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The Gift of Acceptance

How to Let Go of Holiday Stress and Anxiety

recovery booksThe holiday season is a time of great stress and anxiety for most people. We are forced to plod through heavy traffic, wade through crowded stores with too few sales clerks, incur unwanted financial burdens, and attend family gatherings fraught with unresolved issues and conflicts amongst members.

Thus, it comes as no surprise when we repeatedly hear the proverbial, “I just dread the holidays.”

I have a solution for much of your holiday anxiety:  Let Go of Control!

Holiday pressures exacerbate our tendency to rush, to press, to resist, to direct, to expect, and to criticize—all tension-creating control devices.

Wouldn’t you enjoy yourself much more during the holidays if you were able to take it easy and feel everything would work out okay?

You can—by letting go of control.  Here are some holiday decontrol tips that will assist you. Continue reading

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Are Recovery Books Only for Addicts?

recovery books

The primary purpose of most recovery books is to help those suffering from substance abuse find ways to “recover” from their debilitating addictions, including their obsession and compulsion to drink and “use.”

However, the question can be asked: Are recovery books only for addicts? Which is to say, can they also help people who “suffer” emotionally, physically, and spiritually from other unhealthy propensities and compulsions?

I believe the answer is yes in most cases. Continue reading

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Does Accepting Others as They Are Really Help?

acceptanceIn these highly divisive, hectic, and chaotic times, acceptance of others as they are is more vital than ever to our overall well-being and contentment. This is confirmed by the most highlighted reader quote from Amazon’s best selling eBook version of Losing Control, Finding Serenity:

The degree to which you accept people, places, and things for who, what, and how they are is the degree to which you will have serenity in your life.”

Yet while more and more people comeg to realize the importance of accepting others as they are, many others don’t feel that it really helps. Continue reading

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Finding Time by Letting Go of Control

control freaksHow often do you find yourself wondering, “where has all the time gone today—or this week?” I wonder about that fairly often and my guess is that most people do as well—and it’s an issue that constantly frustrates control freaks. There is no question (in my mind, at least) that our ever-complex, technology driven world absorbs bundles of our time—ironically, often through the use of “time-saving”  devices such as texting, googling, using engaging apps, and the like.  Similarly, most time-saving strategies simply make room for us to do more things with our time, rather than relieving time related stress and pressure.

Consequently, we always feel woefully short of time. Leslie Perlow of the Harvard School of Business has aptly coined the phrase “time famine” to describe this time quandary.

There is another (and easily overlooked) reason that many of us find ourselves short of time: We are too controlling.

Losing Control, Finding Time Continue reading

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The Trust—Control Dynamic

control freaksMany of us have trust issues and are control freaks. Have you ever thought about the connection or dynamic between control and trust? Or more specifically, about how trust impacts our ability to let go of control? To be truthful, I hadn’t given it much thought until I read and successfully applied a tennis strategy called “Trust Your Body” in Jeff Greenwald’s insightful tennis book, The Best Tennis of Your Life.

As an avid seniors tennis player, I struggled to play up to my ability in tournament match play.  I was constantly over-thinking, too cautious, and unable to maintain sustained focus. Before playing in a big tournament in Palm Springs last month, I read a statement in Jeff’s book that really resonated with me:

“Letting go of control, trusting your shots, and accepting the outcome is imperative if you are going to ever play with true freedom on the court.” Continue reading

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A Unique Benefit of Practicing Gratitude

recovery books

Gratitude is a common subject of many recovery books and articles.

Below is an article about gratitude I wrote that was recently published in Tiny Buddha, a leading personal growth and inspiration blog.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others”—Cicero

Being grateful or practicing gratitude has many benefits, including improving our health, relationships, careers, sleep, and self-esteem, to name just a few.  In recent years, these benefits have been confirmed in scientific studies showing how the brain is “rewired” by continuous grateful thoughts.   (see “The Grateful Brain”)

However, I recently discovered and experienced another significant, and I believe mainly overlooked, benefit of being grateful—in the somewhat unusual setting of a major seniors’ championship tennis tournament I played in Palm Springs this past January.  I learned that,

Practicing Gratitude Calms the Nerves and Mind Continue reading

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Why You Should Practice Acceptance—Part 1

Fundamentally, acceptance is a choice we make—but the gift of acceptance is one we all can benefit from.

You can choose to accept people and circumstances as they are, or not. In my forthcoming book, The Gift of Acceptance: Embracing Life as It Is, I try to make the case for choosing acceptance in almost all situations—even those you initially find “unacceptable.” You can download a free chapter of the book by clicking here.

One reason for practicing acceptance is the strong link between accepting people and things as they are and a life filled with greater freedom.  Acceptance, like forgiveness, releases us from the turmoil and resentments of the past, thereby freeing us to make choices that are best for us now.

Iva’s story illustrates this gift of acceptance well.  Iva was badly beaten by her father from
the time she was ten years old until she fled home as an eighteen-year-old. She spent most Continue reading

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5 Key Ways to Let Go of Control in Relationships

acceptanceMany people sincerely wish to stop trying to control their important relationships and practice acceptance, but find it very difficult to do so.  They realize that it would be better for others, as well as themselves.

It may be a mother who knows that it is best not to constantly come to the “rescue” of her children when they are careless or forgetful, lest it deprives them of learning to be more responsible.  It may be a mate or partner who knows that constantly nagging his or her counterpart impacts trust and intimacy.  Or it may be a supervisor who wishes to delegate more tasks to his team so that they can better develop their skills, while at the same time allow him or her to devote more time to critical work needs.

Whatever the relationship may be,

The keys to letting go of control are almost always the same. Continue reading

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A Valuable Key to a Healthier Heart

When my doctor checked my pulse and blood pressure at a recent physical exam, my pulse was only 47—well below the 60-80 norm—and my blood pressure was a healthy 98/68.  Admittedly, I exercise regularly, but leaving the doctor’s office I wondered whether that alone would account for such good readings—especially for a 70 year old.

It then occurred to me that the readings might also be attributable to the fact that I am now much better at letting go of control in important areas of my life (work, children, loved ones, friends and the like).

In other words, could letting go of control be a valuable key to a healthier heart?

I believe it is.  Medical research and studies confirm that our hearts are adversely impacted by excessive stress, worry, fear, and anger.

And, quite simply:

*When we control less, we stress less; Continue reading

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Letting Go of Control Truths

control freaks“Let go of control. You never had it in the first place!”

Most control freaks do not agree with the above statement. What about you? Not sure you agree? Then consider this:

“If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got. So let go of control to get something new.”

Is micro-managing your children’s lives working for you? Or is not going too well? Here’s a suggestion:

“Listen attentively to them without “counseling” them.   It is a healing gift that allows them to process their concerns by themselves.”  Continue reading

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