Fear And Stress: Coping with media coverage of tragedy

Dealing fear and stress triggers in the wake of 3 hurricanes and the Las Vegas Shooting.

Television coverage is designed to enagage the viewer and can trigger unwelcome emotions, stress and fear.

I understand those triggers and watching the coverage of three hurricanes and the shooting last night in Las Vegas brings back a cold, naked feeling, when the world seemed scary and my ability to deny it is gone.

My sense of denial, the thing all of us need to get up and leave the house everyday was damaged when I had a massive heart attack at age 35 while pregnant with twins. In a matter of minutes, my world view changed. The world was no longer safe. I knew for certain bad things happen and suddenly the world was too scary.

For months, each day I had to talk myself into going out the door, living life despite my fear. While I was pretty good at it, I felt alone in the struggle. Then came September 11, 2001, and the world became scary for the entire nation. I felt a guilty sense of relief. Everyone felt like I had for months – scared. It was suddenly okay to talk about how to cope with fear publicly. I was relieved to know others felt scared too, and my coping strategies seemed to help them.

Today it is a good thing to reflect on how life can change in a matter of minutes. While it is scary to be reminded of how it feels when your denial is torn away, it is also good to be thankful for resilience.

For those who are triggered by recent events, emotions may be conflicting:

  • euphoric to have survived
  • angry at the loss of what you expected life to be
  • guilty or unworthy for the gift of a second chance
  • fearful of what you can not control
  • sad, just sad

Remember, it is okay to feel whatever you feel. Saying, “I shouldn’t feel like this,” doesn’t allow you to process your feelings. Feel it, name it, and by doing so, cope. Stress and anger are emotions that often defy logic. Yes, it’s been more than a decade, but when triggered, the fear can feel just as fresh. Your body’s reaction to stress is instinctual, and often doesn’t make sense. A cold flush, racing heart, or upset stomach is just you body’s way of processing the stress. Pay attention to physical and emotional signals, and be kind to yourself.

Sometimes simply reminding yourself, “It’s going to be okay,” will be enough. If it isn’t remember:

It’s okay to need:

If you cut yourself deeply, there would be a scar. Sometimes that scar will get irritated. This is a wound too – you just don’t see the blood. It is okay to reach out. Talk to someone you trust. It’s okay to seek help from a professional, or to find someone who has experienced something similar. Get what you need.

It’s okay to ‘What If’:

One of my most helpful coping strategies is to “what if” a situation that scares me. To some it may see morbid – or as if I’m dwelling on the negative – but I need to think through all the things that could go wrong and figure out what I’d do. Upon entering a new place, I quickly scan for AED equipment (used to restart a heart). When traveling, I know where the nearest hospital with a heart center is located. This makes me feel more secure. I don’t want my daughters to be held back by my fear. Whenever they go off for a school event or new adventure I have to “what if” though the possible dangers in my head, think about what is likely to happen, talk to them about reasonable safety measures (take your phone, stay with the group – not to scare them, but to make sure they are safe) and talk myself into letting go. As they approach being drivers, this is a more common internal conversation! Sometimes I need to talk about my fears with my husband, do a reality check, to get past my fear. Being afraid isn’t bad, letting fear stop you, or the people you love, from living fully is a problem. Talk it through, get help if you need it, and find a way to “what if” past your fear in a situation and move forward.

It’s okay to laugh:

Not to be all, “laughter is the best medicine” – but the endorphins released when you laugh truly help restore your ability to cope with fear and stress. Finding humor in a stressful situation is an excellent way to cope. Seeking out humor when you are feeling sad, fearful, stressed, or depressed is essential. Watch a funny video or movie, talk to a witty friend, read something to make you laugh and take advantage of the endorphins. One of my favorite videos makes me laugh every time. Enjoy:

 

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time. Seek help when you need it.

Laugh and live life fully, even when it is scary.

Stress Management and Atrial Fibrillation

Eliz presented a stress management program for patients with Atrial Fibrillation at the Get In Rhythm. Stay In Rhythm Conference.

She shared strategies to protect yourself from stress during periods or high stress, crisis, or in the case of Afib, chronic uncertainty. The program is based on her research on job stress.

Chaos In My Home Office: Women’s Stress Management

How do you stay productive and manage stress when your office is in chaos?

A home office has its challenges:

Interruptions are frequent.  Work hours are fluid.  The line between work and home is blurred.

Working next to a construction site… well, that is my life and work for the next eight weeks.

How do you work in chaos?
Keep your eye on the big picture, define victory, and check your attitude.

My office is located in our home, upstairs next to the master bedroom.  Yesterday, an incredible team demolished the master bathroom in preparation for our remodeling project.

Yes, it was loud.

In the scheme of all things, eight weeks of noise and people working 20 feet from my office door isn’t a crisis.  It is inconvenient.  However, I can already tell the distraction factor is going to be large.

Right now, I can hear the project manager and plumber discussing the tub layout and where the new wall will be placed.  Focus Eliz, you are supposed to be writing a blog article.

As I said, this isn’t a crisis, but it is chaos.

Here is how I’m managing the stress of working in (organized) chaos with two simple statements:

Victory depends on your definition.

Ultimately, I need to market and book speaking engagements, and the good folks from Paul Davis need to construct our new bathroom.  There is significant art, and quite a bit of science, to the construction process.  Being present at the site makes their job easier because we can discuss things as they come up and make decisions.  Victory #1 of each day is staying on the aggressive construction schedule.  Victory #2 is getting some marketing done.  Setting one achievable business goal per day is essential to keeping my stress in check.  Today, my aim is to write this article written, posted, and shared.  How’d I do?  Well, if you are reading this, I guess I can declare victory.  (By the way, my amazing husband gets the credit for this statement.  It was his parting comment this morning) Sure, there are other things I need to do today.  Some will get done, and some may not.  But I’m declaring victory if we stay on schedule and this article gets posted.

My attitude frames my experience.

It would be easy to see this experience as an ordeal.  Yes, it is noisy. Yes, there are interruptions.  But I also get to see the work and progress first hand, and that is exciting.  I learned new things about plumbing this morning.  Each step we get closer to the finished project.  It is exciting.  It is an adventure. Often the key to reducing stress is to mitigate stressors by changing the way we feel about them.  In many ways it is a cost-benefit analysis.  Is the end result worth the chaos?  So far the inconvenience and interruptions are far outweighed by the excitement about the renovation.

Hopefully, that excitement will continue.

manage stress in chaos of constructionOn the days it gets harder, I’ll repeat these two statements…

Victory depends on your definition.
My attitude frames my experience.

I welcome your tips and ideas.  How do you work in chaos?

Do Fundraising Emails Work?

How many emails does it take to get a donation?

According to a new study from M+R Benchmarks it takes 2000 emails to land one donation.  For every 1000 emails, non-profits receive $36.

The pace of change in online marketing, advocacy, and fundraising is taxing.  Non-profits and associations are finding it harder and harder to have their messages heard.

According to a new study from M+R Benchmarks it takes 2000 emails to land one donation.  For every 1000 emails, non-profits receive $36.

Probably not.  Email is still an essential part of reaching members and donors, but lists must be nurtured and email efforts must be combined with other digital marketing efforts. Here are some key insights from the report:

  • 26% of online revenue came through email solicitation even while open rates fell.
  • Larger email lists are important, as is the number of emails sent.
  • Traffic to website grew in 2016. A user-friendly website is essential.
  • Social media audiences grew, including a 101% growth in Instagram.
  • Investing in digital ad spending is up and may be the key to conversion

    Read the full report and use M+R Benchmarks cool tool to benchmark your digital marketing efforts here: http://mrbenchmarks.com/

Let’s Talk About STRESS!

Women’s Wellness Speaker Eliz Greene knows women want to talk about stress!  Book her entertaining and informative stress management keynote “The Trouble With Busy: Shattering the Myth of Work-life Balance for your event.  Get on her 2017-2018 calendar now!

Stop Feeling Guilty About Food

Book Review: Food Truths From Farm To Table

Ever feel guilty about what you eat or buy? Ever judge what other people put in their grocery carts?  Ever feel confused by food labels or what you see in the media?

Me too.

I love this new book by Michele Payn.  It’s easy to read, packed full of surpising truths, and based in science.  It is a great resource to feel confident in what you choose to eat and buy.

Find it at www.FoodTruthsBook.com

Help spread the word by joining the Tunderclap to promote the book’s release.

 

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com

Eliz Greene Featured on Queen of the Castle Cover

For Heart Month, Queen of the Castle Magazine profiles Eliz and shares the story of surviving a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins and he mission to inspire women to pay attention to their heart health and manage stress.

Exerpt:

One of the most common effects of stress is added weight around the mid section. The most efficient way to process cortisol out of the body is to sleep but studies show that very few women get enough sleep. And so the cycle of busy and stress continues.

“We eat away at the margins of the day to get stuff done. But yet sleep is the most efficient way to get rid of our stress. We have to be working not just for our family but also for our quality of life that makes it worth it. If we work so much we don’t see our families, we missed it,” says Eliz.queen-of-castle-cover-eliz-greene

“Eight days after they were born Clay and I were holding them together for the first time. That moment is pivotal to me. Even though so much was still chaotic, in that moment, I had absolutely everything I needed. In that bubble of contentment I realized I could survive a lot of craziness…which is helpful now that I have teenage daughters,” she says with a laugh.

Read the entire article

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

The Trouble With Busy at Twin Cities Go Red

Join Women’s Wellness Speaker for Go Red For Women in Minneapolis!

Twin Cities Go Red Lunch and Learn

January 13, 2017

Minneapolis Convention Center

  • 9:30 am – Registration, exhibits, health screenings, demonstrations and silent auction
  • 11:30 am – Lunch & Learn program featuring Keynote Speaker Eliz Greene – learn about the real causes of job stress and how we all need to take on the trouble with busy to reduce stress, get more of the important things done, and feel better about all of it.
  • 1:15 pm – Adjourn

Register here by January 3!

Can Mammograms Predict Heart Disease?

Mammograms are important for BOTH breast and heart health!

We all know mammograms are effective in detecting breast cancer in the early stages. Mammograms may also be able to detect the early stages of heart disease as well. Yet another tool for doctors and women with heart disease risk factors to evaluate treatment needs.

How Could A Mammogram Predict Heart Disease?

The same technology which highlights calcifications, small deposits of minerals in breast tissue which appear as white spots on the x-ray also show calcification in blood vessels.  Calcification in blood vessels is a significant indicator of the hardening of the arteries type of heart disease, called Atherosclerosis.

mammograms are important for both breast and heart health

Don’t panic, however. Finding calcifications on a mammogram probably isn’t a sign of an impending heart attack, but it is and indication that more investigation should be done. Tests such as a treadmill stress test, which monitors your heart during exercise, and blood test should be done to determine the progression of heart disease in your body. Caught early, heart disease can be treated and well managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

If you are at high risk of heart disease ask the radiologist examining your x-rays to pay special attention to possible calcifications in the blood vessels. Having multiple years of exams to look at may be helpful in determining the progress of heart disease or the effectiveness of treatment.

Yet another reason to schedule AND KEEP your mammogram appointment!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

Women’s Wellness Conference Speaker: Grant Regional Health Center

Join Stress Management Speaker Eliz Greene at Women’s Wellness Conference

hosted by Grant Regional Health Center

in Lancaster, WI on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Register at www.GrantRegional.com

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

Heart Pain: When To Sound The Alarm

Is the pain heartburn or a heart attack?

How can you tell the difference between a sharp, burning sensation in your chest caused by the pizza you just ate or a sign of something more serious?

Women’s heart attack symptoms can be difficult to diagnose. My heart attack absolutely started out feeling like heart burn. I’ve experienced both severe heartburn and a heart attack and the pain is very similar at the beginning.

heartburn-eyhHere are 7 ways to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack:

  1. Did you just eat something which upset your stomach? If your tummy is usually upset 30 to 40 minutes after eating spicy or greasy food, the chances are it is heart burn. But, if you haven’t eaten, or what you ate doesn’t usually cause upset, then it cause for concern.
  2. Does an antacid help? Usually the relief is immediate. If you take an H-2 blocker such as Zantac or Tagamet relief should come in 30 to 40 minutes. If the pain continues or get worse seek medical attention right away.
  3. Do you have pain when swallowing, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite or are you throwing up blood? You may have damage to your esophagus and you should seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Do you have shortness of breath, cold sweat, vomiting, dizziness, or pain or tingling in your arms? It is time to call 911. These are signs you may be having a heart attack.
  5. Did exercise or physical activity bring on the symptoms? This is a big clue to get help right away.
  6. Is the pain stopping you from doing normal activities? Heart burn can be uncomfortable, but pain that distracts you from work or causes you to withdraw from activities should be evaluated by a medical professional quickly.
  7. Do you have risk factors for heart attack? High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high stress, being overweight, being sedentary, and having family members with heart disease are signs you may be more likely to be having a heart attack.

How do you really tell the difference? Go to the doctor. If you even think it might be a heart attack, get help. It is worth a little bit of embarrassment about overreacting to save your life.

Since my heart attack, I’ve been to the emergency room twice with chest pain. Both times I was fairly sure it wasn’t another heart attack, but I wasn’t willing to take the risk of being wrong.

Being told “it’s just heartburn” is a good outcome!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

 

Is Work Life Balance A Myth?

Initial Results From The Study On Job Stress

We’ve all heard work life balance is the key to stress management, but is it true?  Our study on job stress shows some interesting results.

Work life balance is based on a few assumptions:

  • The binary push and pull relationship between work and home is the main reason for women’s job stress
  • Women are the only ones who experience this issue
  • Women without children at home are less stressed

Is that true?

According to the more than 1000 people who participated in our study, no.

  • Men and women reported an equal amount of job stress
  • Fewer than 10% of the women with children at home reported caring for children (or any other work life issue) as the top cause of job stress
  • The results were exactly the same for men with children at home
  • Across the board the pace and pressure of work, an uncertain future, and the environment at work far outweighed work life issues as causes of stress.

So, what does that mean?

Work Life balance doesnt work

We are focusing on the wrong problem when trying to manage stress!

Pace and pressure at work (and other issues relating to being busy) were the leading causes of stress for more than 50 percent of the people in the study.

We don’t have an issue with balance. We have Trouble With Busy!

Which means traditional stress management and employee wellness programs are trying to solve the wrong problem!

Study results indicate improving the stress environment at work involves organizational factors as well as personal factors.

Many of the respondents indicated adjusting productivity expectations in the face of change or lack of staff would reduce stress. Others, especially nurses and lawyers, didn’t expect the stress environment to change, but rather accepted the pace and pressure as part of the nature of their work.

So if the pressure isn’t going to change, what then?

Rather than looking at stress as a binary, push and pull system between work and life, we need to be looking at what I call an ecosystem of stress.  Everything we do interacts with everything else.  Some things give us pleasure and add energy to the system.  Other things draw energy out of the system.  Just acknowledging the sheer number of things you pay attention to can reduce stress.  Yes, it’s a lot.  You have a good reason to feel overwhelmed. If that isn’t going to change, then the key to managing the stress ecosystem is to feed energy and resources back into the system and manage other drains.

For example, by supporting our physical health, we can feed resources back into the system. When I work with high performers, sleep is always an issue. Good quality sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress, but also one of the most difficult to protect.  We often eat away at the margins of our day to get more done.  Staying up later and getting up earlier may seem like the right thing to do, but over time lack of sleep allows the stress hormone, cortisol, to build up in the body. High cortisol levels result in:

  • increased fatigue
  • headaches
  • back aches
  • anxiety
  • digestive distress
  • depression
  • decreased sex drive
  • impaired immune system
  • increase risk of heart attack and stroke

Protecting your sleep can make a huge difference in how you feel and feed energy back into your stress ecosystem.

But, how do you make time for sleep?

By looking at stress as a system, it is easier to pick out priorities, such as sleep, and find opportunities to eliminate or reduce drains on the system.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  Managing your stress system requires hard decisions about what you will allow to be in that system, and there lies the issue.

There isn’t a magic formula to balance out your world, but it is possible to step back, assess your system, and make choices about what you allow in that system.  Being aware of what is draining your energy and resources, and actively feeding energy and resources back in is the key.

ELiz has been delighted to offer a new program The Trouble With Busy providing insights and tools to manage your stress ecosystem.  The most exciting part of the new program is using the research data and being able to provide specific data on stress environment of the individual organization. The next phase of research examining stress within organizations and interventions for improvement is in process now.  Those results will be reported in the future.

Until then, let’s let go of the idea of balance and start addressing the Trouble With Busy!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins.  For more than a decade she has been on a mission to inspire other busy women to improve heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.  She is a motivational women’s wellness speaker and author. Her humor and personal stories  illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day.  Her research on job stress and professional women make her a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker

UWM Women’s Leadership Conference

iStock_000019139109_DoubleToday I have the great honor to be surrounded by 500 impressive women leaders in the Milwaukee area at a conference hosted by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Continuing Education.

Did you know spending time with other amazing women can lower your stress and reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%?

That is just one tip from our session today.

Were you in the Juggling Stress Program today?  Please leave a comment below and share your “I will because”

You can find the Job Stress Study Survey here: http://elizgreene.com/job-stress-study/

Could Job Stress Be The New Smoking?

Could stress at work be the new smoking?

Job Stress SurveyAfter working with women to improve heart health and manage stress for more than a decade, I discovered there isn’t enough data about the specifics of the job stress environment and how it impacts men and women differently.

This led me to embark on a multiphase research project to explore this important topic.

Research suggests the stress environment in the work place could be as dangerous as second-hand smoke. In fact, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization calls chronic job stress a global epidemic.  How risky is job stress, really? We all know stress is a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses. According to several studies, if your job is highly demanding and you have little control over how you do that job, your risk of heart attack and stroke increases by nearly one-third.  For women, the risk increases by 40 percent. In addition to being a significant risk factor for disease, job stress decreases productivity and creativity and increases health care costs, absenteeism, and hinders employee retention.

That is the bad news.

The good news is, like smoking, job stress is something we can control.   No, you may not be able to change how you do your job, but you can control your reaction to the situation and offset the stress with healthy habits. Removing exposure to second-hand smoke has decrease the incidence of heart disease by 30%.  What would be the impact of better managing the stress environment of work?

The study is currently in the first phase, collecting data about job stress.  A broad base of responses from all ages, genders, and job categories is needed.

How can you help?

Please take three minutes to complete this simple survey about job stress.

Click here to take the Job Stress Survey

The larger the sample of respondents, the more significant the results will be.  No personally identifying information is collected.
The second phase will explore job stress in specific companies and associations. We are looking for organizations to partner with us on the study as well as companies who have created positive work environments to use as case studies. Several health care organizations and associations have already joined the study.  We are seeking companies in varied industries to increase the validity of the study. These organizations will receive detailed reports about their unique job stress environment and there is no cost to participate. If you know of a company or association that would be a great fit for the study, please fill out the contact form here.

The third phase will examine the effectiveness of stress environment interventions in organizations.

The initial results of the study have been fascinating and I’m looking forward to sharing the results and working to create healthy stress environments at work.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!

10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Heart Month Tips on CBS58

Eliz Greene was the guest on CBS58 today at 4:30.
CBS 58

Download a copy of the 10 Simple Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Heart Disease ebook by clicking the image below:

10-simple-ways-ebook

Did you see the interview? Please leave a comment or question.

Eliz Greene is a heart health journalist and motivational wellness speaker specializing in serving women in business. Her humor and personal stories of recovering from a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins illustrate simple strategies for health and success participants can fit into an already busy day. Her Heart of Wellness Video Program is making a difference in employee health around the country:

“I went into this thinking how inconvenient it would be to find a few minutes a day to watch these videos. After all, I’m sure most of us have heard these topics before by other wellness programs or even our doctors. However, once I started, I came to appreciate the approach. The calm and relaxing way the topic was relayed, actually helped me process the information better. Reminding me “I Will Because” kept me focused on my purpose. The best part, my blood pressure has improved!” City of Bryan, Texas Employee

Click here to start your own path to the Heart of Wellness today!

 

Tips To Keep Moving Even When You Are Injured

How do you stay active when you can’t walk?

A Thanksgiving kitchen accident involving a pot of boiling water put my 15-year-old daughter in a walking boot to protect her scalded foot for a month.  Her injury healed well, but in the process we needed to find ways for her to stay active.

I shared some of my favorite seated exercise videos with her PE teacher and realized, maybe you would find them handy too.  Not only are the tips great for when you are injured, they are also sneaky ways to fit in activity while seated at work!

The key is to use these videos as guides and adjust the movements to fit your current abilities. They are also useful for people who may be less steady on their feet or need modified activities due to age or illness. Hopefully, you won’t be injured, but in the event you, or someone you know needs some help maintaining active healthy habits, check these out:

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a Motivational Women’s Wellness Speaker who works with busy people to improve heart health, so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less. Eliz is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness.