Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 35 years of Sales, Marketing, Educational and Entrepreneurial experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to better protect their health and handle challenging situations with grace and success.
A seasoned professional with over 35 years of Sales, Marketing, Educational and Entrepreneurial experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to better protect their health and handle challenging situations with grace and success.
Stress Relief Tool – Visualize Your Ikigai

Stress Relief Tool – Visualize Your Ikigai

Pronounced ee-kee-guy, Ikigai is most often translated as “a reason for being.” The premise is when you bring together what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, that is when you have found your Ikigai.1 Once you have found your reason for life, your health will improve.

A Venn diagram shows Ikigai situated at the center point of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can make income from. Finding the answers to these four questions and figuring out how they all work in alignment will provide you with a sense of peacefulness, purpose and reduced stress.

Ikigai black and white

A similar visual approach is a Transformational Mandala, where you draw a circle in the middle that represents you or your spirit. Then you draw additional elements around your center circle that represent the important areas of your life (such as love, health, wealth, and personal self-expression) as it relates to your inner spirit, with the goal of keeping all these key areas in balance. The LIGHTEN™ Model diagram is a form of Transformational Mandala because it shows the parts of your life you need to balance to sustain long-lasting stress relief.

LIGHTEN Model

What’s fun about both the Ikigai and Transformational Mandala is that you can update and modify the areas of your life that are important, and keep a visual representation as a reminder to maintain balance.

Header Ikigai image courtesy of YourStory

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Overcoming Online Meeting Burnout

Stress Relief Tool – Overcoming Online Meeting Burnout

Ever since the pandemic hit full force, many (if not most) of us have been spending a lot of time in online meetings from Zoom, Microsoft, Google and many other platforms. And if you are like me, you’ve probably had the following thought: “oh no, not another Zoom meeting.”

Why do we feel like that? Probably because it’s not as natural as an in-person meeting. During an online meeting, you’re staring at an electronic screen, focusing on slides that may or may not be dense, you are getting distracted by someone freezing or doing something odd in the video screen grid, and/or you are staring at yourself far more than you ever would on a non-online meeting day. Each of these instances can be tiring, but when combined together it can lead to burnout.

Professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, suggests the following ideas for helping to avoid online meeting burnout:

  • Reduce the size of the meeting window to minimize face size
  • Consider using an external keyboard to give you more personal space from the screen
  • Turn off your video and stand/walk around to keep the blood flowing
  • Color or draw while the presenter speaks to help keep your focus and also to reduce any unnecessary stress

In addition to the above, I’ve also found that resisting the urge to multitask during an online meeting (checking email, texts, slack notifications, etc.) also helps reduce stress.

Do you have any additional ideas for avoiding online meeting burnout that you would like to share? Let me know and I’ll add them to this article with your permission.

Image by Jagrit Parajuli from Pixabay

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Write An Annoyance Letter

Stress Relief Tool – Write An Annoyance Letter

We all have someone in our life that has an uncanny ability to annoy us and/or push our buttons. Maybe it is a co-worker, maybe it is a family member, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is letting that negative feelings they cause to fester inside of us.

My friend Chad Bourquin has a technique he suggested for dealing with an annoying person that I consider simply genius. Write a letter to that person outlining all the things that you see in their life that needs “fixed”. You are not going to give this letter to them or anyone for that matter, so you have a license to be completely honest and let them have it.

Once completed, go back to the top of the letter, cross their name off and write in your name. These people portray and carry the exaggerated characteristics in us that we dislike the most. That is why they bug us the most. If they weren’t hitting that nerve, we wouldn’t care.

In his book Integrate the Shadow, Master Your Path, Dr. Matt James defines the shadow as all that you think is not you. And Carl Jung said “everything that irritates us about others can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves.”

Writing a letter to someone else letting them know what they need fixed, and then changing the addressed name to your own, can truly be an eye-opening exercise. Give it a try the next time someone truly irritates you and remember to be kind to yourself as you gain insights into your own annoying traits and hopefully reduce your stress in the process.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Try Magnesium

Stress Relief Tool – Try Magnesium

A simple search on Google will bring up a lot of articles discussing the benefits of magnesium to help with anxiety and stress. I’ve taken magnesium myself and have found it to help me relax before going to sleep. And when I get a good night’s sleep, my stress level goes down considerably.

While you should consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet, if you and your healthcare practitioner agree that adding magnesium could benefit you, I would suggest trying to get it from magnesium-rich foods first before adding a supplement.

As an additional benefit, most of the foods rich in magnesium will balance your overall diet. I recently started a vegetarian diet that includes many of these foods, and I have noticed my energy level go up and I don’t feel nearly as lethargic as I used to feel with more processed foods in my diet. I’ve also seen a significant positive effect in my glucose numbers as a diabetic.

Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Kindness Matters

Stress Relief Tool – Kindness Matters

A few years ago, IKEA conducted a 30-day study where people were asked to bully one plant and compliment another – using only their words. The end result was amazing – while the complimented plant continued to thrive, the bullied plant was visibly struggling.

Many of us have been bullied a sometime in our life – estimates range from 15-33 percent when we were growing up. Unfortunately, some of that bullying doesn’t stop once we get out of school. It happens in the workplace and also in personal relationships.

Bullying adds unnecessary stress to our lives. If we are the ones being bullied, we will experience a whole range of negative emotions ranging from anger and sadness. If we are the ones who are doing the bullying, this is likely because we are compensating for some insecurity in our lives, and once we realize just how hurtful the bullying can be, we likely will experience guilt over our negative actions.

What if instead of bullying we chose kindness instead? In his book The Kindness Givers’ Formula, Randall McNeely says that when we choose kindness, we:

  • bless the lives of all those to whom we show kindness
  • will experience greater feelings of happiness and hope
  • will have an impact for good and everyone within our sphere of influence and the effects will ripple out from there
  • set in motion the opportunity to restore light, love, unity and peace in our environment, making it a much better, happier place to live.

And when you choose kindness, remember to be kind to yourself as well and enjoy less stress and more happiness along the way.

Image by reneebigelow from Pixabay 

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Love Yourself First

Stress Relief Tool – Love Yourself First

Think back to any commercial flight you may have taken. One of the flight attendants would have either spoken the pre-flight safety instructions, or you would have watched a video of these instructions. Either way, when the part about the oxygen masks deploying came up, the instructions say to put the mask on yourself before putting it on a child (or someone acting like a child – but I digress).

The reason for this instruction is because you may not be able to function if you don’t take care of yourself first. And if you are not able to function, you cannot help your child.

The same goes for loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself first, you are going to have a much more difficult time sustaining love for others. This was an epiphany learning moment for me when I entered a 12-Step recovery program called ACA way back in 1990. When I entered the program, I didn’t like myself and I carried a lot of anger. The program taught me to first like myself and then love myself and not feel selfish about making this action my priority. I credit the ACA program for truly saving my life.

When self-love becomes a habit, you can experience the following positive changes in your life:

  • Anger will minimize
  • You will finally forgive and be forgiven
  • You’ll find acceptance
  • You’ll start to feel better and more energized
  • Gratitude will enter your life
  • You won’t judge others
  • Your creativity blossoms
  • You’ll be more comfortable with change
  • Find joy
  • True love may find you

So start loving yourself first and reduce your stress in the process.

Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Declutter Your Environment

Stress Relief Tool – Declutter Your Environment

The “E” in the LIGHTENTM Model for Stress Relief stands for environment. Whether it is at work, home or school, you want to make sure your environment is set up to help you succeed. So when you are working on an important project, you likely will need:

  • silence
  • a comfortable place to sit
  • minimal interruptions, and
  • understanding from those around you.

Another key element in helping you be productive is making sure that your environment is not overly cluttered to the point that it adds stress to your day. Researchers at Princeton University found that a cluttered environment makes it more difficult to focus on a specific task due to a person’s visual cortex being overwhelmed by all the task-irrelevant objects in the room. Things like unopened mail, unfiled papers and many other objects just scattered around can be very distracting.

My Dad’s last apartment was a classic example of clutter. He had junk piled up all around his place – several feet high – and a narrow walkway to get through the apartment. He was embarrassed about the condition of his home and refused help to clean it up. It wasn’t until he was moved to hospice that we were able to clean up the apartment with the help of a junk truck.

Each time I have moved homes, I take the opportunity to declutter. I find that asking myself two questions for each item helps organize for my move:

  1. Have I used the item in the last year?
  2. Does the item bring me joy or have sentimental value?

If the answer to both of those questions is no, then the item should be donated or thrown out – no exceptions. This has also worked for me when I haven’t moved but wanted to organize a room or the garage.

And once you have decluttered, you have a much easier time cleaning your environment – which further improves your health and reduces your stress.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Failure Is Just Part Of Succeeding

Stress Relief Tool – Failure Is Just Part Of Succeeding

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about previous articles on reframing fear and reframing failure. Interestingly, fear and failure go hand-in-hand because we are often so fearful of failure.

The fact of the matter is that we all fail. And failure builds our resiliency. You can also take steps to minimize failing in the future, such as:

  • learning from failing. Personally, I have learned far more from my many failures than my successes. When you completely understand your failures, you gain better insights into your talents that you can cultivate and your shortcomings that you should address.
  • working with a coach or mentor to provide you feedback, guidance and, when necessary, accountability.
  • Staying positive. That’s why I always ask those I am helping the following question when the possibility of failure comes up: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It opens up the world of possibility versus being in a stuck state.

And remember, when you are growing in areas of your life, those are often uncharted waters you have never been before. Of course, there will be waves pushing you in different directions – you just have to remember that those waves are not failures – they are just the universe’s way of providing you feedback on your way to success.

 

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Count To 10

Stress Relief Tool – Count To 10

If you are a parent like me, you probably are familiar with this technique. We start to feel our blood boiling as our child is testing our patience, and we count to 10 before responding. Or, we put our child in a timeout for inappropriate behavior and we ask them to count to 10.

The actual process of counting to 10 calms your mind and body, especially when incorporated with deep breathing. It also minimizes the chance that you will say something harsh that you will later regret (guilt is one of our biggest stressors after all).

And if you feel like counting to 10 doesn’t calm you enough, consider increasing the count as you go for a short walk in your building, front/back yard or around the block. The added time and isolation will likely improve your results and reduce your stress in the process.

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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Stress Relief Tool – Build Your Resilience

Stress Relief Tool – Build Your Resilience

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of when the COVID-19 lockdowns started, which brought a lot of additional stress to many (if not most) of us. While there have been a lot of challenges we all have faced, one thing I have noticed with the people I work with is their ability to be resilient. They understand that the victim mentality does not serve them, and that challenges make us stronger.

Interestingly, resilience is not something that comes naturally. It takes time, strength, practice, and dedication to build resilience. And it is never too late to start building it. A great way to start building your resiliency is to try one or more of the following techniques:

  • Use the S.T.O.P. Method whenever you feel your blood is about to boil with someone or you feel you just want to run and hide. Instead of saying or doing something you will regret later, excuse yourself temporarily from the situation so that you can observe your emotional reaction and collect your thoughts. You return once you are calm and ready to proceed.
  • Be willing to forgive others. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto unnecessary stress. The act of forgiveness restores harmony within yourself and significantly reduces your stress in the process.
  • Stop catastrophizing. Catastrophizing refers to the act of imagining all the worst-case scenarios instead of the more reasonable ones. When you focus on the negative, and especially the extreme negative, you attract negative energy. Remember, whether you are thinking a positive or a negative thought, your perception is your reality.

So give one of these ideas a try – it only takes a few minutes to experiment with them – and enjoy your newfound resilience.

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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