‘Stressing’ balance, change in outlook

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?

I begin by helping people who have stress 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: “I stress because I care.” Think about it, if you didn’t care (about being responsible, doing good, etc.), you wouldn’t stress.

‘Good’ stress studies

Studies show that there are positive aspects to stress, and changing our perception of stress can change its affect on us physically and mentally. Hormones released by our response to stress boost memory performance, deepen social bonds (we call our friends when stressed), help us to get ahead in life and get things done, strengthen our priorities and increase the speed at which our brain processes information.

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.

Stress symbolized in your environment

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.