Make a Paradigm Shift to Reduce Stress

Sometimes, making a big change in your life requires a paradigm shift. Stephen Covey, in his classic book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to his now famously used term, “paradigm.” He writes: “A paradigm is like a new pair of glasses; it affects the way you see everything in your life.”

For many people, the three practices that I teach to reduce stress are a paradigm shift in how they think.

Three Practices Lead to a Paradigm Shift

  1. The first of the three practices is positivity—in other words being positive with oneself and others. We know that we do better when we feel good, as contrasted to doing good when feeling bad. With this in mind, Positivity is about talking to ourselves in positive ways and also communicating in a positive way with others. Positivity is so much more effective and powerful than negativity.
  2. The second practice is the use of choice—being aware that we always have a choice in our responses. Regardless of the situation that we cannot change, or an external stimulus where we usually act reflexively, or an internal impulse or urge, we still have the freedom to choose our responses. Because we have this ability, we never need to feel as victims. In short, choice empowers.
  3. The third practice is reflection—a key way to actuate behavioral change. Reflection is essential for enjoying the journey of life because it engenders self-evaluation, the critical component for change and an essential ingredient for happiness. Covey made the point most succinctly when he wrote, “In all my experiences, I have never seen lasting solutions to problems, lasting happiness and success, that came from the outside in.”

Practicing these three NONCOERCIVE principles has many benefits. It promotes responsibility, increases effectiveness, improves relationships, and reduces stress.

Are You Ready for a Paradigm Shift?

In a way, it is, as Covey says, like being fitted for and wearing new glasses. It takes a little getting used to, but the brain adapts by making new neural connections. So yes, it is a paradigm shift. However, the more we practice, the stronger the reinforcement, the more glial cells our brain manufactures, and the easier and more creative we are in the use of the practices.

My new book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey, is now available as a Kindle book. This book will show how to use some simple strategies to significantly reduce your stress, promote responsibility, increase your effectiveness, improve your relationships, and truly enjoy life’s experiences.