How To Eliminate Stress, Boost Your Confidence, And Reach Your Goals

Sweat Is Beautiful

“Many exercise forms – aerobic, yoga, weights, walking and more – have been shown to benefit mood.” 

~ Andrew Weil

Your brain is a fantastic creation. It’s complex. It can do astounding creative acts, push you to do physical things that seem unreal, and solve life and death problems.

That’s the good news.

If you don’t think about your own brain in those terms, you should.

When I say your brain is fantastic, I mean YOUR brain. It’s easy to forget this.

One reason we forget is that brains get foggy, so foggy that our mental pains can outweigh our physical ones.

When we want the fog to lift, we want it right now. Like a cup of coffee. I drink it and I’m clear for a little while.

But it’s a quick fix, not a long-term solution.

This book isn’t really about coffee cup quick fixes. But it is about things that can start helping in minutes.

Everything in this book is an easy solution. And they’re all in the “Doofus” story.

Easy solutions sometimes feel less than best.

But I promise, I’m not sharing less than best with you here.

These solutions work.

They will start working today.

One thing you might do is read as if you had never heard about them before. That way, you can give them their proper place.

Let’s get started…

And while I’m thinking about it, go to a doctor and get yourself checked out (if you need) before you start any exercise program. Make sure that you can safely exercise.

Brain fog is a problem. When trying to lift stress from your mind, exercise is not the thing you want to talk about. We want to think about doing it in the future. We want to think, “Hey I’ve done that before.”

We may think, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard all that…”

Or, “Seriously? Really? Exercise doesn’t really work. That’s not what I wanted to hear. Tell me something real.”

Exercise. Whatever.

But, no really, listen. Exercise is the first chapter in this book for a reason.

It works. It works so well you wouldn’t believe it.

It works like crazy.

And you don’t even need to do a lot of exercise to get a benefit at first.

Just a little bit will give you a super brain boost fast. And it also helps you long term. No joke.

It’s a one-two punch, helps now and later.

Exercise gets your body making the kinds of hormones that you need to stay focused and in the zone. It really does.

Here’s how easy it can be. Just go outside and take a walk.

Or do 10 pushups.

Now, before you get too excited. If you’ve been doing lots and lots of pushups already then 10 isn’t going to do it for you. I’m assuming that maybe you’ve been sedentary, and are getting back into it.

In fact, if you are really sedentary, just two pushups can do wonders for you. (If you can’t do pushups, then push off a wall or door, or do pushups from your knees)

Walking is amazing.

Researchers have found that there is a significant positive effect from walking even when participants think it’s boring or dread it That’s powerful. And to be honest, that’s exactly what I’ve found.

At night, I like to walk at the local football stadium. It’s lit up and usually, there are 10 or 20 other people taking advantage of the night air too.

I’ve gone when it’s 30 degrees out. I’m thinking — this here is crazy. Why am I out in all this? But, when I’m motivated to get to a goal, I don’t care. I push a little. And before you know it, I’m feeling great. Okay, it takes 15 or 20 minutes before I feel that way. And I’m not dreading it the whole time. My mind is giving me little “high fives” because I’m actually doing it.

I got started walking because a health professional told me that I better start exercising. He was real serious when he said it. I was having a pity party because I kept injuring myself at the gym (when I say that I went to the gym, think regular dude with a spare tire in cutoffs). I would look at Mr. and Ms. Buff and think, “Uhh… Maybe I need to be lifting more.”

Wrong… And when the health guy with a name tag on his shirt told me that I had to get started and made me tell him what I was going to do, I said– fine, I can walk.

I dreaded it.

Then, I literally fell in love with it. Really.

It took me one session where I walked about 2 miles and I was hooked. Then, I kept doing it more and more and more.

And it changed my life.

But here’s the part I wasn’t expecting. It also changed the way I thought. My mind got clearer. And the more I exercised, the more the fog lifted.

Most people can walk. And if we can’t, we can push a wheelchair around. Or whatever our version of walking might be. We don’t have to make it look pretty. I don’t, really.

Just today, I knew I needed to exercise. Hey, it was on my calendar (more on that in a minute). I decided that if nothing else, I was going to do some pushups. They aren’t very pretty either. No, I’m not uploading it on video for you. This ain’t no comedy show.

But I just started with two. Just two pushups. That’s all. But I wasn’t done. Those two pushups got me warmed up. Then, I did four, then I did six, and then I did eight. Now, I did it back down. Huh?

I did eight more pushups, then six, then four, then two.

That’s called a “push up pyramid.”

The first time I ever did those, I went up to four and back. Then, I gagged and spit and rolled around like I was going to die. But it got better. Here’s a link to some show-offs on youTube who demonstrate how to do basic exercises correctly .

By the way, sometimes I do them from my knees (not when anyone is looking), and sometimes I put my hands on a couple of chairs or another elevated object that isn’t going to break under my weight.

If you are looking for a great exercise that gets the whole body moving, try some burpees. Or you can try the easy version of these called four-counts. The full burpee looks like this: Standing straight up, squat down and put your hands on the floor, kick your feet out so that you are in pushup position, do a push-up, kick your feet back under your body, stand up and jump.

I personally like four-counts better. And I do them the lazy way when I’m not feeling it… Here’s what it’s supposed to look like: start by standing, drop down and put your hands on the floor, kick your feet out to push up position (but don’t do a pushup), bring your feet back under you, then stand up.

When I do it the easy way, I don’t kick my feet anywhere. I move first one foot then the other. It’s still exercise. And it still makes me feel good.

If you haven’t done them before, just do a few and see how you feel. Then try a few more. Get used to them. If you get excited and do too many, you won’t be able to move for two days (I once tried to do 100 burpees in a row… baaa ha ha ha!).

Maybe you’re one of those people who need to get around other people to make it work for you. Then join a class. Check out your local rec center for the cheap classes. But if you don’t have one of those, call up your friends and start something. I bet you can find friends who want to walk or cycle. You can even decide to start a class then find an instructor. Dance and aerobics classes are a fun challenge too.

I have always enjoyed doing martial arts classes (except the time I got knocked out by a fat black belt wearing hockey gloves, but that’s another story).

One time, I got in shape by riding a unicycle every day. That cleared my brain better than anything. It took weeks to learn to ride, then there was always something new to learn. Plus, the mind has to work hard to stay balanced. That “work” pays off in clarity.

I’m also a big fan of workout apps, especially two of them. One is called “Seven,” and it’s based on the 7-minute workout which was published by the New York Times. My nine-year-old son and I tear into that one together sometimes.

(He holds down his laughter and doesn’t make me feel bad.)

I also like the You Are Your Own Gym app. It’s put out by  Mark Lauren who wrote the book with the same title. The app costs a few bucks, but it’s worth every penny. It’s one of those things where the app is way more useful than the book, and yet it’s quite a bit cheaper than the book too!

My whole adult life, I could never do a pull-up. And I hated that because anytime you read about body weight workouts, they always start talking about pull ups at some point. So I started doing things that mimicked pullups. Like I would get under that bar on a swing set that is a brace in the middle. I would squat down or put my legs under that, of course, my feet were touching the ground, and I would pull up.

I’ll never forget the day I first did a pull-up. I did it on my porch. I had tried to do it a thousand times. On this particular day, I reached up to the beam that supports the roof and pulled; my chin rose all the way up in what seemed like no effort. I was 50 years old.

That was a very happy moment for me. See that? Happy. Exercise makes you happy.

Try this:

1.      Find an exercise that you can do at home that gets your blood pumping every time. Here are some examples: Tabata squats, burpees, or jogging in place on a mini-trampoline.

2.      Download some exercise apps on your phone. I like an app called Seven which guides you through the New York Times 7 Minute Workout. For a more advanced workout app try You Are Your Own Gym which has workouts for people of all ability levels. I like it because of the extensive video collection that comes with the app.

3.      Buy a mini-trampoline for those days when you want to walk but can’t go outside. Last I looked, they were 30 or 40 bucks at Walmart.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 

~ Michael Pollan

Help your mind with plants. That sounds hippie, I know. But hear me out. Here’s what I mean. We need to change our relationship with plants to gain clarity in our mind.

I’ll lay it out simply: 1)eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (half cooked and half fresh); eat less meat(yes you can still eat it); eat fewer white carbs.

Did I lose you?

know I lost some of you there.

Here’s how it works. Your body needs the nutrients that come from plants (especially the green ones by the way). It needs them even more than the nutrients it gets from meat.

This isn’t a book about how to go vegetarian, and I’m not one, but I eat a lot of delicious plants because they power our brain’s ability to focus.

Is this my opinion?

Sort of.

It’s like this: a lot of people have a lot of ideas about diet. But the research tells us that when we eat a lot of fruit and veggies, we do better. Our bodies do better, they heal better. Our overall health gets better, and our minds think better. Check out the China Study for more information

And you know that there are other studies that say to eat more meat. Am I a scientist? No. I’m just a guy who is trying to figure it out.

Even in the diets that suggest eating more meat, usually they also suggest a good variety of vegetables in the diet as well.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. People like to argue about minutia. If you pay attention at a buffet or a potluck, men and women load their plates down with meat and processed carbs. There aren’t really nutritionist or dietitians that suggest this.

Also, do this: eat a variety of color in your food.

I love to eat salad every day. But I get tired of having the same old thing in the bowl over and over. So I love going to the market to find an assortment of colors to put in my salad.

We can start with dark greens. The darker the better. That dark color lets you know that there

are more micro-nutrients in there. Micro-nutrients relieve stress. They clear up the fog.

How about beets? I like fresh ones. I think I was an adult before I ever had beets that weren’t out of a can. I was shocked that I could just cut them up and put them in the salad.

Yellow and red bell peppers. I love how the different colors all taste a little bit different.

Cauliflower is white. Most white things we try to avoid in our diet. But cauliflower is healthy.

Throw some mushrooms in there and we are good to go.

And there’s more. I like Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s acronym for the healthiest stress relieving foods: GBOMBS.

Greens

Berries

Onions (and garlic)

Mushrooms

Beans (and other legumes)

Seeds (and nuts)

When I’m eating to relieve stress, I add more GBOMBS to my meals.

I’m really trying to say one thing here. Eat more plants.

One way to do that is to “X the Box.” Buy fewer boxes of foods. If it comes in a box, it’s been manufactured to last on the shelf from now until the next ice age. It has added saturated fat, salt, and sugar. The more manufactured foods we eat, the more health issues we have.

I get that you might not want to hear all of this. Who does? You’re thinking, “What, I have to change my whole diet?”

Not yet. Because that doesn’t work either. If you try to do it all at once, it’s not likely to work.

Start by writing down your goal (more on that later). Maybe like this: I want 75 percent of my food to be raw fruit and raw or cooked veggies. 

If you’re just starting, it’s not going to look like that tomorrow. But here’s the thing that happens (trust me on this), your taste buds change to like the good things you start eating.

Start with the veggies and fruits you like and add something every time you go to the store. And gradually quit buying boxes and cans of food. Eat more fresh and cooked plants; you won’t think in such a fog.

A friend of mine said, “Art, I’ve been eating meat and potatoes my whole life. You’ve got to show me how to get from meat and potatoes to more veggies and fruit.”

Here’s how you make one change at a time. Start by switching out one manufactured food item that you eat regularly. When you get used to that make another change.

For example, if you’re used to eating eggs, bacon, and toast, nix the toast and add an apple.

Now, do it for several days to get used to it.

If you are in the habit of going out to eat for lunch, start making salads at home. One trick people use is to prepare their healthy snacks and foods on Sunday night and store them in sealable containers. Then, each day, they grab one, already prepared.

And don’t get fooled by the dried and fried vegetables that come in a bag. If they deep fat fry a veggie, it’s not good for you anymore.

Dried fruit is packed with sugar calories, and if it comes out of a bag, it often has sugar added and who knows what else? Ever read all those chemicals on a package. That stuff adds to your body’s stress too.

How about for dinner a small piece of meat with some cooked asparagus and a tossed salad.

The other day, I was in one of my favorite restaurants. I wanted steak badly. So I ordered one. But I had the baked potato traded out for cooked vegetables. And they were great.

Most of the time, the waitress or cook will substitute a healthy choice for you. You just have to ask.

Some friends of mine meet on a regular basis. We recently changed restaurants because some of us wanted to eat salads. We went from a greasy Chinese buffet to a place that offered lots of healthy choices. We also discovered that the food was cheaper at the place with great salads! Nice.

