2016: Above the Line

2015 is coming to an end. How would you score yourself in the following:

  • Personal Development (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
  • Professional Development (career, competency, relationship)
  • Social Development (family, friends, community)

Have you been On line, Below the Line or Above the Line?


We are On Line… We get by… We focus on fire fighting; relaxing when there is no fire, and simply wait around for the next fire to fight. We are survivors…

If On Line puts us at sea level, then I suppose Below the Line could possibly mean that we are drowning… You seem to be downcast, lost faith in yourself and people around you ignore you… I believe nobody wants to be below the line because it is an unpleasant place to be in.

So, what is Above the Line?  I know! It means I am above the sea level, where there is fresh air (abundant life), sunlight (hope), blue sky (love), etc. etc..

What does it mean to be Above the line?

  • Living Above the Line means taking action, for YOURSELF.
  • Living Above the Line means you are giving YOURSELF a chance to live a happier life.
  • Living Above the Line means you transform problems into opportunities, giving YOURSELF a chance to think and act positively.
  • Living Above the Line means you are willing to live a life of improvement, to see YOURSELF changing for the better.
  • Living Above the Line means you allow YOURSELF to be an instrument to inspire others through your attitude of positive expectancy.

Why do we want to live Above the Line?

  • Living Above the Line is a life skill that creates Personal Power!
  • When you are Above the Line, you are the Victor, the Navigator; no more a victim!
  • A life of success is the end product of living Above the Line!

I invite you to join me in my journey to live Above the Line in 2016.


Stay tune! The journey begins now….


Interesting findings from a newly-trained first aider

First-Aid-Supplies-OnlineI have attended a Standard First Aid with CPR+AED course recently and I must say that it has been enriching.  It also makes me think what I can do proactively so that I can remember the techniques and, at the same time, feel useful. The following are 5 interesting findings:

Mobile Application

There are 2 mobile applications that I have found very useful and I would like to share with you.

  • If you are currently residing in Singapore and would like to be available as a First Responder, you can download myResponder.  It will prompt you to render first aid to Cardiac Arrest cases near you before the ambulance arrives.  It could be performing CPR or helping to apply AED to revive the casualty.  myResponder will also highlight the nearby AEDS.
  • mySCDF is another mobile application that is absolutely useful for anyone in any parts of the world.  It has Life Saving Procedures for CPR, Choking, and the operation of a fire extinguisher.  I would only recommend those who are AED trained to operate the medical device.

Rescue TV Programme

For those who subscribe to Cable TV, I highly recommend 2 rescue TV programme that I love:

  • Bondi Rescue – you will find a team of trained lifeguards, committed to their rescue effort, such as drowning and cardiac arrest cases
  • King Cross ER – watching the emergency department saving lives was an emotional, heart-stopping and thought-provoking experience

Just for laugh

For basic knowledge of everyday first aid, you can visit BritishRedCross to watch the video. Be Ready, not Sorry.

Using Enneagram for Coaching

What is Enneagram?  Enneagram is a profound map that illuminates the 9 different architectures of the human personality.  It provides highly accurate descriptions of how individuals of each style think, feel, and behave.  It also explains the underlying drives and motivations, providing precise development activities tailored to the specific needs of the 9 styles.  For the individual, Enneagram is not a quick fix to your problem but I am sure you will develop greater self-awareness.  It is a powerful tool to help people learn and grow, and hopefully the awareness will enable you to take personal responsibility for your behaviour.

Understanding your Enneagram style

  1. Ones seek a perfect world and work diligently to improve both themselves and everyone and everything around them. They are Reformers.
  2. Twos want to be liked by those they want to like them, try to meet the needs of others, and attempt to orchestrate the people and events in their lives.  They are Lovers.
  3. Threes organise their lives to achieve specific goals and to appear successful in order to gain the respect and admiration of others.  They are Achievers.
  4. Fours desire deep connections both with their interior worlds and with other people and they feel most alive when they authentically express their feelings and personal experiences.  They are Creative Individualists.
  5. Fives thirsts for information and knowledge and use emotional detachment as a way of keeping involvement with others to a minimum.  They are Thinkers.
  6. Sixes have insightful minds, are prone to worry, and create anticipatory or worst-case scenarios to help themselves feel prepared in case something goes wrong.  Some Sixes are more overtly fearful (phobic) while others move toward the fear as a way to prove they have no fear (counter-phobic); most Sixes do some of both.  They are Security Seekers.
  7. Sevens crave the stimulation of new ideas, people, and experiences; avoid pain; create elaborate future plans that will allow them to keep all of their options open.  They are Adventurers.
  8. Eights pursue the truth, like to keep situations under control, want to make important things happen, and try to hide their vulnerability.  They are Leaders.
  9. Nines seek peace, harmony, and positive mutual regard and dislike conflict, tension, and ill will.  They are Peacemakers.

