Recently, while listening to the radio, I heard the commentators talking about a poll on “The Holiday Season.” 48% say it’s joyous, 46% say stressful and 2% is undecided. In the previous year’s survey, the results were 52% joyous and 36% stressful.
Why the big change to stressful? Unfortunately, I didn’t’ hear that part, I got out of my car. I am just guessing here, but I would say if you watch the news on TV, listen to the radio or read the papers (on line or in your hand), you can see why folks are more stressful. The point may be… don’t watch TV, listen to the radio or read the news ☺. How do you like the pick me up, positive message so far? WAIT! Keep reading it gets better!
As graduates of one, or in many cases, multiple Dale Carnegie Training programs, you have read How To Win Friends and Influence People and How To Stop Worrying and Start Living, you know the value of the wisdom in these books.
Choose to be Happy, Healthy and Successful during this Holiday Season and all of 2015! Let’s look at a few things we read and discussed during your Dale Carnegie Program to get us moving.
How to reduce Stress and be Happy
Some Principles from How To Stop Worrying and Start Living
- “Expect ingratitude” If we do things for others (and we should) do it out of kindness, love and a gracious heart. Don’t ‘do something for someone and expect they will be grateful. If you do and they don’t acknowledge you or your efforts, you become resentful (not a way to go through the Holiday Season) and it adds to your stress. If you expect they won’t appreciate it, and they are grateful, then that is a bonus.
- “Count your blessings – not your troubles” With all that is going on in our lives, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Psychologists have been saying for years that the human mind more easily focuses on negative emotions and situations than positive. We all know that to be true, so if we are overwhelmed it is easy to count our troubles. When we make a gratitude list and count our blessings, it will actually make us happier. So each morning for the next two weeks make a list of three things you are grateful for. This will help our brains to begin to scan our world for those positive and good things. When we focus on the positive, not only do we find it, we also reduce stress and we become a happier person. How do I know this? Three reasons. 1) 28 years of teaching The Dale Carnegie Course, hearing hundreds of reports on how people count their blessings through making lists of what they are grateful for and how they have less stress and are happier. 2) Personal experience, it works for me. 3) Harvard has been studying “Positive Psychology” for the past 15 years and they conclude one tool is to make a gratitude list and you’ll be happier and have less stress.
- “Live in ‘day-tight compartments” Do today your job today. Focus on today’s activities and don’t dwell on yesterday – it’s gone partner – nor tomorrow hasn’t gotten here just yet. Be in the moment or the activity. Making a list for tomorrow is prudent planning. Becoming obsessed with what you have to do is not.
If you put these three actions to work you can have less stress and become a happier person.
As the holiday party invitations begin to show up in your in box and you have to or want to attend, we still may be feeling a little anxious. Think back to your first session of your course and that tool will continue to serve you well. The Conversation Stack! This is Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Principles in action. It is a good reminder for us in any situation to connect better with others too.
- #4 – “Become genuinely interested in other people.” This principle makes an assumption – no not that people are interesting. The assumption is that we are not naturally interested in others. Actually human nature states we care more about ourselves than others. We are hard wired that way so we have to become or work at being interested in others. This will help us build better relationships. The stronger our personal or professional relationships, the happier we are.
- #7 – “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” Think about this friends, it’s their favorite subject. You and I just have to want to listen and get them on a subject they want to talk about and have patience.
- #8 – “Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.” A little discipline is required for this one. Our tendency (mine anyway) is to talk about what I am interested in and hope that the other person is as well. If we focus on them and their interests, we will be able to find out more about this person (do you know the important events in an in-laws life, what accomplishment they are most proud, why they chose their line of work?).
Our attitudes have a huge impact on our ability to have a happy, healthy, reduced stress life if we can put some of these principles to work, we will literally astonish ourselves.
We hope this helps you as you are completing 2014 and are beginning to construct your best year ever. Have the Happiest, Healthiest and Warmest of Holidays.
Make 2015 your best year so far!
Mike, Tamara, Vito, Marsh, Jim & Nancy