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 Hierarchy of Social 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.
Can the simple act of smiling really reduce stress? According my own research and personal experience, the answer is yes.
Scientists know that negative emotions can cause a cascade of biological responses that harm the body. These include chronic stress that increases inflammation, and inflammation has been linked to a host of health problems.
Therefore, give your life a smile. It is not a stretch to think that smiling, which is a cousin of happiness, can also prompt positive changes in the body and reduce stress.
Examples of Using Smiles to Reduce Stress
Try this: Before talking into your cell phone, smile. This routine will make it easier for you to put a smile in your voice. When you smile … >>>
William James, the father of American psychology, was describing a key stress management technique when he said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
What he was really talking about was how “perceiving influences believing.”
In all three of my books, I talk about mindsets. My purpose is to have people be aware of how they phrase and verbalize their own thoughts. This will have a significant effect on their perceptions, their beliefs, and their stress management.
You can see how perceptions and what you visualize affect your stress levels by the following little experiment.
A Stress Management Experiment
First, close your eyes and imagine in your mind a seagull floating gracefully in … >>>
This stress management tip is one you will want to remember because it will show you the positive effects of forgetting.
Forgetting what you don’t need—whether it be people, situations, or teachings—reduces stress because it relieves anxiety, tension, and frustration.
Think of it this way: When you decide to buy all new furniture, what do you do? You probably get rid of most of your old furniture. Otherwise, there won’t be room for the new. The same thing is true of new ideas and new ways of doing things. Getting rid of negative and outdated thoughts prompts your thinking towards the new and aids in stress management.
The fact is that stress is reduced when negative stuff is removed from … >>>
If you want to reduce your negative thoughts, try the technique of compartmentalizing. Doing so will also help you reduce fear, anxiety, and tension.
Just as a train, submarine, and ship have different compartments, so can the mind. You can reduce your stress if you compartmentalize your negative thoughts. This may be easier for men who tend to think linear. But it can also be very helpful for women who tend to think in a more circular manner.
Think of your mind as having different compartments. When your thoughts bring feelings of anxiety, tension, or stress, place those thoughts in a compartment by itself. This compartment is watertight. Negative thoughts are sucked into this compartment. None other can enter.
If your workplace stress is due to your co-workers, this tip may help. You can’t pick your co-workers. However, you can pick how to get along with them in order to reduce workplace stress.
You can reduce workplace stress when you collaborate with others, rather than compete. While competition often induces stress, collaboration reduces it.
Since I developed my Without Stress approach from my many years of teaching experience, an example from the classroom can best help illustrate the point. Picture this: A teacher is giving an exam. The expectation is that each student will come up with the right solutions to all the problems. Some will succeed, and some will fail—but few will solve all the problems.