Now, here’s the fun part. One side benefit of eating healthier is that you lose weight, which… makes you healthier still! Your body ends up with more energy because you aren’t carting around rolls of extra fat on your overworked skeleton.

This isn’t a book about losing weight. And to tell you the truth, I’m no super weight loss guy. But here’s the fact, when I eat in a healthy manner, I lose weight. And that makes me feel better. The weight comes off, and I am able to focus better.

Here’s a way my thinking has got me into trouble before. I get healthy by eating good nutritious food. And then, I think, “I’m healthy now; I don’t need to eat healthy anymore!” I hope you see the problem with that thinking…

My health increased for several years, gradually, little by little. Then, suddenly, I made a leap of progress..

It started like this: one Christmas, I read a book about green smoothies. I had never tried

one. Green smoothies are made with greens like spinach or kale, and good, juicy, ripe or frozen fruit. Then, throw in some water. I started drinking one of these delicious drinks for breakfast every day. And pounds started coming off.

I quit drinking sodas, candy, and doughnuts. I ate a salad every day.

I finally quit the chips, the nachos, and the pizza.

I had my own private war with white processed foods. I “X’d the Box.”

It didn’t happen all at once, but once I got going, I didn’t want to stop.

And my foggy mind just got clearer. I was simply able to process more information on a given day without feeling like I had run a marathon.

Plus, I lost 40 pounds.

I know that my mind was functioning better because, after teaching middle school students all day, I wanted to do more. That’s when I started Stress Relief 4 Teachers and the One Teaching Tip podcast. I wrote a play and the book, 62 Mistakes Teachers Make.

These were the kinds of things I had wanted to do all my life. Now, I was actually doing them.

I found clarity that I hadn’t known since I was in college.

But I also found myself thinking that I didn’t need to eat so healthy anymore.

That happens when I’m not careful. But it’s all good… We aren’t perfect. Thankfully, I didn’t gain the whole 40 pounds back.

And I started over making good choices again.

I have found that I do best when I weigh myself every day. To be honest, lots of experts

say don’t do that. But when I step on, I say to myself, “This is just information.” Then I treat it like that. My scale is not an oracle. It’s a tool. It gives me information. Weighing myself every day helps me focus on my goal. If you are working on your weight, you may need to try different things to see what works best for you.

We’ve talked about exercise and nutrition.

Maybe you’re thinking about that guy who ate bacon for 30 days and felt great. And I’m not saying he’s wrong.

I have a question though. Is he setting himself up for problems down the road? I’m all for nutrition that works. But does it?

Try this:

1.      Learn how to make a green smoothie. Green smoothie experts tell you to rotate the greens for a better result.

2.      Add more veggie color to your diet.

3.      If you don’t eat veggies now, start adding them in. Experiment by buying different ones at the store until you find veggies that you like.

4.      If you usually eat cooked vegetables, start adding some raw vegetables. Delicious salads are a great way to go. By the way, be careful with the dressing or you’ll add too many calories to your total intake.

5.      If you eat a lot of raw vegetables, begin cooking some of them. Both kinds have their place in a healthy diet.

Resting Up

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

~ John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

Okay, now let’s change the subject.

We can’t just go, go, go all the time.

We’ve got to get our rest. First of all, I mean the obvious kind; we need our sleep. Some people get downright grouchy when they go low on their winks.

This is such a big deal that, people who treat alcoholics and drug addicts, teach them this acronym: HALT — Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These can be triggers for dangerous behavior. Notice that last one: tired.

When I say it, “tired,” it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. But it can be.

Does sleep really help you feel better?

A study by Harvard confirms that not getting enough sleep adds to our stress while getting enough absolutely helps our overall sense of well being.

The reason I like this is that by changing this one single habit, what time we go to bed, is significant. I can do something about what time I go to bed.

Getting enough sleep is somewhere between 7 and 9 hours a night.

A few years ago, I started proactively thinking about my sleep. I made myself go to bed at 9:30.

In the evening to prepare, I set the nightshade mode on my iPad.

That blocks the blue light coming from the screen. Why is this important? Because studies have shown that blue light actually makes your body stop producing melatonin, the hormone that tells your brain to go to sleep In this modern age, we get so much light at night that our brains have a harder time getting the message. But we can turn that part of the spectrum off on our tablets and phones.

How about this, studies also show that getting enough sleep increases our gratitude for our relationships. That’s huge. We’ll talk about gratitude later. But I’ll just say this right now, the more gratitude we feel, the better our mind works, and sleep helps make that happen

Also, to get sleep working for us, it helps to make it a kind of ritual. Do things in the same order every night. Here’s mine: I tell my family that I’m going to bed. I go into my room and change into my pjs. Then, I brush my teeth. Next I walk into the kitchen and get a drink of water. (Hey, it’s my ritual, not yours.)

Now, I sit down with something to read. I might read for 3 minutes or 20. But I read, every night.

Then, I start looking at whether I want to use any sleep sounds or not. I don’t always want them on. I don’t know why. I will say this: sleep sounds, also called white noise, are new to me. Sometimes they seem to intrude. Sometimes they are the perfect thing I need to doze me off like a baby. I use an app on my tablet called Rain, Rain. It’s free. There are about 20 sounds on there like rain, thunderstorms, and campfires.

Sleep is the most obvious form of rest for us, but there’s more.

Creativity is also a form of rest, especially if we aren’t pressed for time. But even when we are, getting to do something creative helps our minds. When we know what kinds of tasks fill us up, it helps us know when to say, “Yes” to opportunities (more on that coming).

At work or in your life, you only have so many hours to give. I’ve never worked somewhere where they didn’t expect people to give more in some way. Often there are choices. Start saying yes to the things that you know fill your bucket rather than the things that are drudgery.

For instance, if you are the kind of person who likes to fiddle with creating or designing websites, then, when the boss starts trying to find someone who will manage the website, that might be something for you. But if you hate that, if tinkering with a website is just going to drain you day after day, then you should probably pick something else (if you have a choice).

As a middle school teacher, one year I was asked to sponsor the robotics club. It was an after school thing. I didn’t know the first thing about robotics. I quickly figured out that I didn’t like doing it. It wasn’t the kids; it was me. I did the year. Needless to say, it stressed me out. But I let the principal know that he would have to find someone else to do it the next year.

