Taking the time to simply be alone for a few minutes every day, to nurture your mind, body and spirit provide you with the opportunity to regain perspective and allows you to feel you are the master of your own life, rather than being driven by external demands and stressors.
How’s your stress level lately?
Not great according to a poll conducted on behalf of the American psychological Association. It seems that 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a significant source of stress.
Of course, there are many other things going on to be stressed about … the economy, global warming, Bretix, and don’t even get me started on the Season 7 opener for the Walking Dead!
Okay, I admit that last one was a blatant attempt to steer clear of anything too controversial, but at the same time it actually does a pretty good job of making the point of this article, and that is that to a large degree stress is caused not by a situation but by our perception of that situation.
Our perceptions rather than any objective reality govern our emotional response and resulting behavior. We often paint events much worse than they actually are and this greatly increases our stress. ~Dr. Valeri O’Hara PhD
Most people assume that it is external circumstances or people that are the root cause of their stress but if that were true then everybody who experiences an event would have the same reaction, but that isn’t the case.
Take for example a traffic jam. One person sitting in a traffic jam will fidget and grow progressively more agitated, while another two cars away quietly accepts the situation, and uses the time to listen to music or read.
Both drivers are in the same traffic jam, facing the same potential stressor, yet they have two vastly different responses, due in large part to their perception of the event.
Let’s consider a few other interpretations of stress.
Reflections on Redefining Stress
- The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking. ~Wayne Dyer
- I get angry. I get stressed. I worry. I get sad and disappointed too. What I am not, though, is consumed by any of them. I owe it to myself not to torment my soul with my own sorrows. I strive to move forward. ~Dodinsky
- 98% of my problems would be solved if I stopped over thinking things and calmed the hell down. ~Author Unknown
- Just because we’re in a stressful situation doesn’t mean that we have to get stressed out. You may be in the storm. The key is, don’t let the storm get in you. ~Joel Osteen
- The only perfect no-stress environment is the grave. When we change our perception we gain control. The stress becomes a challenge, not a threat. When we commit to action, to actually doing something rather than feeling trapped by an event, the stress in our life becomes manageable. ~Greg Anderson
- It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. ~Lou Holtz
- No one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world. ~Wayne Dyer
- Stress is never a given. There are people who get divorced amicably. There are people who pack up and move with no emotional toll. There is no stressor ‘out there’ in the world. We experience stress – or we don’t – depending on what we believe. ~Andrew Bernstein
- A manifesto for a simple life – eat less, move more – buy less, make more – stress less, laugh more – feel blessed – love more – find a quiet spot every day and breathe. ~Author Unknown
- Stress is the inability to tell the difference between what is happening and what you think is happening. ~Victor Davich
- Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us. ~Marcus Buckingham
- “Blorft” is an adjective I made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the inertia of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years. ~Tina Fey
- Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose. ~Maureen Killoran
- The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. ~William James
- Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s worth acknowledging that stress comes in all shapes and sizes. Some stress helps to motivate us, some stress comes from life altering change such as the loss of a loved one. There is no question that stress is (and always will be) a part of life.
But if you believe the research, 85% of the things we worry about never happen. Have you ever really stressed out over an event, yet when it finally happened it was nowhere near as bad as you thought it would be?
Stressful things will happen in life, but we have the ability to control how they affect us.
- What It Means to Own Your Emotions
- To Beat Stress Master Your Triggers
- Nurture Mind, Body and Spirit with Periods of Solitude
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.