1. Just for a day, carry an index card with you. Every time a self-limiting thought like "I'll never get ???” pops into your head, turn it into a strategy statement. Example: "I'll never get promoted.” Change to “I’ll probably get promoted if I do a bang-up job on this new project."

2. Learn to turn every complaint (yours or anyone else's) into a question. Complaints are statements of defeat. Questions -on the other hand- beg to be answered and send you on a solution search. For example, if you catch yourself saying, "Every one's in a rotten mood today!" (A complaint), turn it into a question: “What can I do to lighten things up?”

3. Watch your language! Especially when you talk to yourself. The next time you trip up, notice what you say. "Idiot! Jerk! You always do that!” Stop right in the middle of the verbal self-abuse, and ask what you would say to a good friend who had just made the same mistake. More likely, it’d be: "Hey, you did the best you could under the circumstances.”

4. The next time you want to do something but feel you shouldn’t, ask: "Why not?" or "What's the harm?" Once you consider the options instead of just reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, you’ll find a way.

5. Conversely, when you find yourself thinking, "I don't want to, but I really should," think again! Don't just say, "yes" out of habit. Is the request appropriate? Are you the right person? Can you negotiate a later deadline? If you can’t say, "Yes, I'd be happy to" and mean it, don't take it on! Be creative and negotiate. Or be tactful, and decline.

6. When your mind is operating at a breakneck speed, and you feel like your life is careening out of control, stop for a 1-minute "planning" break. Write down the top ten things you have to get done today. Then rank each item: 1 –3 in order of how important it really is. Now start tackling the #1s. No fair giving all 1s. Prioritize, or get help!

7. At least three times a day, take a one-minute “retreat.” Stand still, take five slow, deep belly-breaths (inhale to the count of 6, release to the count of 6. Stop for 1 minute of centered breathing…and you’ll be more efficient following ...honest!

8. Next time you find yourself playing the "blame game" -"She makes my blood boil" or "That jerk ruined my day" or "This place depresses me. consider the power you’re giving away. You can't control annoying people, but you can control how you respond. No one can stress you without your help. Either shake it off, or take action to improve the situation. But don’t empower "the enemy" by getting stressed.

9. When your brain screams, "Hurry up. You're not doing enough," check your expectations. Is your to-do list truly doable? Have you stopped to review your "done" list? Just one self-pat on the back will remind you that you’re making progress. Go from task to task without any pause for applause and you’ll end up feeling overworked, under-appreciated, and incompetent.

10. Feed your esteem. If you want less stress, you’ll have to tame your brain. Start each day with an affirming statement: "I’m prepared, pumped, and competent" or "It's the start of a great new day.” Remember, your surroundings are bombarding you all day long with subtle and not-so-subtle messages of how "challenging" things are. Start running your own tapes of hope, confidence, and appreciation for what's right in your day!

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne Zoglio is a motivational speaker and author of Create A
Life That Tickles Your Soul (named “Outstanding Book of the Year” and “Most Life-Changing” in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2000. FREE motivational newsletter at www.tickleyoursoul.com