Change your per­cep­tion of stress so you can let it go

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Suzanne Hen­wood

Did you know it is claimed that 75% of adults re­ported ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mod­er­ate to high lev­els of stress in the past month and nearly half re­ported that their stress has in­creased in the past year. Here is the data from the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

If you were hon­est with your­self, are you some­one who ex­pe­ri­ences stress? You may be re­luc­tant to ad­mit it, es­pe­cially at work, or you may not want to ad­mit it to your­self. But the statis­tics show that it is more nor­mal to feel stress th­ese days than to not feel stressed.

What is fas­ci­nat­ing is the new think­ing around stress – backed up by re­search – that in fact stress is not the real prob­lem. It is our per­cep­tion of stress which re­ally has a neg­a­tive im­pact on us. What if you could com­pletely change your re­sponse, in the mo­ment, with­out hav­ing to change any­thing around you? Kelly McGoni­gal in her book,

The Up­side of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at it, talks of stress that is ei­ther chal­leng­ing, or threat­en­ing. I pre­fer the words re­source­ful or not re­source­ful – help­ful or not help­ful.

You have the choice of the two words you use to de­scribe the stress that is ei­ther caus­ing you a prob­lem and tak­ing away your peace of mind or al­ter­na­tively stress which is more pos­i­tive, of­fer­ing you the chal­lenge, drive, and re­source­ful­ness. Choose the word that will help you to be the high achiever you are, with­out hav­ing to change where you are.

For a mo­ment re­flect on how you think about stress. What words do you use and how do you per­ceive stress? This is what we call ‘above the line’, re­source­ful think­ing. We know that think­ing is one of the most pow­er­ful ac­tiv­i­ties we can do; it can change our per­cep­tion on any­thing and can phys­i­cally change the body at a cel­lu­lar and DNA level.

To make a change in our think­ing, we first must be aware of what we are think­ing. It is claimed that 95% of our day is out­side of our con­scious aware­ness, that is why mind­ful­ness is so pow­er­ful – it brings things to our at­ten­tion, into the here and now.

So, let’s do that for a mo­ment right now. Stop what­ever you are do­ing and breathe deeply with a long even breath in and out. Be­come aware of the move­ment of air into and out of your body. As you qui­eten your body down, place your at­ten­tion up to your head and be aware of what it is you are think­ing (in this case about stress). Now think be­yond that.


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