Reduce Stress

Stress Relief, Revenge, and Forgiveness

Uplifting graphic showing forgiveness relieves stress

Living without revenge, and forgiveness is the topic of this weekly tip.

You can relieve stress if you refrain from taking revenge. Forgive, forget, and walk away.

Making enemies is inherent in the human condition. Very few people will live their entire lives without making some “enemies.” Forgiving enemies is very difficult for many people. Having a desire to take revenge is natural if the person has spread false rumors, been unethical, or caused us harm. We could find ourselves carrying a grudge for many years.

This approach is counterproductive. For example, take the case of Harvey Mackay who fired an employee. The whole story can be found in his book. The former employee took what he had learned … >>>


Workplace Collaboration Stress

Workplace Stress

Workplace collaboration and stress is an important workplace factor. Stress can be reduced when people collaborate in the workplace — rather than compete. Unfortunately people in the workplace often compete. This inefficiency can prompt stress.

Since I developed my without stress tips approach—primarily from my teaching experiences—an example from my teaching can best help you understand the point.

Picture this:

A teacher is administering an examination, and each student is expected to come up with the right solutions to the problems. In this setting, some will succeed and some will fail, but few will solve all the problems.

Those who do find the right answers will not share them with others because that would be cheating.

In contrast to … >>>


Reduce Stress by Education

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

A sage once said, “Education is what you have left over after you have forgotten everything you have learned in school.”

This is a powerful insight.

Education, or learning, is always renewable because learning should never end until life ends.

This mindset can be a significant approach to reducing stress by implementing the three practices.

To dig deeper, let’s compare learning with training.

Training is imitative; education is creative. The difference between a trained person and an educated person can be likened to the difference between a parrot and its owner.

Training teaches you to solve problems according to procedures others have tested and proved. Once you have learned the procedure, you keep repeating it for as long as … >>>


5 Keys to Improve Relationships

Improve RelationshipsMost people want to improve relationships with those in their life. Unfortunately, relationships (whether with friends or family) are often a cause of stress for many. Whenever diverse personalities are involved, miscommunications and mishaps are bound to occur. If you’d like to improve relationships with others, here are 5 keys for getting along with anyone.

1) Focus on issues, not personalities.
Many people unknowingly use trigger words that can disable a conversation and may ultimately destroy a relationship. Such words as “dumb,” “stupid,” and “unprofessional” criticize the person, rather than the content of their ideas or specific actions. How many times have you said to someone, “That’s a dumb idea”? A better approach would be to cite alternatives to the … >>>


A Biblical Interpretation and Stress

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Here is an interesting biblical interpretation.

The King James Version of Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” contains the phrase: “I will fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

The “rod” in this context, refers to the governing of flock so they don’t wander. The flock refers to sheep, but metaphorically it refers to people.

There are some who use the biblical reference of the “rod” to justify using spankings as a primary and frequent form of discipline—as in “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” This phrase is a modern day proverb that means if a parent refuses to discipline an unruly child, that child will grow … >>>


Compensation Is Not a Reward

500_F_54422632_D9xdngl2zzWKf7jpudWADUmySXRxrGjvA common response I receive at my presentations on the topic of rewarding relates to the idea that people will only work if they are given a reward. This idea that dangling money and other goodies in front of people will “motivate” them to work harder is the conventional theory in our society. But the fact is that compensation is not a reward.

There are two assumptions here. The first is that people would not work if they were not rewarded. The fact that many people volunteer and invest time in learning skills without compensation puts this idea to rest. In addition, studies on employment conclude that as long as compensation is at a satisfactory level, one’s salary rates among … >>>


Stress and Consistency

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Being consistent can reduce stress levels.

“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” This quote, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a very odd thought to put to print. Did Emerson actually write this? After all, he did write the classic essay entitled, “Self-Reliance.”

When you look around, it is rather obvious that, quite contrary to what Emerson seems to have suggested, consistency is a hallmark of logic and efficiency. What, then, could a man of Emerson’s caliber have meant when he attributed consistency to that of a small mind?

If we go back to the original source of the statement in his essay, we find the problem. Emerson actually wrote,

FOOLISH consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, … >>>


Parenting without Rewarding

If you find that disciplining your children and fostering a sense of responsibility in them is stressful or unsuccessful, the use of traditional parenting approaches may be the problem. Why? Because traditional parenting approaches—including lectures, rewards, and punishments—rely on external motivators to change the child’s behavior and for obtain obedience and compliance.

Telling young people what to do, rewarding them if they do as expected, and threatening or punishing them if they don’t are counterproductive, increase stress, and diminish strong parent/child relationships.

Whether the approach is telling-based, rewards-based, or punishment-based, the bottom line is that it’s manipulation, which is never permanent. All of these approaches are something you do to another person and have little long-lasting effect. This is in … >>>


Stress and Driving

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Stress levels can be elevated by your driving habits.

Many recent scientific studies have shown that congested traffic conditions can heighten stress levels in drivers. The longer the distance one has to drive, the more dramatic can be the level of a person’s stress.

When experiencing stress, you may be affected totally—not only in your body but also in your emotional reactions, your personal thoughts, and your relations with others.

Sometimes it takes an unwanted experience to change driving habits. I know this from an experience I had after receiving a California Highway ticket a few months ago.

Southern California has carpool lanes that can only be crossed when the pavement has white lines. As I was impatiently driving in … >>>


Reduce Stress by Analyzing the Risks

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Any time we engage in an activity, we are taking a risk. This is how we live our lives—from getting out of bed in the morning and not losing our balance so we don’t fall—to crossing the street and hoping a car doesn’t appear from nowhere to hit us.

Now with this in mind that we are always taking risks, let’s look at a procedure that we can use when we ponder taking a risk that we have not taken before.

The process of risk taking is not complicated. To reduce anxiety and stress, just analyze the situation.

Before embarking on an undertaking, examine the venture, and answer these questions:

  1. What is the best thing that could happen as a
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Vision, Success, and Stress

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

One of the great approaches to successful living and reducing stress is to develop positive visions.

For example, suppose I lay a plank on the ground. Almost anyone can easily walk on the plank from one end to the other. But if I were to raise the plank 10 feet off the ground, how many people do you think would get across it without falling? I would guess quite a few people would fall off the plank.

Why can people walk the plank when it’s on the ground but not while it’s elevated? A prime reason is that when the plank is on the ground, people imagine success. They vision that they can accomplish the task. Off the ground, there … >>>


Perfectionism and Stress

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Perfectionism and Stress

Perfection is a goal that humans should not strive to achieve because it can prompt a crippling condition or an overly critical self-evaluation.

A goal of excellence can be reached. But perfectionism, the striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards, is too often a burden.

A focus on perfection has opened pathways, for many young people in particular, to live with the idea that they have to be perfect for people to accept them—especially with young girls who develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

With young people as early as kindergarten age, perfectionism can become so tyrannical that they develop anxiety attacks. This leads to the thinking pattern that they cannot perform or engage in the activity … >>>


Stress and Perception

Stress is related to perceiving life as manageable or unmanageable. Circumstances present problems or challenges—depending on our perspective. Up close, the earth looks flat; from outer space, it’s round. The difference is in the perspective. Similarly, without our being mindful of what is happening, we are creating our own perception of reality that often leads to stress.

Anticipation or anxiety can lead to stress. The human mind is so powerful, the connection between perception and physiological response so strong, that we can send off the flight or fight response by merely imagining ourselves in a threatening situation. This ability can be a source of power or an invitation to illness.

When I asked my family physician, “What are the effects … >>>


Action Without Thought

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

When I was a young teen-ager, I had a clear glass covering the top of my desk in my bedroom. From time to time, I would collect thoughts that made an impression on me and place them under the glass so I could review them.

The quote I remember most came from Bernard Baruch, an advisor to presidents—among his many other achievements and contributions.

I quote him:

“I believe above all else in reason, in the power of the human mind to cope with the problems of life.

“To nothing so much as the abandonment of reason does humanity owe its sorrows.

“Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in public or … >>>


Your Subconscious and Expectations

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

Whether you expect to succeed or expect to fail, your expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.

When you expect failure, you communicate your expectations to your subconscious mind. Your brain accepts the notion and prompts your actions as if you will fail. You actually program yourself to do the things that will lead you to fail. This creates anxiety that contributes to stress and negative feelings.

In contrast, when you expect to succeed, you prompt your subconscious to succeed.

This optimism and positivity may lead to many things, including an extra effort that could be the difference between success and failure and the move to seek out people who can contribute to your success. In short, your subconscious can be the spark … >>>


Reflective Questions Reduce Stress

One of the keys to reducing stress between teachers/parents and youth is to ask the young person reflective questions during discipline situations. Recently, a teacher asked me, “What if the student refuses to answer any question you pose?”

Imagine asking someone multiple questions and the other person refusing to answer. That would surely result in increased stress. But rather than let this situation stress you out, you can overcome it by using two approaches: (1) Socratic dialog and (2) the Pygmalion effect. Here is what I mean:

1) Socratic dialog: Lead the person through a series of questions. In this case, use THREE questions—all of them prompting a “YES” response.

2) Pygmalion effect: Expecting the best from people can be … >>>


Use Consequences to Reduce Stress

For parents and teachers, dealing with youth discipline causes a lot of stress. That’s why I created the Discipline Without Stress methodology. It promotes responsibility in youth while enabling adults to reduce stress.

One of the cornerstones of the Discipline Without Stress book and approach is to elicit consequences rather than impose punishments. Some people struggle at first to understand the difference between imposing a punishment and encouraging the youth to determine the consequence for his or her action, so here is a brief explanation.

A consequence is very different from a punishment. A punishment is something that is imposed by another party. It usually has no connection to the behavior and frequently belittles or shames the offender. It is … >>>


Take Control to Reduce Stress

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to gain control of various areas of your life. Of course, you can’t control everything, but there are probably many things you can take control of, rather than letting others dictate what you must do. Why is control so important to being able to reduce stress?

In a classic study, scientists put two rats in a cage, each of them locked in a running wheel. The first rat could exercise whenever he liked. The second was yoked to the first and forced to run when his counterpart did.

Exercise usually does reduce stress and encourage neuron growth, and indeed, the first rat’s brain bloomed with new cells. The second rat, however, … >>>