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An Easy Way to End Disagreement

Disagreement between people causes stress; there’s no doubt about it. Whether the disagreement is large or small, it can quickly ruin a relationship.

Sometimes, even for small matters, the disagreement escalates to the point of verbal fighting. Once that occurs, the stress levels of both parties will be high, and agreement will be elusive. Fortunately, you always have a choice in how you handle a situation.

Chances are you can tell when a disagreement is escalating. This is when you must take control and direct the conversation. Rather than letting a disagreement get out of hand, you can reduce stress by doing the following.

Say to the other person, “I don’t want to win. I just want to understand what … >>>

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Appreciation Goes a Long Way

The dictionary defines appreciation as the recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. When was the last time you felt truly appreciated at work or at home? When was the last time you genuinely showed your appreciation for others? Is showing appreciation really that important?

One of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Dr. William James, spent his professional life studying human behavior. He wanted to know what made people tick, and he wanted to know what brought out their best. He wrote a number of books on these subjects.

Near the end of his life, he was in hospital and received a plant from a friend. Dr. James wrote a note of thanks for … >>>

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Downtime is Vital to Reduce Stress

Downtime

Many people often make the mistake of thinking that because downtime is fun and relaxing that it’s frivolous or unproductive and not important.

Social scientists have found that recreational activity is as important as sleep is to our physical and mental health. Downtime isn’t a diversion; it is a vital aspect for a person’s well-being and for effective learning.

Think about your most recent vacation or extended weekend where you didn’t work and actually relaxed. While you probably didn’t want your break to end, when you went back to work, how was your mindset? How was your attitude? What was your productivity like?

If you’re like most people, you likely found that even a short break gave you renewed focus, … >>>

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The Truth about Happiness

Happiness

For many people, happiness seems like something elusive and unattainable. But if you look around at your family, friends, and co-workers, you will see that the happiest people are the ones who don’t pretend to know what’s right for others. They also don’t try to control anyone but themselves.

You will further see that the people who are most miserable are those who are always trying to control others. Even if they have considerable power, the constant resistance in some form by the people they are trying to control promotes stress, hinders optimum relationships, and greatly diminishes the happiness of everyone involved.

If you try to control others, you will be met with constant challenges. If you try to control … >>>

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The Importance of Positive Expectations

It’s true that life can be challenging at times. But no matter what you’re going through, it is possible to project positive expectations. And when you do, you’ll become more effective in everything you do.

Realize that becoming more effective is a way of traveling rather than a destination. In other words, it’s a state of mind, not a single event. That’s where projecting positive expectations comes into play.

The only advantage of being a pessimist is that all your surprises are pleasant. But that’s pretty small stuff compared to the big payoff that comes from projecting positive expectations.

The fact is that much of our happiness or unhappiness results from not by what happens, but how we LOOK at … >>>

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What Do You Visualize?

How do you visualize yourself and your situation? The fact is that the pictures you reflect on in your mind are often what your reality becomes. Are you filling your mind with positive pictures or negative ones?

Too many people focus their mental energy on the challenges they are encountering or the pain they want to avoid. They visualize their setbacks repeatedly. While you certainly can’t ignore your daily struggles, you also don’t have to let them dominate your thoughts. Give yourself a break. Take some time to focus on what’s good in your life and to paint positive mental images of what you want, rather than what you don’t.

The choice is yours. You can visualize success, or you … >>>

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The Problem with Perfectionism

Many people, both young and old, struggle with perfectionism. Notice I said “struggle with,” not “strive for.” That’s because a desire to be perfect is not always healthy and certainly not something people should strive for.

Pursuing perfection typically focuses at looking for what’s WRONG. This can quickly put anyone in a negative state of mind.

Additionally, the desire for perfectionism often results in negative physical symptoms. For example, nail biting may arise from perfectionism. The driving force behind nail biting may not be a nervous habit but instead anxiety in the form of perfectionism. Mounting evidence shows that people who bite their nails, pick their skin, or pull their hair are often perfectionists. Their action is an attempt help … >>>

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Tips for Creating Successful Relationships

We all want successful relationships in our life. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, a child, a co-worker, or a friend. Successful relationships help make life more enjoyable. The key is how to keep those relationships from becoming stressors in your life.

To help you navigate the many relationships you have, here are some tips for cultivating successful relationships.

  • Logic prompts people to think, but emotion prompts them to act. Communicate on both levels.
  • When someone upsets you, rather than talk about the person, focus on the behavior or comment that prompts upsetting or negative feelings.
  • Share your feelings about the effects of what someone does or says. It’s healthy and aids relationships to say, “That comment really
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7 Things That Never Prompt Change

Chances are that at one point you’ve attempted to change another person. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately, most people try to prompt change in others the wrong way.

Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common approaches of imposing punishments or rewarding to control) are eventually doomed to fail. He referred to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He listed them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.

To prove his point, just respond to the following:

  • How do you feel when someone criticizes you?
  • How do you feel when someone blames you?
  • How do you feel
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The Problem with “Why” Questions

One of the most common questions people ask others is “why?”

“Why did you do that?”

“Why did you say that?”

“Why is this happening?”

Interestingly, the least effective question to ask in almost any situation is a “why” question.

A few reasons that I do not ask “why” questions to a person, especially during times of conflict or irresponsible behavior are:

  1. The person may not know the motivation.
  2. He or she may not be able to articulate the motivation.
  3. The person may not want to tell you the real reason.
  4. The person may give an excuse, rather than take responsibility.
  5. There is no beneficial effect in asking, as it only satisfies curiosity.
  6. It takes the focus away from changing
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Warm Up to Your Fear

Fear is often negative self-talk about a perceived situation. You’ve probably heard that FEAR is actually an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. However, even knowing this, there are times when it is most difficult to think that a situation is not real. So rather than attempting to eradicate your fear, warm up to it.

Too many people have the mindset of “If I’m afraid, I can’t do something.” But the truth is that you can do it even if you are afraid; it’s just less comfortable than doing something you are not afraid to do. But if you do it a couple of times, you won’t be afraid to do it anymore, and it will become more and more … >>>

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Focus on Collaboration to Help Students Succeed

Collaboration is the key to lifelong success. In fact, if we want our children to succeed in school and later in life, we need to shift our mindset in how we educate them.

Knowing this, here’s an important message for both parents and teachers: Just taking in information is not learning. Retention requires review, reflection, and (with a skill) practice. Force-feeding students more and more information at younger and younger ages is not the answer. Rather, we need to focus on understanding, mastery, and most important, collaboration.

Why is Collaboration so Important for Learning?

Outside of schooling, the importance of teamwork is absolute because people work collaboratively.

It is ironic that in schools the emphasis is on performance of the … >>>

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Stay Positive Even During Negative Times

I’ve written and spoken for decades about why it’s important to stay positive. Positivity is good for your health. Positivity lowers stress levels. It increases happiness. It prompts good relationships. The list goes on. However, sometimes, despite our best efforts, bad things happen to us, prompting us to dwell in negativity.

Is it possible to stay positive during negative times? The answer is yes!

Harold Kushner in his book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” writes that things do not happen to us for any good reason that would cause us to accept them willingly.

But we can give them meaning; we can use tragedies by imposing meaning on them. Therefore, the question that we should be asking is … >>>

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How to Stop Bullying

Here is a marvelously successful idea to stop bullying. You can use this approach to prevent bullying in classrooms, reduce bullying school-wide, and even stop bullying behaviors in homes. The key is to approach the motivation of bullying that prompts people to bully others.

Start with sharing the Levels of Development, which shows that choosing bullying behavior is operating on Level B—bothering/bullying.

Here is the procedure I used as a teacher. You can use this procedure in any circumstance to reduce bullying behavior or even completely stop bullying.

The Stop Bullying Procedure — Step One

Use a ruler or book and hold it flat so viewers see only the thin edge. Announce that it is like a teeter-totter or … >>>

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Using the Levels of Development Outside the Classroom

This website is filled with examples of how the Levels of Development work in the classroom. As such, many people assume that the system works in a classroom setting with average, everyday students, but that it has little application outside the classroom. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Levels of Development can be used in numerous scenarios, including at-risk youth.

Consider the example of Frank Spino and how he uses the Levels of Development. Frank attended one of my seminars in Sacramento, California several years ago. He now uses the Levels of Development in various situations—including those when he assists the local police. I asked Frank to share how he uses the Levels of Development after arresting a … >>>

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Good Listening Skills Reduces Stress AND Improves Relationships

Having good listening skills will make your life easier and your relationships less stressful. In fact, if you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you.

Without good listening skills, no relationship can flourish. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.

This is true with children too. When the parent says, “It’s about time you started listening to me,” chances are the youngster is … >>>

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Do the Levels of Development Really Work?

When something sounds too good to be true, it’s natural for people to be skeptical about it. This is true for everything from weight loss products to money making opportunities to even my very own Levels of Development.

People often wonder, “Can the Levels of Development and the Without Stress Methodology really change behavior and promote responsibility in youth?” After receiving countless testimonials and working with children and staff first hand, I can say without hesitation that it works.

Consider this email I received recently:

My name is Melissa Stuart. I was a teacher in California for 28 years and am now teaching in McKinney, TX. I used your program in CA. I loved it and believed in it. >>>

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Anyone Can be an Optimist

Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? In simple terms, an optimist focuses on hope. A pessimist focused on doubt. An optimist thinks about the good that can be in a situation. A pessimist thinks about all the things that could go wrong in a situation.

Positivity (or what I call ‘conscious optimism’) promotes and induces responsibility in everyone, including children. A positive attitude, just like happiness, begins between the ears. Both are skills that anyone can develop.

In fact, the most important thing people can control is their state of mind. Is your state of mind more like an optimist or a pessimist? You really do have a choice! A state of mind is something that one … >>>

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