We all know that we have a bullying epidemic in this country. But few adults realize how bad it is in today’s schools. Did you know that approximately 160,000 students skip school each day for fear of being bullied? And over 70% of students say they have witnessed another person being bullied.
So what exactly constitutes bullying? According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, “Bullying is any unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time … It can include making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
Did you know that the words you use to speak to yourself and others have the power to reduce stress? It’s true. I often write and speak about how one word can change feelings and actions, which in turn can either elevate stress or reduce it.
Here’s an example of something people at work often say, “I HAVE to attend this meeting.” Using the word “have” in this instance prompts negativity. However, if we change just one word in the sentence, we can change the feeling the sentence evokes. Here it is: “I GET to attend this meeting.” The word “get” in this instance prompts a positive orientation.
Words are powerful. Here is an example of how a few words
A prime goal of my approach is to increase people’s positive self-talk. I believe in the importance of positive self-talk so much that I’ve devoted pages to this topic in each of my books.
Researchers have acknowledged that in order to know yourself, you have to talk to yourself. They have studied children’s private speech for decades, but only recently have researchers focused on self-talk in adults. We use inner speech or self-talk for all sorts of things. We depend on it to solve problems, read and write, motivate ourselves, plan for the future, learn from our mistakes, learn language, and help regulate emotions.
Beyond helping people regulate their behavior in the present moment, positive self-talk is essential for learning … >>>
Do you think society, including relationships, has become more stressful or less stressful over the years? Most people think it’s more stressful today than it was just a decade ago. One of the factors contributing to the stress is the rate of change everyone and everything is going through.
A number of factors have changed society over the years, not the least of which is technology. Unfortunately, however, technology has not helped to improve relationships. In fact, in far too many situations technology has actually hindered relationships, leading to increased stress levels. As a result, people continue to use ineffective approaches—mainly coercion—to influence others.
Here are two former American giants who made the point that coercion is ineffective.
Communicating in positive terms to yourself and to others triggers enthusiasm, capability, and self-confidence. Allow me to share some additional advantages when your self-talk and communications to others are in positive—rather than in negative—terms. I also want to emphasize that positivity applies especially to teachers who are engaged in classroom management and classroom discipline.
Benefits of Positivity
Positivity feels good. It brings joy, gratitude, and energy. It negates despair and instead prompts hope, pride, and inspiration.
Positive emotions engage people’s attention. It changes your outlook on life because it expands your worldview.
It prompts people to look around more.
Positivity changes how your mind works. It builds psychological strength and mental habits, such as looking for humor that promotes good … >>>
We’re often told, “Do what you love.” It’s great advice, because when you love what you’re doing, you can often reduce stress. But what if you have to do something you don’t love? Can it still be enjoyable?
Let’s take a lesson from Tom Sawyer to see how you can turn situations around.
A Lesson on How to Reduce Stress
Tom Sawyer had the responsibility of whitewashing Aunt Polly’s front picket fence. The fence was 30 yards wide and 9 feet high. Most people would agree this wouldn’t be a fun task.
On Saturday morning, Tom was whitewashing the fence when he saw Ben approaching. Tom put on a smile and showed Ben how he was really enjoying the … >>>
The life cycle of a butterfly not only fascinates but the life cycle of a butterfly in real life can serve as an analogy to the Levels of Development. Once young people understand the basics of building a hierarchy, then their physical growth can be compared to a butterfly life cycle. With this understanding, they become empowered to act more responsibly. Additionally, they reduce their stress and the stress of others with whom young people interact.
The four stages of the life cycle of a butterfly can be related to the four physical states of human development and the Levels of Development.
Began by reminding young people of the life cycle of a butterfly. There are four stages … >>>
Are you aware of the advantages and disadvantages of conformity and the importance of obedience?
Conformity and obedience are natural and necessary in any society. This is how cultures perpetuate their values and traditions. However, obedience can promote stress on the part of all concerned.
Here is an example: The parent requests or demands that the teenager makes the bed before going to school. The teen obeys. We would refer to this as Level (C) cooperation or conformity on the Levels of Development.
In a similar scenario where the parent expects the teen to make the bed each morning, the teen does so without being told. We would refer to this as Level (D) taking the initiative on … >>>
Classroom rules are counterproductive and prompt stress between adults and young people. This is because rules place the adult in an adversarial relationship. Relying on rules is coercive and promotes obedience rather than responsibility.
The reason is simple. If a student breaks a rule, our tendency is to enforce the rule. The assumption is that if the rule is not enforced, people will take advantage of it. Therefore, in order to remain in control, we must enforce all rules.
Rules are essential in games. But in relationships, reliance on rules is counterproductive because the enforcement mentality automatically creates adversarial relationships. Enforcing rules too often promotes power struggles that rarely result in win-win situations.
Using positive discipline when you communicate is the best way to get others to do what you want. If you’re natural inclination is to say, “No, don’t do that,” you’re actually creating more stress. There is a better, more positive way, to discipline.
Allow me to explain the reason that using the negative is ineffective.
Think of your last dream—not that you remember it, but think of how your brain envisioned it. Did you dream in words—or in pictures, illusions, or images? The brain thinks visually, not verbally. Simply stated, the brain does not think in words; it visualizes. This is the reason that using negatives is ineffective and why using positive discipline is so much better.
When you alienate others, you prompt negative feelings in them. Have you ever had the experience of wanting to buy something, but the salesperson alienated you? Perhaps you were turned off so much that you did not buy from that person—even though you really wanted the item. That’s how strong the negative feelings can be.
Every successful salesperson knows not to alienate the customer. However, too often we talk to people in ways that prompt negative feelings, which alienate and often promotes stress. Negative feelings stop any DESIRE to do what you would like other people to do. People do good when they feel good—not when they feel bad or when they feel coerced.
For many people, workplace stress is a fact of life that they think will never end. But you can reduce and even eliminate workplace stress.
If you tend to have a negative attitude in the workplace, this tip is for you!
There is a natural human tendency to go to the negative rather than to the positive. Office negativity is not helpful. But there is a way to keep negativity, and the resulting stress, away. For example, suppose you receive a note that your supervisor wants to see you before you leave for the day. The natural inclination is to assume that the meeting will have a negative connotation. There is no basis for this. It is a faulty assumption; … >>>
Many people fear public speaking. This tip will show you how to turn this stress into confidence.
Standing in front of a group to present can be very scary. Symptoms include dry mouth, weakness, memory loss, upset stomach, cold sweat, and tight throat muscles. Sound familiar? All of these are quite natural physical sensations when a person is frightened. Depending on the situation and how the person is responding to it, there may be just a little apprehension or there may be a full-blown panic.
Here is a very simple, proven, three-step process for overcoming your fear of public speaking. By following these steps, you can make speaking in front of groups a positive experience.
Understanding how to overcome adversity is a vital life skill. Often, adversity can be the launching pad to success. How you personally deal with adversity is the difference.
If you were born into a poor family without the means to send you to a desired university, you can’t go back and trade your parents for more affluent ones. Likewise, if you were born with a physical disability, you can’t trade in your body for a better model in overcoming adversity.
Remember, however, that the cards you are dealt are less important than the way you play your hand in the face of adversity. In fact, history books are full of success stories about people who used strength in adversity.
You can use the principle of diffusion to reduce stress. What is diffusion? Think of it this way: When someone has a great idea, how is it conveyed in a picture or cartoon? A light bulb appears over the person’s head! The image illustrates diffusion animation and is an example of diffusion of light. We can use this illustration to help us reduce stress.
To fully understand how this principle works to reduce stress, you first need to understand the difference between a light bulb and a laser beam.
Use Your Mind to Reduce Stress
When I was a young boy, I had small magnifying glass. When I held the magnifying glass at a certain distance from an object, it … >>>
Here is a stress management tip—but first, “Why are so many people today dealing with stress and anxiety more than ever before?” The answer may surprise you, and this stress management tip on how to relieve stress and anxiety might just help.
Stress and anxiety can affect people of all ages—whether a person is a student under stress or a person in retirement. The key to dealing with anxiety and stress is through effort and stress management, which leads to anxiety relief and managing stress levels.
Consider these two examples: There was a dentist in Duluth, Minnesota who had more patients at age 89 than he ever had in his previous years of practice. His hands were steady, and … >>>
When it comes to reducing stress, different techniques work for different people. So if you’ve tried some strategies to reduce stress but found they didn’t work for you, try something else. Here are some popular techniques I use to reduce stress. I hope a few of them work for you too.
Practice positive thinking. When you talk to yourself and others, focus on what CAN be done, rather than what can’t be done.
Exercise. Staying fit can reduce the production of stress hormones. This includes some cardiovascular exercise (walking qualifies), some weight exercise, and definitely some stretching. As the body ages, muscles lose mass and shrink. Therefore, exercise is definitely beneficial.