Thursday, January 28, 2010

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD develops differently from person to person. If you’ve lived through a traumatic incident, your symptoms may appear within hours or days of the event, or they may take weeks, months, or even years to develop. Symptoms can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time.

There are three main types of PTSD symptoms:re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoiding reminders of the trauma and symptoms of hyper-arousal or heightened anxiety. In the days or months following a traumatic event, you may find yourself alternating between re-experiencing the event and avoiding reminders of it, with symptoms of increased arousal as the common backdrop.

Re-experiencing the traumatic event

The most disruptive symptoms of PTSD involve the flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive memories of the traumatic event. You may be flooded with horrifying images, sounds, and recollections of what happened. You may even feel like it’s happening again. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as intrusions, since they involve memories of the past that intrude on the present.

If you have PTSD, you may re-experience the traumatic event or intrusion in several ways:

Intrusive memories of the traumatic event
Bad dreams about the traumatic event
Flashbacks or a sense of reliving the event
Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
Physiological stress response to reminders of the event (pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

These distressing symptoms can appear at any time, sometimes seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event: a noise, an image, certain words, a smell.

Examples of PTSD Triggers
For an auto accident survivor: The smell of gasoline
For a combat veteran: The sound of a helicopter or firecrackers
For a rape victim: The sight of a person suddenly appearing around the corner
For a carjacking victim: The song that was playing on the radio at the time of the assault
The intrusions or flashbacks that result from these PTSD triggers are terrifying, disorienting, and unpleasant. The natural response is to protect yourself by avoiding them. This leads to the second major cluster of PTSD symptoms.

Symptoms of avoidance
Symptoms of avoidance are prominent in PTSD. You may persistently avoid situations that remind you of the traumatic event you experienced, minimize the event’s significance, or push all thoughts of it out of your mind. Avoidance can also take the form of detachment and apathy.

Symptoms of avoidance include:

Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
Avoiding activities, places, or people that remind you of the trauma
Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
Loss of interest in activities and life in general
Feeling detached or estranged from other people
Feeling emotionally numb, especially toward loved ones
Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
Symptoms of increased arousal
PTSD can cause you to feel and react as if you’re constantly in danger. In this state of chronic hyper-arousal, your mind and body is on constant red alert, making it impossible to fully relax, be productive, or enjoy life.

The PTSD symptoms of increased arousal and anxiety include:

Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Irritability or outbursts of anger
Difficulty concentrating
Hyper-vigilance, or being constantly “on guard”
An exaggerated startle response, or jumpiness
Other common symptoms of PTSD
In addition to the PTSD symptoms of intrusion, avoidance, and hyper-arousal, you may also experience a number of other distressing symptoms. If you survived an event that killed others, you may feel guilt that you lived while others died. You may also blame yourself for what happened or suffer from feelings of shame and hopelessness. You may also experience an array of physical symptoms linked to PTSD, including headaches, stomach problems, and chest pain.

Over the long-term, PTSD can also lead to many complicating problems, including depression, panic attacks, and other psychological issues. Substance abuse is another common complication, especially if you’re turning to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to handle the symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents
In children—especially those who are very young—the symptoms of PTSD can be different than the symptoms in adults. Symptoms in children include:

Fear of being separated from parent
Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training)
Sleep problems and nightmares without recognizable content
Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated
New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as a fear of monsters).
Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings.
Aches and pains with no apparent cause
Irritability and aggression

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes and risk factors
Most people who live through a traumatic or life-threatening event experience some symptoms at first, such as anger, shock, and anxiety. However, not everyone goes on to develop PTSD. While it’s impossible to predict who will develop PTSD in response to trauma, there are certain risk factors that appear to increase a person’s vulnerability to it.

Many risk factors revolve around the nature of the traumatic event itself. Traumatic events are more likely to cause PTSD when they involve a severe threat to your life or personal safety: the more extreme and prolonged the threat, the greater the risk of developing PTSD in response. Intentional, human-inflicted harm—such as rape, assault, and torture— also tends to be more traumatic than “acts of God” or more impersonal accidents and disasters. The extent to which the traumatic event was unexpected, uncontrollable, and inescapable also plays a role.

Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you think that you or a loved one has PTSD, it’s important to seek help right away. This is particularly important if your symptoms are interfering with your work or home life. The faster PTSD is diagnosed and treated, the better the long-term outlook. There are many places you can turn for help, including your family doctor or a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or counselor.


Unfortunately, many people with PTSD don’t seek out the treatment they need. Some resist treatment because they’re worried what others will think or believe that they should be able to get over the problem on their own. Others aren’t ready to face the trauma and the strong emotions associated with it.

Why Should I Seek Help for PTSD?



Early treatment is better
Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.



PTSD symptoms can change family life
PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.



PTSD can be related to other health problems
PTSD symptoms can worsen physical health problems. For example, a few studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD you could also improve your physical health.


If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.

Finding a therapist for PTSD
When looking for a therapist for PTSD, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe, so there is no additional fear or anxiety about the treatment itself. Finding the right treatment provider can take time, but a good place to start is with your doctor. You may also want to ask trusted friends or family members for recommendations. You can also call a local minister, mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.

Source: The National Center for PTSD, at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/




PTSD At A Glance

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that was first formally diagnosed in soldiers and war veterans and is caused by terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experiences.

PTSD symptom types include re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
PTSD has a lifetime prevalence of seven up to 30%, with about 5 million people suffering from the illness in any one year. Girls, women, and ethnic minorities tend to develop PTSD more than boys, men, and Caucasians.

Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) usually results from prolonged exposure to traumatic event(s) and is characterized by long-lasting problems that affect many aspects of emotional and social functioning.

Symptoms of C-PTSD include problems regulating feelings, dissociation or depersonalization; persistent depressive feelings, seeing the perpetrator of trauma as all-powerful, preoccupation with the perpetrator, and a severe change in what gives the sufferer meaning.

Untreated PTSD can have devastating, far-reaching consequences for sufferers' medical and emotional functioning and relationships, their families, and for society. Children with PTSD can experience significantly negative effects on their social and emotional development, as well as their ability to learn.
Although almost any event that is life-threatening or that severely compromises the emotional well-being of an individual may cause PTSD, such events usually include experiencing or witnessing a severe accident or physical injury, getting a frightening medical diagnosis, being the victim of a crime or torture, exposure to combat, disaster or terrorist attack, enduring any form of abuse, or involvement in civil conflict.

Issues that tend to put people at higher risk for developing PTSD include female gender, minority ethnicity, increased duration or severity of, as well as exposure to, the trauma experienced, having an emotional condition prior to the event, and having little social support. Risk factors for children and adolescents also include having any learning disability or experiencing violence in the home.
Challenges for assessment of PTSD in children and adolescents include adult caretakers' tendency to be unaware of the extent of the young person's symptoms and the tendency for children and teens to express symptoms of the illness in ways that are quite different from adults.

Directly addressing the sleep problems that are associated with PTSD has been found to help alleviate those problems, thereby decreasing the symptoms of PTSD in general.

Does "The Shack" solve Childhood Trauma?

Commentary and review from Dwight Bain


“The Shack” is one of the most popular fiction books in the country with millions of copies in print. Could it be because the author, Paul Young, used this parable story to address the issue of finding resolution from his own childhood trauma?

Here's an overview of "The Shack" as well as the testimony of the author, which explains much of his orientation in writing a book like this one; which was almost an autobiography of his own healing journey from sexual abuse and adultery. The author spoke in the Orlando area last year and I could hear his heart and motivation to write this book. Knowing the author will always give you a better understanding of the intended message, and often will help you to understand why so many people are connecting to this little paperback book about getting past their secrets, shame and pain to really feeling free in a relationship with God as their "Papa".

The Shack, by William Paul Young, 2007

Paul wrote this parable book at the urging of his wife for a Christmas gift for their 6 children, December 2005. Then copies from Kinko's were passed around between friends and family in 2006, and when not a single publisher, (Christian publishers thought it was too mystical, mainstream publishers though it too religious), would print the book, he shared it with two local pastors in Oregon, who created a publishing company specifically for this book. "Windblown Media", began in 2007 and pulled together a mere $300 to market the book. It began selling by the tens of thousands via their website, www.theshackbook.com with almost a million copies in print in just over 18 months, shattering all records for a self-published title. The "Shack” had its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list It is No. 1 on Borders Group’s trade paperback fiction list, and at Barnes & Noble it has been No. 1 on the trade paperback list since May 2008. It is currently at #8 overall on Amazon.com in ranking of book sales out of the more than 2 million titles they carry on-line.

Theme:
The title of the book is a metaphor for “the house you build out of your own pain”. The goal is to go to the shack to be healed from the secret shame or hurts from your past by seeing God in a new way. Young views his journey of emotional and spiritual healing vicariously through the main character of 'Mack'. In hearing the author’s testimony about his motivation to write the book, he describes that it actually took him over 11 years to find the emotional and spiritual healing that the character Mack experienced in the shack with God in just a few days.
Early in the story Mack's youngest daughter is kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer. Four years later he is called to visit the shack where his daughter was murdered by a note from God. He spends a weekend there with God in the flesh, envisioned by the author as a large African-American woman, who calls herself “Papa”; Jesus, appears as a plain Jewish workman; and the Holy Spirit is portrayed as Sarayu, a translucent Asian woman who floats like the wind. (Sarayu is from a Hindu word meaning the gentle wind that catches you by surprise to refresh you).


The book is a parable story written for his children, not theology, so it can’t be taken literally, but rather is designed to be understood on a more personal level. This way you can go to your own ‘shack’ to find the answers that only God could give you. Although Paul describes that he wrote it only to help his kids not carry the terrible emotional and spiritual baggage that he has shouldered all his life as a Preachers Kid and Missionary Kid, (Who grew up among a stone age tribal group of near cannibals, known as "The Dani", in New Guinea, near West Papua). He was first sexually molested at age 4 and then throughout childhood by the tribe and then by older boys, although he never told his parents at that time. He still has a broken relationship with his biological father, who is alive and a pastor in Canada still. Paul speaks openly of how painful it still is to carry that broken father relationship of abandonment which he believes may never be healed.
Part of the popularity of this book is likely from the controversy of how many people hate it, most likely because they are focused on the lack of systematic theology, which is intentional by the author; instead of focusing on his experience of healing from the past secrets and shame. Paul is a Bible college and Seminary graduate who worked on church as well as ministry staffs along with dozens of other jobs he has held through the decades to provide for his family of six kids. Despite the popularity of the book, he, his wife Kim and their young adult kids still live in a rented house in Oregon.
On a personal note, I enjoyed the book and thought it would help people with a wounded past most of all, while likely just offending people who haven't ever experienced horrible trauma or those who were deeply wounded, yet spend all their time desperately trying to cover it up with massive amounts of religious activity or just trying to act perfect. Oh yes, Papa is a large black woman, because in his childhood it was the large black women would rescue him, love him and be his safest place; while his own parents were so busy building a ministry that they left Paul to the mercy of a brutal culture. I've listened to his testimony via television interviews, on CD and read it in print and find this man to be sound in his faith and not driven by anything or trying to upset anyone’s belief system, rather trying to help them see God’s grace, healing and forgiveness in a new way. Basically he was a simple man who wrote a story as a Christmas gift to help his own children be at peace in their understanding of how much God loves them.
This book’s popularity has been supernatural because it is going into some amazing places around our world and challenging people about actively working through their own ‘shack’ of issues to experience a new level of peace with God. I hope this analysis is useful to equip you in understanding how to find a deeper walk with Christ than you’ve ever known and then to share that freedom with even more wounded people. That way you can help others to experience greater emotional and spiritual healing; and the remarkable freedom of spending time with God alone in the “Shack” and then coming out as a new person by God’s grace. –db

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► Willie's Personal Testimony and Journey
We live in a world where ‘normal’ does not truly exist except as an idea or concept. For each of us, where and how we grew up plays a foundational role in our sense of ‘normal’, and only when we begin to experience the ‘bigness and diversity’ of the world are we tempted to evaluate our roots. I thought the way I grew up was ‘normal’ but I think most would probably agree that my history and journey have been a bit unusual.


I was the eldest of four, born May 11th, 1955, in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, but the majority of my first decade was lived with my missionary parents in the highlands of Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua), among the Dani, a technologically stone age tribal people. These became my family and as the first white child and outsider who ever spoke their language, I was granted unusual access into their culture and community. Although at times a fierce warring people, steeped in the worship of spirits and even occasionally practicing ritualistic cannibalism, they also provided a deep sense of identity that remains an indelible element of my character and person. By the time I was flown away to boarding school at age 6, I was in most respects a white Dani.

In the middle of a school year, my family unexpectedly returned to the West. My father worked as a Pastor for a number of small churches in Western Canada and by the time I graduated, I had already attended thirteen different schools. I paid my way through Bible College working as a radio disc jockey, lifeguard and even a stint in the oil fields of northern Alberta. I spent one summer in the Philippines and another touring with a drama troupe before working in Washington D.C. at Fellowship House, an international guest house. Completing my undergraduate degree in Religion, I graduated summa cum laude from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. The following year, I met and married Kim Warren and for a time worked on staff at a large suburban church while attending seminary.
I have owned businesses and worked for others in diverse industries, from insurance to construction, venture capital companies to telecom, contract work to food processing; whatever was needed to help feed and house my growing family. I have always been a writer, whether songs, poetry, short stories or newsletters; never for public consumption but for friends and family. While I have extensively written for business, creating web content, business plans, white papers etc., The Shack was a story written for my six children, with no thought or intention to publish. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone else that I am now an ‘author’.

Overall, I am a very simple guy; I have one wife, six kids, two daughter-in-laws and two grandkids on the way. I work as a general manager, janitor and inside sales guy for a friend who owns a small manufacturers rep company in Milwaukie, Oregon, and I live in a small rented house in Gresham, Oregon, that Kim has made into a marvelous home. My time is spent loving the people that are a part of my life. I am not connected, or a part, or a member of, or involved inside any sort of organization or movement anywhere. The truth is that I doubt anyone would want me. From my perspective that is a very positive thing… for both of us. I have lots of incredible friends, and now you are one of those. Oh yeah… and I wrote this book.

These are some of the facts of my life, but they don’t begin to tell the real story. That would take much more room than is available here. The journey has been both incredible and unbearable, a desperate grasping after grace and wholeness. These facts don’t tell you about the pain of trying to adjust to different cultures, of life losses that were almost too staggering to bear, of walking down railroad tracks at night in the middle of winter screaming into the windstorm, of living with an underlying volume of shame so deep and loud that it constantly threatened any sense of sanity, of dreams not only destroyed but obliterated by personal failure, of hope so tenuous that only the trigger seemed to offer a solution. These few facts also do not speak to the potency of love and forgiveness, the arduous road of reconciliation, the surprises of grace and community, of transformational healing and the unexpected emergence of joy. Facts alone might help you understand where a person has been, but often hide who they actually are.
The Shack will tell you much more about me than a few facts ever could. In some ways my life is partly revealed in both characters—Willie and Mack. But an author is always more. I hope that someday we can share a cup of coffee, or for me, an extra hot chai tea with soy. If that happens, and if you want, I will tell you a little more about the bigger story and you can tell me some of yours.

That about sums up my life. For me, everything is about Jesus and Father and the Holy Spirit, and relationships, and life is an adventure of faith lived one day at a time. Any aspirations, visions and dreams died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them (they would stink by now anyway). I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith. I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa’s grace and presence. For me, everything in my life that matters, is perfect! (source: author information, www.theshackbook.com)


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► Endorsements for “The Shack”

“When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” - Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus Of Spiritual Theology,Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

“The Shack is a one of a kind invitation to journey to the very heart of God. Through my tears and cheers, I have been indeed transformed by the tender mercy with which William Paul Young opened the veil that too often separated me from God and from myself. With every page, the complicated do’s and don’t that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for the first time in my life.” -Patrick M. Roddy, Emmy Award Winning Producer of ABC News

“Riveting, with twists that defy your expectations while teaching powerful theological lessons without patronizing. I was crying by page 100. You cannot read it without your heart becoming involved.” - Gayle E. Erwin, Author The Jesus Style

“Finally! A guy-meets-god novel that has literary integrity and spiritual daring. The Shack cuts through the clich├ęs of both religion and bad writing to reveal something compelling and beautiful about life’s integral dance with the divine. This story reads like a prayer—like the best kinds of prayer, filled with sweat and wonder and transparency and surprise. When I read it, I felt like I was fellowshipping with God. If you read one work of fiction this year, let this be it.” -Mike Morrell, Zoecarnate.com

“Don’t miss this! If there’s a better book out there capturing god’s engaging nature and his ability to crawl into our darkest nightmare with his love, light and healing, I’ve not seen it. For the most ardent believer or newest spiritual seeker, the shack is a must-read.” - Wayne Jacobsen, author of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore

“An exceptional piece of writing that ushers you directly into the heart and nature of god in the midst of agonizing human suffering. This amazing story will challenge you to consider the person and the plan of god in more expansive terms than you may have ever dreamed.” -David Gregory, author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger

“The path to God is paved with questions—sometimes frightening and deeply painful ones. While reading The Shack I realized the questions unfolding in this captivating novel were questions I was carrying deep within me. True freedom is born from facing those things we feel we don’t have the courage or strength to face. The beauty of this book is not that it supplies the reader with easy answers to grueling questions, but that it invites you to come in close to a God of mercy and love, in whom we find hope and healing.” - Jim Palmer, author of Divine Nobodies

For more about “The Shack” visit http://www.theshackbook.com/
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► Web Reviewer from Great Britain about “The Shack”
I am sorry to say that I am rarely surprised by new Christian titles – it’s not that they aren’t good, but just that I get what I expect. Not so with ‘The Shack’. This is the best Christian novel I have ever read; an absolute heart wrenching page-turner. The Shack is a breath of fresh air for the Church.
The plot centres round Mack, a father distraught and depressed over the abduction and murder of his youngest daughter. Four years after the tragedy, he receives a note inviting him back to the shack where the crime was perpetrated. The author of the note is God.


Through beautifully-crafted encounters between the novel’s characters, Young deals with the hardest questions of the Christian faith: Where is God in suffering? Who is the Holy Trinity? And, how can we understand God’s justice and mercy? As a vicar and apologist I have longed to read something that not only makes rational sense but also resonates with the heart. Surely this is it.


I cried, I laughed, at points the theologian in me shouted, but ultimately my heart was enlarged by the awesome love of God. This book has increased my excitement about heaven, indeed it has revolutionized it. I can’t wait to eat pies with Papa! Read it and you will know what I mean.


High: Pretty much all of it. It’s one of those books that you want buy five copies of to hand out to friends.
Low: Should have been longer.


Reviewed by Rev Will Van Der Hart, co-director of Mind and Soul (www.mindandsoul.info) and associate vicar of St Mary’s, Bryanston Sq, London.
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► From USA Today
Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY 5-1-08

A little novel written by an Oregon salesman and self-published by two former pastors with a $300 marketing budget is lighting up USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list with a wrenching parable about God's grace.


First-time author William P. Young's book The Shack, in which the father of a murdered child encounters God the Father as a sarcastic black woman, Jesus as a Middle Eastern laborer and the Holy Spirit as an Asian girl, is No. 8 on the list.


Aimed at the "spiritually interested," the novel had an inauspicious start, says co-publisher Brad Cummings, who is still shipping books from the garage of his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and nearby mini-warehouses. Young says that when he wrote the book in 2005, "my only goal was to get copied and bound at Kinko's in time for Christmas as a gift to my kids."


Until The Shack sales soared, he was a manufacturer's representative for a technology company by day and did website design work on the side. But he had always been a writer, he says, who gave poems and stories as gifts.


He wrote the book to explain his own harrowing journey through pain and misery to "light, love and transformation" in God to his six children, ages 14 to 27.


Eleven years ago, Young says, he was hanging on by a thread, haunted by his history as a victim of sexual abuse, by his own adulterous affair, by a life of shame and pain, all stuffed deep in his psyche. "The shack" was what he called the ugly place inside where everything awful was hidden away. The book is about confronting evil and stripping the darkness away to reveal a loving God within, he says.
Why are so many heading for The Shack? "People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally," Garrett says.


► From The New York Times:
Christian Novel Is Surprise Best Seller
By MOTOKO RICH, New York Times
June 24, 2008

Eckhart Tolle may have Oprah Winfrey, but “The Shack” has people like Caleb Nowak. Skip to next paragraphMr. Nowak, a maintenance worker near Yakima, Wash., first bought a copy of “The Shack,” a slim paperback novel by an unknown author about a grieving father who meets God in the form of a jolly African-American woman, at a Borders bookstore in March. He was so taken by the story of redemption and God’s love that he promptly bought 10 more copies to give to family and friends.
“Everybody that I know has bought at least 10 copies,” Mr. Nowak said. “There’s definitely something about the book that makes people want to share it.”


Just over a year after it was originally published as a paperback, “The Shack” had its debut at No. 1 on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list on June 8 and has stayed there ever since. It is No. 1 on Borders Group’s trade paperback fiction list, and at Barnes & Noble it has been No. 1 on the trade paperback list since the end of May, outselling even Mr. Tolle’s spiritual guide “A New Earth,” selected by Ms. Winfrey’s book club in January.


Sales have been fueled partly by a whiff of controversy. Some conservative Christian leaders and bloggers have attacked “The Shack” as heresy. The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, devoted most of a radio show to the book, calling it “deeply troubling” and asserting that it undermined orthodox Christianity. Others have said the book’s approach to theology is too breezy to be taken seriously.


Even people initially put off by the book’s characterization of God as a black woman were won over. “I was so stunned by the presentation of Papa that I couldn’t deal with it,” said Bill Ritchie, senior pastor of an 8,000-member nondenominational church in Vancouver, Wash., who recalled putting the book down at first. He eventually finished it and told his congregation that it was “one of the most remarkable books I’ve read in years.” Since early this year, his church has been buying copies to sell to members by the caseload.


Mr. Young, who is known as Paul, said he had written “The Shack” as a gift for his six children. The shack was a metaphor for “the house you build out of your own pain,” Mr. Young said in a telephone interview from the Phoenix airport on his way to a book reading. (source: www.NewYorkTimes.com)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Secret behind Cheaters

15 factors that Fuel Unfaithfulness

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Celebrities do it - so do Pro Athletes, Politicians, Television Evangelists, Executives, Salesmen, Singers, Truckers, Teachers, and even Presidents. No, I’m not referring to a Nike commercial, rather to people who cheat in their marriage relationship. There is even a reality TV show called, “Cheaters” where you can watch a betrayed partner spy on and eventually confront their mate – caught in the act.

Cheating as Recreational Entertainment or Symptom of Psychological Problems?

Watching people lie, cheat, manipulate or hide in the shadows of their secret sin isn’t entertaining, it’s just sad. Lying, cheating and covering up secret affairs has become so commonplace that it has evolved into media fodder for stand up comics to joke about, trending topics to Tweet about, or an endless source of gossip fueling the tabloid headlines at the checkout counter of your local supermarket.

Why do cheaters cheat?Instead of being entertained by affairs, let’s take a moment to understand the psychological dynamics behind breaking the basic promise in a relationship – to be faithful. What drives a man, (or woman since women cheat almost as often as men according to a cover story in Newsweek magazine), to break their vows, violate their values and spend more time in the shadows of their secret fantasy life than simply living in the light of the life they already have?

15 Factors fuel AdulteryThere are 15 key elements that can cause someone to ignore everything they believe in to break all the rules of a stable relationship. The more factors present, the harder it is to break out of the illicit relationship and the more likely trust can’t be rebuilt, meaning that restoration is virtually impossible. Most people think that an affair “just happened” like a bolt of lightening out of the sky striking two unsuspecting individuals who then are destined to become soul-mates for the rest of eternity. Nope. That concept fuels ‘chick-flick’ movies, sappy music and smutty novels but it isn’t the real reason that drives people to cheat.

Here are the factors that drive people to cheat. As you read them, think of the people you have watched in a continual and desperate attempt to find somebody new to love, who only ended up creating massive stress and chaos for everyone else involved. Because when a secret life is exposed, all the new ‘love’ gets replaced with loss and pain. There are tremendous losses; loss of family, loss of children, loss of financial stability and loss of integrity; over the deceit and betrayal. Research from the University of Florida showed that only 3% of people who cheat and end their marriage to be with their secret lover actually end up staying married to their new love interest. The passion of infatuation fades fast, or to quote Will Smith’s old song lyric, “Ain’t no love in the Champagne room”

The real reason behind bad behavior is not because people wake up and decide to destroy their lives. Actually a lot of things are going on privately under the surface which aren’t evident until their public lives collapse after the affair is discovered. Here are the most common factors that erode stability and ruin relationships.

Selfishness – The clear #1 factor that fuels secret relationships is a commitment to please ones self over any commitment to their partner. Selfishness is a subtle slave master because it seems so natural to do what feels good inside, without consideration for how it will affect others. Once a person buys into the notion that their happiness is more important than that of their marriage partner, or children, parents, co-workers, boss or share-holders; they begin a seductive slide into the darkness of forbidden behaviors. Rules don’t matter to a person driven by their selfish need for pleasure, which is why they justify their bad decisions instead of having the self-control not to make them in the first place.

Lustful – However not the kind of lust you may be thinking about. Adultery is fueled by psychological insecurities more than by physical intimacy. The breathless ripping off of clothes (remember Michael Douglas in the elevator scene of the film “Fatal Attraction”) to experience physical passion is only one stage of an affair. It’s not the only factor and in long term affairs it’s often a forgotten one. Lust is the illicit desire for something more; so once the ‘conquest’ has been made with the new partner, a cheater silently begins the ‘hunt’ for the next target in their string of hopping from bed to bed hoping for a little more happiness. They are continually looking and lusting for a better life instead of learning how to be satisfied with the one they have. Perhaps that’s why “Hollywood” marriages only last a few years. Lust for more prevents feeling contentment and satisfaction inside the person driven to find a little more happiness from their partner instead of finding it inside themselves. When someone is never fully satisfied with their life they and their relationships continually change because of it.

Lonely – Distance in a relationship leaves a married partner feeling empty inside. Often instead of working to solve that emptiness in a positive way, (creating connection points through date-nights, weekend getaways or attending a couples retreat together), they just grow more distant which leaves them vulnerable to the temptation of forbidden fruit. However, loneliness is a solvable problem in a marriage because there are so many healthy ways a lonely partner can reach out to rebuild their relationship. Loneliness can be solved by reconnecting with God and healthy people, including talking with a pastor, counselor or family member who can help develop strategies in a positive way, instead of leaving the gap of temptation open by crying on the shoulder of a stranger. It takes courage to move past the fear of feeling alone to seek help, but it’s a stronger choice than the chaos of living a secret life.

Low esteem – When someone feels like they are a ‘loser’ in life they are vulnerable to the temptations of others. Low esteem leaves the door open for someone to respond to the advances of a stranger because they don’t believe in themselves. When there is a major gap of personal confidence, or someone believes that they are not worthy of feeling loved they might seek out the attention of strangers to fill the ‘leaks’ from the ‘holes in their soul’. It doesn’t last for long, which is why they drift from relationship to relationship looking for someone who will completely satisfy their emptiness and fears. The problem is that another person cannot completely fill up the gaps inside; at least not for long. And there is always the risk of meeting someone new who has just a little more charisma or charm, leaving the door open to change partners again and again.

Conversation Connection – One of the most common factors I’ve heard from hundreds of people who crashed their marriage relationship to be with a stranger said it was because the new person was just so “Easy to talk to”. This is a subtle way into seduction because it seems so innocent. One day you are just sharing opinions and ideas with someone at work, church, or at a social event. And then, WHAM! The chemistry races ahead of reason and decisions are made that destroy stability. There are many people you could talk to in safe ways, but long conversations with someone new can lead to saying goodbye to the people who trusted you to stay faithful and keep the promises made in marriage.

Power and control – You may not have associated this category with cheaters, but it is a driving force. You see, many times the whole dynamic of keeping a secret lifestyle is to break the rules of order and decency to do whatever they want to do. To control others, or feel the invincible power of being able to get away with breaking the rules leads many powerful people into destroying their lifestyle. While it is true that you can break the rules, it is also true that eventually the rules break you. Cheaters forget that the truth always comes out, always. It’s just not revealed quickly. Sometimes people even act abusive to force their desires of manipulation on others, which is why those relationships fail so fast and so often. You can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do for very long, and if an affair is driven by the issues of power and control eventually the people in it will grow tired of the manipulation and gradually pull away. Sadly a lot of innocent people get stepped on in the process.

Addictions- When someone can’t stop their inappropriate and irresponsible behavior it can often be tied to the driven compulsive need for instant gratification, instead of long term commitment. Sadly I’ve seen situations where secret addictions were suffocating all of the joy out of living the life a person had been given because they were continually and compulsively reaching for something else. Addictions don’t make much sense to people who haven’t struggled with inner demons of desire, yet to an addict it is more important than their next breath. Addiction gradually destroys every relationship and will usually end a marriage if professional help isn’t sought out to stabilize the real factors fueling the fire of out of control desire inside.

Shame based past – Unresolved abuse of any kind, (either as victim or perpetrator) can lead to acting outside of the normal boundaries of a marriage relationship. Simply put, if a person feels dirty on the inside because of what has happened to them in the past, they often will act ‘dirty’ on the outside. This is tied to deeper psychological issues that often require counseling to resolve because a person with shame issues will continue to repeat the same self-destructive behavior pattern. Shame creates a feeling of guilt and condemnation and can become a driving force behind irresponsible and impulsive behavior. Until shame based behaviors are stabilized the person will continual to make the wrong choices, and while they may hate themselves for doing the wrong thing, they feel like they have absolutely no power to stop it.

Peer Pressure – You become like the people you hang around. So when a person works in an environment that embraces impulsive decisions, or if there is a ‘locker room’ mentality of conquest over character people ruin relationships. This can show up as ending up in the wrong bed on a business trip, or drinking too much at the office Christmas party, and then bragging about their indiscretions to coworkers. Focusing on romance instead of real work violates the basic principle of any job. A professor I had at Rollins College taught me, “Work should be about creating a quality product or service that returns a profit to shareholders.” Some corporate cultures push people to be their best, others build teams who want to pass the competition, however in a toxic workplace people spend their time sneaking around on the job to fall in love with someone else’s spouse. Cheating hurts a marriage, but it can also hurt the customers, clients and coworkers who depend on people do actually do their job well; instead of being totally distracted by the pressure to have more partners.

Lies, Deception & Cover Up – this factor is based on the notion that “liars lie – and cheaters cheat.” The driving force behind this factor is to manipulate others by keeping secrets and avoiding honestly. It’s not about the new relationship, since there are countless examples of cheaters who simply go on to cheat on their next partner. They weren’t into the new person they were simply using the next person to fuel their need to keep a continual string of secret relationships to fuel their inner desire to avoid playing by the rules of society.

Generational patterns – there is an old saying in families that “the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” meaning that a parent or grandparent who models the secret lifestyle behavior creates the negative role model for the kids who are always watching to do the same thing. And they do. It can be uncanny how repetitive the cycle plays out in people who hit a certain age, (say 35 or so), and then do exactly what their father did at the same age. Family secrets can go on for generations until someone finds the faith to move beyond the past to build a better future. Until that happens it’s like they are following a script of making the same mistakes to pass along the generational pain.

Stress- often an affair isn’t driven by the desire to really swap partners, violate trust and shatter integrity, rather, it was based on an escape from pressure. Simply put, exhausted and desperate people do exhausted and desperate things. When a person becomes overwhelmed with the responsibilities and pressures of life they sometimes give up on things that don’t seem important at the time. A distant marriage is completely vulnerable to temptations from others because there is no solid foundation to hold it together during the stressful seasons of life. A stressed out person doesn’t have to choose an affair to deal with stress, but when they do it creates a whole new layer of pressure from trying to keep secrets – and sadly that generates substantial new stress. Stress relief cannot be found in creating new problems. Real relief comes from reaching out to get help from people who can pull you out of the pressure, instead of those who add more burdens to your life.

Distance in relationship- The old saying is wrong. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder… it often just makes a person’s heart, eyes and hands begin to wander. Feeling alone in a relationship, either from emotional distance, or geographical distance that comes from a job with a lot of travel, can lead to seeking the company of other people than their marriage partner and that can be disastrous. It takes far less emotional and psychological energy to keep your current relationship together than it does to keep a secret lifestyle going on behind the scenes.

Leaks - When people feel like they ‘leak’ or have a continual need to hear the praise and compliments from others they are open to stumble and struggle with temptation. When a person is constantly looking for someone to fill the void inside, the emptiness leads to making bad decisions and desperate attempts at finding fulfillment. Better to find true filling from healthy sources instead of making the ‘leaks’ bigger with bad decisions.

Acceptance – Everyone longs to feel a sense of connection, of belonging and approval. Finding validation from another person instead of from core values and beliefs that you hold inside can lead to the continual need for replacement. A healthy person has those needs for acceptance met in healthy ways, which improves their life instead of leading to a pattern of continual problems, secrets and lies. Being a person of deception, secrets and lies won’t make someone feel better inside, they feel worse! The deepest psychological and spiritual needs cannot be met through wrong choices, and when someone sees that truth it is transformational.

Boring Brain Chemistry creates Bad-Boy Behavior
Once the excitement of the new relationship wears off, many people choose to chase the intense feelings which can only come from the infatuation of an affair. Don’t discount the brain chemistry that causes infatuation, because it literally feels like oxygen to the person experiencing it and that they can’t live without it, (Think of the life or death struggle that the Greek hero Ulysses faced with the deadly Sirens in Homer’s classic Greek story of “The Odyssey”).

However it is an unsustainable emotion because it is created from the sparks of being with someone new and exciting. The longer a relationship goes, the less infatuation can create enough brain chemistry to connect two desperate souls who must be together or they will simply die. This sounds like a high-school play of “Romeo and Juliet” because it basically is. Adolescent relationships are driven by surges of hormones and chemistry more than self-control and sincere commitment. Healthy people don’t ruin their lives chasing impulsive urges, they protect the stability of their relationships by making wise choices.

No such thing as “Soul-Mates”
The concept that you have a single ‘soul-mate’ who is the perfect partner that can totally “complete you,” (remember Tom Cruise tearfully saying that in the film Jerry Maguire?) really sells movie tickets, but it simply isn’t real. The hard reality isn’t that Americans marry and divorce more than any country in the world, which they do. The hardest reality, (reported in a Time magazine cover story) is that Americans divorce more than any country in the HISTORY of the world! And a large part of that partner swapping is driven by the false belief that the next person will be a lucky catch way better than the loser you are stuck with now.

The soul-mate concept is a common reason why people leave one partner for the next. But don’t miss the statistical reality that the pattern continues. (Divorce rates are much higher in for people in multiple marriages, or what some researchers call ‘serial monogamy’). Searching for the next soul-mate to complete you just a little better than the last one did may be why romance writers have a job, but it won’t create any stability in the relationship you currently have – only the desperate longing that you are missing out on happiness by being with the wrong partner. So people who cling to this belief practice the philosophy of an old rock n’roll lyric that says…”If you can’t be with the one you love – love the one you’re with!”

Sorry, no soul-mates, just different people with different levels of maturity and development. Healthy people can have healthy relationships with hundreds of others, including the self-control to make a single relationship the most satisfying.

Promise Keeping instead of Promise Breaking
The bottom line on breaking a cheating lifestyle is to change to invest time and energy in keeping the promises you made, instead of spending time, energy and money desperately trying to chase another person to create a little happiness. Over time it takes a lot more work to keep a secret lifestyle going than it does to simply work on the relationship you have. Trading a stable life for the hope of something better doesn’t work out for the majority of people who attempt it. The research shows that people divorce at significantly higher levels when they move from partner to partner. There is more stability from making wise choices in reality than in chasing a fantasy image of being with ‘dream boat’ person who later turns out to be a ‘nightmare’. Keeping promises builds trust, integrity, character and a life of balance. Keeping promises is the opposite of cheating, and may seem boring compared to a “Las Vegas” lifestyle, but the long term benefits of a stable life are worth it.

The Best Deal!
How much better life is when people move from cheating to protecting character! If you know someone who has been cheating, reach out to them and challenge them to stop making impulsive choices that hurt others. If you have been hurt by a cheater, learn to set boundaries, study what the Bible teaches about forgiveness so that you don’t become overwhelmed by bitterness, resentment or rage inside. The best deal is to live a life of integrity by keeping your word and holding your head high because you are a person respected by all.

Life is about choices, and when a cheater stops to really study the reasons why they cheat it’s possible for them to turn their life from one of being known as a liar to become a person who can be trusted again. It takes time and often a lot of hard work by the former cheater but it’s well worth the trade. I challenge anyone caught cheating to make that trade because their life and their future legacy will be much more successful. Blessings follow the man or woman who turns their life around.

The Bible is full of stories of people who experienced a major heart change, which rippled into every other area of their life and people still talk about those positive changes thousands of years later. When a cheater gets real enough to see that they really can change on the inside and that they can rebuild their life it’s a story that will be told in their family for generations. A deceptive person can’t re-write a painful past, but they can reach out, get some help and take bold action to write a better future. Start writing!

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint."

Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2010), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Action vs. Self-Delusion

by Jim Rohn

Knowledge fueled by emotion equals action. Action is the ingredient that ensures results. Only action can cause reaction. Further, only positive action can cause positive reaction.

Action. The whole world loves to watch those who make things happen, and it rewards them for causing waves of productive enterprise.

I stress this because today I see many people who are really sold on affirmations. And yet there is a famous saying that “faith without action serves no useful purpose.” How true!

I have nothing against affirmations as a tool to create action. Repeated to reinforce a disciplined plan, affirmations can help create wonderful results.

But there is also a very thin line between faith and folly. You see, affirmations without action can be the beginnings of self-delusion. And for your well-being, there is little worse than self-delusion.

The man who dreams of wealth, and yet walks daily toward certain financial disaster, and the woman who wishes for happiness, and yet thinks thoughts and commits acts that lead her toward certain despair, are both victims of the false hope that affirmations without action can manufacture. Why? Because words soothe and, like a narcotic, they lull us into a state of complacency. Remember this: To make progress, you must actually get started!

The key is to take a step today. Whatever the project, start today. Start clearing out a drawer of your newly organized desk—today. Start setting your first goal—today. Start listening to motivational programs—today. Start a sensible weight-reduction plan—today. Start calling on one tough customer a day—today. Start putting money in your new “investment for fortune” account—today. Write a long-overdue letter—today. Anyone can! Even an uninspired person can start reading inspiring books.

Get some momentum going on your new commitment for the good life. See how many activities you can pile on your new commitment to the better life. Go all out! Break away from the downward pull of gravity. Start your thrusters going. Prove to yourself that the waiting is over and the hoping is past, that faith and action have now taken charge.

It’s a new day, a new beginning for your new life. With discipline, you will be amazed at how much progress you’ll be able to make. What have you got to lose except the guilt and fear of the past?

Now, I offer you this challenge: See how many things you can start and continue in this, the first day of your new beginning.

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly Newsletter. To subscribe, go to http://list.jimrohn.com/t/14417503/17706208/610183/0/ All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lord, I Want The Adventure... or Do I?

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

I wrote, recently, that I have been in a spiritual funk. I know, the word “funk” is not very technical but it’s hard for me to fully explain what I’m dealing with. After three years of drawing closer and closer in my walk with God, I suddenly have come upon a new period of “wilderness”, of testing. Umm….this one caught me off-guard. I wasn’t ready for it. I thought that I would just continually move towards knowing the Lord better, praying for Him to make me a warrior for Him and that all would be hunky-dory. So, when suddenly my prayers felt distant and my time in the Word felt hollow; when my finances were less than my bills; when fasting produced little immediate results, I did what any self-respecting “warrior” for God would do: I panicked. I freaked out. I became fearful and began to doubt my ministry, my calling, my heart, my relationship with God, pretty much everything. I began to look for ways to take matters into my own hands. My family needed more finances so, surely, God would want me to look for a 2nd job, right? Hmmm…..maybe….but not if He wanted me to learn more about faith and walking with Him when things aren’t certain. Not if the Enemy began to notice that I’m truly serious about being God’s man and so started an even harder campaign against me than ever before.

But, I want to be a warrior! Or, do I? I want to be in the adventure, God! Or, do I? I want to forego the mediocre life of religion and follow you into the wild unknown, Father! Or, do I? Do I, really? I think I do until times like this happen and the world seems dark and I cannot hear Him and I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future and I wonder how I’m going to feed my children or pay the light bill or……(sigh)…until things get hard. I’m quite the warrior, eh?

Presently, I’m reading a book by Dan Allender called, “To Be Told” and he talks about how every great story has conflict, tension, trouble. Without that, the story wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? I mean, if Frodo could have just marched right up to Mt. Doom, dropped the ring in the lava and went home to the Shire, that would have been FAR less interesting than the adventures he had. If Rocky could have gotten his title shot against an old, fat, boxer who couldn’t throw a punch anymore instead of Apollo Creed, there wouldn’t be much to watch, would there? In Les Miserable’s, if Jean Valjean, could have just lived a normal life instead of constantly being hounded by Javert, where would the adventure be? So, Allender emphasizes how the same goes for the story God is writing in our lives. There MUST be conflict and tension and hardship for the story to be compelling. He calls these moments “inciting incidents”. I love this line from his book: “And inciting incidents will always intensify our desire to listen to what the story is telling us—unless the inciting incident happens in our own story. Often, when it occurs in our life, we want the story to be resolved and the problem solved—and quickly! We love stories as long as they happen to someone else.”

Sad, but true. For me at least. I love the IDEA of being a warrior for God….of being part of a great adventure against the forces of evil that work against all that is good in our world. I WANT to be that man. But, when hardship hits me right where I live, I falter. I shrink back. I waffle. And I hate that about myself. I LOVE a good story, except when I’m in the middle of it. Then, fear rears its ugly head and I struggle.

But, let me tell all of you something. I’m not going to quit. I am not going to settle for the ho-hum life of religion. I’m not going to stay down under the barrage of spiritual ballistics being sent my way. I’m going to keep praying, keep fasting, keep reading the Word and someday I believe God will mold me into the true warrior I want to be. I believe He will because He needs more warriors. He needs more of us who strive with our hearts to face the fears that life throws our way. He needs warriors who hang in there in the face of adversity, believing that He will bring in the cavalry when we need it most, even when all seems lost. He needs men and women like the ones we see at “Helms Deep” in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”. The warriors who knew they were outnumbered and were destined to lose that fight. The ones who were tempted to lose heart as they saw the battle going against them. The same warriors who fought anyway. Who decided that, if they were going to go down that they might as well go down fighting. But, remember, just as they prepared to swing their swords for the final time…..just as all hope of victory faded before them, Gandalf appeared on the mountains above them…and he was not alone. The cavalry had arrived and they swooped down from the side of the mountain into the fray, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I LOVE that scene.

But, that would have never happened if the warriors who were holding Helms Deep had given up and surrendered. Had they lost hope and lowered their swords, all really WOULD have been lost.

So, friends, I’m going to keep battling. Not because I’m trying to be a hero but because I want to be God’s man, even when I don’t like how that feels. Even when it means hardship and uncertainty. Even when it means facing the unknown and risking failure. I just cannot go back to just being another pew-sitter. My heart won’t allow it. And, so…even when discouragement pulls at my soul like a parasite, stealing my courage and threatening to empty my heart into despair, I must keep fighting and look to the Lord to sweep down off his mountain, with His angels at his side and believe that He will bring victory out of what I feel is a sure defeat.
He has done it before, you know…on a lonely hill when Satan must have believed he had won and that he had condemned the human race to sure destruction….when he nailed the hands and feet of the Lord to a tree, he must have thought victory was his. Until the 3rd day….

So, friends, I cannot say all is well with me. I cannot say that I will go home and my checking account will suddenly be full. I cannot say I am not afraid. I can only say I’m going to keep fighting and have faith that God will show up. My hope is that you will take up the banner and stay in the fight. If you have lost heart, I pray you will find the courage to keep going. If you have been wounded in the battle, I pray the Lord will tend to your wounds and that you will fight on. If you believe the fight is done, remember Helms Deep…or, better yet, remember the Cross. Victory will come for those who hold out to the last.

So, Lord….I really do want the adventure, even when it hurts. And, because I do, I’ll keep fighting until you bring in the cavalry, or should I say Calvary?

Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Plan Your Action...Then Put Action to Your Plan!

By Paul J. Meyer and Kevin Rhea

Every day, every week, and every month will take you closer to your goals IF you are planning your action and then putting action to your plan. These three steps will help you reach your goals:

Step One:
MONTHLY PLANNING
-- Reserve one hour at the end of each month to plan for the coming month. (This can be a quick review if you plan in 90-day cycles.)
-- Survey your goals for the year/quarter and your progress on them.
-- Break goals and projects down into steps you can accomplish each week.
-- Designate specific due dates for completing these interim steps.
-- If what you plan will take several months, divide it into steps so that you can accomplish a little each month.

Step Two:
WEEKLY PLANNING
-- Set aside half an hour every Friday afternoon or Monday morning to plan for the upcoming week.
-- Look over the goals you've set for the week, and consider any additional tasks that you need to accomplish.
-- Divide tasks planned into steps, and choose a day to work on each step.
-- Make note of previously scheduled meetings and appointments.
-- Be sure that your weekly routine includes activities that are directly related to your goals.

Step Three:
DAILY PLANNING
-- At the beginning of each day, review your progress on yesterday's work, and note any pending items.
-- Spend a few minutes deciding what tasks to work on today.
-- Order the day's tasks by priority level with "must do" items first.
-- If possible, schedule items that will require more concentration for the time of day that you work best.
-- Leave roughly 20 percent of your time unscheduled to make room for new items, delays, etc.
-- If appropriate, start with your top-priority item and work on it as long as you can or until it's completed.
Once you've tackled your #1 job, move on to the next highest priority on your list.
When you put daily action to your plan, your goals will quickly come to pass!

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

NEW YEAR - NEW YOU STRATEGY

40 insights to break habits and build strength to become your best!

BY Dwight Bain, LMHC,NCC & Certified Life Coach

Physical & Spiritual
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more natural foods, rich with nutrients while avoiding processed foods
4. Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy for others
5. Build restful activities into your day to reduce stress
6. Play outside more, so you can 're-create' natural energy
7. Read more inspirational books than you did last year
8. Sit in silence to meditate and reflect on God's blessings to you
9. Sleep for at least 7 hours a night
10. Make sure to add in gentle exercise, like a brisk daily walk. Every step adds value to your life

Personality:
11. Spend your time and energy focused on your personal best instead of comparing yourself to others
12. Focus on positive thoughts about things you can control; instead of wasting time on what you can't
13. Know your limits so you don't over-do, over-extend or over-spend
14. Learn to not take your mistakes so seriously, no one else does
15. Invest time with meaningful talk, life is too short to spend time gossiping
16. Dream big dreams while you are awake to enjoy it instead of only dreaming while asleep
17. Being jealous of others is a waste of time; focus on the blessings you have to avoid wanting more
18. Deal with the past and be done with it. Remember that yesterday ended last night
19. When you hate others it hurts you more than it hurts them. Set boundaries and be done with it
20. Learn forgiveness. Accepting forgiveness from God allows you to give forgiveness to others
21. Happiness is an inside job. No other person can make you happy for very long; learn
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but definitely not the least:
40. Pray more, and panic less

How Much Water Per Day Do You Really Need?

By Dr. Walt Larimore
www.drwalt.com


This is not an infrequent question for me to be asked. And, a very nice article by Mara Betsch at Health.com will give you the information you need to answer this question for yourself, your family, and your friends:

You’ve heard it before: Drink eight glasses of water a day to keep your body trim, healthy, and happy. Though water is vital in a variety of bodily functions and processes, you may not have to drink as much as you think.

Unlike other vital nutrients, water doesn’t have specific daily requirements. Just like everyone has different caloric needs, a person’s water intake is affected by age, weight, activity level, and environment.

In a report from the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, the group offers a ballpark estimation:

Women should drink approximately 2.7 liters (about 11 cups) and men approximately 3.7 liters (more than 15 cups) of total water a day.
However, the key word in this sentence is total.

In fact, your morning coffee and that Gala apple you packed for lunch can count toward your total. Liquids can include water, juice, milk, plus all of the juicy fruits and veggies you eat each day. Eighty percent of our water intake comes from beverages, but the other 20% comes from food.

Fruits such as strawberries, cantaloupe, and grapefruit, and vegetables such as broccoli, cucumber, and spinach are more than 90% water. Including a lot of fresh produce in your diet will put you closer to your water goals without causing you to constantly circle the water cooler.
And although water is a cheap and calorie-free option, coffee, tea, and even beer and soda can count toward your total. But keep in mind that while you’re getting water in beer, soda, and Frappachinos, you’re also consuming calories and other not-so-nutritious ingredients like refined sugar.

What about water for weight loss?

Plenty of diet books will tell you that guzzling water is the secret to fighting the battle of the bulge. While this may be true, the research often conflicts.

Two studies (one done in 2003 and the other in 2007) showed that consuming lots of water boosted the number of calories burned in a day, and a popular 2008 study published in Obesity suggested that drinking water may lower energy intake or alter metabolism.

However, a 2006 study cast doubt on this theory by showing that water had no effect on energy expenditure. And it can’t be clear if the reason for weight loss can be attributed to drinking less calorie-laden beverages or the water itself.

It is true that certain individuals need more water—some endurance athletes can lose up to three quarts of sweat per hour! So if you are sick, live in a hot or high-altitude environment, have extended sweat sessions at the gym, or are pregnant or breast-feeding, you may have to adjust your fluid intake accordingly.

The bottom line?

Drink plenty of water and other low-calorie, nutritious beverages, eat fresh fruits and veggies, and be sure to rehydrate after trips to the gym or time in the sun. If you do this, chances are you’ll get enough fluids.