Handling stress in life, at home

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What do you have to say about stress? This is an area of concern in my life and I’m interested in anything you have to say.

We all can relate to stress. It’s one of the top things that people tell me they want to manage or “get rid of.”

Are there positive aspects to stress?

When I work with people who have stress, I begin by helping them change their perceptions of it.

In my “banish stress” classes at Happiness U, I first ask attendees, “Why do you stress?” Usually, no one offers the answer I’m looking for, which is, “I stress because I care.” Think about it, if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t stress. You most likely care about doing a good job, being responsible, maintaining a good reputation and keeping high expectations of yourself.

Studies on “good” stress

The latest studies show that there are positive aspects to stress, and changing our perception of stress changes how it affects us physically and mentally.

Hormones released by our response to stress boost memory performance, facilitate mental toughness, deepen social bonds (when we are stressed we call our friends and share our challenges), help us to get ahead in life and get things done, strengthen our priorities and even cause an increase in the speed at which our brain processes information.

Our stress is self-created

When people are stressed, they also tend to make it worse by distorting reality.

Stop putting the things in your life into black-or-white categories, with no middle ground. Avoid thinking to yourself, “There’s nothing good about this situation,” when in fact, every situation, no matter how challenging, does have positive aspects. Balancing your perceptions is a big key to balancing your stress.

The symbolic representation of stress in your environment

And finally, did you know that stress is symbolically represented in our home by electricity? Exposed power cords increase our awareness of the unbalanced stress in our lives. Take the time to camouflage electrical cords with plants or hide them behind furniture where they are out of sight. Cover up fuse boxes with artwork and replace burnt-out light bulbs.

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@yourhappinessu.com. Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer