Have you ever tried to change something about your life—whether big or small—and ultimately gave up and said, “I can’t do this – change is hard!” We all have. This, of course, begs the question, “Why is change so difficult?”
The fact is that even though we think change is hard, it really isn’t. It just feels difficult because it is different from what we are accustomed to doing.
We are all creatures of habit. And when we do something out of our comfort zone, it feels funny, awkward, hard, and sometimes even overwhelming. Here’s a simple example you can do right now that illustrates how doing something even slightly different can cause discomfort.
What is the secret to living a happy life? Is happiness something that results from an action or state of being? Or is happiness a choice you can make regardless of the situation? I believe, in more cases than not, that happiness is definitely a choice.
Success does not bring happiness. In fact, if we equate happiness with success, we will never achieve the amount of success necessary to make us happy. There is always more success than we can achieve. However, as long as what we do is JOYFUL and MEANINGFUL, happiness will ensue.
Money is not the root of happiness. Some unhappy poor people have the illusion that money will make them happy. Have you ever noticed how … >>>
One of the best ways to reduce your stress is to simply reframe your problems. Realize that everyone has problems of some sort. Some people have relationship problems, others financial, some career, others health, some social, others business. No one is immune to problems in life. As the late Norman Vincent Peale once said, “There is only one group of people who do not have problems, and they are all dead. Problems are a sign of life, so the more problems you have, the more alive you are.” Although a tongue-in-cheek philosophy of life, there is some truth to this pronouncement.
So, knowing this, I propose that it’s not the problem itself that is causing you stress. Rather, it’s your … >>>
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges most of us face is knowing how to live a balanced life, within a 24-hour day. Between our work, family, personal development time, inundation by the media, the attraction of the Internet, so many good books to read, wanting to get enough sleep, maintaining social relationships, and the list goes on and on—how do we do it? It is no wonder that seminars on time management, books on life balance, and even garage and closet organizers for all the “stuff” accumulated are selling so well.
One way to become more effective is to evaluate how you use—or don’t use—some of your time. Following are some tips that may assist in increasing your effectiveness and … >>>
It seems amazing that this most tumultuous and disruptive year is finally coming to a close. As we all reflect on 2020 and the lessons it has taught us, it’s important to keep both balance and perspective as we focus on moving forward.
Personally, this past year I have tried to keep my responsibilities in line, despite the many challenges this year brought the world. The five foundational categories I have focused on are:
Family – immediate and far-reaching
Finance – and contributory fulfillment
Fitness – physical and psychological
Faith – religious, and optimism in resolving failings
Friends – to feed and find anew
Of course, I’ve had to adapt and find new ways to keep my priorities in order. … >>>
One of the easiest ways to solve problems is to ask questions. Unfortunately, many people get so mired in the problem that they end up blaming others or trying to control the situation instead. This typically leads to more stress.
Think about your own life for a moment. How often do you blame others for your own negative experiences or challenges? How often do you try to use authority or force to solve problems? We all do it from time to time. While in some cases these tactics may appear to work (at least temporarily), more often than not you have the ability to positively influence the situation by simply asking questions.
Notice I said “influence” the situation, not “change” … >>>
During times of stress, it’s natural to focus on controlling people—what they do and how they act. After all, stress makes you feel like you’ve lost control, so it’s human nature to try to regain that sense of control in some way. Many people accomplish this by controlling others, including their partners, children, and co-workers. But did you know that the more you focus on controlling people, the more stress you’ll ultimately experience?
How do you know if you’re being too controlling? If you experience much stress when interacting with others, chances are that you are aiming to control them. The fact is that people being controlled have low motivation to carry out decisions IMPOSED upon them. As scores of … >>>
During times of increased stress, a little kindness goes a long way. It’s during these times that we often see people talking about doing “random acts of kindness” as a way to show strangers you care.
Random acts of kindness are certainly a great idea. Buying a cup of coffee for a stranger … leaving a tip greater than the total tab for a server … giving up your seat on the bus for another … these are all kind gestures that brighten people’s day and make their world a little better.
However, when it comes to your long-term relationships, such as your life partner, immediate family, friends, co-workers, and even neighbors, you need to focus on regular acts of … >>>
Between politics, a pandemic, and the responsibilities of everyday life, most people are looking for ways to reduce stress. They are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and as if they are on an emotional roller coaster. Rather than turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drinking, smoking, or overeating junk food, you can reduce stress by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Below is a list of 10 ways to start lessening the stress you feel. Before you read the list, realize that the goal is NOT to do all 10 things at once starting tomorrow. That would be unrealistic and would stress anyone out, myself included. Instead, pick one thing you could start weaving into your life right away. Once that … >>>
When it comes to making the best out of any situation, sometimes all you have to do is change your perspective. The fact is that how you view things—whether an event, a situation, or a person—has a direct effect on the stress you feel … or don’t feel. Your perspective can make something seem positive or negative.
Perspective influences every aspect of life. For example, up close, the earth looks flat; from outer space, it’s round. A student may dislike a demanding teacher; the following year the student praises the teacher for being so thorough. A customer may seem difficult and rude; the next day you realize the customer revealed a huge problem and by fixing it you save your … >>>
Positive self-talk is vital for stress reduction. In fact, I often say that it’s important to master your mind if you want to reduce stress. But what exactly does that mean? In short, it’s about using positive self-talk to focus your expectations. Do you expect success? Or do you expect failure? While most people claim to expect success, the reality is that their self-talk is setting them up for failure, which in turn leads to stress.
When you expect failure, you communicate your expectations to your subconscious mind. Your brain accepts the notion and prompts your mindset as if you will fail. You actually program yourself in a negative way to do the things that will lead to failure. This … >>>
People ask me a lot of questions about stress. Following are the top 10 questions about stress that I get asked the most. I’ve purposely kept the answers short. In future posts I’ll elaborate on some of the answers. You can also find many answers in my book, Live Without Stress. As always, if you have any specific questions about stress, please ask me!
1. What impact does stress have on our life?
Stress can shorten lives and have debilitating effects on health—both physical and mental.
2. What are some specific things we can do to reduce stress?
Master our mind when making decisions (in contrast to acting on feelings).
One of the hardest things about living during a pandemic and times of social distancing is the lack of human connection. The fact is that human brains are wired to connect. We need other people to fully enjoy life. And that sense of human connection definitely lowers stress.
Even introverts need human connection. If you’re doubting how “wired” we are to each other, consider this: Both laughter and bad moods are contagious. Yawn in front of someone and watch what happens. This occurs because of what neuroscientists call “mirror neurons.”
When we realize that even trivial interactions can affect a person’s physiology, we have to take it more seriously. For example, scientists can now show by brain imaging and other … >>>
No one can escape the aging process. But aging does not need to be stressful! The key is to move every day and stay as strong for as long as you can. Remember, the human body is designed for movement, and muscles are not meant to be inactive. Aging is no excuse to stop moving!
Just like any other muscle, your heart functions best when challenged. Walk, swim, jog, use a treadmill, stair climbing machine, or some other weight-bearing movement in order to include moderate cardiovascular conditioning in your daily program. Aerobic exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and keeps the arteries more flexible. In addition, aerobic exercise is one of the best approaches for handling stress. … >>>
Your ability to truly listen to others is critical for building relationships and reducing stress. The reason is simple: The better you’re able to listen, the more the other person knows you care. When that sense of caring is present in a relationship, you and the other person experience less stress when you interact.
Unfortunately, few people know how to really listen. Have you ever talked to someone and noticed that they were not listening to you? How did it prompt you to feel? Disrespected? Unimportant? Angry? These are normal reactions. This is why listening is so important.
The key to listening is to be attentive. Don’t let your mind drift while the other person is talking. If your attention … >>>
You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Turns out, it’s true – well sort of. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being that reduces the negative effects of stress. In other words, laughter makes you feel good.
Additionally, the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. As such, laughter helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook in difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. And this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.
Here are a few suggestions to add humor and laughter to your life:
When the body and mind are stressed, sleep can seem elusive. It’s all too easy to allow the stressors of the day to disrupt your sleep pattern. Either you can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep because your mind is racing, reliving the events of the day and struggling to find solutions to your problems.
Unfortunately, not getting enough sound sleep affects mood and has long-term health consequences. Chronic disruption of sleep patterns is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease and a number of other health issues including an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes; weakened immunity and an increased tendency to get sick; weakened cognitive function including memory, alertness, and decision-making; increased impulsiveness, risk-taking, and addictive behavior; eating more; … >>>
During times of stress, getting enough exercise is of utmost importance. Research shows that staying fit through exercise can actually reduce the production of stress hormones. Think of exercise as the ultimate stress reducer.
While physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress, you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Just about any form of physical activity can help relieve stress and burn away anger, tension, and frustration. Not only does exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and make you feel good, but it can also serve as a valuable time-out from your daily cares.
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