April 16th is National Stress Awareness Day. In honor of the holiday, we’re showcasing quotes from our books about handling stress.
**Originally posted April 16, 2015 — and updated to include When the Pressure’s On (AMACOM May 2016)!**
Staying prepared is all about maintaining the balance between stress and recovery. Address stress by ensuring that extended periods of high-performance demands are balanced out with appropriate recovery. Recover counter-balances daily stressors before they accumulate and become a significant impediment to performance. When you know an especially stress-filled period is approaching, plan and schedule recovery activities much like your work activity. Mark the recovery activities on the calendar, increasing the probability that you will engaged in them. (pages 110-111).
Western culture dangles the idea that not only can we have more, but we are also entitled to it. Keeping up the pace of the “good life” can be just as stressful as recognizing that we don’t have all we were told we should have.
As modern life demands that we attend to more things in less time, we believe we must move faster to accomplish all that life requires. As we do, the pressure builds. Yet, moving faster isn’t the answer. Multi-tasking, neuroscience tells us, compromises our effectiveness. Yet, we race ahead, and before we know it, we have moved away from our center, the place I call “home” 0r “here.” The more we distance our attention from ourselves, the more drained, pressured, and disheartened we feel. Our decisions may become flawed and our relationships stressful. In this state, even when things go our way, life seems hard (page 59).
When Brianna’s thoughts about “I’m not good enough” get activated, she feels bad about herself; she thinks she needs to protect herself from being taken advantage of. That’s why she feels deflated and “loses it.” When Brianna learned this insight, she was blown away. “I am shocked at why I reacted. But I can see that’s definitely true,” she told me. In short, the real reason she snapped was that her husband’s question activated her own doubt (page 166).
And here are some of our titles to help reduce the stress of parenthood:
Stress-Free Discipline: Simple Strategies for Handling Common Behavior Problems by Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha
As parents, you will have Absolutes—behaviors you absolutely expect from family members. They reflect your values and thus are different for every family. There are no right or wrong items for you and your spouse to put on this list.
Here’s what an Absolute means: You will absolutely not tolerate a behavior and will stop what you’re doing to address that issue immediately, taking decisive action and brooking no explanations. These are the lines in the sand that, when crossed, provoke a reaction that conveys to your child that he has gone too far. Absolute consistent: Every time this behavior happens, you are resolute and take action in response. Coordinate and predetermine your response with any other adult who helps to parent your child.
Keep your family’s list of Absolutes very short. These are things you’re going to go to the mat for, and if you choose too many, you’ll be on the mat too often. You won’t be able to effectively parent with such rigid parameters. For example, in many families, hitting is never tolerated. If you and your spouse determine that will be one of your Absolutes, then every time you see your child hit someone, you always need to react with consequence. Many families use a swift Time-Out in these cases (pages 35-36).
Stress-Free Potty Training: A Commonsense Guide to Finding the Right Approach for Your Child by Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha
Praise is not only healthier, but there is an inexhaustible, free supply. We always have some with us. It also gives us parents the chance to specifically target what we really want to reinforce—our kid’s effort, willingness, and interest. Based on our feedback, our children will begin to value the same traits we are reinforcing—persistence, tolerance, overcoming frustration, patience, bravery commitment to a goal, and so on. Reinforcing all of that can be done quickly and efficiently in a statement of admiration or even a quick burst of applause. There is no time like early childhood to start working on the development of an internal achievement-orientation (pages 40-41)!
Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.