Stress Management

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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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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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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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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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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How to Say No Positively

Sometimes in life you have to say no to others. While most people dislike saying no, it really is an important life skill to learn. Failure to say no to others can often lead to stress, overwhelm, and unhappiness.

In my books, speeches, and professional work, I stress the importance of positivity. But saying no to others feels so negative. The word itself is certainly not positive. And the feeling it leaves after a conversation can sometimes feel negative. So how can you say no to others without actually saying the word “no”? How can you protect your time, your feelings, and your needs while keeping the relationship positive?

Here is a simple four-step process to say no positively:

1. … >>>

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Rise Above Any Stressful Situation

For many people, the stress of everyday life—where you go from stressful situation to another—can seem overwhelming. Between work, family, social commitments, and even the daily onslaught of negative news, stress levels across the board are rising. As a result, conditions like anxiety, depression, OCD behaviors, and insomnia are on the rise.

Fortunately, in many cases, you have a choice. No matter what the stressful situation is, you can choose to react to it positively or negatively. You can choose to let life weigh you down. Or you can choose to rise above the challenges.

Consider this old story and think about the deeper meaning being illustrated:

A farmer had an old dog. One day his dog fell into a … >>>

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Your Emotions and Stress Management

When it comes to stress management, you have more control over your stress levels than you may think. That’s because your emotions play a big role in stress management.

Fact: Emotions and Stress Management are Related!

Emotions have many variations: joy, contentment, serenity, frustration, sadness, sorrow, guilt, etc. If you break them down into their simplest elements, there are only two important categories; one sends positive messages and the other sends negative messages. To practice stress management, you need to be aware when your emotions are sending negative messages and transform them into positive messages.

The question is, how do you do that?

If you are mindful (conscious) of your emotions, you will realize that they are affected by your … >>>

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Confront Negativity with Positivity

Positivity is important. And sometimes we need to think of the meaning behind what we like to keep. This applies to both physical and mental keepsakes. Are your thoughts and possessions promoting positivity? Or do you need to let go of some outdated beliefs?

Here is a case in point.

For years I have had a little statue describing an ancient morality. The tiny statue that sat on my desk portrayed three little monkeys. One had hands over the eyes, another with hands over the ears, and a third with hands over the mouth.

The message was to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. The philosophy portrayed in the little figures is that good is found … >>>

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Develop the Happiness Generation

Most people are on a quest for happiness. We want to be happy, and we want our children to be happy. As a result, to hopefully ensure the happiness of their children, many parents give them things. Before I go any further, let me clearly state that the following point is NOT to stop giving items to our children; it is to point out how HAPPINESS is EARNED, not GIVEN.

Unfortunately, many young people today are learning to have an “entitlement” mentality rather than a happiness mentality. For example, many teachers give kindergarten and early grade students stickers or other items for doing what the teacher requests. Parents also bribe youngsters by saying something like, “If you do this, then … >>>

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The Secret to Resolving Relationship Stress

cartoon image of two people arguing

Relationship stress is a common problem. The relationship can be between two adults, two children, and even between an adult and a child. The quickest and best way to ease relationship stress is NOT to try to change the other person. Instead, change something about yourself first.

If you are convinced that another person is wrong and they are the source of the stress, there is always the chance it could just be a case of “mistaken certainty.” Or, perhaps, the two of you just have significantly different belief systems. Or, perhaps, it could be the case that “I know you believe you think you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what … >>>

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The Benefits of Using Positive Words

Image of a brain with happy faces inside

Using positive words may be the most successful approach to reduce stress and increase your effectiveness. The reason is that this type of vocabulary empowers AND feels good.

Compare each in the following examples:

“I HAVE to go” versus “I GET to go.”

“I have no choice” versus “I am choosing to …”

“No!” versus “Not yet.”

“I only have two choices” versus “I have two choices.”

“I have a DEADLINE” versus “I have a DUE date.”

(The former connotes DEATH while the latter connotes BIRTH.)

We now know scientifically that what Henry Ford stated was accurate: “If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you are right.” The words you use … >>>

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Use Your Words to Reduce Stress

Image of colorful speech bubbles

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

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Positivity Reduces Stress

Image of a happy woman holding a balloon with a happy face - Positivity

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 … >>>

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5 Essential Stress Management Tips

Silhouette image of two people on a beach at sunset

Everyone needs some simple stress management strategies. Here are 5 easy, natural stress relief tips that enable you to de-stress immediately.

Stress Management Tip 1: Pivot

You see an accident and an emotion immediately erupts.

You hear a compliment and a nice feeling immediately follows.

You smell your morning coffee and you feel good.

You taste your favorite desert and a wonderful feeling follows.

You touch something soft and enjoy the feeling.

After each of the five senses an emotion follows.

Likewise, you think a negative thought and immediately become anxious.

The brain-body connection is such that feelings immediately follow our senses and our thoughts.

Note that you cannot stop emotions, but by changing your thinking you can redirect your … >>>

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Do What You Love to Reduce Stress

Image of Tom Sawyer and friends whitewashing a fence. Reduce Stress

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 … >>>

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Put an End to Workplace Stress

Image of a woman holding her head at her office desk

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; … >>>

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