Everywhere you look, the world seems to be telling you how important it is to de-stress. We can no longer leave it at the office — stress is a part of our everyday lives. You might be thinking that a guy like me — one who likes to dispel productivity hacks left and right — must have finally lost his mind with all this talk about welcoming stress. But how can we take advantage of an inescapable fact of life and control it to work for us instead of the other way around?
In fact, some stress can actually be good for you — as long as you have the right response. A eustress response motivates you to overcome a challenge or accomplish a task.
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Distress can lead to fear, anxiety, and despair. Of course, I have to stress pun intended!
Negative or positive, high levels of stress, especially over a long period of time, have been proven to be unhealthy. Just like the tiny amount of disease in a vaccination, exposure to some stress is likely to make you more resilient and teach you how to respond successfully to future stressors.
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But too much stress? It can go beyond just unhealthy and harmful to downright deadly. Perhaps the most important distinction of positive stress is just being able to deal with it at all. When you experience negative stress, feelings of fear and dread often linger. And when your body stays on high alert like that for long stretches of time, illnesses like anxiety and depression are more likely to develop. In a TED Talk, McGonigal explains the findings from a University of Wisconsin-Madison study that followed nearly 29, participants over eight years to understand the importance of how we think about stress.
Aside from that astounding link between stress perception and longevity in humans, McGonigal also explained that a correlation had been established between moderate stress and improved neural function, learning, and helpful hormone responses in rats. Shawn Achor, a positive psychology expert and the founder of Good Think, Inc. Here are five habits that help me ditch the negative mindset and take control of stress instead of letting it control me:.
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Racing heart. Tense shoulders. Instead, I reframe these feelings as my body telling me that I care about something. Your perception of stress matters.
The first is a paralyzing response; the second a response that propels you to take action. Whenever stress over a big decision threatens to stop me in my tracks, I find that keeping up momentum — no matter how slight at times — keeps negative feelings from becoming an automatic response and allows me to keep making progress toward my goals. Spending any of your precious mental energy on things that are out of your control is a complete waste.
People who have not been through abuse think that the worst part of abuse is the physical stuff. And it makes sense: the physical stuff is the easiest part for them to grasp because it is the easiest part for abuse survivors to talk about. We have words to describe what happened physically, but it is much harder to describe what you are experiencing emotionally. Talking about the emotional and mental abuse is brutally painful, and sometimes, even expressing yourself in that way is triggering because your abuser made you feel like talking about your feelings is selfish, and that you were a bad person for doing so.
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We grew up with this image that our prince charming would swoop in and take us away from all the pain. So, when we become triggered into our past fears and guilt patterns in a new relationship, we think that our partner should be able to take our pain away.
We want them to heal us. We want them to love us so well that all the pain of the past is wiped away. Of course we do, it is way less scary to have someone else do the healing work for us. Most abusers, specifically narcissists, manipulate using guilt.
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This inevitably puts a strain on your relationship because you are literally seeking permission to exist. You should absolutely communicate with your partner about what happened to you in the past and what you are experiencing in the present. But it can be hard to communicate these things when you are feeling anxiety or fear without blaming your partner for what you are feeling. You should always calm down before speaking to your partner about what you are feeling.
And be sure that you let them know what you are doing to try and prevent that trigger from happening again in the future or what they can do to support your growth. I spent years reading every book I could and hiring coach after coach in order to facilitate my own healing. Because there were no resources specifically dedicated to loving after abuse this was a huge challenge.
So, I started developing my own tools and eventually, I wrote a book on what I had learned. I never want anyone else to feel the loneliness that I felt on my healing journey.
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You are loveable. You are not the problem. You can rise above what happened to you and love again. You are not alone in this journey. I stayed stuck in my pain and fear for so long that it nearly ruined my relationship because I was continually told how hard healing would be. Who on Earth will be motivated to heal if they are repeatedly told how impossibly hard? I had already been through more hardship than I ever wanted. The last thing I wanted was another difficult experience. But there is no reason that healing must be hard. Anyone who tells you this is scared of the healing journey.
Do not believe them. Healing can and should be a fun and freeing experience. It should make you feel whole.