On the other hand, I have sponsored podcasting clubs, improv clubs, and drama clubs and found them to be some of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. The extra hours made me feel excited, not stressed. I expressed my creativity which added to my feel-good bucket.

Okay, I’m not saying that we have to love EVERYTHING we do.

For instance, (admit it) no one likes to help someone move, but it feels good to help them. It feels good to do favors for people. Still, we have to say no to some things.

Another way to say it is this: there has to be some kind of fun in your life. Even a small amount of fun can be huge. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be enjoyable.

My wife can spend hours holding a baby. I’m done in a few minutes. Holding that baby is fun for her. And I like it for a few minutes, but I need to hand the baby off real quick.

One of the ways that scientists measure stress level is by measuring cortisol in saliva samples. The more cortisol, the higher an individual’s stress level.

In one study, participants painted pictures, and even the ones who weren’t very good at it, had a significant drop in cortisol levels when they were painting. It worked even when they had no previous experience. (artslieberman.com/painting)

That’s amazing. Just plain old painting made people feel good. Just writing about it makes me feel better. Reminds me of finger painting. (Playing with Play Dough too!)

I would suggest that this could apply to many creative pursuits, especially ones where you didn’t feel pressured to reach a certain quality level unless you wanted to.

Music is also known to affect a person’s sense of well-being. There’s a whole class of music known as therapeutic music. It’s available for free on Spotify.

A recent find for me on Spotify was a playlist called “The Most Relaxing Songs Ever, According to Science” which was created by Melanie Curtin. I find it does relax me.

On Spotify, there is a whole section under Genres and Moods called “Focus.” Many of those playlists are helpful for relaxing and resting. In fact, I listened to hours of beautiful acoustic music from these playlists while writing this book.

The point is this: we all need to rest.

Sure, there is a balance needed here. Some of us can get so into resting that we don’t take

care of things that are piling up. That’s not restful. That brings more stress. But that doesn’t negate the need for real honest rest.

Try this:
 

1.      Find a sleep app like Rain, Rain which generates a full selection of white noise to help you sleep.

2.      Discover white noise and relaxing music on Spotify.

3.      Reduce the amount of light coming into your eyes at night. Start preparing to go to bed an hour before your actual bed time. Come up with a routine that tells your mind that you intend to go to sleep.

4.      Make part of your routine a regular bed time. There’s a reason your mom told you to go to bed at a certain time.

The Big Whoop

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

~ Karen Lamb

When I was a pre-teen, when I had big plans and started to brag about it, the standard come-back from my peers was, “Big Whoop.” Meaning, “So what?”

It was their way of telling me that I was a big mouth and just because I was going somewhere cool, don’t let it go to my head.

Everyone needs a real actual BIG WHOOP! Something that really is a big ole grand canyon sized Big Whoop.  Otherwise known as a “Big Why.”

What exactly is a Big Whoop or a Big Why?

A Big Why is the primary reason you do what you do. The Big Why drives your goals. It usually requires a series of “whys” to get to a Big Why.

Your Big Why grows from construction in your mind of the best version of yourself. You build this based on your values and needs. Imagine yourself in detail being that best-version person.  Write those details down. The research shows that seeing that “best you” in your mind’s eye is “beneficial for raising and maintaining a positive mood.”

Here’s how to craft a Big Why.

Start with a desire you have.

“I want to make more money.”

Why?

“Because I would like to have a bigger house.”

Why?

“Because my family is growing and my wife sure needs a bigger kitchen.”

Why?

“Because it would save her time, and if she had a bigger kitchen, she would have more time to do other things.”

Why do I want to make more money? Because I want my wife to not have to work so hard. I want her to enjoy cooking and find it a pleasure.

Now, we are starting to get close to the Big Why.

The deeper we can go into the series of why-questions, the more likely we’ll figure out a Big Why that will drive us to reach our goals. This way you get acquainted with the best version of yourself.

It might look something like this: I’m embarrassed that my wife has to cook in a small kitchen. I know we can do better.

We need a Big Why to muck out our brains, to target our focus. It’s like this: ever have one of those days where you don’t know what to do?

As a teacher, I used to have whole summers that felt like that. Once in a while, I would accidentally fall into something productive, but often, I would just wander from one thing to the other without much of a sense of purpose.

Then out of the blue, I started taking on big projects that moved me. One year, I decided to write a play that I intended to produce with my students at the school I taught. Every day, I had something Big to do. That one big thing, that big

goal, provided me with purpose and a daily checklist. It was very rewarding.

But really, that’s not a Big Why yet. A Big Why comes from asking the why question several times in a row. Over and over. Why do you want to write a play? My mental image of the best version of myself included being a writer.

The year before I wrote the play, I had a hard time finding one that met the needs of the students at my school.

I decided that it would be much more fulfilling to write a play than to find one.

Why did I think that?

I wanted to be creative. I wanted that challenge. I wanted to meet the needs of my students.

I also knew that if I could write a play, that I could push myself to do more.

Why did I want to push myself to do more? I wanted to make a bigger income. I wanted to explore what I could do outside of the classroom. I wanted to know what I was made of. These are all related to the Big Why… But the biggest idea was that I wanted to provide more for others. I saw that my wife and kids needed more.

The weird thing is that writing a play did not immediately fix that. See I was like Doofus. I was sitting on the porch. The first thing Doofus does is get up off the porch and go look around. That’s the first thing he does. He doesn’t really know what’s out there at first.

When he goes to take a look, he finds great things. He finds his Big Why by paying attention to other dogs and being inspired by what they did.

Inherent in the Big Why is the idea of believing that something is possible. And see it in your mind as finished even. Picture it.

Allow your desire for your Big Why to grow, feed your belief in it, and start taking action. When you start taking action, your desire and belief will grow more, and then you’ll take more action.

And write it down in detail in as much detail as you can muster

I hope you are starting to get the idea of why you need a Big Why. It is the motivation that keeps you going when you don’t feel like it. If I know that my family is going to benefit from my hard work, I am much more likely to keep at it. If I’m doing it just because I feel like it, that motivation is going to slip some days.

