As we enter the second month of 2012, so much has begun to happen in our country already. The world truly is in a major transition as old structures are breaking down so that new ones that are more fitting to this century can be constructed.
As this is the month dedicated to love, I would like to suggest that everyone reading this column, take a moment, and send love out to all of humanity for about five minutes. And on Valentine’s Day, if you are not in a relationship, call five people who have really supported you in your life and communicate all the ways you love and appreciate their place in your life. Appreciation is the gift we give ourselves…
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am 47 years old. I work in corporate America in a high level position. I am a single woman who is stressed out! I follow your column when I stop for coffee. I know there is a more spiritual approach to my job but it seems that unless I am tough, I am not taken seriously.
Recently, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. My doctor suggested I learn how to meditate. Who has time to meditate? Can you give me some quick suggestions for managing my stress before I burn out completely.
Jane ( not my real name)
Yes, I can. Move to Italy. I’m joking. Actually, Italians are coping better with these tough economic times because they have a lifestyle that supports producing high levels of oxytocin. What neuroscience is showing us is that people who have high levels of oxytocin are more resilient and adaptable in the face of constant and sudden change.
You say you don’t have time to meditate. Meditation can take only 10 minutes. Many people in western society struggle with quieting their minds so the traditional meditation can be challenging. I produced seven guided visualizations for helping people adapt to change called The LIfeQuake Method. You can purchase it as well as my book and other products that are free and will support you in managing a life that is fraught with constant stress.
Here are some tips I devised for thriving in business, Italian style.
1) Maintain an intimate connection with whomever you relate to as family. Oxytocin rises when we feel connected emotionally to others.
2) Be like my Italian grandmother who hugged everyone. Place your hand on someone’s shoulder or ask them if they want a hug if they are stressed, even if you don’t know them very well. The worst thing that will happen is they will say no.
3) Love your body just the way it is. Italians love curves and we all have curves, even men over forty.
4) Prayer is very important in the Italian culture. They pray to the Pope and the saints. (Many believe Frank Sinatra is one now!) My version of that is, meditate and ask for spiritual guidance. Take a few moments during the day and move your breath into any places where there is constriction in your body and then think of three things you are grateful for. And if that doesn’t work, put Andrea Bocelli’s “Romanza” on your Ipod for a few minutes!
5) Avoid extreme diets that do not allow for enough complex carbohydrates.
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” Sophia Loren
If you live in a gluten free world, eat brown rice pasta. Chop a couple tomatoes, saute some garlic in olive oil and then throw that over the pasta. You wouldn’t believe how much that increases serotonin, and that elicits calm and joy.
6) Stoke the fire of your sensuality even if you are single and celibate for the moment. The core of sensuality is being aware of all your senses. When you put lotion on your body, really pay attention to how your skin takes it in. When you’re cooking or someone else is cooking, enjoy the smells then be present to all the flavors of the food you eat at each meal.
7) The Italians take a nap in the afternoon after the midday meal. If you work in a place where that is not possible, take part of your lunch break and go out to your car. Getting enough rest is one of the biggest challenges Americans have and yet it is a major anti-aging practice. The billionaire Armand Hammer took a nap in his office every day.
Unfortunately, it took a heart attack for him to get this. Endometriosis is now being called the “executive woman’s disease”. You may not think you can afford the time but can you afford the exorbitant hospital bills you will incur if you don’t slow down There is an expression in Italy when people get stressed out about not getting everything done. “ Domani. Ci sono sempre domani”. Translated: tomorrow, there is always tomorrow.
Jane, if you engage in these practices you will tap into your inner Sophia Loren and the other Sophia as well – the goddess of wisdom. Buona Fortuna!
Do you want to work on YOUR stress levels?
Call me for coaching and I will teach you what I learned from my Italian family on how to have a fun, passionate life. 310-890-6832
I will also be giving a tele-workshop beginning March 27- may 8 for seven Tuesdays in 2012 on using the seven secrets I learned from my Italian grandmother for developing serenity, sensuality, and security to make your business thrive.
I am calling it “Abbodanza: Creating Prosperity the Italian Way”. Call today for the early bird discount. 310-890-6832.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, life transitions strategist, and author and is available for consult by phone or SKYPE. . You can reach her through her website, http://www.lifequake.net, DrToni@LifeQuake.net, or 310-890-6832.