For greater details you can refer to the Enneagram website.  You are encourage to do an online test to know your Enneagram Style.

Adapted from “Bringing out the Best in everyone you Coach” by Ginger Lapid-Bogda

Anger Management

Anger is a perfectly natural, healthy human emotion which may be expressed in a number of ways, including aggressively, non-assertively, assertively, or not at all.  Anger is a feeling, an emotion we feel at times.

Aggression is not the same thing as anger.  Aggression is a behavioural style of expression.

Before You Get Angry

  1. Recognize and allow yourself to believe, that anger is a natural, healthy, non-evil human feeling.  Everyone feels it, we just don’t all express it.  You need not fear your anger.
  2. Remember that you are responsible for your own feelings.  You get angry at what happened, the other person didn’t ‘make’ you angry.
  3. Remember that anger and aggression are not the same thing.
  4. Get to know yourself.  Recognize those events and behaviours that trigger your anger.  As some say, “Find your own buttons, so you’ll know when they’re pushed!”
  5. Don’t “set yourself up” to get angry.  If your temperature rises when you must wait in a slow line (at the bank, in traffic), work at finding alternative ways to accomplish those tasks.
  6. Learn to relax.  If you have developed the skills of relaxing yourself, learn to apply this response when your anger is triggered.  You may wish to take this a step further by “de-sensitizing” yourself to certain anger-invoking situations.
  7. Develop several coping strategies for handling your anger, including relaxation, physical exertion, working out resolutions within yourself.

When You Get Angry

  1. Apply the coping strategies you developed above.
  2. Make some verbal expression of concern (for example share with someone).
  3. Take a few moments to decide if this situation is one you wish to work out with the other person, or one you will resolve within yourself.
  4. “Schedule” time for working things out.  If you are able to do so spontaneously, fine; if not, arrange a time (with other person or with yourself) to deal with the issue later.
  5. State your feelings directly, with appropriate non-verbal cues (if you are genuinely angry, a smile is inappropriate).
  6. Accept responsibility for your feelings.
  7. Stick to specifics and to the present situation.  Avoid generalizing about the entire history of your relationship.
  8. Work toward resolution, not “victory”.
  9. Keep your life clear!  Deal with issues when they arise, when you feel the feelings – not after hours/ days/ weeks of “stewing” about it.  When you can’t deal with it immediately, arrange a specific time when you can and will.

Conflict is More Easily Resolved When Both Parties…

  • Avoid a “win-lose” position.  The attitude that “I am going to win, and you are going to lose” will more likely result in both losing.  By remaining flexible, both can win – at least in part.
  • Gain the same information about the situation.  Because perceptions so often differ, it is good to make everything explicit.
  • Have goals which are basically compatible.  If we both want to preserve the relationship more than to win, we have a better chance.
  • Act honestly and directly toward one another.
  • Clarify their individual actual needs in the situation.  I probably don’t need to win.  I do need to gain some specific outcome and to retain my self-respect.
  • Seek solutions rather than deciding who is to be blamed.
  • Accept responsibility for their own feelings (“I am angry” not “You made me mad”).
  • Are willing to face the problem openly, rather than avoiding or hiding it.
  • Agree on some means of negotiation or exchange.  I probably would agree to give on some points if you would give on some.

How vulnerable are you to stress

The following test was developed by psychologists Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith at Boston University Medical Centre.  Score each item from 1 (almost always) to 5 (never), according to how much of the time each statement applies to you.

  1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.
  2. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at least 4 nights a week.
  3. I give and receive affection regularly.
  4. I have at least one relative within 10 miles on whom I can reply.
  5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.
  6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.
  7. I take fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks a week.
  8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.
  9. I have an income adequate to meet my basic expenses.
  10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.
  11. I regularly attend club or social activities.
  12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.
  13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.
  14. I am in good health (including eye-sight, hearing, teeth)
  15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.
  16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems, e.g. chores, money and daily living issues.
  17. I do something for fun at least once a week.
  18. I am able to organise my time effectively.
  19. I drink fewer than 3 cups of coffee (or tea or cola) a day.
  20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.

To get your score, add up the figures and subtract 20.

  • Score > 30 indicates a vulnerability to stress
  • 50 < Score < 75: seriously vulnerable
  • Score >75: extremely vulnerable
Positive Coping Methods
  • Spiritual – Commitment, Prayer, Faith, Surrender, Valuing, Worship
  • Mental – Time management, Problem solving, Life planning, Relabeling, Organizing, Imagination
  • Physical – Relaxation, Nourishment, Self-care, Exercise, Stretching, Biofeedback
  • Family – Balancing, Togetherness, Flexibility, Networking, Esteem building, Conflict resolution
  • Diversion – Learning, Music, Work, Getaways, Hobbies, Play
  • Interpersonal – Affirmation, Contact, Expression, Linking, Assertiveness, Limits
Negative Coping Methods
Indulging, Revenge, Tantrums, Fault finding, Worrying, Denial, Illness, Tobacco, Withdrawal, Alcohol, Eating, Passivity, Stubbornness, Drugs

