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Stress in Office

As a leading feng shui practitioner and meditation teacher, privately, for celebrities, on TV and in magazines, the subject of stress in the workplace is one that I come across on almost a daily basis. Stress in the office can be caused by a seemingly endless cocktail of problems, which build up the 'pressure', and allow no release!

A bullying boss, unreasonable manager, sales targets, threatened redundancy, computer breakdowns, lack of information can all lead to stress. Add to this SBS-'Sick Building Syndrome'--a working environment which is unfriendly because of unfriendly harsh lighting, lots of corners and sharp angles pointing towards you--called by the Chinese ?poison arrows?, too many large windows, badly designed air-conditioning, plus constant noise, and you can quickly see that stress at work, and the absences caused by it are very, very common.

Whatever the problems caused by stress, the answer I have found to be useful is a combination of two vital 'medicines'. Ancient Eastern Philosophy calls them, 'internal and external landscape', and it describes how to achieve the perfect flow of natural ?chi? energies--preventing, reducing and taking away the stress--permanently.

The 'external landscape' is your surroundings. Feng Shui uses the chi energy of the office environment, making it friendly instead of antagonistic. Colours, interior design, mirrors, plants, lights, seating, desk positions plus careful use of ornaments, pictures and soft furnishings can all help to radically improve the surroundings of our workplace. A carefully balanced chi energy, like a good balanced diet, will help to reduce stress significantly- and, in my work, internationally, over the last thirteen years, I have found feng shui to be very useful in all sorts of working environments--hospitals, schools, hospices, care homes, dentists, doctors, sales offices, finance houses, retail premises, hotels, cafes, restaurants, undertakers, chapels of rest!

You are however restricted to the basic shape and layout of the building, the 'work environment', where you can exert little control, unless you are involved in the original plans [something, incidentally which I am doing more and more of]. So, sometimes, an 85%, 95% 'de-stressing' is the best that you can achieve. This is why, when I can, I suggest that the staff become involved with the destressing of their 'internal landscape'. The destressing of personnel is much easier to achieve, quicker, more practical and often 100% is very possible and permanent!

Destressing the person means that the person remains destressed, no matter how the environment around them alters, or how bad the day gets. This is because the change comes from within-- the 'internal landscape'.

Over many, many years, I have used meditation, chi-kung and tai-chi to destress private, corporate, business and celebrity clients--changing the flow of natural energy, the chi around the body, in the same way that yoga, acupuncture and the martial arts do.

The external chi energy of the environment-feng shui, is exactly the same as the internal chi energy--indeed the two are constantly in a flow of exchange, a bit like photosynthesis in plants. Chi-kung, standing, slow moving exercises- called 'The Eight Pieces of Treasure', used by the Shaolin Chinese warrior priests as a warm up focus, a strengthening and calming exercise and meditation before they practise kung fu, if often the simplest and most ?life-changing? way in!

I teach my students how to breathe in a different way, in an aware way, so that each breath and each move within chi-kung becomes a powerful destressing tool for the whole mind and body. of course, the beauty of using the breath is that you carry it with you everywhere you go--always and everywhere, so you can perform your breathing, meditation exercises anywhere--not just in a special meditation place, although that does help as well, especially in the early 'learning' days!

From these simple exercises, breathing awareness--a student can be taken deeper and deeper into 'sitting' meditation, where the breathing can be slowed even further and visualisations, affirmations and mantra can be added to make the experience more and more powerful, more and more 'destressing'! The student thus learns to control breath, mind and the body--brain, heart, pulse are all affected. Life remains the same, full of problems, as life always will be, but the student?s approach to life is no longer stressed and panic ridden-it is now strengthened, calmer and more assertive!

Fifteen minutes chi-kung and the slow moving tai-chi, through to twenty minutes sitting in meditation, the student can take the effects way into 'real life' and become totally destressed. I have recently finished filming a programme for BBC 2 TV, 'Everyman', where the exact process I have been describing has been recorded and examined. The results, everyone agreed, were spectacular.

I was teaching nine factory workers from Wigan, Lancashire how to ?destress? themselves. For four weeks, first of all in a very noisy factory, and then finally for two days at a 'retreat', I taught them to use the tool of meditation. Many of them were sceptics. Many of them had problems with sleeping, anger, stress, panic attacks, heart palpitations, blood pressure. All received help from the work I did, many were changed forever! Their heart/pulse/breathing and metabolism rates were all checked regularly and thoroughly and showed dramatic changes. More importantly, the workers themselves noticed changes in themselves and these changes were also noted by family, friends and work colleagues.

The results although spectacular are not unusual. Stress levels were drastically reduced, the evidence was overwhelming. This programme will be screened shortly. Watch it and judge for yourself!

With any class I teach, I take in a small glass coffee jar, filled with clean water. At the bottom of the jar, I have placed a spoonful of soil. I shake the jar for one minute, to show my students the results of one minute of stress and anger. The water---the human bloodstream--is left clogged with toxins/chemicals for about eight hours--the water is cloudy, no longer fit to drink! In life, of course, stress and anger are repeated over and over again during the day, so 'the water' will never become clear again! The toxins will be constantly flowing around the bloodstream!

Meditation cures stress, and here?s the even better news--------everyone CAN meditate!

If you have tried it once and did not succeed, or think perhaps that you never will try it, you need to see what is stopping you. Look in the mirror- and that?s the only thing stopping you--yourself! 

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