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Yes – You Can Release Yourself From Stress

Written by: Mandy Napier, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, teaches us that "Stress is what happens in your brain and body when something you care about is at stake." That means if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t get stressed.

In the dictionary, stress is defined as ‘A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.’


In our busy, fast-paced worlds, we use the term ‘stress’ in many contexts and lump it together in one big bucket—from minor irritants to stressful events, such as death, illness, relationship breakdowns, natural disasters, and loss of a job.


Left unchecked, we create habitual responses to stress that can be unhealthy, such as eating whenever we’re upset.


However, there is a powerful way to overcome an overload of stress you may be experiencing. It involves taking a few minutes to write down your stressors and working through them.


Not all stressors are the same. First, categorize them.


1. Draw a line across a page, which we’ll call the stress continuum line.


On the left-hand side are severe stressors, what we might call traumatic events.


In the middle are the things that add to your stress levels, such as deadlines at work, minor ailments, juggling schedules, kids and activities, and more.


On the far right are what we call ‘irritants.’ These include poor drivers, poor service, waiting in a queue, being on hold to a service provider, or waiting for an appointment.


2. Next, write down all your stressors and allocate them into the different columns— severe, everyday stress, and irritants. This helps distill truly stressful events from stressors in everyday life and irritants. Being able to distinguish the different stressors helps identify situations you can control and those you can’t.


Next, add context to the far left and right columns.


Anything on the far left, the severe stressors, need time, care, support, and sometimes professional help.


The things on the far right, your ‘irritants,’ you can simply choose to let go. Although frustrating, these things don’t have much significance in your life and are unlikely to impact your goals, values, and desires. Take a few breaths and realize they are quite insignificant and outside your control. Choose instead to breathe in calm and release your stress.


Finally, implement strategies to manage the stressors in the middle, the largest group.


This middle group impacts you because you care!


These strategies will help you manage these stressors and be a master in this domain:

  • Consider taking a few minutes to organize your day—tasks, children, activities, leisure commitments, etc. Clarity and planning can help reduce stress.

  • Instead of feeling you have to do it all, schedule time to tackle, ditch, or delegate tasks.

  • Change the story you tell yourself about why and how this thing is stressing you out. Try creating a new meaning that helps you see the situation differently and in a positive light. For example, ‘Yes, the children are involved in many activities, which means they’re healthy and able to have incredible experiences that we can afford to give them.’ One of the greatest gifts we have is our ability to choose one or more unique meanings from our experiences. There is always another way to view something that can help reduce your stress.

  • If appropriate, simply laugh about it and make light of it. Decide to have a bit of fun instead. Laughter is probably the best stress diffuser available and one of the very best ways to improve your mindset. You can’t hold onto two opposing emotions at once.

One final thought


To finish with the words of William James:

‘The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.’

Next time you feel ‘stressed,’ stop and use the above method to help you reframe and relieve yourself of self-imposed pressure, overthinking, and wasted energy. You can release yourself from stress and, as a result, improve your well-being and live a more meaningful and purposeful-driven life.


To connect with Mandy, visit her website and hop on my private Facebook Group Winning Mindsets.


 

Mandy Napier, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine Mandy Napier is a Global High-Performance Mindset Coach, Professional Speaker, Author, Athlete, and founder of Mindset for Success. With her results-driven, neuroscience-backed C.L.E.A.R ™️ Coaching Model, Mandy has helped thousands of high-achieving professionals break free of self-imposed limitations and create transformational results. With a focus on the ‘how-to’ change, training the mind, and rewiring the brain, she helps her clients gain more clarity, purpose, and direction. Her clients successfully achieve their goals because she works with them to develop routines and habits that support consistent action. Mandy, the author of Creating Healthy Life Habits, has been featured on podcasts such as Success, Motivation and Inspiration, and The Successful Advisor. She publishes articles that are shared on various global platforms and national publications—her mission: Extraordinary Results for her clients.

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