If you are reluctant to embrace the idea of positive stress, we don’t blame you. We all endure a large amount of stress, so the notion of glorifying it may seem off-putting to you.
“Without stress, we stop growing.” — Thomas Cromer, PhD, trauma psychologist
“Stress can increase our productivity and mental toughness and even give us a clearer sense of meaning in our lives.” — Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage
We challenge you to open your mind to the idea that some stress (assuming it is properly managed), is indeed good for you. These 6 habits can help you retrain your brain on how to view and handle stress…
- Stop Creating Stress
Are you generating your own stress? For example, if someone leaves the room when you are presenting, what do you make of it? Do you assume you are boring? Or do you assume that the person simply had to slip out to use the restroom? If you make it about you, this creates unnecessary worry and stress.
- Boycott “Busyness”
When you are time-starved, do you let everyone know? Instead of telling the world about your hectic day, focus on what you are accomplishing. The more you frame your work or day in a positive light, the more you will start to actually see it that way!
- Pause When You Think the Word “Can’t”
Challenge yourself to shift your thought process when you jump to the negative. Dr. Rettew, a psychiatrist and director of the Pediatric Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical Center, suggests, “The key is to recognize and challenge that (negative) thought.” This may be difficult initially, but the more you make it a habit to change the “can’ts” to “cans,” it will soon become second nature.
- Pile on the Praise
When we dish out meaningful compliments, our social connection levels skyrocket! Research has shown that social connection is strongly linked to longevity. For example, engage your mind in how someone enriches your life rather than how they may frustrate you on an occasional basis.
- Have an Attitude of Gratitude
“It’s impossible for your brain to scan for good and bad things at the same time,” states Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage.” Every day, take a minute to write down 3 new, specific reasons to be grateful. For example, instead of writing “family,” specify that you are grateful for “the hug from your kiddo before school starts.”
- Find Deeper Meaning
Most things that stress us out do so because they matter to us! When you find yourself stressing (or freaking out!), take a moment to uncover why you care so much.
Want to identify your own relationship with stress? Check out the full article and take the Stress Test to see if you need to retrain your brain.