Monday, August 27, 2018

Want to Create Positive Feelings? Ask This Question!

Positive questions call out positive memories and ideas
Do you want to create positive feelings in others and yourself with one powerful question?

The post below is a transcript of the latest, "Make the World a Better Place" podcast.

In this episode, you discover one powerful question that creates positive feelings immediately. This question directs the mind to recall specific memories of positive experiences, conversations, and emotions that make the person you ask - and yourself - feel wonderful. 

To listen to the podcast episode, click the audio player below. If you don't see the player, click

Now, let's "tune in" to the, "Want to Create Positive Feelings? Ask This Question" special episode transcript:

Our "Better World" Begins in a Hair Salon

We begin our story at a hair salon. And as I sat down in the chair to get my haircut, I started chatting with the young lady who has been cutting my hair for 10 to 12 years - quite a long time. I asked her if she had been on vacation. She said, “yes”, they had as a family gone to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

And it just came to me, a question: I asked, What was the best part of your vacation?"

She thought for three or four seconds, and she said, 

“Well, the second day we were there, we walked out on the beach and we found this inlet. It was about seven o'clock in the morning, very few people were around, it was very pleasant."

"We found this inlet and as we looked at all of the teeming life in that watery inlet, we noticed crabs, little sand crabs that were running around. My daughter found an octopus. My brother-in-law found a starfish."

"It was just magic watching all of the life forms in that little inlet. We stayed there for the better part of two hours.”

As she was telling me the story, she was smiling; she was beaming; she was re-living the magic moments of that vacation.

How You Can Use The “Best Part…” Question

I invite you to do the same when you are in conversation with someone. And of course, if it is an appropriate time or circumstance to ask, ask, 

“What was the best thing about x? 

What was the best thing about your day? 

What was the best thing about that vacation? 

What was the best thing about your conversation with your daughter last night? 

What was the best thing about the visit with your grandchild?” 

This question is a powerful key to opening the vault of positive memories, positive experiences for others. You also get the benefit of enjoying their stories. 

Use the “Best Part… Question for Yourself

I also suggest periodically ask yourself that same question.

“What was the best part of my day today? 

What was the best part of my conversation with my coworker today? 

What was the best part of my morning and evening commute? 

What was enjoyable? What was fun? What was special?”

A Great Journal Question

If you like to journal, this is a great question to start your journaling activities. I encourage you to keep a journal. It doesn't have to be elaborate. 

Keep a journal about the most interesting or the most enjoyable three things you experience each day. It's a great way to end your day. 

Those psychologists who are steeped in the method of positive psychology will tell you that keeping a journal over time is the single best way to elevate your overall sense of happiness, 

Returning to conversations with others and with yourself, when you ask that magic question, “What was the best part of your day?”,  you are opening the vault - the energy vault, the fun vault, the positive memory vault for others and for yourself. When you open that vault, you truly do make this world a better place.

What’s Next?

Visit our website at You’ll find more episodes of the, “Make the World a Better Place” podcast when you click the “Audio Podcasts” tab. You’ll also find episodes of the, “Mind Over Stress” podcast on the home page.

If you would like to create multiple positive moments throughout your day, learn about positive Emotional Freedom Techniques or Positive EFT, by visiting my website at

Until we again chat, this is your host for, "Make the World a Better Place", Stephen Carter, asking you to please, 

…be well, 
…be kind,
…and be blessed.

Stephen Carter | Stress Solutions, LLC |

Listen to the audio podcast by clicking the player below. If you don't see a player, click

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Good Stress, Bad Stress, and No Stress With Mindful Breathing

Important Note: To listen to the "Mind Over Stress" podcast episode related to this blog post, click the audio player at the bottom of this post. Because some phones and tablets may not show the player, you can also listen on our "Mind Over Stress" website home page at

Is There Such a Thing as "Good Stress"?

It's important to make a distinction between a stress experience that can be positive and another that can be problematic - and how to deal with the latter.

The Eustress Experience

A visit to tells us that a type of stress called "Eustress" is defined as, "stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment"

Examples include situations such as learning a new skill, preparing for your wedding, or those "butterflies" that come just before you're about to make a presentation. Eustress is episodic rather than chronic; it is typically associated with a positive change or experience.

The Distress Experience tells us that "Distress" the "other" stress experience - includes, "great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble". 

While there are an array of differences between eustress and distress, two of the most important are the duration and the meaning we give to the stress sensations. Typically, eustress situations are short lived (example: going on that "first date") and have an element of fun or positive excitement.

Distressful situations typically drag on for what seems like forever. Examples include working for a nasty boss, a lack of money to pay the bills every month, or being the caregiver for a seriously ill family member. There is no sense of fun, adventure, or positive excitement when we experience distress.

How Much Stress is Too Much?

One good way to determine when we are in a chronically distressed state is to monitor thoughts, emotions, and energy. Chronic distress wears on our sense of well-being and robs us of vitality. Our thoughts, mood, and general disposition turn negative. 

If your mood and sense of physical and emotional well-being turn south and you recognize your relationships are suffering, it's time to take action to manage and ultimately master the chronic distress experience called the Stress Repose.

How Do I Begin to Master Stress?

There are countless ways to mitigate and ultimately master the Stress Response. One of the easiest ways is to build short, mindful breathing breaks into your daily routine. This does not require you to sit on a cushion, OM, or spend hours in meditation. For most people, extended daily meditation isn't an option.

3-Step Mindful Breathing Practice

As a start toward your Stress Mastery way of living, I suggest doing the following simple Mindful Breathing practice.

  • Set a timer or email reminders to alert you at least once an hour (once every 30-minutes is better) that it's time to take a break.
  • Close your eyes for 60 - 90 seconds and simply breathe. As you breathe say in mind or out loud, "In" as you breathe in and then say "Out" as you exhale. The idea is to give your attention to the breath as you breathe in and out.
  • If your attention drifts toward thoughts or physical sensations other than your breath, as soon as you notice the change, simply return your attention to your breathing.

After completing your 60 to 90-seconds of Mindful Breathing, open your eyes, stretch, yawn and return to your activities renewed and refreshed.

When you complete your first Mindful Breathing practice, congratulate yourself! You've taken an important step towards a practice of Mindfulness Meditation and a calmer, healthier you.

Improved Well-being With Each Day of Mindful Breathing Practice

You'll begin to notice positive brain | mind | body benefits of Mindful Breathing practice within a couple of days. Those emotional and psychical benefits will grow with each day of practice. Aim for at least 10 to 15-minutes of Mindful Breathing in total each day, accumulated one to two minutes at a time. 

If you would like to practice Mindful Breathing for more time each day, so much the better. 

Podcast Episode for This Post

Listen to the "Mind Over Stress" podcast episode that leads you through the easy 3-step Mindful Breathing method by clicking the player below. 

If you don't see the player, go directly to the Mind Over Stress podcast website at

This episode is available on the site's homepage. 

Blessings, light, and peace,

Steve Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC | | Mind Over Stress Podcast: 


Friday, August 3, 2018

How Going Above and Beyond Creates a Happier You and a Better World

I recently was touched by two Safeway Food Store people who went "above and beyond" to make my world - and this world - a better place. 

You'll meet both of these lovely people in this post. In addition, one of these people is featured in our most recent, "Make the World a Better Place" podcast episode. You can listen to that special episode at the end of this post.

Let's meet our "Above and Beyond" stars:

In our most recent episode of, "Make the World a Better Place" podcast, you'll meet a young Safeway Food checkout cashier who did exactly that. You can listen to that podcast episode below.

You'll also read below about an older gentleman who works in that same store's bakery who, a few weeks earlier, also went "above and beyond" and what you and I can learn about the power of "above and beyond" to create happiness and - yes - a truly better world.

The Safeway Shopping Story

Yesterday after entering a Safeway Food store to do some shopping, I first stopped by the bread section to purchase a special tasty Rosemary bread they bake in their stores. 

I made my selection and took it to the bread department's counter to have it sliced. There, I saw an employee I had talked with a few weeks earlier. 

During that earlier visit, this gentleman had gone "above and beyond". He was the only person in the department at the time. When I asked if he would slice the bread, he replied he was off the clock. He added he had stayed late on his own time to finish up some work he hadn't had a chance to finish during his working hours.

I said, "No problem", but something told me to continue our conversation. Over the next five minutes, I learned he was a retired auditor from a major city government and was working at Safeway part-time to keep busy. 

He also spent 10-years in the U.S. Army serving in several war zones. Tears started to fill his eyes when he told me about losing his wife to cancer just a year earlier. 

"I work", he said, "to keep my mind busy so I don't dwell on my lovely wife."

As we talked, he asked me to hand him the bread, which he deftly put through the slicer. As he handed back the now sliced bread, we finished our conversation and I continued shopping.

Fast Forward to This New Shopping Day

Fast forward to this second meeting. We again had a wonderful conversation as he completed the bread slicing task. We again talked briefly about his wife, but he seemed to be in much better spirits as he explained what household tasks he would be doing over his coming two days off.

After finishing our conversation, I moved on to the Deli section where I purchased turkey and ham. The lady behind the counter was smiling and pleasant.

The Problem Discovered

Having finished my shopping, I walked to the checkout area. As I placed my items on the belt, I noticed the tab that was supposed to slide and lock the baggie closed wasn't working. You couldn't close the plastic baggie to keep the turkey deli meat secure.

The cashier - a young lady about 19 years old - greeted me as she activated the belt to bring the items up for checkout. I mentioned we need to be careful about placing the meat plastic baggie in the checkout bag and pointed to the malfunctioning tab

She picked up the baggie, looked at the tab, and said, "Hm". She proceeded to test the closing tab a couple of times with no luck. She worked on the tab for about 20 or 30 seconds and then slid the tab to close the baggie. 

"Yes!" she proclaimed with a big grin.

I complemented the cashier, telling her how much I appreciate her persistence and willingness to fix the problem. Her face beamed as she said, "Thank you!".

"A small thing", you may say. And indeed it is. But she could have simply folded the plastic baggie over and put it in a grocery bag. 

The Power of "Above and Beyond"

Both of these two people - different in age and gender - are beautiful examples of how simple acts of kindness can change the emotions and energy for the better of those they touch. 

But here's another truth: going above and beyond creates positive emotions and energy for those who themselves go above and beyond. Going above and beyond is the gift that keeps on giving.

Actions that go above and beyond can be small and simple. Like the "Butterfly Effect", we may never know how our own above and beyond actions affect one person in the short term or thousands of people in the long term. It doesn't matter. Going above and beyond creates its own positive reward within the actor and the audience.

For me, I'm inspired to look for more ways to go above and beyond to help others every day. 

I hope you will join me.

Blessings and light,

Steve Carter | Stress Solutions, LLC |

"Make the World a Better Place" Podcast Episode:

If you don't see the player, click this direct listening URL link:

P.S. To listen to other positive podcasts, visit