The world today is more stressful than ever, and many people are searching for ways to reduce stress. Fortunately, one of the best stress-reducing techniques is something you can easily do on your own, and it requires no special tools. It’s a simple as engaging in deep breathing.
In fact, research is mounting that a powerful technique for stress relief is deep breathing. Just as the name implies, it’s about breathing slowly and deeply, as this reduces anxiety, controls blood pressure, improves heart rate, makes arteries more flexible, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system that reduces the body’s fight-flight-freeze response to danger and stress.
Breathing is ordinarily an involuntary act, but it is the only function through which you can … >>> READ MORE >>> →
When you’re living in times of uncertainty and stress, it’s important to embrace kindness. This means being kind both to others and to yourself. It’s normal that when under stress, people have “short fuses.” Little things can quickly spiral out of control as negativity prevails. The good news is that you can help lessen the effects of the current situation’s turmoil in one simple way: Embrace Kindness.
As a youth I developed this attitude of kindness that I still use to this day. I make it a habit to choose to be kind to not only others, but also to myself. I learned at an early age that I was not perfect, that I made mistakes, and that sometimes I … >>> READ MORE >>> →
The conversations you have with yourself form your perceptions and can help control your stress. In fact, we can make a good case that your self-talk creates your reality and your level of stress. Stress is related to perceiving the world as manageable or unmanageable, and this is directly related to your mindset.
Mindsets are perceptions, attitudes, dispositions, intentions, and inclinations that emanate from our experiences and filter our thoughts that form the lenses through which we see the world and our lives.
Perceptions are as important as reality. In fact, perceptions can be your reality. To reduce and control your stress it is critical to understand that so often it is not the event but the perception of the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
We know that when we suffer from continual stress, choices seem limited. As a result, our effectiveness decreases. Behavioral scientists have a name for this psychological reaction: learned helplessness.
Scientists have studied this phenomenon in laboratory rodents. The nervous system of mice bears striking similarities to that of humans. Here is how one experiment works. If you provide mice with an escape route, they typically learn very quickly how to avoid a mild electrical shock that occurs a few seconds after they hear a tone. But if the escape route is blocked whenever the tone is sounded, and new shocks occur, the mice will eventually stop trying to run away. Later, even after the escape route is available, the animals … >>> READ MORE >>> →
No matter what the situation, you always have a choice and can choose your thoughts. These choices are a significant factor in determining your life. The sooner you become aware of this, the less stress you’ll experience.
Realize that regardless of a situation that cannot be changed, regardless of a stimulation that prompts emotions to erupt, and regardless of an urge or impulse, you always have the power and freedom to choose your thoughts and how to respond. The ability is referred to as choice-response thinking
Learning choice-response thinking—that you need not be a victim—may be one of the most valuable thinking patterns you can develop.
The Power of Choice
Choice empowers. Choice, control, and responsibility are so woven together … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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, … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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:
- The person may not know the motivation.
- He or she may not be able to articulate the motivation.
- The person may not want to tell you the real reason.
- The person may give an excuse, rather than take responsibility.
- There is no beneficial effect in asking, as it only satisfies curiosity.
- It takes the focus away from changing
… >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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. … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →