Alison Deutsch Coaching Reimagine Midlife. Take the Next Step.
Stress is a fact of life; none of us are immune. When life feels overwhelming, sometimes the only thing we can control is our perception of stress. Which, as it turns out, is a good thing - research has shown that how we think about stress determines how it affects our health and happiness.
Consider how you view stressful situations. Do you see them as blocking or enhancing your learning, growth, and productivity? Do you believe stress worsens or improves your health and your levels of happiness?
Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal has found:
When we embrace stress and see it as enhancing we are more satisfied, healthy, productive and happy and have greater confidence in our ability to cope with life challenges.
We can switch our mindset to make stress work for us; here are a few ways to get started.
Think of Stress as a Signal Something You Care About is at Stake
When you’re triggered into stress, understand that it’s not a sign you’re inadequate to face the challenges in life or that there’s something wrong with you. The anxiety, disappointment or sadness you feel might be an indication of how much you care and that what happened is inconsistent with your goals and values. Taking time to reflect on the deeper meaning of the signal can help you to move from destructive thoughts like “I’m not cut out to be a parent” or “This project is too much for me” to a constructive internal dialogue like: “OK, I’m angry right now and I’m overwhelmed because something I care about is at stake. Now what do I want to do about that?” For example, if you feel like you’re in a bad place and you care about your health you might decide to practice self-care. Or a stressful conversation might embolden you to stand up for yourself or apologize to someone because relationships matter.
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Consider How The Stressful Situation is Connected to Something Meaningful
Say, for example, that you’re caring for an aging parent. You can reframe your stress by thinking about the importance of the bond with your parent and how your loving relationship makes you want to take care of them rather than send them to a nursing home.
Shift to a Big Picture Perspective
See how your stressful situation is part of the human condition rather than unique to some choice that you made or some personal character flaw. When we stop ruminating about our own stories and broaden our perspective to think about who else is in the situation is struggling we feel less isolated. We can even start to use our own struggles as a catalyst for helping others.
Transform Pre-performance Anxiety into Peak Performance Energy*
Anxiety that appears in our mind and the sensations of our body that come before a meaningful event are perfectly normal. For example, when you are up in the front of the room at the start of a big presentation and your heart starts pounding, your mouth goes dry, and your brain goes momentarily blank from the rush of adrenaline pumping through your veins know that there is nothing wrong with you. It happens to everyone. Instead of thinking I’m so nervous, I can’t do this, I’m going to fail, you can reframe it by saying to yourself I’m excited about this presentation and this is just my body’s way to raise my energy level to prepare me to meet the challenge.
When we perpetuate the mindset that stress is harmful, it’s more likely to be harmful. Reclaiming stress as a helpful resource allows us to change the way we think about, respond to, and use it as a catalyst for positive action, learning and growth.
When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to it.
Listen to my conversation with Stacie Speaker about Keeping Cool Under Pressure to learn strategies to transform pre-performance anxiety into energy that drives peak performance.
Based on her unique life experiences, and certifications in the science of positive psychology and the art of life coaching, Alison offers practical wisdom that helps women navigate midlife transitions with clarity and confidence. www.alisondeutsch.com