Stress and Credit Card Fraud

Avoid Credit Card Fraud, Cover Your Pin

Stress and Credit Card Fraud – Protect Your Pin

We found out a few days ago that my husband’s bank card had been cloned and used by a fraudster. We were alerted by text by our bank and took prompt action. Luckily we were changing banks, so we only had a couple hundred dollars in the account. However, it was stressful, and in the end you do feel violated.

I tried to sleep after the texts came in and my mind was racing with all these thoughts about how it’s modern day mugging, and horrible how it’s so common place and normal now. We just accept it as an inconvenience of the digital age. This made me pretty angry, and I had to use every tool in my mindfulness tool box to try too sooth myself and go to sleep (we are talking progressive relaxation, chakra music, reading, prayers). And I still didn’t go to sleep til 3AM.

After taking action with the bank the following day, I decided to research the heck out of this issue. It turned out that our card info had been stolen at the drive-through ATM of the bank itself! I mean if you can’t trust the banks to check their own machines, what hope do we have in other point of sale locations.

Tips to Ease Your Mind About Fraud

Here are some strategies I learned to help make this issue less stressful for you:

  1. Make sure you have text alerts setup on your online banking, so when irregularities are detected, you get info as quickly as possible. When they text you respond immediately.
  2. When making point of sale purchases at gas pumps, the grocery and other stores, use credit instead of debit when possible to avoid revealing your PIN. If you must use debit, then always cover your hand while putting the digits in.
  3.  Before putting your card into the ATM slot, wiggle the card reader. If it moves at all, don’t use the ATM. Look around the machine for anything odd, cameras are often hidden in plugs, or brochure attachments on or near the machine.
  4. When you put the card into the slot, wiggle it a bit, this can help mess up the reader from gathering your data off the magnetic strip.
  5. Use smart access cards or limited pre-paid visa cards for online purchases or purchases when you are out and about. Keep limited funds on these cards, so crooks never have access to the bulk of your funds.
  6. Check your accounts online or on your mobile apps frequently, especially when on vacation to watch for irregular charges or ATM withdraws.

Here’s a great report on it from an ABC station in LA:

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Ease Stress Through Ancient Hawaiian Forgiveness Practice – Ho’Oponopono

Ease Stress Ho'Oponopono4 Easy Steps to More Peace

We know that most of our stress is caused by our own thoughts about our lives. Yes, there are stressful external circumstances, but how we cope with them is largely dependent on our cognitive processing of those events. We can be positive, we can be negative, we can be in denial, we can be resilient, but ultimately, how we feel about something is in direct relation to our thoughts.

Recently, I was introduced to an idea called ancestral clearing. There are some who believe that our genes carry more than just physical information on the DNA, but also possibly hand down ancestral memories via a universal consciousness. Karl Jung believed in this universal consciousness, and it was the foundation of his concept of synchronicity.

Ancestral clearing practices have been in place across multiple cultures, but I want to focus on the Hawaiian practice of Ho’Oponopono. Traditionally, this was a family or group ceremony where a spiritual leader/counselor will guide a family to state their issues, apologize for those issues, express gratitude, and love for one another, and thus clear the issues from the family history, freeing the individuals spiritually and emotionally.

There are modern psychological treatments which do the same thing for trauma patients, especially one called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocesing). EMDR helps people replace negative and traumatic memories with more positively charged feelings and thoughts. The scientifically, evidence-based process is approved by the VA to help veterans, and I can attest it is extremely effective.

The interesting convergence of these two concepts is what the current leader in Ho’Oponopono, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len calls getting to zero. Basically, using a method he calls “cleaning”, Dr. Hew Len teaches people to process their memories/programs from childhood and beyond to release blocks within them. Once the blocks are released, a person is free to receive Divine inspiration. According to Dr. Hew Len, we have a choice to struggle and suffer reacting to our memories and programs, or we can clear them and move toward our goals with a clear mind and heart.

Two leaders in this field of ancestral clearing are John Newton, an actor who trained and transitioned his life over to serving others through these practices, and Howard Wills, his mentor, who also has his own version of Ho’Oponopono utilizing a form of prayer.

I will post links to their videos and websites here if you’d like to give it a try. I have personally been doing the prayers/clearing routines for a few weeks, and have felt more at peace with my efforts to stop eating sugar and manage/release anger.  The awesome thing about these programs is they are not a religion, cult like, you don’t have to join or pay anything to practice. You can sign up for classes if you want to, and both John and Howard do their own personal sessions, but I recommend just reading and trying it on your own. I’m open to discussing it with anyone as well. I would love to hear about the results.

Remember these four basic parts:
1. Say you are sorry, take responsibility (even if it’s not just yours…there is no such thing in a Universal consciousness)
2. Ask forgiveness from yourself, for yourself, forgive yourself, and anyone related to the issue.
3. Express gratitude/thanks
4. Express love

And keep cleaning until you feel you are in the “void” or back to zero….

I recommend starting with books by Hew Len, because they are short and to the point:

Then I recommend watching John Newton’s ancestral clearing Youtube:

John’s website is:

Howard Wills, who John studied as part of his training, has a couple videos here:

These are what John Newton calls complementary ways to help you improve your life. They are not meant to replace medications, treatment with counselors or psychiatrists, or other health professionals. However, I believe if you do these practices, they work on your mind much like meditation and mindfulness, giving you the peace and space you need to move forward.


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Amazing Evidence, Meditation Changes Your Brain

Harvard researchers are showing regular meditation can change your brain in key areas affecting anxiety, executive decision making and more. Sarah Lazar, Meditation Changes Your Brain, Washington Post

Ms. Lazar studies at the same Harvard institute as famed meditation expert Jon Kabat-Zinn. Build your meditation from 10 – 40 minutes a day to see decreased anxiety, improved memory, and increased empathy and compassion.

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Stressed about politics? President Trump? Feeling helpless?

The past week has been a roller coaster of change and upheaval. No matter who you voted for or did not vote for, the reality is here, and many people are having difficulty dealing with it.  The key here is to think about why you are allowing these events, news, issues to distress you?

First ask:
Is there anything I can personally do to change this right now?

(i.e. did you already vote for the other person? Then yes, you tried. Also, can you vote in upcoming elections both local, state, and national to make changes? Yes, you can.)

If there isn’t anything you can do right now, then you are creating stress for yourself for no reason. Only focus on what you CAN do, what you CAN control, what you CAN change.  When you choose to focus on these three key factors, then your stress begins to diminish greatly.

What are some examples of actions you can do? For example, have you written to your state, local, and national representatives to express your views and feelings respectfully? Write a post card, they are more likely to be read, short and sweet, and emphasize what you are wanting changed. Write weekly, daily, monthly, whatever makes you feel better, and you think will make a change.

Donate to causes that help make changes possible. i.e. ACLU, refugee orgs (ARC), etc. Be sure to research charities for their “grades” online and pay attention to where money goes in all orgs you donate to.

Take action in your life and local community. Give time to those in need, volunteer for organizations you care about, and share about them on your social media.

After you’ve done something, ask yourself, am I still feeling stressed out about ______?  If you are still feeling residual stress even after taking actions, try to release it with positive self-care (meditate, listen to music, do something creative, take a bath, make a list of your favorite things to do to relax and do them).

Finally, go on a news diet. Stay informed, read good, objective news…I like the Guardian, and the Washington Post. Only watch the national and local news for basic info no more than 30 minutes a day.  Don’t read news on Facebook and other social media, as it is sometimes wrong, biased, and fed to you based on algorithms that will not give you ALL info.

I hope this helps you feel more in control, empowered to make change, and gives you some ideas to help mitigate your stress in these crazy times.

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2017 Make it the Year You Put a Boundary Between Work and Life

Leisure Harmony reports that by 2020 we will no longer have any concept of the demarcation between work and non-work life. The article, here , entitled, “Work stress is the saddest American status symbol” explains the differences between America and other cultures like Italy, where the amount of leisure time indicates the highest status. Busy is not better.

2017 can be the year when you begin to reverse this negative trend in your life. It is called boundaries, and we all need to learn how to make them and keep them. Work is 40 hours a week if you’re lucky in the U.S. In other countries like France or the UK, it is more like 35, especially if you figure in the 30 days of mandatory paid leave a year. We in the U.S. are lucky if we get 10 paid leave days a year with most jobs. How can we fight this cultural divide which leads us into early graves (Carrie Fisher just died on her way back from finishing her Star Wars role and being on a book tour, all leading up to Christmas…tell me she wasn’t stressed when she had her heart attack).

You shouldn’t feel guilty playing Lego with your kid for a few hours if it means you don’t mop the floors. You shouldn’t feel awful spending a couple hours vegging with your hubby watching movies on Netflix just because your boss wants you to have something done earlier than later. That seems like it’s easier to say than do, but ultimately we do have a CHOICE. Choice theory by William Glasser endorses the idea that we give up our control to external sources by choice. We choose to have the house that requires us to work a certain amount to pay the mortgage, and not have any extra time with our families, etc. We don’t see it as a choice because we let society tell us that these are the things that should be most important to us….success, a career, not relationships, stable mental and physical health.

So remember in 2017, you do have a choice. If someone says you have to work 50 hours a week or not have a job, remember…you can get a different job….you can, if working less and having more time to live and enjoy your friends, family, hobbies, nature, are important to you. You don’t have to check your work email outside work hours…unless maybe you are a physician or nuclear plant monitor…you get my drift. We make these things important, we allow our culture to define us….for me…I choose the Italian approach…the more leisure time I can afford, the better. I’ll take two hours on the floor playing Legos over finishing that project over the weekend any time.



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