©2017 by Alex Stalberger

with Alex Stalberger

Minneapolis, MN, USA

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The #1 Predictor of Stress

March 7, 2018

 

The struggle is real. 

 

It would seem we are all united in our mission to manage our daily stress. The war seems to always be raging and getting in our way to being efficient. Stress can impact our lives in so many ways both subtle and tragic. 

 

On the surface, stress seems to permeate work environments, strain relationships, and devalue rest. Internally, stress compromises our body's ability to fight infections, digest our food, and regulate our hormones. No bueno. 

 

No one likes to be stressed out. Yet, here we all are. Stressed out. 

 

You are not alone. You are also not helpless. Turning down the stress in your life does not mean turning down the productivity. In fact, it could actually lead to a more productive version of yourself. A version of you that operate with a clear vision of what you want and how to get it. 

 

Decreasing the stress in your life happen over time and begins in the mind. If there is one single thing you can do to manage the stress in your life it is this: Manage how often you think about stress.  

 

You see, as humans, we have the unique opportunity to experience a space between a stimulus and a reaction. That gap is awareness. And to practice awareness (AKA mindfulness) takes... well, it takes practice. 

 

The #1 predictor of stress is thinking about stress. 

 

Stress is a natural chemical reaction to a "threat". It's super helpful when fighting bears, not so helpful when pushing toward deadlines. Our brains trigger a stress reaction. Our brains are so incredible and they learn quickly. So much so, that the act of thinking "I'm so stressed out" out of habit can actually lead to a stress response! Even if there is very little to actually stress you out at that time. 

 

So what can you do to manage that?

 

  • Be intentional with your thoughts and words. They aren't ever "meaningless", they are always powerful!

  • Be mindful of the phrases you use throughout your day. How do you speak and think about stress or time or your efforts?

  • Be aware of your current habits and choose one to change or eliminate.

 

Real life example: I have been working toward decreasing the stress I feel when driving. I am 100% aware that I cannot control the traffic and the people make seemingly poor traffic choices. However, my breath goes shallow, my heart races, and I get all tense as soon as I say "What an idiot!" either out loud or in my head. Maybe you've been there?

I'm working hard to replace those words with a new phrase in my head "That wouldn't've been my choice and I don't know their story."

Cheesy? Maybe. But I immediately relax. I do what works. I encourage you to find what works for you!

Let's be held accountable together! Join in the local conversation at our Facebook Group Twin Cities THRIVE and be a part of a community of influencers dedication to holistic wellbeing. 

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