Tuesday, April 01, 2014

For emotional balance redirect blood flow in your brain

Stress for Success

April 1, 2014, Week 449

Emotions are interesting, aren’t they? Sometimes they are so overwhelming it’s easy to believe your emotions determine who you are rather than simply them being a part of you. They can feel so completely suffocating you can see no way out of them. It can feel like they’re never going away.

Looking at emotions intellectually can provide you distance from them allowing you to see you can control them rather than vice versa. Last week I shared the connection between emotions and stress hormones: your “Emotional Landscape,” provided by Heart Math. Here’s a review of their “positive” and “negative” emotions and their hormonal counterparts:”
·         High energy emotions: Anger, hostility, impatience, etc., and happy, motivated, creative, etc.
·         Low energy emotions: Bored, depressed, hopeless, etc., and calm, content, relaxed, etc.
·         Emotions accompanied by cortisol, which in too high amounts over a longer period of time lead you to be vulnerable to illness and disease development: Anger, hostility, impatience, bored, lethargic, hopeless, etc.
·         Emotions accompanied by DHEA, which helps suppress elevated cortisol: Happy, motivated, creative, calm, content, relaxed, etc.

For greater emotional balance it also helps to intellectually understand how the brain works emotionally to see how easy it is to get stuck in seemingly endless emotional cycles. This can lead to accepting there are Brain Training Techniques (I’ve been using this term longer than Luminosity has been advertising theirs) that can redirect brain blood flow away from the emotional areas to more rational thinking areas.

Before I address this, let me make clear that I am not advocating the avoidance of emotions. But too often, your emotional reaction can become more of a problem than the triggering event itself. Other times your emotions keep you from effectively solving whatever the triggering challenge is. Brain Training techniques can help restore emotional balance so better problem-solving is possible.

In a snapshot, here’s how your emotional brain works. Keep in mind, this has developed for survival reasons:
·         You perceive a threat or stress. It makes no difference that your neighbor may not consider the same situation stressful. It only matters that you do.
·         This triggers your brain’s “fear center” or your amygdala, the part of the unconscious brain’s limbic system, which is primarily responsible for your emotional life.
·         The amygdala sends out an alarm, triggering the physical fight/flight response with all of its potentially damaging stress hormones, including cortisol. The amygdala has been likened to a guard dog protecting property: it attacks first and asks questions later.
·         The problem develops when this automatic reaction triggers stressful, angry/fearful thinking, which continues to trigger the amygdala, which continues to trigger the stress hormones.
·         During chronic stress, the amygdala can actually grow while your higher level brain’s executive functioning region, the cerebral cortex, can shrink!

Brain Training techniques are intended to break this cycle and move to problem-solving.

Psychology has long offered up a host of skills to help break this cycle, prime among them is cognitive restructuring, a process to identify and challenge maladaptive thoughts. (Remember, stressful thoughts keep the emotional loop going.) On-going brain research now tells us why these skills among others can help. In my own nonscientific words, skills such as cognitive restructuring redirect the blood flow away from your amygdala to other brain regions to break the cycle of stressful thinking, amygdala engagement, and stress hormone dumping.

One truly simple technique to redirect the brain’s blood flow is to count. Not just to ten as your mother advised but to 50 or 70 or 100. It seems the region of the brain involved in counting is the intraparietal sulcus. This fact is unimportant to this discussion. The point is, to calm yourself emotionally you need to redirect blood flow away from the amygdala to pretty much anywhere else in your brain until the emotion is calmed. If upon calming and therefore stopping the counting your brain races back to the emotional loop, do it again. None of the skills work instantly. They all require repetition.

In my next article I’ll share several more Brain Training techniques to redirect your brain’s blood flow away from your brain’s fear center.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Technique to increase the “good” emotions and their corresponding hormones

Stress for Success

March 18, 2014, Week 448

Brain science is exploding. We’re learning more and more about how to regulate stress, emotions and hormones through, what I call, Brain Training techniques, since these functions are part of how the brain operates. There are many researchers touting these skills. One I will quote is “Heart Math,” (http://www.heartmath.org/). Based on their extensive research, they present a very simple approach to increasing the emotions associated with the hormone DHEA, which helps regulate and suppress the necessary yet potentially damaging stress hormone, Cortisol.

Before I get into this research, let me remind you that I’ve admitted in the past that I have had an odd awareness of my stress response, the fight/flight, since early childhood. Over the decades my awareness became stronger and eventually more academic, having taken many courses over the years to keep up with the growing body of research.

Over the decades, I came to the conclusion that to change anything about myself, from ending some truly unhealthy eating habits to quitting smoking, my own fight/flight response had to be tamed. So I devised many little tricks to do so ranging from deep breathing to what I call “Mind Games.” These enabled me to stop my automatic (fight/flight) reactions by creating a “space of time” between a stressor and my automatic reaction to it. Eventually, this space of time allowed me to bring in the response I’d decided was my preferred. My husband has often marveled at my ability to change many a bad habit and defensive reactions over the years.

Now much reliable research explains why my own strategies and those of many others can work. Here’s the basic explanation from Heart Math’s “Transforming Stress”.

Heart Math explains the connection between emotions and the hormones they trigger through what they call “Emotional Landscape.” They position four “types” of emotions categorized as:
·         High energy emotions: Anger, hostility, impatience, etc., and happy, motivated, creative, etc.
·         Low energy emotions: Bored, lethargic, hopeless, etc., and calm, content, relaxed, etc.
·         Emotions accompanied by cortisol, which in too high amounts over a long enough period of time lead you to be vulnerable to illness and disease development: Anger, hostility, impatience, bored, lethargic, hopeless, etc.
·         Emotions accompanied by DHEA: Happy, motivated, creative, calm, content, relaxed, etc.

Heart Math’s first approach to calming down the emotions associated with cortisol is a   breathing technique called, “Neutral Step.” Here are the three steps:
1.    Focus for a few seconds on the physical heart in your chest;
2.    Then inhale and exhale evenly to the count of 4 or 5 and imagine that your heart is doing the breathing (don’t ask me why);
3.    Repeat for several rounds;

Since I’ve been doing my own version of breathing and Mind Games for so long, I can’t attest personally to the effectiveness of this strategy. However, I’ve heard many, many people’s stories about how this simple technique has allowed them to deal more effectively with their daily challenges. Here are some examples from workshop participants:
·         Approaching home after work, seeing nothing picked up off the yard as requested that morning, and breathing to calm down to decide consciously how to respond in a way that gets the best results versus automatically blowing up.
·         Others testify to how much better they sleep doing this breathing exercise in bed at night to calm their overly busy brains.
·         Others have said the skills they had learned in other workshops, like dealing with conflicts, were only now being successfully used because they calm themselves down first with the Neutral Step.

This Neutral Step is so easy and it doesn’t require will power, so why not try it? The reason I believe it works is because the regulated breathing is much deeper than the fight/flight breathing, which is shallower and faster. Taming your fight/flight allows you to change some of your emotional reactions you do not like. It’s really pretty simple.

In my next article I’ll address Brain Training techniques to divert blood flow in your brain away from your “fear center” to other areas to help balance you emotionally.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Too much stress depresses the helpful hormone DHEA

Stress for Success

March 4, 2014

What exactly is stress? There are multiple definitions:
·         Anything you perceive as a threat;
·         Your assessment of your ability to handle a challenge is less than you believe is required;
·         A perception of insufficient control;

No matter which definition you prefer, stress boils down to any situation or perception that triggers the cascade of fight/flight response stress hormones that pour through your body.

This stress response is very effective with short-term stressors like our ancestors faced with their life-threatening dangers. But modern stress tends to go on and on, like worry over your kids, deadlines or traffic.

How much stress you have can be measured in your body by the amount of the adrenal steroid hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is a necessary hormone and helps regulate many bodily functions from blood pressure to sleep. It’s released in reaction to any physical stress like illness and psychological problems like financial or marital ones. When cortisol is released it sets off a series of physical changes to prepare you to deal with (fight or flee) stressors including insuring your brain receives enough energy.

Your body regulates cortisol levels through an elaborate feedback loop, involving the pituitary and adrenal glands and the hypothalamus, which raise or lower other hormones accordingly.

Your body also has a balancing system to protect you through the excretion of the hormones cortisol and DHEA. These hormones serve as your body’s shock absorbers buffering stress and its negative impacts, according to Dr. Joseph A. Debé, Licensed Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and Chiropractor.

DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, is the most abundant hormone in the bloodstream and it helps suppress cortisol. It is vital to health partly because it regulates many other hormones. DHEA is also a good stress barometer, because when stress goes up, DHEA goes down. It also decreases with age, peaking in your mid-20s then declining about 2% per year. You may begin to feel the effects of lower DHEA levels in your 40s.

The problem with these hormones is chronic stress. With normal day-to-day stress, your body produces more cortisol and DHEA. When the stress is over, your body returns both to normal resting levels and into balance again. However, chronic stress over time triggers increasingly more cortisol and less DHEA. And this doesn’t take long to occur. According to Dr. Debé, “One study showed after just 28 days of continuous stress, cortisol levels had climbed to 240% of starting values and DHEA had dropped to 15% of initial levels! What's even worse is that even after the stress was removed, the body sometimes didn’t recover and bring these hormones back to normal levels, but instead, the stress response remained with high cortisol and low DHEA output.”

Debé points to the consequences of elevated cortisol and reduced DHEA levels which he labels disturbing:
·         A compromised immune system: increased risk of infections, allergies, some cancers, and autoimmune diseases;
·         Glucose use and insulin function are altered producing higher blood sugar levels;
·         Salt and water are retained, with a possible result of higher blood pressure;
·         Blood cholesterol and triglycerides increase and can predispose you to heart disease;
·         Thyroid function becomes impaired, resulting in decreased metabolism, lowered body temperature, and reduced vitality;
·         The body stores fat, especially around the midsection;
·         Depression, insomnia, hunger, and can PMS result;
·         Reproductive function weakens possibly resulting in infertility and cessation of the menstrual cycle;
·         The combination of reduced R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) sleep and lowered growth hormone release at night diminishes mental and physical regeneration, which results in acceleration of the aging process;

Phew! Scary!

Not everyone will experience these effects. Your genetics and your daily lifestyle choices along with environmental factors greatly influence who experiences which symptoms.

If you have been overstressed for months, to bring about a healthier hormonal balance you must first normalize your adrenal activity. And the great news is you can begin to achieve this by using simple techniques to increase the emotions associated with DHEA and diminish the emotions associated with cortisol. That’s my next article.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Effective problem-solving increases confidence in your competence

Stress for Success

February 4, 2014

Here’s something that drives me nuts: When someone has something wrong with them, health-wise, and do nothing about it but go to a doctor for drugs. There are so many other tools that can be as effective, if not more so, and with no negative side effects.

Arthritis is an example. Arthritis, we know, involves inflammation. A strong immune system fights inflammation and infection better than a weak one. Regular meditation enhances and strengthens the immune system. If you have arthritis, why wouldn’t you commit to doing meditation daily for a month or two and see if it helps.

But why do so many people refuse to take such action even if only on a trial basis?

For some, it may be due to having low self-efficacy. Perhaps they don’t believe anything they do will have a positive effect on their condition. If they believe only doctors have the answers they won’t look beyond a medical option.

Better self-care is only one reason to develop strong self-efficacy: the belief that your actions can be effective.

Improving as a problem solver is an excellent way to raise self-efficacy. Even if you don’t trust your own problem-solving abilities in certain areas you can learn to improve. Consider the following characteristics inherent in you confronting your stressors. You have:
  •     The coping skills you have learned along the way;
  •       Your assessment of the situation;
  •       Your own general self-efficacy;

These traits are not part of the stressful situation but are part of you and greatly influence your ability to handle the situation.

Beyond these internal traits are characteristics inherent to the stressor itself, which have little or nothing to do with your internal characteristics. These external aspects also influence your ability to meet the stressful demand:
1.    Strength and context: How serious is the stressful event? The context in which the event occurs plays an important role in determining it. For example, the stress of your phone losing power during a meeting when you probably shouldn’t even notice it is of lower intensity than occurring after a car crash when calling 911 is imperative.
2.    Length speaks to how long the stressor lasts. A headache that lasts an evening is obviously shorter than caring for someone with a chronic disease.
3.    Stress landscape refers to how much stress you have going on in your life when the new one hits. “The straw that broke the camel’s back,” takes on new meaning when even a small stressor can cause overblown anxiety when it’s on top of many others.
4.    Self-efficacy points to how skilled you believe you are in handling the stressor. Handling the new stressor is typically easier if it’s familiar than unfamiliar.

To increase self-efficacy, you must approach stressors with a level head and take into consideration the previous four traits. If the stressor:
1.    . . . is of low strength because its context is less important, don’t catastrophize it. If the strength is high because the context is urgent, address the situation immediately and seek help if you are unable to cope.
2.    . . . is of significant length, handle it as well as you can while at the same time take better care of yourself to avoid running yourself down physically, emotionally and mentally inhibiting your ability to cope.
3.    . . . is piled on top of many other stressors, begin a methodical process of choosing perhaps the easiest stressors to solve immediately. Doing so effectively automatically raises your self-efficacy, which facilitates handling the tougher ones better, too.
4.    . . . is something you have handled successfully before then do so now. If it’s unfamiliar to you, figure out what you need to learn and who can help you learn.

Any and all progress you make in increasing self-efficacy will serve you very well in many ways, not the least of which is becoming a much better stress manager. It’s a wonderful cycle: improved problem-solving creates greater self-efficacy, which motivates you to problem-solve more stressors.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Develop high “self-efficacy” to be in the driver’s seat of your own life

Stress for Success

January 21, 2014, Week 445

Social psychologist, Dr. Albert Bandura, coined the term "self-efficacy" to describe your beliefs about your ability to influence the events in your life. Another way to think about this is having overall high self-efficacy puts you in the driver’s seat of your own life. It assures you that you can largely handle what comes your way and to be effective in sculpting your life in desirable ways.

My own self-efficacy in handling life’s challenges is generally quite high. I believe I’m competent overall and able to learn what needs to be learned to handle situations that are foreign to me. But when it comes to fixing things, my mechanical self-efficacy is very low. It wouldn’t occur to me to try to fix something broken. I’d just turn it over to someone who has demonstrated their own “fixer self-efficacy,” my husband to be exact. His self-efficacy is very high in fixing even those things he’s not familiar with because he believes that virtually all things constructed can be figured out. He goes about fixing something he doesn’t yet understand by studying how it was constructed and almost always comes up with a solution. But his self-efficacy in handling other situations is as low as mine is in fixing things. This is all very normal.

It makes sense, then, that your self-efficacy in dealing with stress is hugely important. If you believe you can handle a stressor well you will and with less stress. Your focus will be on figuring it out rather than worrying that you can’t handle it. If you believe you can’t handle it, you’ll likely handle it less well and with more stress. High self-efficacy decreases stress because it increases your perception of control in your challenging situations.

Throughout this article I have put in bold and underlined font anything to do with the bottom line of self-efficacy: Beliefs. To increase your self-efficacy you must identify your limiting beliefs, challenge them and ultimately replace them.

My self-efficacy wasn’t always high. As a student it was quite low. My senior high school years were filled with mostly C and D grades with multiple failing slips each quarter. College was better but still mediocre: mostly Cs, a few Ds, Bs and As. Entering graduate school was terrifying for me.

Studying psychology as I was, I decided to apply to myself what I was learning about Cognitive Psychology and the beliefs one has. I paid attention to my obvious anxious thoughts (representing my beliefs) before and during classes, which was displayed through my nonexistent eye contact with professors, stuttering when called upon, sweating at the drop of a hat, etc. It was obvious an intervention was necessary.
My first step was to increase my conscious awareness of the negative thoughts circulating in my head regarding being a grad student. This is always the first step: Increasing conscious awareness of whatever you’re trying to change in yourself. I pinpointed some interfering beliefs:
·         I don’t belong in grad school because I’m a terrible student.
·         Who do I think I am being here with my poor history in school?
·         I’ll never learn all of this stuff!
·         Etc.

Next, I challenged these beliefs with factual evidence not just Pollyanna optimism. It was true that my high school and undergraduate grades were less than stellar. So I looked elsewhere for evidence of my success. I reminded myself that:
·         I come from an intelligent family so some of that must have rubbed off on me.
·         I was very successful in my 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia.
·         Every job I’d ever had was very successful, even when I had no previous experience in whatever it was.
·         When I have applied myself in the past I have done well.

From that day forward, I arrived at my classes early before others arrived and sat alone and repeated affirmations to myself over and over again based on my evidence that I could do well:
·         I belong here.
·         I learn easily.
·         I’m working on all assignments and learning this fascinating information.
·         I’m doing well on tests.
·         Etc.

After “reprograming” my beliefs with new and still legitimate beliefs, little by little my learning anxiety was replaced with focus on the class material. Before I knew it, I was immersed in learning and began to let go of my limiting beliefs. After a couple of months I not only believed I belonged in school and I would do well, but I became my advisor’s protégé. His support and guidance were invaluable to me not only as applied to learning but to life in general. I came to understand that I am very competent in life in general and in charge of my own life.

Which of your beliefs are limiting you? Why not challenge them? Put yourself into the driver’s seat of your own life and drive in the direction you want to go.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Some stress is good for you

Stress for Success

December 3, 2013

Given the plethora of stress information, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that stress is bad for you. Of course, this isn’t always the case. In fact, if you successfully got rid of all of your stress, where would you be? Dead! Stress is a very normal part of life. The trick is to have the amount of stress in your life that motivates you to want to get out of bed every day to tackle what’s in front of you. In fact, being overly bored with too little pressure can be as stressful as being overly challenged.

Harmful stress is called “distress,” while good stress is called, “eustress.” As I have written many times before, stress is in the mind of the beholder so the following examples of distress and eustress are not universal. It depends upon how you perceive these events. But here’s an attempt to provide examples of each.

·         Motivates you, focuses your energy and improves your performance;
·         It’s shorter-term;
·         You believe the challenge is within your ability to handle;
·         It can be exciting;
Such as:
ü  Any new sought-after opportunity such as a promotion at work;
ü  Marriage or child birth;
ü  Buying a new home;
ü  Vacation;
ü  Retiring;

·         Causes anxiety, worry, and harms performance;
·         Can be short- or long-term;
·         You don’t think you’re up to the task;
·         It can lead to illness and disease development;
Such as:
ü  Death of a loved one;
ü  Divorce;
ü  Illness, disease, or injury to yourself or a loved one,
ü  Interpersonal conflict;
ü  Financial stress,
ü  Sleep problems;

Eustress can certainly turn into distress:
·         That new job becomes too demanding;
·         The marriage isn’t working out well;
What determines whether a particular stressor will be eustress or distress is determined by how you perceive your ability to handle it. For example, you see a work situation as a challenge (more likely eustress) but your colleague sees it as an imposition (probably distress). Another example, you stick your head in the sand when confronted by conflicts so will probably face distress. A more assertive person may assess their conflict resolution skills as high and deal with and resolve the conflict.

Turning distress into eustress then requires a feeling of competence in handling the situation. To experience more eustress and less distress you may either need to have more confidence in what you’re capable of handling and/or become more skilled where you are lacking.

It’s also helpful to understand that symptoms from your stress response are normal and helpful, assuming they aren’t in the panic range. In research done by Dr. Jeremy Jamieson of the University of Rochester, study participants gave a public speech. Before beginning, half were coached on the benefits of the stress response. The other half received no such information. The group instructed to see the stress response as adaptive increased their cardiac output and gave better speeches compared to participants who received no instructions. So, in your own stressful situations reframe your stress symptoms. Assure yourself that your sweaty palms and pounding heart are an asset to help you think faster and better.

Finally, all change equals stress due to the unknowns associated with change and to the fact that perception of insufficient control is one definition of stress. It’s hard to control the unknown, after all. Think about some of the good changes you’ve experienced: a new job, marriage, the birth of your children. All of these also brought you stress. Without eustress in your life nothing would change or improve.

So embrace more of your stress and see it as necessary to spur you on to greater things.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I challenge you today to list what you’re grateful for

Stress for Success

November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving reminds us to give thanks for the blessings we have in our lives. This balances stress by providing a better perspective on life; it reminds us that sure, we have challenges, but we also have much that is good. Taking time to appreciate the good should happen daily, not just at this time of the year.

Listing what you’re grateful for in difficult situations also limits the potential stress hormonal damage done to your body. Even, and perhaps especially, in those little daily hassles, like when stressed by a traffic jam remind yourself you’re grateful your car isn’t overheating, there’s good music to listen to, etc.

Today I challenge you to stretch your conscious awareness of what you’re grateful for. This serves as a reminder that life is significantly better than it sometimes feels.

Here’s my partial list. I’ll start at the beginning.

I’m grateful I was born to my parents who encouraged curiosity, personal responsibility, self-confidence, kindness, etc. in all of us six kids. They passed on their love of music and supported our vocal and instrumental musical development, opening up a life-time of joy. The challenge of reading, learning and performing with the Symphonic Chorale of SW FL gives me bliss.

I’m also grateful my parents encouraged me to pursue whatever I wanted, which led me to a great education and a 27-month stint in the Peace Corps in the 1970s. This experience greatly expanded my mind through adventure, learning a second language and forming and maintaining fascinating relationships. It led me to realize that I need to work in the world of ideas, which has fueled my professional motivation ever since.

The warm and fuzzy feeling of blood being thicker than water after fun family gatherings is also very refreshing.

I’m eternally grateful that I married a loving, kind, intelligent, creative and funny man; my best friend for almost 37 years. I’m thankful for the trust we have and the security that engenders. This loving existence almost certainly contributes to our on-going good health, for which I’m also very thankful.

I’m eternally grateful for our wide circle of dear friends. We’ve helped each other through great times and not-so-great ones. We’re always there for each other. We laugh and we cry - together.

I must include our local weather: no hurricanes this year - again, just plenty of nourishing rain. The jungle-like growth of the trees and hedge we planted is fast making our new house an enveloping and peaceful home.

We’re grateful the economy seems to be truly on the mend this time. We’re even grateful for the significant increase in local traffic including the many work trucks buzzing around too fast. More people are working again. Hallelujah!

I’m grateful for sunsets and sun rises, the sound of the wind through the pine trees, no mortgage, funny people, my husband’s great cooking, and our beginning steps to leave SW FL in the summers. I’m thankful for a good night’s sleep, meditation, a commitment to things that are bigger than myself, and that I virtually never get bored.

And finally, I’m grateful to be going on Medicare December 1. I made it!

What are you thankful for? Write down a very long list. Review it, especially when times are difficult. Let it filter into your daily awareness more and more so it leads you to a grateful life, not just an occasional burst of thankfulness.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S. is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.  Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple, at http://www.letyourbodywin.com/bookstore.html.  Email her to request she speak to your organization at jferg8@aol.com.