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Road Rage At The Holidays - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Road rage is a national concern with over 45,000 Americans admitting to driving too aggressively. With the holidays right around the corner, stress levels are climbing while patience in traffic is declining.

There are several points to keep in mind when you’re on this road during the holidays:

Road Rage Builds: We do know that road rage is the result of a progression of frustrations throughout the day that culminates in an incident on the road.

Immediate Gratification: Especially with the holidays, we want speed and we want it now--quick purchases, fast service, and a speedy getaway. Time urgency concerns explode during the holidays since we have more to do than we have time to do it in -- a perfect environment for creating road rage.

Holiday Party Circuit: Road rage brews in a mixture of sleep deprivation, too much sugar, and a whole lot of alcohol. With the holidays upon us, many of us are hitting the party circuit and we are just drinking and eating things we shouldn't consume, and as a result, we don't sleep well and we hit the roads tired, irritable, and grumpy.

Here are my tips to avoid road rage this holiday season:

Get Comfortable: Make your car comfortable by regulating the temperature, wearing comfortable clothes and having the seat adjusted for your body.

Distract with Music and Breathe Deeply: It is impossible to be upset if you are listening to great music. Take seven or eight slow breaths per minute from the diaphragm and stop stressing out.

Develop Empathy for Other Drivers: When someone is rude on the road, don't assume you know why. Comfort yourself with a positive explanation.

Take Responsibility: We all like to credit events and other people for our reactions rather than remembering that we have control over what goes through our heads.

Limit that Alcohol: Although everyone likes to party, the sugar surge enhances every emotion. Limit your alcohol and sugar during the holidays and get enough sleep. Remember that the holidays are a time of connecting with others, not a time for losing your temper.

Bad For Your Health: Road rage is lethal for your health. Since rage is a central symptom of Type A, it can extremely harmful over time. Road rage floods the body with harmful stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The body is in perpetual hyper-vigilant mode and you’ll have an especially hard time calming down and controlling yourself. Try some relaxation techniques or just taking some time off to cool down.

The Secrets of Holiday Gift Giving - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Americans spend up to $40 billion annually for holiday presents and while holiday gifts can be a terrific way to show your love for your partner, psychologists now report that holiday gifts can often be a relationship report card. Research shows that four billion dollars is spent each holiday season on unappreciated gifts so it’s important to know what you’re doing. Here to give us some advice on all that gift giving is psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Why do gifts have so much meaning for us, especially in a relationship?

Perception is Central: A gift is never just a gift. It is a fundamental way we communicate how important the relationship is. Americans, in particular, are really stressed about gift giving because of this relationship rule. Giving the perfect gift can be seen as a true measure of how much we care about our partner-- or not. The more thoughtful or romantic we are perceived as being, the more emotional money in the bank.

Avoid Misfires: But even when you love your partner, holiday gifts can also get you into a lot of trouble if you misfire. Since they really do leave us vulnerable to judgment, they are a form of risk taking in the relationship and they can go very badly. We are using gifts to take basic measurements of our partner’s commitment, affection, and understanding of who we are.

Relationships Ending: The ugly truth is that gifts often signal the end of things. For example, a gift left on the kitchen counter in the plastic bag is not a good sign.

What are the chief pitfalls we should look out for in giving gifts?

Buy for Them Only: Avoid giving them something you would like irrespective of their tastes. Buying for yourself—with your preferences and interests—will not be endearing. You will be viewed as insensitive and selfish.

Keep It Equal According to Status: Remember that in families, the comparative value of the gifts will always be measured. It is just fine to give your wife a piece of nice jewelry while giving your sister a robe. Be careful not to “over gift” relatives of equal status—it will be noted.

Avoid Lavish Gifts to Relatives: Also, avoid lavish gifts that are going to make everyone feel inadequate. You can look like a show off and the gift just misfires.

Avoid Token, Last Minute Gifts: Low expense and minimal efforts in gift giving are recipes for disaster, especially with a woman. Also, the last minute gift can be cute once in a while (like when you’re fifteen!) but please don’t purchase in a rush at the holidays, especially for a woman. I guarantee she will feel like an afterthought.

Avoid Gender Specific and Bland Gifts: Please do not buy an appliance for her unless she specially requests that. Anything with a cord is off limits and on off switch items—unless it’s new car—are to be avoided. Also, gifts that you would give anybody you know don’t belong under the tree for your spouse.

No Motivational Gifts: Do not give a gift that screams self-improvement like weight loss, better parenting or finding a job. A year’s membership at the gym or a box of diet drinks can really hurt the relationship.

Avoid Re-Gifting: Almost one third of Americans pass on gifts they don’t like. Be careful with this since it can hurt the relationship if they figure it out.

What are the differences between men and women in gift giving?

Money Counts with Men: Men tend to be much more aware of how much they’re spending to buy her present. They use their money to signal affection, interest and commitment. They also like practicality and personalization in their own gifts—golf clubs, new grilling utensils, etc.

