How Not to Worry
Worry can adversely impact people’s daily lives and the lives of those around them. In How Not to Worry, Paul McGee explores why worry is such a significant part of people’s lives. He exposes some of the behavioral traps people fall into when dealing with life’s challenges and seeks to explore the causes as well as the consequences of worry. After defining worry and discussing its causes, McGee offers practical tools and ideas to help people deal with worries and challenges (real or otherwise) in a more constructive way.
Despite the fact that people in the developed world live a long, healthier, and safer life than at any other time in human history, worry and stress are on the rise. But there are steps people can take to relieve this stress.
- Manage mental diet. People should be mindful of watching too much “CNN” — constant negative news.
- Escape “escalators.” People should avoid sharing worries with people who escalate them.
- Cut the clutter. People should write things down to “declutter” the mind and also declutter their personal space. Clutter creates confusion and counteracts calm.
- Find the funny. Laughter really is the best medicine.
- Use music as a muse. Music affects people’s moods, so people should be careful what they listen to.
- If something cannot be controlled or influenced, people must learn to accept it.
- To re-tell is to re-live and this is not always helpful.
- Move on. People cannot start the next chapter of their lives if they keep re-reading the last one.
How to Be Happy
In How to Be Happy, Liggy Webb explores the meaning of happiness and provides a toolkit of approaches and techniques to build confidence and resilience in order to become a healthier and happier person. Her comprehensive treatment explains the key elements leading to happiness, including the importance of a positive attitude, being the best that you can be, maintaining physical and mental fitness, handling stress, managing change, developing resiliency, engaging in lifelong learning, nurturing positive relationships, appreciating life and its gifts, cultivating kindness, and loving and serving others.
According to Webb:
- Happiness is a journey, not a destination. You can make the decision to be happier, if you really want it. Achieving happiness takes practice and the ability to work out your own plan for accomplishing it.
- In defining happiness, it is important to appreciate what you have. Do not let a constant, undefined search divert you from that. “How can I become happier?” is probably a better question than “Am I happy?”
- Developing and sustaining a positive mental attitude is the key to health and happiness. When faced with a problem, view it as an opportunity and seek out possibilities and solutions.
- Be open and positive toward change, occasionally stepping out of your comfort zone. Understand the emotions that change can bring and learn to deal with them. Challenge your own limiting beliefs, develop your self-confidence, and believe in yourself.
- Investing in good health is essential. Exercise every day, drink lots of water, and eat a healthy diet.
- Learn to limit and manage stress. Be assertive in your communications and dealings, seek the benefits in change, and avoid imposing stress on yourself. Become resilient by turning problems into opportunities.
- Constant learning promotes mental health and happiness. Learn in multiple ways, improve memory skills, teach others what you have learned, and put what you have learned into practice.
- Cultivate positive, nurturing relationships. Accept and celebrate differences, develop your communications skills, be more understanding and empathetic, and treat others as you would have them treat you.
- Sustainable happiness requires finding your own work-home balance. Be sure to establish priorities and manage your time more effectively.
- Gratitude is an indispensable aspect of health, wholeness, and well-being. Decide to be grateful and wake up with that attitude. Focus on giving and cultivate the habit of saying “thank you.”
- *The key to a happy life is identifying and pursuing your own purpose, with the intent of making the world a better place. Lead by example, respect and value others, commit random acts of kindness, and support charities.
A positive broadcaster is someone who focuses on the positive in order to motivate others and produce results. In Broadcasting Happiness, Michelle Gielan challenges readers to develop more positive outlooks on life. By capitalizing on positivity, positive broadcasters can change the trajectories of their families, companies, and communities. Journalists in particular should focus on the positive and practice transformative journalism by offering a more complete picture of what is happening in the world. By making the choice to see the good in life and share it, anyone can broadcast happiness.
According to Gielan:
- Everyone is a broadcaster. A person’s friends, family, and coworkers are his or her audience. Positive broadcasters can influence the thinking, happiness, and potential of others.
- When a person speaks up and broadcasts a new vision for the future, the result is positive change. Positive broadcasters leverage positivity and optimism through the use of power leads, flash memories, and leading questions.
- Negativity can be contagious and can affect a person’s stress levels, health, and productivity. Positive broadcasters overcome stress and negativity by fact-checking situations, engaging in strategic retreats, and delivering bad news with the four Cs.
- A group’s culture is based on the stories that they tell themselves. The more a positive story spreads, the more people it influences. By going viral, a positive broadcaster can unlock his or her full potential.
- Journalists can and should make the move toward transformative journalism. Journalists should choose optimistic, emotional stories; tell the whole story; and engage the public.
Overworked and Overwhelmed
Most professionals do not realize that mindfulness, or the balance of awareness and intention, is the antidote to extreme stress. While mindfulness may initially seem like a complicated and elusive goal, leadership coach Scott Eblin demonstrates in his book, Overworked and Overwhelmed, that there actually is a straightforward methodology to achieving it. To this end, Eblin provides readers with an in-depth guide to the nature of mindfulness, as well as a set of mindful routines they can implement to curb feelings of burnout and be happier and more productive in both their work and home lives.
Eblin advises readers to:
- Combine awareness with intention. Mindfulness requires professionals to cultivate an awareness of what is happening in the present moment and then take intentional steps to reduce the feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed.
- Breathe. By practicing mindful, meditative breathing, professionals can control both their bodies’ fight or flight stress responses and the harmful effects on their health and cognitive abilities.
- Identify best performance qualities. In order for professionals to identify the best routines to achieve mindfulness, they must first understand what their best performances look like. This way they have a reference point as to how they want to “show up” in their personal and professional lives.
- Develop routines to reinforce mindfulness. Routines enable professionals to reduce the amount of time they spend making decisions. Mindful routines also provide a positive foundation for professionals to consistently show up at their best.
- Strengthen body, mind, relationships, and spirit. In order to achieve mindfulness, professionals must adopt physical routines to stay healthy, mental routines to keep their minds free of clutter, relational routines to maintain their humanity, and spiritual routines to reinforce their sense of purpose.
- Take measures to stay on track. To ensure that they stick to their mindful routines, professionals must work to mitigate their self-doubt, make themselves accountable to others, and practice time management.
- Determine desired outcomes in the three important areas of life. In order for professionals to take mindful actions, they must first understand what outcomes they want to achieve in the domains of their home lives, work lives, and communities.
How to Stress Less
People tend to see stress as a negative aspect of their lives, but as Benjamin Bonetti states in How to Stress Less, stress can actually have a positive influence. Many people, including athletes, choose to use stress as a motivator. Understanding the effects of stress and how it can be managed is crucial to helping people overcome its negative effects.
According to Bonetti:
- Stress does not have to be accepted as a fact of life. It can be managed through a series of choices, including the choice to view negative situations in a positive light, exercise, and eat proper foods.
- Foregoing rest and recovery after a stressful event intensifies a person’s stress reaction. Taking time to rest and recover will help an individual get out of a panic state.
- Negative people tend to find acceptance with other negative people, but choosing to focus on the positive is an important factor in overcoming the effects of stress.
- A positive self-image is necessary for generating a positive outlook on life. Negative self-talk can be particularly detrimental to one’s self-image. It is important for people to recognize when negative self-talk is occurring so they can stop the practice.
- Stress triggers are based on past experiences and observations. Changing those triggers is an essential part of stress management. People should ask themselves if they are thinking in a manner that creates the best representation of the current situation.
- Medications can mask the symptoms of stress, but they do not address the root cause of the stress itself. People should manage their stress through positive choices, such as exercise and proper eating. Exercise, in particular, boosts people’s moods, which in turn creates more motivation to exercise and make other healthy choices.