Who am I
I have spent nearly 20 years of my working life in the Health and Fitness Industry. In addition having for many years studied personal development, I then qualified as a Life Coach. My philosophy is simple – the mind and body are connected, they both have to work well and together to achieve success. I am the author and creator of a Healthy Lifestyle Plan which has helped hundreds of people change their lives and bodies forever.
There was a time in my life when I struggled with stress. At that point in my life, when I was in my mid 20’s I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. This followed events, which I have no need to explain, not because I now can’t deal with them, but because ‘the past doesn’t make the future’ and it is not the events that are any longer important, but what they brought to me afterwards.
My approach to stress management is very different from many others, in that I do not believe that we need to spend time remembering, analysing or going over the past to enable us to come to terms with it, I will simply show you what to do to enable you to think differently about it. It is not the past that is important, but the present and the future.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder resulting from extremely stressful or life-threatening events. These experiences I relived through nightmares and flashbacks. I had trouble sleeping and felt detached from others. The effects on my daily existence were major.
I was very lucky to be surrounded by very caring people who were prepared to give me the necessary time and to patiently show me how to combat this. They did not force me to relive events, they just helped show me tools and techniques that enabled me to combat stress and rebuild my life, and although these events will stay with me for the rest of my life, as comparable events would do for anyone, they no longer could disempower me, and they are the reason I acquired the skills to deal with all stressful events that would then come into my life. When urgently required, other strategies came to me, providing more resources to ensure that stress never again became an overwhelming factor in my life.
I have written this book in order to share my knowledge with you and to introduce you to practical, easily applied tools and techniques that will help you and others in your life – friends, family members and work colleagues, develop stress combating skills.
My journey to understanding, developing and using these myself has been every bit as demanding as yours, all those frustrations, and bad turns that you have suffered, rest assured I have probably experienced many similar. But believe me this journey, and the abilities it will provide you with, is worth the effort.
A very big turning point in my life came when my sister died suddenly. Her death had a profound meaning for me and caused me to take stock and reach out for a new life, with a very major purpose.
On reflecting on the death of my sister, who had been so important to the development of me as a person, I began to think about the effects of stress and the impact it had had on her life. She had suffered from it since she was about 16 years old.
Janette (Jan), my sister, died suddenly at the age of 48 on the 7th September, 2001, when according to a post mortem, her heart just stopped working. Ultimately this was caused by her succumbing to the impact of stress throughout her adult life, and an addiction to Valium, the drug that had been prescribed for her aged 18 to combat this stress. This loss of my sister to the ravages of stress has inspired my purpose in life – dedication to healthy living and combating stress. I set out to ensure MY SISTERS LIFE MEANT SOMETHING! If I could help one person deal with stress, whatever the origins of the stressors, then I was fulfilling this objective. My life took off in a rewarding direction. It was a life changing experience for me, and ultimately led to me writing this book.
My Sister was stunning. She was a ‘leggy’ model, actress and dancer. She had much success- Made it to Hollywood, appearing in many films. But whatever successes she gained, she never was able to combat stress, or get away from its debilitating effects. These effects of stress and her addiction to Valium took away everything she was, and prevented her from being everything she could have been. Her life was not only cut short, but every member of her family was affected in some way.
To live through your own sister’s descent into an addiction to prescription drugs, her constant battle to break out, culminating in her premature death, are events which live with you forever, and for me, created an implacable determination to make a difference to other people whose lives I touch.
I now knew that I had to do something towards helping others tackle stress, so I set out on a journey to bring the tools that I had been taught to rescue myself, to help people learn about stress, and show them ways to manage it in their life, as well as enabling them to create healthy lifestyles. I wanted to contribute this knowledge to everyone. All around me I saw people that I knew would benefit.
There is nothing new in my techniques, they have been around for a long time. All I’ve tried to do is keep them as simple as possible. I have invented nothing. These are those that were taught to me all those years ago. Of course I have acquired more knowledge, through the reading of many personal development books by so many great authors, and attending seminars and workshops. I read and studied everything I could, and spoke to many people who possessed great knowledge.
Too many people are increasingly disillusioned by their feelings of hopelessness, struggling with so many demands and pressures, for which they have no strategies to deal with. They often feel that life seems so unfair. They work hard, they do their best; but nothing seems to change. Too often these individuals are to ready to blame others or exonerate themselves.
My intention with this book is to provide you with the tools and techniques to improve the quality of your life, bringing you positive results. But knowledge alone is not power, it needs to be properly applied for it to be truly powerful. Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, this book is for you. You will make a difference to your life if you apply the knowledge contained within.
In the twenty years I have been working actively in the fitness industry , I have never ceased to be amazed by the things I have seen and heard in relation to lifestyles that people have come to accept as the norm when, in fact, their quality of life is far less than they deserve or should expect, no matter how it has been occasioned.
Too often people who have been diagnosed with such conditions as arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, depression, back problems or stress, seem to immediately start their descent down an imaginary slippery slope. They see, feel and believe their life to be on a descending spiral.
To see a 40 year-old man diagnosed with diabetes, age 20 years overnight is a shocking thing to witness.
To see a fit 50 year-old successful businessman, with an active social life, a mortgage-free perfect home, two wonderful children succeeding in their own lives, being diagnosed with clinical depression, losing his way overnight, and seeing his entire body posture and state of mind crumble, is an exasperating sight.
To see a beautiful 42 year old woman, a single mother of three, and a phenomenal business woman, become physically and emotionally overwhelmed following the death of her brother and father within a year, where her whole life lost meaning, and becoming hostile toward those people to whom she had been close, and tormented daily by an agonized yearning for those she lost. She was my final symbol, that now it was my time to combat stress – the healthy lifestyle way. The old soldier now had to take up this path, to save someone very special in his life, a lifelong friend.
My passions have led me to take everything I have learned and experienced and to publicise it through my writings and my speaking engagements to people who need to find answers to prevent stress gaining mastery over them any longer.
It is my deepest wish that from this point in time you combat stress, the healthy lifestyle way!
This book has been written to share with you the information, strategies, philosophies and skills that can help you to empower yourself to completely change your life.
Getting you Started
We’re all stressed! It’s a consequence of modern-day life. No one lives without stress. There are so many different sources of stress in the world today. This stress can rob you of energy, health, productivity and happiness. You cannot afford to allow stress to sabotage your well-being or quality of life. Stress seems to be mounting on you from all sides – job security, workload, financial worries, family stresses and strains, relationships, illness, day-to-day activities and many other sources of stress. Your ability to cope is being tested to the full.
Symptoms can be psychological, physical, or both. Some examples that you may relate to are: irritability, lack of concentration, worry, migraines, overeating, not eating enough, not sleeping well, lower back pain, rashes, an upset stomach or ulcers, tension headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pains, to name but a few. Stress can also lower your resistance to disease, and affect how well your body responds to sickness and how well you recover from minor setbacks.
This book aims to support you in taking more control of your stress level. I have written it as a self-help manual that you can delve into at any time to find answers to help you in dealing with the demands and pressures in your life. I bring it to you knowing that you will positively benefit from handling stress more effectively in your daily life. I am the perfect example of how, once you learn to handle stress, and develop skills to enhance your defence against problems, your life changes so much for the better.
I invite you to flick through the pages to get a feeling for the range of topics and techniques. Something may stand out that can help you get results quickly. Select and use the parts that you feel are important to you now that can meet your present needs.
As you look at each section, ask yourself “What will this part do to help me?” or “How can I use this to handle my stress?”
Certain ideas will appeal to you, others won’t. You may love some ideas, and hate others. But you will find tools and techniques that offer you solutions and provide weapons in your armoury against the ravaging effects of stress.
This book gives many practical, effective ways to deal with stress. Implement one idea or implement them all; either way, your stress level is sure to decrease. And that is what this book is all about.
So it is your responsibility to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Whether or not you take the time you need for yourself depends on no one but you.
Understand that the amount of stress in your life will not go away unless you make changes to what you do and adopt a healthier lifestyle as well as utilising some new techniques to get in control of your mind, body and soul.
‘Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life’. Danzae Pace
Next read section 1: ABOUT STRESS AND THE EFFECTS OF STRESS