Women and Meaning: On the other hand, women love to investigate what the present means emotionally—that relationship report card mentality. We love hidden meanings and delight in building drama around the moment of the gift—the candlelight at the table, the Christmas tree glow. We will often spend hours devising the perfect gift for him, thinking, dreaming and scheming. She hopes (expects) that he will do the same for her but research shows that men rarely do. They are more likely to think about it for a minute, buy it at the very last minute on Christmas Eve and deliver it the next morning.

What are the best gifts to give?

Research shows that gift giving must include three elements—wonderful surprise, familiarity with her tastes and the cost must reflect the perceived emotional value of the relationship.

Savor the Experience: Gifts that are personal and experiential are huge. Give your partner the gift of a romantic evening, a massage, a sports event, duo cooking classes, making a gingerbread house together, a horse and buggy ride in Dallas or a weekend getaway. Generally, people do not remember the way you dressed or even specifically what you did. They remember how you made them feel.

Selfless Giving: Remember to be gracious even if you receive a less desirable gift. The real gift in holiday presents lies in your delight in giving and in receiving kindly. Every study about happiness, without exception, argues that our chief happiness comes from selfless giving. Holiday presents are an excellent place to create happiness for you and your partner.

How To Impress At Your Office Holiday Party - By Chris Gearing

Monday, December 06, 2010

How To Act At Your Holiday Office Party - By Chris Gearing

Friday, December 03, 2010

How To Impress At Your Holiday Office Party - By Chris Gearing

Friday, December 03, 2010

As the season of office parties begins full tilt this holiday season, many of us will be tempted to let loose and have a little too much fun. But a new study reports that around 40% of us have been embarrassed at a holiday party and a shocking 23% of attendees have been reprimanded for their misbehavior.

So why do so many people get in hot water at the annual holiday party?

There is a basic misconception about these parties - this is a business event and you must remember that. Even if it’s supposed to be social, similar office expectations prevail. Your boss and coworkers do not want to see you dancing the night away after drinking too much! They want to see the relaxed, congenial side of your personality behaving appropriately. Whether it is fair or not, you are being evaluated on some level by everyone in the room. The bottom line is that you can use the office party to enormously enhance your career or you can land yourself in a heap of trouble.

More than 1 in 10 Americans say they know someone who has been fired for their inappropriate behavior at a holiday party.

Here are a few ways to get in trouble at the office party:

  • Saying Something Inappropriate to a Colleague or Boss
  • Drinking Too Much – please stop at 2 drinks and nurse them throughout the event.
  • Hooking Up with a Coworker
  • Disinterested and Arrogant Behavior
  • Overly Friendly or Familiar Behavior
  • Forgetting Someone’s Name – take a look at the nametags!

Looking to make a good impression at this year’s holiday party? Here are the do’s-and-don’t’s to have a great time AND impress your boss:

Please Limit Alcohol: Even though that open bar looks inviting, that is the last place you need to park yourself. Have a drink or two and then chase it with club soda. Never, ever get drunk at the party—it is career suicide.

Talk It Up: Use the event to demonstrate how conversational you can be. Since most business, especially at the higher executive levels, requires an excellent ability to interact well with others socially. If you’re looking for a promotion, it is vital that you work the room: move with confidence, sincerely show interest in others, and shake everyone’s hand.

Dress Well: The office party is not a time to deck yourself out with your most seductive attire. Remember, this is a business event so you need to be festive but professional. Your boss and other superiors may not make the rounds in your direction but they will get a glimpse of you and you want that moment to serve you well. Reserve the wild ties and low cut dresses for your personal party time.

Don’t Gossip: Please come prepared to talk about something other than your job—your children, their children, the best hamburger in town, etc. Most of all, avoid gossip that can be repeated by your inebriated coworkers. Office parties mixed with booze are renowned for inspiring inappropriate disclosures.

Follow Up: A lot of people are careless about making promises at office parties to provide information—like a phone number or a business lead—and then fail to follow up. This is a huge mistake since people tend to only remember what you don’t do for them. Following up is an opportunity for you to gain credibility by being the one person who actually sends the information after the party is over. People truly appreciate the self-discipline such efforts require.

Make Some Friends: We know from new research that social interactions are like medicine. In fact, a review of 148 studies found that socially connected people have a 50% lower chance of dying. In addition, the holidays can be stressful for all of us and these office parties can be a great place to enjoy an interesting conversation and lower your stress. Even if you aren’t interested in the corner office, friends will keep you alive longer!

And finally, show some gratitude. The party planners never get any attention. People love to be thanked and genuine appreciation creates enormous good will. When you depart, find the people who were instrumental in hosting the party and thank them generously. Your appreciation will never be forgotten.

Office Holiday Party Etiquette - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For some bizarre reason, CBS 11's online player will not allow us to embed the video directly.

But you can watch it -- here.

(Click on "here.")

How To Handle A Holiday With Your In-Laws - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Surviving The In-Laws During The Holidays - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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