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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Stress Management Tip: Forget the Past

Image of a chalk drawing of a brain being erased

This stress management tip is one you will want to remember because it will show you the positive effects of forgetting.

Forgetting what you don’t need—whether it be people, situations, or teachings—reduces stress because it relieves anxiety, tension, and frustration.

Think of it this way: When you decide to buy all new furniture, what do you do? You probably get rid of most of your old furniture. Otherwise, there won’t be room for the new. The same thing is true of new ideas and new ways of doing things. Getting rid of negative and outdated thoughts prompts your thinking towards the new and aids in stress management.

The fact is that stress is reduced when negative stuff is removed from your thinking.

Let Go for Optimal Stress Management

An old story dramatizes the effects of continuing to hold on to something that hinders managing stress.

An expedition of scientists went on a mission to capture a Tonkin sub-nosed monkey. Only an estimated 100 to 200 of this particular species exist, and they reside only in the jungles of Vietnam. The objective was to capture one of the monkeys alive and unharmed.

Using their knowledge of monkeys, the scientists devised a trap consisting of a small bottle with a long narrow neck. A handful of nuts was placed in it, and the bottle was staked out and secured by thin wires attached to a tree.

Sure enough, one of the desired monkeys saw the nuts in the bottle, thrust an arm into the long neck, and grabbed a fistful. But when the monkey tried to withdraw the prize, his first (now made larger by its contents) would not pass through the narrow neck of the bottle. He was trapped, anchored in the bottle, unable to escape with his booty, and yet unwilling to let it go. The monkey was easily captured.

We may smile at such foolishness, but in some respects, we operate in the same manner. We cling to the very things that hold us back, remaining captive through sheer unwillingness to let go. People fail so often because of what they will not give up. They cling to what has always worked—clearly after it has stopped working.

Since you cannot undo the past, the smart thing to do is to forget it by not bringing it up again.

Tip: For optimal stress management, let go of what hinders you.

You can get many more empowering tips like this one in my award-winning book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. Buy one and get one free as a gift. You will not want to depart with your own copy. Be sure to check out the Without Stress Facebook Group where you can connect with other life-minded people on a journey to reduce stress.

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Dr. Marvin (Marv) Marshall
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