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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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, … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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:
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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
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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