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A Teenager’s Perspective on Stress and Anxiety

By Gabriele White

Many teenagers get stressed out before tests or presentations in front of their peers.  It’s true that nearly every high school student goes through this. It is not true that this response has to take control and overwhelm you. Stress in these situations is self-induced and can be controlled by your own positive thoughts and actions. Believe in yourself and stay positive.

You can reduce your stress in many ways.  You can accept that you can’t change the way things happen or what people think of you.  You can prepare more for the test and you can choose not to panic or let the stress take over your thoughts.  Many teenagers become so focused on the story, “oh, I lm stressed” that they create increasingly more stress. In reality, if you tell yourself, I can do this and take it one step at a time you will be able to manage the stress and end up more successful and happier.

Teenagers tend to struggle with the concept of taking responsibility for their actions. They never think it’s their fault for putting everything off until the last moment.  They believe that the teacher shouldn’t have assigned such a dumb project.

Take responsibility for your actions.  More and more often you see teenagers blame their failures on others.  Not even other people but other objects too.  A lot of the times kids start believing that it really was “Sandra’s fault for not giving me the pencil so I couldn’t take the test” or “it’s my math teacher’s fault for not teaching.”  But let’s get real; you should have brought a pencil to class.  I mean it’s annoying Sandra didn’t give you a pencil, but it’s your fault for not coming prepared, and your math teacher is a teacher for a reason. She went through 4 years of training for this and I’m sure she’s doing better than most people would.  When you fail a math test, it’s your fault. When you screw up and get caught cheating, stealing, or doing something you shouldn’t be doing, it’s your fault. This may seem obvious to some people, but not to others. You have to admit it’s your fault and realize that consequences come with every decision.  You may not like them or want them, but they will help you learn and grow from these experiences.  Once you’ve done this and accepted the blame and failure, you’re no longer a victim. You can take control of your life and your feelings.

People feel pressure to always be in touch and posting online.  I mean, if it’s not on Snapchat did it really happen? Social media influences us to fit into society by being perfect and cool and funny and smart.  This can be stressful, overwhelming and lead to bad decisions, but we still check Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter during every free moment.

Whenever we go online we automatically start comparing ourselves to the beautiful filter covered photos. For me I know get jealous seeing all my friends on Snapchat hanging out while I’m practicing sports or just at home with my family. Some people would say this give you “anxiety and stress”. If that’s the case then maybe it’s time to put the phone down.

Snapchat is a great example of how technology controls us.  It makes me feel like I must Snapchat every day so I don’t lose my streaks.  Once I ran out of data and it was really stressful because I didn’t want to lose my streaks.  Rather than a choice, it became a burden. Once I stopped, I found that losing my streaks made me feel better, almost freed.

Also, don’t define your best friends by the list of 7 people you snapchat the most. Snapchat who you want to Snapchat; and don’t worry if they aren’t who you hang out with. Don’t let this computer generated list define your life.

I recently noticed that I have touched my phone every day for nearly 2 years.  Yet I am not sure I have hugged my parents or brothers or anyone every day of those two years.  Also, my phone has seen my face for a longer period of time than any one person. Our phones have become the center of our lives .

We use them to connect with people who are hundreds of miles away from us. As cool as that is, there’s actually people who are less than 20 feet away from us who are perfectly capable of having a conversation in person. I believe many teenagers do not realize that our body’s already have this connection feature and it doesn’t cost extra or take time to install.

I am not saying that having a phone or social media is bad.  I ‘m just saying if you allow it to control your life, you miss out on more personal connections.  You become a victim of technology rather than allowing technology to enhance connection. We are allowing our phones to consume us. While reading this, you’ve probably gotten 3 new notifications, and you may have even stopped to read them or at least check to see if they were important.

Appreciate where you are in life and who you have around because eventually they won’t be there anymore. My family consists of five people; me, my two older brothers and my parents. One of the hardest things lately is that my two older brothers are moving out of the house. I never thought the day would come.  They will always still be children, even if legally they are considered adults. I’ve been scrambling to absorb every detail of these last years.  I don’t want to forget what it was like rushing, pushing, and shoving as we race up the stairs to bed. I realized that not one of these memories came from my phone through Snapchat.

Stop wishing you were somewhere else with someone else. If you aren’t where you want to be, then change it. If social media brings you down then put it down. Make real life memories. Stop letting the virtual reality become your only reality.

Throughout your life you will face hardships, but you have to persevere. Don’t give up because life is difficult. You can’t expect a great life to be handed to you; you’ve got to work for it.  This has been said many times, but it hasn’t sunk in for many of us. So I am saying it again.  You are in control of your life. You decide what to do with the difficult times. Don’t give in to stress and anxiety.  Take responsibility, make good choices and fight through it.

Is Your Chase for Success Killing You?

On August 15th, 2013, Moritz Erhardt, an intern working for Bank of America in London, died from complications created by working three days straight without sleep. He was doing a “turnaround,” which consists of an employee working all night, taking a cab home at 6 am, asking the cab to wait while he gets a quick shower and change of clothes, then hopping back in the cab to go back to work. He never got back in the cab. He was found dead in his shower. What happened?

Moritz’s death is a dramatic and immediate example of how our culture encourages many people to blindly chase success while being oblivious to the negative impacts it has on their happiness, on their health, and in certain cases on their lives. For most people these things develop over decades. The signs are there, but they are much more subtle and obscure.

I have worked with dozens of people over the past decade who speak about, research, and live happiness and success. We have analyzed definitions of success collected from hundreds of  people and found that most contained the word “happiness,” or at least concepts related to happiness. Most people connect success and happiness in their minds but have difficulty making the connection in their actions. Much like Moritz, only to a lesser degree, they pursue success single-mindedly, with the expectation that they will be happy once they achieve success; and that the more success they achieve, the happier they will be. Unfortunately that formula is backwards.

Success doesnt lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Personally, I have been in business settings for over 35 years, and I have seen hundreds of examples of people working hard and unwittingly sacrificing happiness in pursuit of success, which they think will make them happy. It starts out innocently enough–not having time to go out with friends, not getting home in time for dinner with a spouse or kids, not having time to exercise or pursue a fulfilling hobby–but soon amounts to missing positive moments in life because they are busy trying to build a life that will be full of positive moments.

The drawback doesn’t reveal itself until 5 or 10 years down the road, when a goal set early on has been achieved (a raise, a promotion, or a nice car); but for some reason, the satisfaction and fulfillment that were supposed to accompany the goal…don’t. I have seen both men and women break down crying from the stress of wanting to give 100% in their work, yet feeling sad and unfulfilled because they were missing time with their new baby or significant other. Have you ever met someone who felt they’d missed their biggest opportunity? It’s sad. Because missing important moments in your life leads to stress, and stress leads to unhappiness, disease, and a host of other challenges.

One example is a woman I worked with. Her name was Tina.

Tina was poised and confident, the kind of person that her peers wanted to emulate and every manager wanted to hire. She showed great leadership and had tremendous success early in her career. Five years, two promotions, and one baby later, she was sitting in a restaurant, tears streaming down her face from the stress of trying desperately to be successful in so many areas of her life while wondering what happened to the promise of happiness. She is one of hundreds of examples that played out in many different ways, but always had the same root cause. The long hours of hard work and dedication were never paid off with happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction. They only led to more long hours and hard work in trying to reach the next goal, which itself was supposed to lead to happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Let me say it again: Success doesnt lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

 

The challenge is that people get caught up in an ambitious chase for success and unwittingly delay or even bypass their opportunities for happiness with the belief that happiness would come after the project was finished, after the next promotion, after the next big bump in salary, or after they land that next perfect job. Too often, it doesn’t come as expected, and they end up forever looking over the horizon believing that happiness is just over the next hill. Those I have observed who did find happiness made simple, uncomplicated choices and changes in their lives. They found the secrets of happiness, and as a result, also became much more successful in the process.

 

Do you think your chase for success will lead to happiness?

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Why Exercise Makes You Happier

16 Ways Exercise Makes you Happier from JanesBestFitness.com

16ways_infographic Janes Best Fitness

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #61 – Relationships are as Important as Food and Water

Although it takes longer to see the effects, depriving yourself of social connections can take a physical toll just like not eating. Your brain responds both positively and negatively to the presence and quality of relationships in your life. Scientists are beginning to find that the loss or lack of social relationships creates actual physical pain and not just the emotional pain we are familiar with.

More importantly, positive social relationships activate pleasure centers in the brain that make us feel content and fulfilled much like having enough food makes us feel. Those pleasure centers are activated when we create charitable relationships like giving money to people in need rather than spending it on ourselves or when we nurture close personal relationships like helping someone close to us who is in distress. When scientists tested trade-offs of money for happiness, they found working with charities, visiting with friends, and maintaining a close relationship with your significant other were worth tens of thousands of dollars in annual income. All three levels of relationships; charitable, friendly, and close personal relationships, contribute more to your happiness than significant amounts of money.

To be happier, focus on maintaining strong social connections. Work with charities, spend time with friends, and nurture your close personal relationships. They are as important as eating and will have a positive physical impact on your well-being.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #60 – Create a Bed Time Routine

I know that sounds really boring, but how exciting can you really be if you are not happy, not focused, can’t remember things, and suffer from anxiety? Those are all symptoms of not getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Since most of us have morning deadlines related to school, work, or exercise, we have to go to bed earlier to make sure we get 7 hours of sleep.

So create a bed time routine. Start by determining what time will give you 7 hours of rest and add an extra 30 minutes for transition time. You need your downtime, so start your TV watching or Internet surfing a little earlier. Be sure and turn off all electronic devices 30 minutes before you go to bed. The light from your computer, phone, and television screens send signals to your brain telling you it is day time and you should be awake. Reading a book or just spending some time thinking will help you fall asleep faster. For the first 30 days, until you have truly established a routine, you will often lay awake feeling unproductive and having hundreds of thoughts racing through your mind. But over time, as the routine sets in, you will fall asleep quickly and wake up feeling refreshed, focused, and less anxious.

Create a bed time routine, so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night and you will feel smarter and happier.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #59 – Choose 3 Small Things

In a chaotic world it often feels like we don’t have control and that life is just rushing at us with a constant stream of challenges and things to do. To be happier, practice your autonomy. Research shows that we feel happier when we have autonomy and can make decisions about what will happen in our lives rather than being victims of the constant chaos of life.

So to be happier, take control of a small part of your life by finding 3 small things you can accomplish today. This is your list and can include things you want to do for others or small actions that will make your day a little better. The most important aspect is that you choose them. Then, make sure those three things get done. Try to get them done earlier in the day if possible, so there is less chance of being interrupted by the chaos of life. Each day pick 3 more things that you can control and you can accomplish.

Feeling like you can gain a little more control over the chaos of life will help you feel a lot happier.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #55 – Schedule Opportunities for Happiness

It is a common belief that happiness should be spontaneous. It is something that should just happen. But we often get so busy with the chaos of life we eliminate opportunities for happiness. We are so focused on what has to be done; we don’t leave time for spontaneity to occur. It is natural for responsibilities and obligations to force themselves to the front of your conscience and as a result conquer you entire calendar. Happiness is less aggressive and waits for an opening. If you want to be happy, you have to create room on your schedule for happiness.

So schedule opportunities for happiness. Put time your calendar to spend with friends, call a family member, exercise, work with a charity, or just do something fun. Schedule happiness opportunities daily or at a minimum weekly. To be happy, we have to take an active role in our happiness. We can’t just assume happiness will exist; we have to create opportunities for happiness.

 

Schedule opportunities for happiness and you will be happier. The people in your life might even appreciate it as well.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #54 – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t Get Angry Over a Parking Spot

Have you ever been waiting on a parking spot and had someone sneak in at the last moment and take your space? How angry did you get? What about when someone cuts you off in traffic or won’t make room for you to merge? Do you get angry when the weather changes and throws a wrench in your plans?

We often give up our happiness to small inconveniences we can’t control. Little things happen and we let our initial feelings of frustration and anger smolder all day and eventually explode at the next small inconvenience.

Happiness is based on our ability to let things go and to understand what we can control and what we can’t control. Initial feelings of anger and frustration are natural and are created by chemicals released into our brains. But those chemicals usually only last about 6 seconds and everything after those six seconds has to be manufactured by our negative ruminations.

Let the small stuff go. Focus on what is good in your life and spend your moments appreciating what you have instead of ruminating about what didn’t go your way. Think about what is positive and let your happiness conquer your frustration and anger.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and you will be happier.

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

4 Happiness Hacks and the Science behind Them

  1. Turn off the digital devices and turn on the charm.
  2. Get some exercise.
  3. Go outside.
  4. Say Thank You.

Infographic Courtesy of Coursefinder.

Happiness-hacks-CourseFinder

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

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MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #53 Find Patience

Find patience for all the things you can’t control. Your thoughts, your actions, your reactions, and your happiness are always within your control. Everything outside of you is not. Sometimes you have to grin and bear it and sometimes you just have to laugh. But you don’t have to become a victim and succumb to the stress of life’s chaos that is outside of your control. The Serenity Prayer sums it up well:

 

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

 

Find the fun and laughter not only in the good times but also in your mishaps and you will be happier.

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

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MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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