour Your Emotions, Live the Life You Yearn For


Greetings to All

Well, folks... This is the last issue before Christmas, a holiday celebrated by many people who receive this newsletter. Christmas can be a challenging time for many people. This issue has two "gifts" that I would like to contribute in order to make this season a little more enjoyable for you.

In This Issue

1. A De-Stressing Guide for the Christmas Season - make it different this time

2. Emotions at a Glance - Guilt - What is it? - Do you have it? - Enough is enough

3. What I'm Reading Now

4. Resources for you to use - creating more positive emotions, reducing negative emotions

The De-Stressing Guide

Here is a chart of High and Low Stress Lifestyles. It provides a model to strive for. Read it over.

Let me know what you choose and how you did it differently. I would love to hear how it worked for you or what you think might work better.

I find that when my coaching clients focus on one small thing that appeals to them, it can have enormous impact on them, raising the quality of their experience to a very pleasant level and emotion.

It's simple, significant and DOable!

High and Low Stress Lifestyles
Stressful Lifestyle Low-stress Lifestyle
Individual experiences chronic, unrelieved stress Individual accepts "creative" stress for distinct periods of challenging activity
Becomes trapped in one or more continuing stressful situations

Struggles with stressful interpersonal relationships (family, spouse, lover, boss, coworkers, etc.)

Has "escape routes" allowing occasional detachment and relaxation

Asserts own rights and needs; negotiates low-stress relationships of mutual respect; selects friends carefully and establishes relationships that are nourishing and nontoxic

Engages in distasteful, dull, toxic, or otherwise unpleasant and unrewarding work Engages in challenging, satisfying, worthwhile work that offers intrinsic rewards for accomplishment
Experiences continual time stress; too much to be done in available time Maintains a well-balanced and challenging workload; overloads and crises are balanced by "breather" periods
Worries about potentially unpleasant upcoming events Balances threatening events with worthwhile goals and positive events to look forward to
Has poor health habits (e.g. eating, smoking, liquor, lack of exercise, poor level of physical fitness) Maintains high level of physical fitness, eats well, uses alcohol and tobacco not at all or sparingly
Life activities are "lopsided" or unbalanced (e.g., preoccupied with one activity such as work, social activities, making money, solitude, or physical activities) Life activities are balanced: individual invests energies in a variety of activities, which in the aggregate bring feelings of satisfaction (e.g., work, social activities, recreation, solitude, cultural pursuits, family and close relationships)
Finds it difficult to just "hae a good time", relax and enjoy momentary activities Finds pleasure in simple activities, without feeling a need to justify playful behaviour
Experiences sexual activities as unpleasant, unrewarding, or socially "programmed" (e.g. by manipulation, "one-upping") Enjoys a full and exuberant sex life, with honest expression of sexual appetite
Sees life as a serious, difficult situation; little sense of humour Enjoys life on the whole; can laugh at himself; has a well-developed and well-exercised sense of humour
Conforms to imprisoning, punishing social roles Lives a relative role-free life; is able to express natural needs, desires and feelings without apology
Accepts high-pressure or stressful situations passively; suffers in silence Acts assertively to re-engineer pressure situations whenever possible; renegotiates impossible deadlines; avoids placing himself in unnecessary pressure situations; manages time effectively

Emotions At A Glance

Guilt - What is it? When enough is enough.

It has become increasingly clear to me as of late that guilt plays a somewhat regular role in many of our lives. And we have lived with it for so long that we don't even notice it. But I was wondering... what would it be like if we didn't feel guilty for anything for one week. How would it feel inside? How would our lives be different? How would we behave differently, in all our relationships with other people? What's good about guilt? What isn't good about guilt?

I suspect we would feel less anxious. We would be more relaxed with other people. We would not be driven to behaviours to alleviate our guilt. Even the absence of guilt that operates in the background at an intensity level (with 0 being low and 10 being high) of 2 or 3 would make a big difference in the way we respond to our inner messages and our responses to other people. And we would discover our own internal moral code and the code we think we "should" adopt from our culture, family of origin or someone else. We can become more clear and less guilty. Let's get started.

So, let's take a look at it. What is it? What is behind it? How does it affect us? And when is guilt appropriate and inappropriate? And most importantly of all, how do we change it if it is not serving us?

What is Guilt?

According to the dictionary definition, guilt is:

1. the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.

2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.

guilt. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guilt

And another one that I find interesting:

Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.

guilt. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved November 29, 2006, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guilt

Simply put, guilt is that feeling you get when you think you have done something wrong. It can include feeling guilty for not having done something, not having done enough or having done too much.

But whose definition of wrong are we dealing with here? If we examine ourselves with reference to this question when we feel guilty, we will then be able to determine whether our guilt is useful to us and begin to discard it when it is not useful. It is here we can begin to examine and develop our own standards of what is right and wrong. Often, we are feeling guilty based on a standard that is from our culture, society, religion, family of origin, partner or another source. We don't really make a conscious choice on whether we will adopt this standard for ourselves.

So, what if we feel guilty about something and we examine ourselves and determine that we have violated our own standard. We have two choices. One is to forgive ourselves and choose to learn from it and choose to make an effort to not do it again. The other is to look at the standard we have adopted and determine whether it is a realistic standard. This is where beliefs come into play.

Beliefs are such internal statements we operate by and can also be semi-conscious until we choose to look at them. Some beliefs are healthy and rational and some are not. Here are a few examples of beliefs:

- I should always put my son first

- I must be a more dedicated mother

- I should eat healthy all the time

- I deserve less happiness than other people

- I should be conscientious and responsible all the time

- People always judge me and I need their approval

- I need to earn love

- I am responsible for keeping my family/partner happy

You get the idea. Behind each feeling of guilt there is a belief. Look at the belief and decide whether it is rational or not. Ask a friend for feedback when you can. Irrational beliefs can masquerade as rational. They are slippery.

When we have examined our beliefs and found an unrealistic one, we can choose to embark on finding a more realistic belief. The old one will pop up automatically for awhile, but, if we choose to be conscious and observant of our guilt, standards and beliefs, we will soon be able to replace the old belief with the new. Keep at it. It is worth it. Stay conscious.

When guilt appears frequently, it may be a sign that our standards are too high for our abilities, we have unrealistic beliefs or we feel responsible for other people's problems more than is realistic. Guilt can be used as a guide to these areas for change that would create a happier life.

When we have examined our beliefs and found a realistic one at work, we can choose to use the guilt to motivate us to improve ourselves to be more in line with our standards and beliefs. It's okay to fall short of the mark. The point is to improve ourselves without beating ourselves up for it.

Guilt is an emotion that can lead us to a great discovery process, that of determining for ourselves what standards and beliefs we choose to live by and then using guilt as a message for improvement. We can choose to be the architect of our own moral code. Let's get busy building and use guilt for its true function, that of measurement against our own moral code and improvement of our own abilities and behaviours. Isn't that why we are here - to grow?

What I'm Reading Now

Resources for You (marketing ploy to get you to buy my products)

And Christmas is coming and I can send you these products for people on your gift list. Many people like personal growth gifts. And many people like gift certificates for products or services they can use on my site. So, buy a book, give someone a gift certificate for a personal coaching session, look at some of the other products and services on my site. I will mail it out to you promptly. Contact me at info@johannavanderpol.com, www.johannavanderpol.com or 250-483-1877.

But seriously folks, I have created these products to help you live a happier life. This is about understanding and using the messages in your emotions effectively so you can be in charge of them, not the other way around. These things work. I know because I have moved out of 30 years of chronic depression because of the methods I created in my book. I know because people tell me my book or coaching sessions have been invaluable to them. So, here they are: