JUNE 2016
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Painting: my new stress buster! Sunset at Boca Grande, FL

Dear Friends,

I had such fun each day in April posting tips for reducing stress and heard positive comments from many of you. It never ceases to amaze me how much stress people are dealing with today. I believe that some of the stress we suffer from is self-inflicted; meaning we are simply trying to do too much in a limited amount of time. Combine this with the guilt many feel about letting others down and we have a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, many of the stresses in our lives are things we cannot control. Health, aging parents, divorce, career layoffs and others top this list. I know that my own health challenges certainly cause me and my family stress! Learning to counter these stressors with things that help us relax or bring us happiness is key.

With summer in sight, I invite you to download your free copy of Minimizing Stress, Maximizing Life, my 30 days of stress relieving tips. Here's to a happy and less stressed summer!

Hugs, Cindy
 
P.S. Thank you for all the well wishes on my recent wrist and elbow surgery. I'm home resting, healing and looking forward to good days ahead.
featured article | The Challenge of Relaxation      

"Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax."
~Mark Black


Relax; things will be fine. Has anyone ever said these words to you? If you are a high strung, Type A personality like me, you've probably heard them many times in your life. If not those exact words, perhaps something like my husband often recites to me as we tear through town on the way to an appointment, "Relax, it won't matter if we are a few minutes late." Trust me, neither of these comments, or any related to them bring me any relaxation and typically only serve to make me mad.

Depending on which camp you fall into, the laid back, Type B (Relax, it will all work out), or the more easily stressed Type A (I can't stand being late), relaxation may or may not come naturally to you. Letting go might not be all too easy either (trust me on this).

Being one who always likes to model the stress reduction behaviors that I am teaching in the world, I have learned a few things on this journey. First of all, most of the things you read about reducing stress do actually work; that is, if you don't avoid taking action by stressing over the idea of trying these techniques. In order for them to work, you must incorporate them into your everyday life. Therein lies the challenging part, creating habits that include and make time for good self-care, without feeling guilty or obsessing over it. It is when things such as meditation, taking a deep breath when feeling stressed, and setting realistic expectations for yourself and others become a natural part of your life that you truly begin to feel more relaxed. Otherwise, you remain the hamster on the wheel of a cage: The more you think you don't have time to take care of yourself, the worse the stress gets. The worse the stress gets, the more you try to do and the less time you take for yourself. The less time you take for yourself, the worse the stress gets. And the wheel goes round and round and you feel like you can't stop. Not good! Sometimes saying NO to others is the very best thing you can start with, even if it takes practicing in front of your mirror to get up the nerve to say NO.

beach_stuff.jpg As a person who lives with an autoimmune disease, I am overly sensitive to stress. I have had to learn that the more I can relax and avoid stress the better I feel. I have a built in stress meter that jumps to the red zone when I neglect to set appropriate boundaries with my time and energy, stress over something I have no control over, or worry about my health and the future. None of these serves me well and often contributes to a flare up of my lupus. This lesson has not been easy to learn and has resulted in numerous reminders (and health scares) over the years.

So this summer, here's what I say we do....focus on making it the most relaxing and enjoyable summer ever. Let's agree to make one (or more) stress reduction techniques a habit, drop some of the expectations for perfection and settle on "good enough" to simply enjoy our days. If you follow me on social media, you know I have an addiction to sunrises and sunsets, so I plan to take a few deep breaths as I enjoy the beauty of the sun upon waking each morning and going to sleep each night. Ah, I can feel the tension slipping away just thinking about it.
books | What Cindy's Reading
When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

This book moved me immensely. It is the beautifully written memoir of the last two years of the author's life following a terminal cancer diagnosis. Kalanithi shares his perspective as both a doctor and a patient as he grapples with the question, "What gives life meaning?" There were lines in the book that I connected deeply with. "As you go through illness your values keep changing. You constantly have to figure out what is important to you," Kalanithi writes, and "he allowed himself to be vulnerable, he allowed himself to be comforted." This is a challenge to many with illness. I loved that he and his wife chose to have a baby during this time, because it was important to both of them. Although this is definitely not a lighthearted beach read, I do think it helps the reader to focus on what is truly important in life and the importance of spending time doing those things. I learned so much from reading this book and plan to reread it soon.

Be Frank With Me
by Julia Claiborne Johnson

This is the perfect summer relaxation book. I fell in love with the main character, an extremely bright and unusual nine year old boy named Frank. Although not specifically stated in the novel, I'm sure Frank falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. His reclusive mother is a writer who had one book that was a hit. I'm not going to tell you much more, because I highly recommend reading and enjoying this book yourself.

P.S. Always fun to throw a few James Patterson mysteries in the beach bag. I see he has a new one: 15th Affair. I like the Women's Murder Club series, so I'll be reading this one for relaxation.
encouragement
Read Cindy's latest blog entries Visit our blog

05-23-2016 

I work very hard in my life to live in the present moment and find joy and happiness there. However, there are some things, especially the prospect of surgery, that drag my thoughts [cont]...»

 

03-21-2016 

Not long ago, I received a phone call from a new doctor who came to me on referral. [cont]...»

 

03-07-2016 

Years ago, I sat in a yoga workshop and, as is common practice, the instructor went around the room asking the participants if we had any health concerns [cont]...»


"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."

~Sydney J. Harris

Speaking | Where's Cindy?
ABEC Logo
 
Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community
July 8-10, 2016 in Oklahoma City, OK
Keynote Address: Cindy Coney
Cindy Coney Speaking to audience 


SPEAKER BOOKINGS: Cindy Coney's keynote speeches for patients and healthcare professionals have inspired audiences around the globe with her uplifting messages of hope, optimism and overcoming challenge. To learn more about what Cindy can offer your group, email her at cindy@cindyconey.com.

ABOUT CINDY CONEY Nationally recognized keynote speaker and resiliency educator Cindy Coney has assisted thousands in moving beyond "coping" with limitations to recapturing joy, balance and freedom through her speeches and pioneering educational training for patients and healthcare professionals. Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has traveled the globe to share her story of thriving after a chronic diagnosis. Read more.