I recently had the opportunity to edit the book of a bestselling author. Every day, I would come home and work for two or three hours on my editing. This was after a hard day of working with rooms full of 12 and 13-year-olds. It was difficult, often mind-numbing work.

Mostly what I wanted to do was to just sit down and watch TV. And I did some of that, but only after I had put in a couple of hours at editing. It was one of the coolest, most difficult projects I have ever done in my life.

I had no trouble putting off Mr. Fun because I understood my Big Why. If I could start getting work like this, if I could prove myself, I could start helping my family out of the financial hole we were in.

They knew it too. I monopolized the kitchen computer. And they were good with it because they understood that it was going to be a good thing for all of them.

They also knew that it was going to be fulfilling to me. Sometimes that’s all anyone around you needs to know. They can see how big a deal it is, so they aren’t as demanding as they might normally be. They are willing to put off what they want.

Most people want to build, to create, something for themselves, something for their families.

But to be honest, we don’t always understand that it is up to us. We often think that someone else is going to come along and do something to make it happen.

Big idea: start taking action on what you know to do. As you run into roadblocks that get in the way of your goals, you’ll learn what the next action steps are in your efforts to reach your goals.

Even small steps that move you even a little bit closer to your goal counts.

Don’t wait around for it to happen. Get started.

Maybe we think that we are going to meet that just right person in a bar or at the park who is going to unlock something for us. But really, let’s say you meet that just-right-person at a bar, what is going to be more interesting to them? Working with someone who is already building something or working with someone who is just dreaming about building something.

Be like Doofus who began to get a vision of what he wanted to be and figured out one thing that he had to do. Start taking action.

Let’s look at it like this. Who do you want to work with? Someone who has already built something and already knows how, or do you want to work with someone who is just dreaming? You can go places with either kind of person, that’s true. But go to that bar… Both people are sitting there. In my hypothetical idea, you get to pick one person to work with.

The person who has already built something. That person has already dreamed and done it. They know what it takes.

Now the dreamer might have all the stuff to make it, but they haven’t done it yet.

Let’s break it down some more… What if you have the opportunity to work with one of two people. One of them has ideas but has never tried any of them. The other one has never really succeeded, but they have tried over and over. Really tried. They’ve really put it out there. Who is more promising to work with? The person who has already tried and failed. Assuming that they don’t have a mental disorder that keeps them from succeeding of course.

People want to work with people who are doing things. And so do you.

The rescue dogs wanted to work with Doofus because he was in motion. He was taking action. That’s how they knew that he had the stuff.

Start building something. As you work at it, you will learn the skills you need to do bigger things. Your own mind will start trusting that you are going to do what you say you are going to do.

Your Big Why leads you to the thing you want to build. Your mind knows your gifts and talents. It knows what you are good at. When you act on your Big Why day after day, your mind gets less and less cluttered. It gets better at doing productive things that get you somewhere.

I’m not saying that there aren’t setbacks. There are. I’m not saying that the work is easy. It isn’t. The people who make things look easy have worked hard to look like that.

 

Try this:
 

1.      Write down your Big Why goals.

2.      Remember we might not get the Big Why right the first time. Like, let’s say you write that you want a new house. Why? Because… Keep asking questions until you get it.

3.      After you figure out your Big Why, add more details. Let’s say it is a house: where is it located, how many bedrooms, what’s the yard like?

4.      Write down a detailed description of the best version of you. The more time you take with this, the better you visualize it in your mind, the better you will be at achieving it.

5.      Regularly review this best version of yourself.

The Miracle List

“Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress–even a small win–can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.”

~ Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer

I love 3 X 5 cards. In fact, I love them so much that one day I wrote an article entitled “The Magic of 3 X 5 Cards.” One guy on a forum thought that was so much bluster, and he called me out on it. But they are magic. Okay, I don’t really believe in magic, but some things are just so effective that they seem like magic. And 3 X 5 cards are one of those things. And I think most of us have relegated them to some dusty artifact of the office supply store.

Here’s why I think they are great: you can organize so many ideas with these magic cards. I actually like to take lecture and sermon notes on them. It helps me just write down the essential stuff because 3 X 5 cards by their very design limit my space.

Why is it important to limit how much I can write? Here’s why: when you are limited, you concentrate on the most important things you have to do.

I use them like this: I take out a card and write down what I expect to accomplish that day on one card. Then I put it in my pocket and look at it whenever I think necessary.

But not always. Sometimes I never refer to it again. Still, just the act of writing down a goal makes it much more likely to happen. That’s how powerful it is.

Calendars are also important. When you write something down on a calendar, it is a sort of agreement that you have with yourself. In fact, calendars are so respected that if you just show someone that something is on a calendar, they will often consider that sacrosanct. Our minds like calendars. They help you plan your life to do the positive things you need to get done.

Let’s say you know that you need to exercise but things keep getting in the way. Start writing it down on a calendar, and you’ll improve your chances of actually breaking a sweat.

I use more than one kind of calendar. One is just working stuff on a fancy Microsoft Outlook program.

The other one is my own personal low-tech calendar.

I like to do this: take an index card and write a calendar grid on the back of it. And just mark some of those things that really need to go on a calendar, to create that agreement with myself. Like exercise. All I do is write a little symbol like x or w for exercise or walk. These are enough to prod me to actually do it. I love the power that comes with that.

This is something totally in your control. It’s a tool. And of course, life happens. Sometimes, we don’t get to the important things on our calendars. Something comes up that we forgot. Or there’s


an emergency, and all of a sudden we aren’t getting IT done.

But here’s the cool thing, say you did write an x on your calendar and then the poo hits… But it says X. That X doesn’t have to go away. It might just mean that you aren’t going to put on the special exercise clothes and drive off to a special place to exercise. Maybe that’s a day that you do burpees or Tabata squats or get out the bouncer and have a go for 10 minutes.

The notation on the calendar makes it way more likely that you will actually get it done. It’s that powerful.

You can check things off on your calendar too just like you would a checklist. It makes you feel good, and when it’s on a card, you can just start a new one whenever you want.

As we write lists and schedules and plans, we want to keep our Big Why goals in mind. In fact, look at your Big Why goals as often as you can; that will help you not to lose track of them.

But as you are trying to figure out that one big thing you want to accomplish, you use your lists to help you do just that. The lists are the steps you are going to take to get your goal completed.

I like something that Jonathan Green does, the author of Serve No Master. He makes goals and “stretch goals” for himself. A goal might be something like this: I’m going to write 5000 words today. A stretch goal is more like this: I’m going to double that, 10,000 words. That daily goal is in line with the overall goal of writing a book. And the goal of getting the book finished is in line with the Big Why goals of: I’m serving my family. I’m getting to enjoy my life. I’m getting rid of stress by paying my bills.

Then comes this idea of micro-goals which I also learned from Jonathan Green.

Micro goals are when you take any goal and break them down into something really small and manageable. And maybe you aren’t real hard and fast with it, but it might be something like this: I’m going to write 500 words on this chapter.

Any goal that is kicking your butt and overwhelming you can be broken down into smaller chunks. For instance — Goal: Clean my desk because I can’t find anything in this mess. Micro goal: Deal with the first 5 things in my out-box.

Getting started on one often leads to the other.

For instance… Goal: I need to exercise for 20 minutes. “Ugh, I’m so tired… I need to just sit and veg out.” Micro-goal: Exercise for 5 minutes. I can always manage that much. Stretch goal: I end up exercising for 30 minutes because once I start I feel great that I am doing it.

We want to build in ourselves quality of “taking action.” You will hear this from personal trainers over and over again. They drill it: “Take action. Are you willing to take action?”

When we look at micro-goals, it becomes much easier to take action. In their article “The Power of Small Wins,” Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer say this: “The more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress–even a small win–can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.” (

Look at the part I underlined above. Small wins count. And they feel good. Lots of small wins = lots of opportunities to feel good.

This is much better than dragging on and on to hopefully reach one big win in the end.

I like to announce my small wins to my friends and family. This comes easily because people are always asking what you’ve been up to. That’s a good time to tell them about a small part of a goal that you just accomplished.

And don’t get me wrong, the big win is nice. But how about lots of small wins on the journey. This is what convinces us that we can hold out for the big win, the payoff.

So many don’t get started on reaching for their real goals because the big win seems so far away.

As Karen Lamb says, “A year from now, you may wish that you had started today.”

These short term goals get accomplished every time you strike something off the list that leads to the long range goal. You can have 10, 15, or 20 small wins in a day. That’s a lot of inner celebration. It feels good and it keeps you motivated.

Try this:
 

1.      Write down the things that you expect to accomplish every day.

2.      Make this part of your daily morning routine.

3.      If you have a big project, break it down into smaller parts.

4.      Take even the smaller parts and break them down into micro-goals.

5.      Mentally celebrate the completion of each goal.

Learn to Feel Good

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

~ Groucho Marx

Before I get into this section, I want to remind you about something that I said a few pages back. You need to rest.

What if you are trying to get used to making a list every day and you forget over and over?

Don’t let it get you down.

In the moment when you come to the realization that you haven’t been making lists, or maybe you haven’t paid attention to your Big Why in awhile, just take 3 minutes and an index card. Write down why you want to take the step you’ve been forgetting. And write down ideas you have for getting back on track.

There are all kinds of good things you would like to be doing. You can’t do them all. But you choose.

Take it easy on yourself when you aren’t “getting it.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed, simply get quiet. Take a rest. Everyone gets there. Rest and reflect. Take on a micro-goal, something that takes five minutes.

Then, be glad that you did.

We have days where we make a whole bunch of progress, but  there are a lot of moments where we only have room for micro-goals.

The incredible thing is this, often, when you simply start on a micro-goal, it loosens up your mind to take on more, and before you know it, you are focused on doing much more than the small task.

But here’s the important thing: celebrate and smile even if all you were able to accomplish was the micro-goal. It’s still a win.

Part of the process is to keep learning. You live in a day and age where knowledge is getting cheaper all the time. Is it too obvious to say that you can go to the library and just look up what you want to learn?

Many libraries are networked across counties and with universities. If you need a book, you can often just ask the librarian to search for or purchase the book and she (or he) will. My local city library can get books from the local university. I don’t need to be a student; I just need a library card.

That is wonderful.

What do you gain by taking a class?

Much. But you don’t necessarily have to.

(I have at times found myself in need of an answer to something I was studying and simply reached out and wrote to a college professor, getting an answer within 24 hours.)

You often don’t need an expensive education.

Reading is also cheap because of services or apps like Scribd. You can read 3 books from the whole library every month on Scribd and get a free audiobook too. Plus they have a generous catalog of books in their “unlimited” category. Read as many unlimited books a month as you want.

What are you trying to improve in your life? In what way are you wanting to become more of an expert? Look at book services like Scribd to see if they offer what you are learning.

Another great thing to do is simply take it upon yourself to  train yourself to do something. It’s fun and often doesn’t cost anything.

The next few paragraphs are more advanced tips for learning. They work for people who take action. These aren’t widely understood ideas.

Experts will often share with you everything you want to know. Others will share with you all manner of details if you just purchase a cheap course from them.

Many experts will email anyone back with an answer who has purchased a book or a course from them. I have purchased a course for $97.00 to get regular access to information I needed. It was worth every penny. Plus, I like taking the course too.

When you are trying to learn, and you are working hard at it, often, coaches and mentors will recognize that and want to help you out. You get stuck and ask, and they love to help. Sharing knowledge is fun. People like to know that they are helping others.

Now, coaches and mentors aren’t free, usually. Notice that I did say to buy their courses. The point is this: don’t stop with the course. Keep asking them for help.

One fact is this… Those coaches want to see you do well. When you keep them informed of your progress, it makes them feel great. They will often just give you more advanced training simply because you are the one who is taking action.

I’ve personally been given a course which sells for two thousand dollars just because the coach saw that I was taking action. He saw that I needed it and emailed it to me. Plus, whenever I get stuck, I write a quick email and he answers usually within a few minutes.

Another example of this is my son who took a welding class. Now, he’s been working at welding for a couple of years. When he gets stuck, he calls his welding teacher, and gets the answer. The education didn’t end when he got his certificate. Getting those on-the-job questions answered is crucial!

We now live in an interesting era. When I was a boy, you could listen to cassette tapes, and my parents spent a small fortune on teaching tapes.

But now there’s a whole new way that audio can reach you and that’s the podcast.

I love podcasts, but I would offer this caution. Some of them are more about teasing you to buy something. You may have to listen for awhile before you figure out which ones are giving good information on a regular basis.

In fact, most podcasts include some sort of sales message, but that doesn’t make them bad. Some podcasters give you everything they know in the podcasts and then package up that same knowledge with video and worksheets for sale.

You can learn a lot from podcasts, but I’m just saying to pay attention to what you’re getting.

My favorite podcasting platform is called Stitcher. I’ve used it for years. I use my Stitcher app to download the shows I want to hear later. That works very well for me so that I can listen in the car even when I don’t have a connection to the internet. This turns my car into “Windshield University.” The Audible app is another good source for audio book content. I download at least 1 book a month and I listen in the car. Some books are so dense with knowledge that I listen more than once. I like to listen at 1.25x speed or 1.5x especially the second time around.

And there’s video. Now, I personally am partial to audio. I like to listen in my car or while I take a bath.

With video, you have to be anchored down to a screen to watch. But, I know you may prefer video training to audio.

I like searching YouTube for learning some things. (For instance, “How do I install these stupid wiper blades?”) I’ve been shocked at how much content people will put right on YouTube for free.

Now, like podcasts, some of it is good, and some of it isn’t.

I’m sure you already know that.

As a teacher, I usually can find excellent things to help my students learn whatever concept I’m trying to teach.

I am especially impressed with Kahn Academy. If you want to learn math, you can learn for free, first grade through college.

My own children have also learned from a cool language app called Duolingo. My boys have gained a considerable amount of language acquisition from just that app and then going out and speaking to native speakers.

Duolingo and Kahn Academy are free to the user as of this writing.

I’m just scratching the surface with what you can learn.

What lack of knowledge is holding you back? Have you looked to see if someone teaches it for free on the internet or on youTube?

And how about this: just being interested in a topic that you are learning is enough to bring about a replenishing effect on your mind when learning it.

Knowing that you are improving yourself helps your mind cope with your struggles. It gives you a greater sense of well being.

Try this:
 

1.      Write down the things that you expect to accomplish every day.

2.      Make this part of your daily morning routine.

3.      If you have a big project, break it down into smaller parts.

4.      Take even the smaller parts and break them down into micro-goals.

5.      Mentally celebrate the completion of each goal.

ind the Funny

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills.”

~ Audrey Hepburn

I love to laugh and so do you according to science. Laughing and even smiling is one of the most well-researched items in this book. It is crazy effective at putting us in the right mood, at relieving our stress. Even forcing a smile can have positive benefits.

So I think this is actually the easiest thing to actually put into practice right now. Just smile. Really, try it. Try it right now. Try it several times in a row. Your stress will start to abate.

Humor is a wonderful thing. Don’t you love it when something funny happens, or someone says something funny and it just takes you away like a wave? It’s even more fun when you say something and everyone in the room just busts up laughing.

It is both gratifying to make people laugh at things that are funny and to get them to smile.

And it’s great to be around someone who’s smiling. All of these things make us feel better.

Even in patients who are deeply depressed, smiling and humor makes a difference.

So smiling and laughing are kind like an easy pill or vitamin, hardwired into your system that you can take whenever you need to feel better.

My wife is a wonderful smiler. And I know it’s one of the primary reasons that I married her.

Even after 30 years of marriage, her bright smile still lights me up like a candle.

What if you just need a good laugh? How do you find it? Here’s the great thing… It’s easier than ever to get it. It’s called YouTube. Now my tastes run toward the extremely tame. I don’t like the rough humor that’s so prevalent today. But that’s why I love Youtube… I can find funny people just by searching clean comedy. There’s something wonderful about that. I don’t have to wade through hours of hard language and other potty mouth humor.

I also like to go to live Comedy Sportz theater shows. If you’ve never been to one, look up the closest one to you and go. The last time I went, it only cost about 10 dollars for each person in my party.

And we had a grand time. Many big cities have a Comedy Sportz troop. They specialize in clean family humor.  And it’s FUNNY.

Now I know that sometimes we think that if it’s not dirty, then it can’t be very funny right. Well, it just ain’t so.

In fact at a Comedy Sportz event, if a player says something off color, they get penalized. They do a good job of explaining why it shouldn’t happen.

I’ve been to three shows (San Diego, Houston, and San Antonio) and only once saw someone get penalized.

Actually, you can take comedy improv classes. And they’re a gas. Even if you never perform in front of an audience, you’ll learn so much about humor and story structure, that you’ll have a great time. I have taken some classes from the amazing Al Razavi. I cherish the hours spent on that improv stage. And we did perform. 

Some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen were student actors rehearsing for an improv show.

You might consider taking a class. It’s fun and you’ll laugh a lot.

Has it been awhile since you read the comics? I’m a huge fan of gocomics.com. They publish hundreds of comics every day, plus, you can enjoy the archives.

Alright, my favorite comic is Lio by Mark Tatulli. Comics are very much related to personal taste. Lio is a weird little kid. The weird little kid in me loves Lio. Try it on for a laugh. Warning: for some, Lio has the opposite effect — horror.

I also enjoy Garfield. I think Garfield is the most accessible newspaper comic on the planet. Everyone laughs (when I say everyone, I never mean it).

If you haven’t read the comics in awhile, you’re due.

Smile and laugh. You probably need it. And you’ll enjoy it.

So here’s the thing, you can learn to be funny. You can take classes in improv or standup. Even comedic writing. And they all have a different take on how to make people laugh.

Improv is fun because you get to see the actor sweat. The best players sweat and are very good natured about it. It’s a blast watching them try to work their way out of a scene and hold it all together.

I’ve had the privilege of directing middle school and high school students in comedy acting and improv. It’s great to see kids make people laugh when they never knew how before.

If you want to learn how to be funny, one guy that teaches it is Greg Dean. You can find his YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/gregdeancomedy – If you need to remove the frosty snow from your brain so that you can focus and have a better sense of well-being again, learn how to make people laugh.

You’ll enjoy yourself in the process. When you actually start making people laugh, you’ll make more friends, and that always feels good. They’ll think of you as someone that they enjoy.

You don’t need to deliver 10 jokes a minute; just learn the basics, and if you get inspired, start writing some of your own material. In no time, you’ll start making people laugh. When they laugh, you’ll have a good time, and you’ll feel good. Humor, laughing, smiling, bring mental clarity.

When you laugh, you actually produce a hormone called oxytocin. It makes you feel good.

It’s the exact same chemical that your brain manufactures that makes you feel good when you get a hug.

If you will just keep your mind open to the funny things in life, you’ll smile and laugh more, freeing your brain of the muck that slows it down.

Try this:
 

1.      Look for funny.

2.      Tell other people the funny.

3.      Learn how to be more funny.

4.      Smile more.

If you want to learn how to be funny, one guy that teaches it is Greg Dean. You can find his YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/gregdeancomedy – If you need to remove the frosty snow from your brain so that you can focus and have a better sense of well-being again, learn how to make people laugh.

You’ll enjoy yourself in the process. When you actually start making people laugh, you’ll make more friends, and that always feels good. They’ll think of you as someone that they enjoy.

You don’t need to deliver 10 jokes a minute; just learn the basics, and if you get inspired, start writing some of your own material. In no time, you’ll start making people laugh. When they laugh, you’ll have a good time, and you’ll feel good. Humor, laughing, smiling, bring mental clarity.

When you laugh, you actually produce a hormone called oxytocin. It makes you feel good.

It’s the exact same chemical that your brain manufactures that makes you feel good when you get a hug.

If you will just keep your mind open to the funny things in life, you’ll smile and laugh more, freeing your brain of the muck that slows it down.

Try this:
 

1.      Look for funny.

2.      Tell other people the funny.

3.      Learn how to be more funny.

4.      Smile more.

Get Engaged

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”

~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

I stink when it comes to seamlessly engaging in conversation with people I haven’t met yet. So everything I’m telling you here is where I have the biggest learning curve right now. It’s like that click, click, click when you are on that first big hill of a roller coaster. Learning, learning, learning…

I know it.

It’s actually harder for me if I already admire the person I’m meeting. To be honest, I’m still awkward at meeting a beautiful woman. In fact, most women super attractive or not.

And I’m working on it and getting better at this.

I actually work at picturing myself being smooth when I meet people. It helps.

I took my boys to a dance recently and made myself a promise that I was going to say something to someone. Which I did. Two minutes later, he got up and sat somewhere else. I didn’t get my feelings hurt or anything, but there was a little twinge of Charlie Brown going on. Remember how he had the hardest time saying something to the red headed girl. Still glad I did it.

Enough about me…

The fact is it is important for us to engage with other people. We might not think that it’s all that big a deal, but it is. Studies show that interacting makes a big difference.

Now here’s the thing…. To get the biggest boost in stress relief, we need to hang out with people we like. No big surprise there right.

So what if you are naturally standoffish like me?

Here’s what you need to do… find more people you like.  It is like putting money in the bank. Get to know more people. Introduce yourself to more people. Start more conversations with people.

Have fun with it.

Don’t worry about what’s going to happen later. Just go in for that one encounter. You’ll start having fun.

Some of the people will end up being your friend. You’ll find out you really like being with them. That will be a great thing. And the more you do it, the better you will get at it.

And you will feel better. Your stress will go down.

When’s the last time you called a good friend on the phone you haven’t spoken to in a long time? Boy, I bet that would be fun!

I have friends I haven’t really talked to since high school.

I know, some of you are thinking what a rotten guy I must be.

Here’s the thing, I like being with people. But I get busy and forget.

You can find a lot of people right on Facebook.

I have a friend I can think of right now who would probably really love to talk. He just got married too.

I should call him. I would feel good and help my stress. That’s how this works.

And how about this? Put interacting on your calendar. I’m going to call my friend who just got married. I put it on my calendar.

When we are interacting with people, one way we can get better at making friends is saying nice things.

And of course, smiling.

Smile.

Maybe not a big ole stupid smile that makes you look like a lunatic, but take that neutral look off your face. Turn the lights on. Not the high beams necessarily; just light up a little bit.

Start saying nice things to people. Get yourself a list of nice things you can say.

I bet you could sit down with a sheet of paper right now and come up with 10 or 20 nice things that you could say to people. When you say nice things, it will make them feel better, it will make you feel better, and it will give you a better sense of well-being.

Some of these can be indirect like, “I’ve been wanting to get some socks like that; Where do you get them?”

What if you made it a goal to say two or three nice things to people everyday before noon? It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But we start small, and in doing so, convince ourselves we can do this, and before we know it, we are complimenting people right and left.

It’s especially potent when we compliment people when they know you know they did something hard or big. Like, when I take a class from someone, I know what goes into that. I have taught thousands of lessons and classes. If that person knows I’m a teacher, they really appreciate my compliments.

I direct plays. It’s unbelievably rewarding. My current assistant director, Dustie Mitchell, has helped me for years. One day, she says, “Art, you need to tell them how good they are doing.”

And I realized I had been thinking it, but it hadn’t been coming out of my mouth. I know I do that all the time; I think someone is amazing, and I don’t tell them.

I let her know I welcomed her feedback. I’ve gotten way better this year at letting actors know just how good they are. It shows in their performances.

They feel better. I feel great when I compliment them. They do a great job in the show. Their family feels great. And it spreads.

It helps our focus when we compliment people, and it helps theirs too.

Here’s another one: touch. We need to touch and be touched by other people. I’m not naturally a touchy guy. But I’m conditioning myself to be that way.

Research shows how important it is. When we get a hug, it releases that stress relieving hormone, oxytocin. Our sense of well-being goes up.

You may have a hard time believing this, but I have to prod myself to give hugs.

I’m working on handshakes and fist bumps too.

When we make friendly contact with other people, it makes both of us feel better. It helps relieve stress for both of us.

Psychology Today reports that human touch comes with a list of benefits including decreased violence, greater trust between individuals, economic gain, decreased disease and stronger immune system, stronger team dynamics, greater learning engagement, and an overall sense of well being.

Wow. More hugs, more pats on the back, more handshakes… interacting with other human beings: who knew how potent?

Try this:
 

1.      Learn ways to start conversations.

2.      Spend time with people you enjoy.


3.      If you would enjoy talking to someone, call them to say hi.

4.      Give hugs, handshakes, and pats on the back.

SOURCE: The Art of Focus How To Eliminate Stress, Boost Your Confidence, And Reach Your Goals BY

Art. S. Lieberman