July 26th 2016
Stress: Don’t Ya Wanna Feel Better?
While it may seem like stress is coming at you from all directions, there are only two real sources: stress we absorb from circumstances and stress we create for ourselves. Either way, with rare exceptions, we always have a choice in our response.
You already know the circumstances that cause stress, and you know your response to them, so I won’t detail them here. But let me ask: do you feel good most of the time? Are you generally physically healthy? Do you eat well and not drink too much? Do your team members, colleagues and family seem to enjoy your company? If you can answer yes to all these, you’re probably responding pretty well to circumstantial stress.
The stress you create for yourself may be more hidden from your consciousness. It lies smack dab in your thoughts. Self-created stress is often more destructive, because it travels with you wherever you go, and because it can infect others. Often, ego is riding right alongside this kind of stress. Together, they whisper to you that:
your projects and deadlines are more important than anyone else’s;
your needs must be the priority;
your team is not pulling its weight.
Your perceptions create this type of stress. As part of your perception, you tell yourself that you have every right to respond exactly as you please: to shout, to slam doors, to sulk, to sneer.
But again, let me ask: how does responding this way make you feel? Are you proud of how you handle yourself? Do you feel good vibes from your colleagues and family members? Does everybody seem happy to be around you?
It’s important to understand the difference between the two sources of stress. You don’t always have control over your circumstances, but you do have control over your thoughts.
Millions of words have been written on how to choose different responses to stress. You’ve read them, yet you still might not be changing your responses. Are you exhausted by your typical response?
If so, and you really do want to feel better, then do these three simple things every time you feel stress arise, wherever you may be:
- Take deep, slow breaths.
- Feel your body: where your feet are, how your hands feel, what your gut is doing.
- Repeat this mantra silently to yourself: “I choose peace instead of this.”
These little steps are small, intimate, internal changes that apply whether you’re dealing with circumstantial or self-created stress. They can be vital to your happiness, because they have the power to reframe your view of things. When you reframe your view, you create a different, healthier story.
As always, it’s your choice.