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UNDERSTANDING THE UPSIDES OF STRESS Featured
20 October 2017 Posted by 

UNDERSTANDING THE UPSIDES OF STRESS

Why denial isn't a strategy
DR JOHN HINWOOD
THE October edition of HEALTHbeat, the Harvard Medical School publication, featured article was titled: Harnessing The Upsides Of Stress.
The authors say: “Changing your mindset doesn’t mean taking a Pollyanna view of the world. The key isn’t to deny stress, but to recognize and acknowledge it, and then to find the upside, because a full-throttle fight-or-flight response is not the only possible reaction to stress (at least when the stress does not involve a potentially life-threatening situation). “
 
“Change your words, change your world” is a key strategy we teach participants in our various stress management and emotional resilience training programs. Our words are so powerful that they can instantly change our mindset.
 
Your stress level can drop dramatically in a heartbeat when you create a different mental picture of say a personal encounter with a normally unfriendly person you need to deal with later in the day. 
 
Instead of creating self-talk of: “What is Robert going to say to me today that will upset me?”, consider changing this to: “What is the new and exciting thing Robert is going to teach today?”. 
 
Why? Because stress is a perception, you have changed the perception from negative to positive.
 
In a wonderful book by Kelly McGonigal an expert on stress management titled, The Upside of Stress she gives us multiple ideas in how to turn stress to strength. Here is a selection of her options:
 
Whatever you’re doing, don’t pretend that stress doesn’t exist. People who deny it tend to isolate themselves and reinforce their fears. Instead, ask yourself why you’re experiencing this stress and look for any positive aspects to it. Are you learning something from it? Are you gaining strength? Are you connecting with people on a more fundamental level? Do you feel more intensely alive?
If you are feeling overwhelmed with work, do some small act of kindness for someone and note the mental reward you reap.
Nurture your social networks. Caring creates resilience.
If you are feeling nervous, pause to consider why, and ask yourself if it’s because you’re doing something that matters to you and therefore reinforces your values and gives meaning to your life.
Don’t deny the stress, but redirect your energy away from it and toward the task at hand.
When you notice a racing heart, for example, before you give a presentation or initiate a tough conversation, realize that your body is trying to give you more energy and see if you can capitalize on that.
Try to focus on the larger purpose of whatever you’re doing. When you’re stuck in a traffic jam taking your daughter to school, remember that it’s because you love her and want her to get a good education.
 
Once you start to change your words, you will be amazed how this changes your world and you create a stress-hardy mindset.
 
Dr John Hinwood is the founder and lead practitioner at www.stresstostrength.com
 
- a world leading stress and lifestyle education consultancy.


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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