Tips to Manage your Life


  • Begin living now.  Stop living in the future or in the past.  Let go of what is lost.
  • Be reflective.  Write a journal of your daily activities, thoughts and moods.
  • Be honest about your feelings.
  • Set goals realistically.  Figure out ways to achieve your goals.  List your successes.
  • Dress in a way that is right for you.  Practice good posture.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Control your food input, eat nutritiously.
  • Express yourself.  Learn to ask for what you want.
  • Think positively.  Stop talking about your miseries.
  • Talk about your strengths.
  • Ask for positive strokes.
  • Do something exciting.  Take a chance… risk 🙂
  • Spend time alone.  Listen to your inner voice.
  • Learn what is and what is not controllable in your life.
  • Learn to accept what you cannot change.
  • Stop collecting people with problems.  Stop rescuing people.
  • Let other people round their own lives. Encourage others to take responsibility for their own welfare.
  • Get acquainted with happy & successful people.
  • Enjoy your relationships. Stop assuming others cannot get along with you.
  • Take some steps to straighten out a problem in your life right now.
  • Analyse your issues & figure out what can be done.  Make decisions & take some immediate action.  Stop letting things drift.
  • Think to solve problems rather than depending on luck or ‘magical powers’
  • Organise your work.  Focus on one task at a time.  Start sharing responsibilities.
  • Redefine your priorities.  Listen to feedback from others.
  • Face life with dignity.  Face painful questions squarely.
  • Encourage gentleness in yourself and others.  Start really caring about people.
  • Give yourself permission to be afraid, make mistakes and succeed.
  • Encourage others to feel good.
  • Seek out good friends.
  • Share yourself with friends and significant others.
  • Ask for help in a straightforward way.
  • Compromise occasionally.
  • Stop looking for someone to blame.
  • Give people a break.
  • Be good to yourself.  Find out what you are good at and enjoy doing it.
  • Develop your personal talents.
  • Stop being always available for running errands.
  • Do something you’d really like to do for yourself.
  • Make your environment comfortable.
  • Re-decorate your room/ office/ home.
  • Stop being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Stop letting people push you around.
  • Get enough rest.  Take a nap.
  • Take some time off.  Learn to relax.  Enjoy leisure.
  • Take a break… if possible, a vacation.
  • Develop a varied life.
  • Get into loose fitting clothes at home.
  • Enjoy your sexuality.
  • Get a medical check-up.
  • Meditate.
  • Sing.  Dance.  Play.

Source: University of Minnesota Counseling & Consulting Services

Stress Danger Signals & Prevention

There are certain signs common to stress.  Medical measures of stress can be determined by a physician, but there are many signs that you can observe yourself.

  1. General irritability, hyper-excitation, or depression
  2. Pounding of the heart
  3. Dryness of the throat and mouth, ulcer in the mouth
  4. Impulsive behaviour
  5. The overpowering urge to cry or run and hide
  6. Inability to concentrate, flight of thoughts, and general disorientation
  7. Feelings of unreality, weakness, or dizziness
  8. Fatigue
  9. Floating anxiety, being afraid and not knowing why
  10. Emotional tension and alertness – keyed up
  11. Trembling, nervous tics
  12. Tendency to be easily startled by small sounds
  13. High-pitched, nervous laughter
  14. Stuttering and other speech difficulties (Watch The King’s Speech!)
  15. Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth
  16. Insomnia
  17. Hyper-mobility, an increased tendency to move about without any reason
  18. Sweating
  19. The frequent need to urinate
  20. Diarrhea, indigestion, queasiness in the stomach and sometimes vomiting
  21. Migraine headaches
  22. Premenstrual tension or missed menstrual cycles
  23. Pain in the neck or lower back
  24. Loss of or excessive appetite
  25. Increased smoking
  26. Increased use of legally prescribed drugs
  27. Nightmares
  28. Neurotic behaviour
  29. Psychoses
  30. Accident proneness

Healthy Lifestyle to Reduce Stress

  1. Breathe deeply – reduce anxiety, give us more energy, and a stronger immune system
  2. Drink pure water – allows the body to eliminate stress promoting toxins and metabolic wastes more easily
  3. Eat nutritious meals – nourishment for energy and strength, improves digestion
  4. Sleep deeply – allow our bodies time to rejuvenate, and repair
  5. Balance work and life – enhances our emotional well being and joy in life, learn to work smarter
  6. Move and be active – boosts the immune system, increases circulation and increases our sense of strength and vitality
  7. Practice prayer and meditation – renewed sense of clarity, purpose, and peace
  8. Be kind to yourself and others – Nurture kind, compassionate, loving relationships
  9. Discover and work toward life purpose

For more information, check out http://www.gentle-stress-relief.com/hans-selye.html