During the Christmas season, my wife and I watch a number of Christmas movies. Some are rather good and others are pretty cheesy. But I’ve noticed all of them have the same theme. It’s all about the Christ-MESS they have to go through before they get to a more joyful Christmas.
In other words, STRESS is messing with them. And it may be messing with you, not just during this holiday season but throughout many points in your life.
That’s why I’ve given you seven stress busters in my last two Tuesday Tips. You can see them listed at the end of today’s Tuesday Tip. But going forward, to bust your stress habits, you could also…
►8. Write and place a short, thoughtful note for someone every day.
When you’ve got too much stress going on in your life or in your head, you’re also spending a lot of energy on negative emotions. So do just the opposite. Take a moment to experience and express a positive emotion because stress and positivity cannot co-exist.
And one of best ways to experience and express a positive emotion is through the use of handwritten notes.
It’s also one of the most underutilized techniques in today’s electronic world.
Of course, in our email universe, it can seem so old fashioned and time consuming to hand-write and mail a letter. But relationships aren’t about efficiency. They’re about impact.
And the truth is handwritten notes have a deeper impact and are remembered much longer than electronic messages. Handwritten messages are so powerful that people will probably keep your notes for a long time. Sometimes a lifetime.
I would even suggest that you add an element of fun in the distribution of your positive notes, which is another stress buster. Place your kind, complimentary, or loving notes in random places for your intended recipient.
If your note is for a loved one, you could put a note under the windshield wipers of your loved one’s car before he or she goes off to a hard day’s work. You can peek out the window as they find their note and see their eyes light up and smile spread. Other fun places might include in the fridge, in the closet, on the computer keyboard, in their shoe, in their wallet, purse or mail box … anywhere that makes the experience a surprise.
►9. Cut back on your news consumption.
Although the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally, you will not get that message watching televised news, listening to a podcast, or reading a news app.
On the contrary, these media outlets have an agenda. Their goal is to STRESS YOU OUT. Their goal is to appeal to your fears by inflating extreme cases — making them seem normal and commonplace. If they didn’t do so, their viewership would plummet.
In fact, I challenge you to watch any TV news program or news source and not come away feeling sad, mad, or scared. That’s why Peter Diamandis, one of the world’s experts on entrepreneurship and the future of innovation has said, “I’ve stopped watching TV news. They couldn’t pay me enough money.”
I’m not suggesting that you become uninformed and ignorant. You’ve got to know what is going on to some extent, for your own safety and well-being. But when you cut back from the toxic filth that is public news, you’ll be startled by how much more optimistic your worldview becomes.
►10. Establish a daily positive wake-up routine.
There are only two ways to live your life. You can be an actor or a reactor. An actor chooses the direction of their life. A reactor bounces around like a pool ball, being knocked in several different directions. And as you can guess, it’s an awful lot less stressful to be an actor.
One way to be an actor is to have a morning routine that makes you feel good and starts your day on an upbeat note. Act on your behalf. Make your first 60-90 minutes of your morning about you, so that you can be at your best for other people the rest of the day. For me, my routine consists of some Bible reading, prayer, exercise, a shower, and healthy food. Choose what works for you.
Unfortunately, most people check their email and social media as soon as they wake up. And they’re instantly turned into reactors, reacting to other people’s feelings, opinions, and situations. That’s not good and it is more stressful.
News Alert: A new five-week virtual class on Emotionally Intelligent Self-Leadership will be taught by me, Dr. Alan Zimmerman, starting on January 19, 2023. Put it on your calendar. It will turbocharge your life for the better. More details coming soon.
►11. Say “no” more often.
To get rid of your stress, say “no” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in. It puts you in charge of your own life, which is a huge stress reliever.
Of course, it may not be easy for you to say “no” if you’re a people pleaser. As some of my clients tell me, “When I say ‘no,’ I feel guilty.” Or as author James Dobson put it, “Parenting is not for cowards.” My advice to them is to “Get over it. You can’t live your life by your feelings and expect to have a good life.”
Put things in perspective. On most days, you won’t be spending more than 10 or 20 seconds saying “no,” and most of your no’s will be in response to stuff that doesn’t really matter. You can certainly muster up 20 seconds of courage each day to deal with those requests.
And for the bigger, tougher situations, where saying “no” is really challenging, take some time before you give your response and take some time to think through how you will give your response. Don’t be bullied into giving an immediate answer. Remember it’s your life, your time, and your stress, and you want to give the response that is both respectful of yourself and the other person.
Have a very Merry Christmas. I’ll see you next Tuesday when I finish out these 15 Great Ways to Bust Your Stress Habits.
If you missed the first seven stress busting tips in my last two weeks of the Tuesday Tip, here they are:
- Reflect on your blessings at least once every day.
- Fast from the Internet 24 hours once per week.
- Spend a few moments to read and re-read your goals.
- Look for humor everyday everywhere.
- Train yourself to delay gratification.
- Do something kind for someone every day.