Gaining a new outlook on stress

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: My wife and I follow the feng shui tips you provide. We are clutter-free, but not stress-free. Can you help us with some tips?

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.” In our society, we believe that stress is “bad” and that we need to “get rid of” or “manage” it, but we can create a new awareness from the positive aspects of stress. When I work with people who have stress, I begin by helping them change their perceptions of it.


In my corporate training classes on stress-relief, I always ask, “Why do you stress?” Usually, no one offers the answer I’m looking for: “I stress because I care.” If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t stress. You likely care about doing a good job, being a responsible person, maintaining a good reputation or expectations you have

about yourself, or keeping your standards high, to name a few. Part of being human is about caring — about ourselves, others and about how we operate in this world — and that is a good thing.

Studies on “good” stress

The latest studies show that changing our perception of stress changes how stress affects us physically and mentally. Did you know that the hormones released from stress response boost memory performance, facilitate mental toughness, deepen social bonds (when we are stressed, we call our friends and share our challenges or complain to co-workers about the same things), help us to get ahead in life and get things done, strengthen our priorities and even cause an increase in the speed at which the brain processes information?

Studies show perception makes a big difference

After being tested and rated on their mental and physical discomfort, a group of stressed people was divided into two. One group was shown a video detailing the research and results on the negative aspects of stress, and the other was shown a video detailing all the positive aspects.

One week later, they were brought in to be retested and the group that saw the video of the positive aspects of stress showed a 23 percent decrease in physical symptoms (fatigue, backache, headache and mental discomfort). They gained a new perspective when it came to stress and created a more positive outlook in stressful situations.

Use this information to your advantage by finding all the ways that stress benefits you.

The symbolic representation of stress around you

Stress is symbolically represented in our homes 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.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U, you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. YourHappinessU.com