©2017 by Alex Stalberger

with Alex Stalberger

Minneapolis, MN, USA

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Stress-to-Impress Syndrome & How to Avoid it

September 21, 2017



I want to take a moment and breathe with you all....




What did you feel?


I often feel like I haven't breathed literally all day, until that moment. How is it we as mammals, who literally need to breathe or we die, can forget to take deep nurturing breaths like it's our priority. We LITERALLY DIE without breathing, and we FORGET!? 


The human body is, yet again, amazing. 


I want to call us out on something. We are all the type of people who work hard. We want to work hard. We really like working hard. I mean, we REALLY like to work. We like to get sh*t done. In a room full of people, all working hard, do you ever notice the I-worked-this-hard competition? I would like to call it Stress-to-Impress Syndrome. 

"the impulse to one-up your cohorts in how terribly you take care of your precious body using work as the excuse. "


Stress-to-Impress Syndrome - what is it? Well it's a term (I think) that I made up to define the impulse to one-up your cohorts in how terribly you take care of your precious body using work as the excuse.


For example:


"Oh my gosh I have like no time this week, I have only eaten 3 bagels in the last week and I still can't catch up on this work load."


"OMG me too, I was working until 3am and have forgotten what nature is." 


Can anyone relate?


Maybe you actually get caught up in the stress, maybe you simply like to win at things, maybe it's the only way you and your coworkers can have a conversation; No matter the reason you participate in Stress-to-Impress Syndrome, you may find the following tips a bit more.... palatable. 




When you feel like complaining, take a deep Buddha-breath before you speak. What's a buddha-breath? Place you hand on your stomach, relax, and inhale, moving your belly-hand out away from your spine. Ta-dah! Buddha-Belly. And no, it does not make you look fat, it makes you look like you care about getting oxygen to your brain and activating your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest, look it up). You may find that you feel SO much better after breathing, you could say something inspiring instead of complain-y! 


Own your time-talk. Time. We all have it. No matter what anyone says. Priorities though, now those are all different. Own your time-talk. How you speak about time can dictate the way you feel about it. For example: If I talk about my actually awesome friend as if they are a terrible friend by saying things like they don't stick around, they mock me, they never show up when I need them to...etc., I am changing the way I perceive them - even if my friend is the greatest! So no matter what they do, they will never be enough for me. SURPRISE! Time is your friend. We aren't very nice to time. "I don't have the time... When I have the time I'll... I'll never have time to... " Try this phrase instead, "That's not on my list of priorities today, can it wait?..."


Walk chest up. Our mind-body connection is powerful. When we are stressed, we can turn our bodies inward, almost like being beaten by our surroundings. Make an effort to walk and sit like you own your situation. Own your stressors and take them head-on. Try it, you may be amazed at what a difference that can make!


"The trick is not letting it own you... Get out of the stress-game and into the work-game." 



I often remind myself that my work is too important to lose my focus over stress. Your work is too important. Yes, there are stressful moments, BUT you can be busy without being stressed. The trick is not letting it own you. And reminding yourself. You are worth it. Get out of the stress game and into the work game. 


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