Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.
A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.

Stress Relief Tool – Label Your Stress

The word stress is used generically to describe any kind of anxiety, agitation, anger, fear, guilt, or sadness we are feeling. However, if we simply describe the emotion that is fueling our stress in a few words, it will help reduce the charge of the emotion.1

For example, when I feel that someone has let me down (oh those dreaded expectations), instead of thinking/saying “I feel disappointed” I describe it in a few more words such as “I feel disappointed because …” By describing your emotions with a little more detail, this identification process can help you to start relaxing.

 

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – It’s Either HELL YES! or No

If you are stressing over making a difficult decision, consider putting the resolution to an extreme test. If you feel a total and utter conviction to do something (HELL YEAH!), then the answer is yes. Anything less gets a thumbs down.1

This simplifies your decision-making process and eliminates lingering stress. If you are concerned about trying this technique with a big decision, try it with a minor decision first and work your way up to the more important decisions as your confidence grows.

 

 

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Avoid The Victim Mentality

This was an important lesson for me in my quest to reduce my stress. The severe family dysfunction I experienced as a child turned me into an angry young adult who liked to blame others for everything: my boss, my parents, family, and friends. Fortunately, I discovered a 12-step program called Adult Children of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families (ACoA) which taught me to take responsibility for my own actions and become my own loving parent.1 I have been an active member of this program since 1990.

I’ve also been inspired by Regina Hartley’s presentation about Scrappers. Scrappers reframe childhood Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as Post Traumatic Success Decision. They are driven by the belief that the only person they can change is themselves. They figure if they can survive their upbringing, the challenges of business are a piece of cake.2

Most everyone has a story of a struggle to share. Some people define themselves by it; others act in spite of it. The important thing to remember is that your past will only be your future if you carry it there.

You can take action at any time to change your attitude, especially if you ask yourself this question: “Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now?”

Take your answer to heart, pick yourself back up, and notice your outlook improving and your stress level reducing.

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Reframe Your Fear

Fear is an emotional response to an actual threat, and it’s a fundamental survival mechanism that dates back to the Stone Age, when survival from predators was of primary concern. Fear is also a true emotional response when we’re about to lose someone or something that’s important to us. And it’s not just about our personal safety: we can fear the loss of a loved one to illness or our home to foreclosure.

The solution to your fear may just be reframing it. Do you know what the acronym F.E.A.R. stands for? False Evidence Appearing Real. It is an illusion, something we fabricate in our own minds that feels real. It’s a fairy tale we tell ourselves that keeps us from doing what we really want.1

The best way to move out of your fear is to get out of your comfort zone and visualize what it would be like to overcome your fear. Is there a clear path to getting there? Ask yourself what you would attempt if you knew you could not fail.2 You might surprise yourself with what your active and unconscious mind comes up with.

If that doesn’t work, try a slightly different approach. Ask yourself, “what is the worst that can happen?” And then follow up with “and then what?” “Okay, and then what?” and “Okay, and then what?” By going through this process of following a line of thought, you may find that the particular fear no longer has a hold on you.3

 

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Affirmations

Affirmations are simple statements designed to flood your brain with positive self-talk to overcome your inner critic and get you into a more upbeat, stress-free state. To employ this tip, all you need to do is read one you like over and over again; just Google “positive affirmations” to find a list that appeals to you.

Pick one or more and copy them into your phone for easy reference.

Another option is to use a mobile phone app, like Think Up to help you overcome challenges. You record affirmations in your own voice and listen to them just like you would your favorite music.

To improve the effectiveness, consider speaking your affirmation out loud as you look at yourself in the mirror. Regardless of how you use them, affirmations can be helpful to use right before you have a stressful event such as an important meeting, presentation or conversation.

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Talk To Yourself

I’ll give you one guess what your biggest challenge is. Yep, it’s you. We all have that inner critic inside of us, that voice that constantly is putting us down and telling us we are not good enough. The critical inner voice is formed out of painful early life experiences in which we witnessed or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or those close to us. As we grow up, we unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others.1

Rather than listening to negative self-talk, be proactive and start talking to yourself in a more constructive way. It’s as simple as tweaking the way you speak to yourself. Asking ourselves questions rather than issuing commands is a much more effective way to create change.

When you catch your inner critic flinging accusations, think, how can I turn this statement into a question? Asking questions encourages greater exploration and opens up more possibilities. Here are some examples: Am I willing to do what it takes? When have I done this before? What if [insert worst case scenario] happens? How can I…? This type of self-inquiry powers up problem-solving areas of the brain, helping you tap into your innate creativity. You’re able to greet negative thoughts with curiosity instead of fear, thus minimizing the unnecessary stress we put on ourselves.2

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Your Perception Is Your Reality

Have you ever gotten stressed just thinking about a particular situation, only to find out later it was no big deal? This used to happen to me all the time. More recently, I was enlightened to the fact that how we perceive the world around us becomes our reality, even if that reality is indeed false.

For example, if we think something is going to be stressful, we manifest that anxiety internally and we exert energy to deal with that negative thought without knowing the true facts. What we have done is change our actions based on what we think might be the outcome, when the situation may not be stressful at all.

Another example of this phenomenon is when you are running late. Have you noticed that when you are rushing, you are more likely to hit red lights instead of green lights? Or that you can’t find your car keys, wallet, etc. when you know you need to be leaving? Every negative reaction we have to the fact that we are running late adds to our anxiety, and we become frazzled with each minute more that we are delayed.

Conversely, “perception is reality” also works when there is a positive in your life. For example, if you are in the market for a new car, or just bought one, have you noticed that you see more of that same make and model than you did before? It isn’t that more people are magically driving that model, it’s that you now notice those vehicles on the road more because your perception has changed.

When a problem occurs that you perceive as a big deal, ask yourself the following question: will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now? Honestly, think about that for a minute and you will notice your stress level coming way down as your perception likely changes as reality sets in.

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Ask The Pendulum

Remember Disney’s Snow White when the wicked queen asks, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” Well, a magic mirror doesn’t exist, but something almost as good does. It’s called a pendulum, and you can use one to ask yes or no questions to help you make a decision that is causing you stress.

Take a pendant on a chain and hold it in one hand, letting it hang down vertically. Make sure it is steady, and then ask “pendulum, show me yes” and watch to see if the pendant moves in a particular direction. If you see a slight movement, you can ask it to “amplify.” Do the same process for “no,” calibrating the pendant for both yes and no.

You are now ready to ask the pendulum yes or no questions.

This process can be used for both small and large decisions, although the larger and more troublesome the decision, the more likely the pendulum will swing with a clear answer. The trick is to ask very specific yes or no questions. For example, you could rephrase the question “should I quit my job?” to “should I quit my job tomorrow (or next week, month, etc.)?” Your body and mind will work together in harmony to help you get clarity on your decision at hand. Chances are you know what the right decision is; the pendulum process simply helps confirm it.

While this might come across as a bit “woo-woo”, the fact that your body and mind align to help you make a decision is the bottom-line benefit of this process.

In other words, making a decision provides you with stress relief.

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Write Your Own Eulogy

What a sad ending to your life it would be to be lying on your death bed worrying over a decision that you did or didn’t make. If there is a better reality check than this, I can’t imagine what it would be. I certainly know I won’t regret that I didn’t spend an additional hour a day working.

When we write about how we’d like to be remembered, we can examine our priorities and goals from a broader perspective.

If you are game, here is how you do it:1

Draft two eulogies to be read at your funeral. The first one should be as if you were to have died today. Visualize the first three rows and be brutally honest about your impact on those people who are likely your closest friends and family, compared to the others who are sitting in rows 10 through 20 (your acquaintances, clients and customers).

Now write the second eulogy that encompasses all your future achievements, keeping in mind the same people in those first three rows. Compare the two to re-evaluate how you are spending your time and the decisions you are making. When you are true to yourself, you start releasing the anxiety caused by the expectations of others who don’t matter as much.

This activity also helps remind us of what truly matters in our life, and whether our time spent is in proper alignment with our true self.

 

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments

Stress Relief Tool – Vision Board or Binder

This isn’t a quick exercise, but it is an easy and fun one. Creating a vision board or binder allows you the opportunity to reflect on what you want when things are not going your way.

You start by writing down what you want in life. For me, that included a healthy body, a career in which I make a difference, economic security, travel opportunities, wonderful family relationships, and a beautiful home.

Let me caution you, though: don’t focus just on acquiring “things.” Acquiring stuff (bigger houses, fancier cars, etc.) causes anxiety because you have to keep working hard to maintain the costs of supporting these new acquisitions. This situation was one of the main culprits that lead to my divorce (and additional stress, as anyone who has been through a divorce can attest).

Research has shown that material things don’t make you happy. People living in extreme poverty experience a significant increase in happiness when their financial circumstances improve, but it drops off quickly above $20,000 in annual income. When you make a habit of chasing things, you are likely to become unhappy. Why? Because beyond the disappointment you experience once you get them, you discover that you’ve gained them at the expense of the real things that bring you joy such as friends, family, and hobbies.1

Once you have your list, start collecting a bunch of images, either printed from the internet or from old magazines and then decide where it will live. If you have space on your wall, pin-up your vision board, or to have it handy, create a vision binder to carry around. Once you decide your format, start organizing your images on your board or your binder until you have enough images to reinforce what you are striving for.

Use your vision board/binder any time work gets challenging, or when experiencing any other stressful situation. Your vision board/binder will remind you of why you are working so hard and where you ultimately want to go, and it will have a calming effect on your demeanor.

 

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander in Stress Relief Tools, 0 comments