According to many studies, stress appears to be on the rise––and fast. We also know that stress directly interferes with our performance and our ability to enjoy our lives. It also has very real consequences for our health, with stress levels, for example, contributing directly to increases in cortisol, which in turn contributes to different diseases and accelerates aging.
Here are some points that can help you counteract this trend:
- Stress is never caused by what is happening in your surroundings, even if it seems like it. Stress comes from your perception of what is happening.
- Stress is rooted to your thoughts. We feel more stressed when we take our thoughts seriously and worry about them.
- Stress is emphasized by the state of your body. So, if you're having stressful thoughts and you've been eating non nutritious foods recently, you're more likely to feel more stressed.
- When we understand that stress is self-generated and not circumstantial, we're 80% of the way to feeling more peace in our lives.
- The solution to mind-generated stress isn't to think more. It isn't to try to think less, either. It's simply to be okay with what you feel for now and take action. Getting into motion and doing everything you can do to treat your body well is the antidote to stressful thoughts.
- Exercise, like going to the gym and taking a walk, go a long way in making you feel better. You're stepping out of your mind and into the body. Do this often.
- Speaking to a friend, family member, a mentor, or even journaling are other great ways to minimize stress. Why? Because all are forms of expressing the thoughts on your mind and sharing them. This is cathartic.
- Become more aware of your breathing. Free-flowing breathing is the gateway to a calmer body and mind. Many of us hold our breaths when we're stressed or scared. Be aware of how often you do this through the day, and take some time to breathe deeply into your lower torso as needed to calm you down.
- The ultimate secret to reducing stress that few talk about is found in two words: tolerating uncertainty. Most humans find the idea of not knowing what the future holds highly disconcerting. It's the most common form of stress. We will forever be uptight if we can't tolerate NOT knowing things. Funnily, most people are in continual denial of reality in this way.
- The solution, then, is to accept not knowing––to be tolerant of uncertainty will bring you a calming advantage that few will know.
Stress is never caused by what is happening in your surroundings, even if it seems like it. Stress comes from your perception of what is happening.