Tips that help reduce stress

Stress, also known as the silent killer, can be defined as a state of mental or emotional pressure resulting from difficult or very challenging situations. Basically, it is life happening all around us and the seemingly insurmountable weight of it all. Life happens to everyone and everyone will (at some point) encounter stress. We all respond to stress in different ways but learning to structure our lives around it can ultimately be a matter of life and death, sickness or good health. Below are a few stress-reducing tips you can try.

Tip #1
Breathe, baby breathe
deep breathing(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
Deep breathing works. It really does. When I had my first child, the doctors and nurses told me to breathe, inhale through your nose (your diaphragm contracts and your lungs expand), and exhale slowly through pursed lips. This was my first introduction to deep breathing and over the years I have found that this technique has many amazing and powerful benefits, mainly being instrumental in reducing stress, improving sleep, optimizing your immune system and so much more. So when faced with a stressful situation, before you become unglued, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply!

Tip #2
Pray, Meditate and Refocus
prayer meditate refocus(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
There are situations that we will encounter that are beyond our human control. We are not super people with super human strength, contrary to popular belief. This life will get crazy and that’s when we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Prayer, like deep breathing, works. It is the understanding that we cannot control or fix everything and everybody that brings us to our knees. Learning to pray sincerely, meditate honestly on God’s word and taking time to refocus on what’s really important in our lives, will reduces stress immensely.

Tip #3
Laugh
laughter(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
This one is fun. Laugh! Hard and loud and until your stomach cramps and the tears soak your cheeks. Laughter is your internal medication, its God’s natural remedy for a soul-ache. What Tylenol does for your headache, good old-fashioned laughter does for your soul’s-ache. It works!

Tip #4
Read a good book
reading a book(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

We can get so caught up in the hub-bub of life that we forget how relaxing it is to sit down with a steamy/hot romance novel or an inspirational self-help book that not only takes your mind off your problems but gives your brain the inspirational work-out that it needs. There have been studies that determine that reading is the work-out your brain needs in order to stay in its optimal health. Reading reduces stress and expands your knowledge; it’s a win-win situation!

Tip #5
Music calms the savage beast (called stress)
listening to music(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

This is another one of my favorite stress relievers. The power of music is remarkable in so many ways and has so many incredible benefits. We can actually calm that beast called stress by listening to our favorite songs, regardless of the genre. Listening to soft classical or jazz can help slow down your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease stress hormone levels, while up-beat tempo music can help boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, your concentration and so much more. So close your eyes and relax as your stress dissipates into the sounds and rhythms of melodic pleasure.

A few other stress reducers are, going on walks in the evening, riding a bike, working out, watching a sunset, singing, going to the beach, fishing, journaling, road trips, pampering yourself at a day spa, doing Yoga, sitting in a hot tub, going to the movies, volunteering, reading your bible, eating ice cream (or your favorite treat), simplifying your life and spending quality time with good friends and family. Can you think of other ways to minimize stress?
sunset(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

At whatever cost, reduce the stress and relax. YOLO (you only live once)!

Love,
Toni

Highlights from MegaFest 2013

Megafest 2013 logo
I’ve been traveling the past couple of weekends but now I’m back, ready to share some of my most memorable moments. I went to the one and only MegaFest in Dallas, TX the last weekend in August, and I would like to share a little about that experience. If you have never been to MegaFest, it is truly something you and your family should plan into your vacation time. Please enjoy my highlights!

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MEGAFEST 2013

This year’s MegaFest was BIG! Over 50,000 people from all over the world gathered in Dallas, Texas the weekend of August 29-31 at the magnificent Omni Hotel, the Dallas Convention Center and the American Airlines Center downtown, to celebrate the world’s largest family fun festival!

I had never seen anything like it before as this was my first MegaFest experience. I was in total awe of the collaboration of events, activities, seminars, movie screenings, concerts, expos, celebrity red carpet interviews, comedy shows, and kids and teenagers activities. There was literally something for everyone!

MegaFest 2013 hosted Oprah’s Lifeclass, the inaugural International Faith & Family Film Festival, the Just Churchin’ Comedy Show (with Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash), the Ball Up Streetball Classic Tour Championship and empowerment sessions for men, women, young adults and children.

On Wednesday, August 28th, there was a press conference with Bishop TD Jakes, who was joined by the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, to kick-off the three-day inspirational festival celebrating Relationships and the Restoration of Families through Faith.

I participated as Media representing Six Brown Chicks and I worked harder, and walked longer and sweated more profusely than I have with any physical workout at my neighborhood gym. I’m sure I lost several inches and pounds during this ‘five’ day event (for me). I checked in Wednesday and stayed through Sunday.

I met some of the most wonderful people and made contacts that I hope will last a lifetime. There were several ‘moments to remember’ that I want to highlight as well as a checklist for anyone wanting to attend MegaFest next year.

MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

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Oprah’s Life Class – This was definitely something I will never forget as long as I live. I watched with goose pimples how Oprah and thousands of other women (and men) responded to the words of wisdom that came from Bishop TD Jakes. Please be sure to watch the life class this month of September 2013, it’s about fatherless children.

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The Woman of Purpose Concert benefiting Autism Speaks – This concert featuring the Grammy and Oscar Winner, Jennifer Hudson, emceed by comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey was truly something to see. Performers ranged from Brandy, Mary Mary, Joe, and Kim Burrell, just to name a few. A portion of the proceeds from the concert went to benefit Autism Speaks.

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Woman Thou Art Loosed – The only thing I have to say about this is, NO MORE CHAINS, I am loosed!

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International Faith & Family Film Festival – This was an extravagant affair. There were training sessions, movie premiers/screenings, and Q & A sessions with directors, authors, screenwriters, and actors. This was truly amazing.

If you’re wanting to attend MegaFest in 2014:
• Start planning and saving money now.
• Book flights and hotels in advance.
• Pack clothes and shoes according to Dallas, Texas weather. But also plan for surprises (like rain).
• Women may pack heels but also plan to wear flats and tennis shoes for the vigorous walking around the convention center and the hotel and outside to catch trolleys and buses for travel within the city.
• Make sure to have ‘some’ cash on you. If you’re anything like me, I don’t carry much cash in my purse but I had to go to the ATM several times because I needed CASH for parking (they didn’t take credit/debit cards!) and cash for some of the vendors at the Family Expo.
• Register online! It will save you from having to wait in those long, long lines with frustrated folks. Also take your receipts and proof of purchase/registration to MegaFest. Don’t leave home without it!
• Pack snacks and bottled water. The restaurants and food vendors were a little pricey for some. The average burger, fries and coke was right at $10.00+ (per person). A 20 0z bottle of water was $4.00. (I can get a 24 pack for $3.00 at Wal-Mart)
• Overall, plan to have a good time and to be blessed. There is so much to do, you’ll have to pick and choose because you won’t be able to do ‘everything’.

Love,
Toni

Author’s Quote for the Day – Family

Of course if you like your kids, if you love them from the moment they begin, you yourself begin all over again, in them and with them. – William Saroyan

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For the love of babies. . .

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Inquisitive minds. . .

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Innocent moments. . .

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Heart-melting smiles. . .

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Children are our gifts from God!

Pictures courtesy of my daughter, Erica, who took these photos of her cousins when we visited Oklahoma in May. Good job Erica Jay!

Love,
Toni

Christian Jokes – One liners

If Cain and Able were Siamese twins, would they be Cable?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets.

The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.

“I’ve taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.”

Warning notice at a seminary swimming pool: “First-year students are only allowed to walk on the shallow end.”

“If absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said a minister, “a lot of folks must love our church.”

Laughter doeth good, like a medicine (Backwards)

A proud mother of a two year old was bragging to her best friend that her brilliant daughter had learned to count backwards.

“Come here sweetie and count to ten for Mommy.”

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” the toddler proudly sang.

“Now, count backwards for Mommy.”

Turning her tiny little body a full 180 degrees, the child chirped, “One, two, three, four, five. . .”