Not engaging in unnecessary obligations can reduce stress. We may create unnecessary stress when we engage in an activity simply because we feel it is our obligation to do so.
My friend, Gene Griessman, an expert in time management, articulated this to me. Gene also travels around the world giving presentations on Abraham Lincoln. I’ve heard Gene present a number of times. While visiting the President Carter Library in Atlanta, Georgia, I even purchased his tape. (As a former history teacher, among other subjects, I have visited most of the presidential libraries.)
At a convention of the National Speakers Association, I asked Gene how he enjoyed the keynote speaker.
Gene said to me, “I didn’t attend.” He continued: … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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.
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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
An old Chinese proverb says, “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”
The questions, “Anything I can do?” or “I’ve had a similar experience and I can relate to your situation” can help you respond in a difficult situation with sensitivity, rather than with sarcasm and stress.
Even if you are not sure what is behind someone’s aggressive behavior, the few seconds it takes to pause can keep you from saying something you will regret. It will also prevent you from creating a stressful situation for yourself and the other person who is already stressed.
There have always been and always will be difficult people in the world. However, … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Here are some suggestions that are easy to implement:
- Take breaks. Computer workstation ergonomics exercises reduce stress are not listed in priorities. The exception is this first one. Take a 3 – 5 minute break every hour. Simply engage in another activity, even if it’s just to get up and stretch. Changing activities will stimulate your brain. It actually make you more focused and productive when you return to your computer.
- Give your eyes a rest. Every hour on the hour, look away from your desktop for at least 30 seconds. Varying the focal point of your eyes from close-up to distance can ease eyestrain and reduce fatigue.
- Relax your arms. Keep your forearms level with your
… >>>READ MORE >>> →
You can learn how to relieve stress with reflective questions. Simply put, reflective questions relieve stress. The reasons are twofold: (1) Just asking redirects your thinking which, in turn, changes your feelings, and (2) you realize that you have options—that you need not feel like a victim.
Reflective questions carry additional attributes aside from relieving stress because they place you in command. That in itself reduces tension, anxiety, and stress. Asking yourself reflective questions relieve stress by also defusing frustrating situations and promoting responsible thinking.
Even if there seems to be a pause as you formulate a question, that’s okay because you are engaged in the process of thinking. Of course, thinking is the first step to have reflective questions … >>>READ MORE >>> →
There was once a navy jet pilot who was terrified at first when landing his aircraft on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
“Everything was in motion,” he said. “The ship was tossing up and down, the waves were moving, the airplane was moving, and trying to get it all to move together seemed impossible.”
An old pro gave the young pilot some advice that solved the problem. “There is a yellow marker in the center of the flight deck that always stays still,” the veteran told him. “Always line up the nose of the plane toward that mark and fly straight toward it.”
That’s pretty good advice for coping with stress. Always have a goal—a “mark” to work toward—and … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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, … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Sitting is the new smoking.
The human body was developed for movement.
A sedentary culture of sitting is taking a major toll on people’s health. When sitting for long periods of time, our bodies become less efficient. Sitting more than six hours a day puts you on a very unhealthy path—even if you exercise.
Sitting for long periods of time can actually make bottoms bigger because sitting down puts a large amount of force on the body tissues that make fat cells. People who sit for prolonged periods throughout the day are predisposed to developing diabetes as well as other health problems. In addition, lack of movement increases a propensity for depression and feeling blue.
Here are a few suggestions … >>>READ MORE >>> →
When we do things for people that they can do for themselves, we deprive them of the opportunity to learn, grow, and become more self-sufficient.
Here is a technique I used as an elementary, middle, and high school principal and as a district director of education.
When my office was large enough to hold a table as well as my desk, I immediately welcomed the person and offered a seat at the table. This immediately removed any feelings of my being in an authority position.
I listened, and if the conversation was about a problem that I thought the person could handle, I immediately envisioned a monkey sitting on the person’s shoulder. My intent was to be sure that when … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Make your nonconscious mind your friend.
The nonconscious mind believes what the conscious mind tells it. When a thought flits through your mind, your nonconscious mind “hears” it, believes it, and records it. Your conscious mind may forget about it immediately, but it’s in a permanent file in your brain.
Your nonconscious mind is the storehouse for your habits and all of what you do without consciously thinking about them, which means that your nonconscious mind has a profound effect on you.
For example, if you think that you will not sleep well tonight, your conscious mind believes you and creates a roadblock. If you think that you will not pass some employment or other exam, you are programming negative … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Fear is often a by-product of negative thoughts. Unfortunately, we have an innate capacity for fear.
In 1919 psychologist John B. Watson conducted a controversial experiment to see whether fear could be learned.
A young boy he named “Little Albert” was shown different creatures, including a rat. At first, Albert showed no fear of the rat.
Then Watson paired the exposure with a harsh sound that scared the little boy. Soon, Little Albert would react with fear at just the sight of the rat alone.
In essence, this was an example of classic conditioning. We are all familiar with the example of Ivan Pavlov and his experiments of feeding a dog while ringing a bell. Soon Pavlov just rang the … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Fear and anxiety are natural emotions.
You may not know exactly why you feel these emotions, but when you do, you think something bad is about to happen—even if you don’t quite know what.
Since fear and anxiety do not naturally accomplish something positive, the trick is to manage them and put them to your use, rather than trying to ignore them.
The first step is to acknowledge these emotions—since you cannot initially change them.
The next step is to visualize them as positive sources for motivation. This can be likened to a soldier about to go into battle. The soldier uses courage to act regardless of the fear and anxiety.
My father, as articulate as he was, feared to … >>>READ MORE >>> →