Pretty much everyone I know right now is stressed out. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. If you’re feeling stressed and you need a little bit of assistance in reducing that stress, this post is for you. I’m going to share 3 ways to reduce daily stress in your life.
I want to be honest with you… the title of this post is a bit of a misnomer, and that’s because stress is not something we have to reduce across the board. What you may not know is that there are two different types of stress: eustress and distress.
Eustress, for example, is like going to the gym. Yes, you stress your muscles when you go to the gym. However, the net result of that stress is beneficial for you.
On the other hand, distress might be something like prolonged exposure to a toxic person. That is not going to benefit you. It reduces your ability to manage your behavior and reduces your overall health.
Now, it’s important to make the distinction between these two types of stress because lots of times our immediate instinct is to tell ourselves, Ugh, this week is going to be so, so stressful, and that’s a bad thing.
Stress Makes Us Stronger
But one of the best ways to manage stress is to embrace it and to remind yourself that, scientifically, stress is what makes us mentally stronger.
When your calendar is packed and you have a lot to get done and you’re really stressed out about it, ask yourself, how can I reinterpret or reframe this situation to really think about how this is going to benefit me? What skills is it going to teach me? How am I going to become more resilient and more mentally tough?
If we focus on the ways that stress can benefit us, we can mentally handle it a lot better and we’ll feel or experience less of that anxiety and stress.
Reframe Stressors As Challenges
Let’s move on to our second tip, which is about reframing stressors as challenges. I want you to imagine for a second that you get an email from your boss and your boss says, Hey, is there any possibility you can get this report done by Friday? There are two ways that you can interpret that circumstantial event in your life.
On one hand, you can interpret it as a threat. If I don’t get this done, my boss will be really mad. My job is at risk. Threat, threat, threat. That is the equivalent of way, way, way back in caveman times, seeing something in the grass and thinking, Snake. That is a snake, a threat. I have to get away from it.
Now, that interpretation of stress is not healthy for us. However, there’s a decent amount of research that shows that we can reinterpret those situations as challenges. Maybe you get that email and think to yourself, This is an opportunity to show my boss how dedicated I am. This is an opportunity to showcase the skills that I’ve been developing. This is an opportunity to manage my mind and my time, using the tools that I’ve been learning from.
For example, in our Change Academy membership, if our members interpret the event as a challenge, they report that they are able to get more creative about how to handle it.
It’s sort of like the difference between a truly dangerous situation and an escape room. One of those things is fun and one of those things feels really stressful. I
want to point you to a research article from 2019 about how athletes interpret the stressors in their lives. This was a systematic review — a review of tons of other studies — published in the Journal of Sports and Performance — which is a legitimate journal. They found that athletes who commonly interpret the stresses of practice and school and everything else as challenges did better in school, performed better on the field, and were more motivated to continue working towards their goals.
Okay, so how do we apply this? In the comments, I want you to identify one thing that is really stressing you out right now. Then ask yourself, how can I make this into a challenge? How can I make this into a game for myself? How can I make this feel exciting and empowering rather than just as a baseline threat? If you put it in the comments, I’ll reply and I’ll give you some feedback on your mindset switch.
Increased Demands Require Increased Support
The very last technique I want to talk to you about is that when we increase demands, we need to increase support. Imagine that you’re going to the gym every single week. If you aren’t growing your muscles and getting stronger, can you lift more weight? No, of course, you can’t.
Let’s do a second example. Imagine that you’re in the workplace. If more and more tasks are being piled on a certain department, what does that department do? They hire more support. This is the number one thing that helps our clients in Alliance Coaching. When we ask ourselves to do more things, pick up better habits, study harder, work harder, have more going on in our lives, and have more demands on our time, we need more support.
One of the best ways to reduce your stress and handle it better is to ask yourself where you might need more support and how you could acquire it. I hope you’ve enjoyed these 3 ways to reduce daily stress. Tell me in the comments which one you’ll implement first.
Now, the last thing I’ll say — a bonus fourth way to reduce daily stress — is it’s really important to have times in your day when you intentionally and strategically de-stress. I’m going to talk more about that in next week’s post, so make sure you check back here for more ways to reduce daily stress.
I also want to redirect you to this previous post, which is all about morning routines. Morning routines can be an amazing tool for de-stressing and starting your day in the right headspace. So make sure you go and check that one out. Otherwise, I will see you next week.