Stress has a really bad reputation in our society. Our culture has conditioned us to minimize stress and avoid it by any means.
And for those unfortunate occasions when we cannot avoid it, we try to apply some sort of coping strategies to get through it with minimal damage.
Even the most reputable experts tell us that stress makes us sick.
“I have changed my mind about stress.” -Kelly McGonigal, PhD
But the new science of stress reveals a different picture. Leading scientists like health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, PhD from Stanford University, start to admit that after decades of demonizing and fighting stress she has finally changed her mind (if you haven’t watched her famous TED Talk do it now).
According to a study with more than 30,000 people researchers found out that stress is only harmful to your health when you actually believe that stress is bad for you.
It turns out that how we view stress weighs heavily on how stress influences us.
The truth is: stress is great. It’s our body’s natural way to prepare for peak performance at an upcoming challenge.
When it is at the right dose, it serves us as a powerful stimulus for growth. It makes us feel alive. And it’s a great indicator that we’re facing a challenge that is important to us.
Trying to avoid your body’s stress response means sacrificing large parts of your performance potential.
“Stress is a powerful stimulus for growth.”
So the goal is not to get rid of stress. The goal is to change our relationship with stress and leverage it to our best.
The key question now is: how can we get rid of our deeply ingrained aversion of stress and turn it into our ally?
Answer: with a very simple but super powerful technique called reframing.
How to Make Stress Your Ally
I learned this reframing strategy from Steve Magness, co-author of the book ‘Peak Performance’.
Next time you feel stressed, don’t try to avoid, ignore or calm down your stress response or even beat yourself up for feeling it altogether…
[Ever had this kind of inner chatter:
‘Damn… why am I so stressed out?
Why am I not cooler, more confident, just like everyone else?’
Attention: BIG limiting belief at work here…
Always remember: never compare your inner feelings with other people’s external image. You never know how they really feel inside.
Here’s a brain tattoo for you: you are not the only “weak” person around. We all feel stressed. I do. Richard Branson does. And even the tennis legend Roger Federer gets nervous! It’s just part of being human.]
So next time you feel stressed, tell yourself this instead: I AM EXCITED.
Yes… I A-M E-X-C-I-T-E-D
I am excited!
And smile 🙂
These 3 little words will shift yourself from a threat mindset towards an opportunity mindset.
This can make all the difference between cracking down under stress or leveraging it to thrive.
“Smile and tell yourself: I AM EXCITED.”
Too simple to be true?
It is simple, but not that easy to implement at first.
Mastery lies in applying and really feeling these words “I AM EXCITED” when the going gets tough.
Start practicing this mindset shift every time you experience little stressors.
Rather than trying to push the stress away, welcome it, channel it towards the task at hand and leverage it to perform at your highest level.
And when your performance is done be proud of yourself for giving your best and get your body and mind into rest & recovery mode to absorb the stress stimulus.
And then… gradually step up your game. With some practice you’ll soon be able to enjoy your next big adrenalin flush and REALLY BE EXCITED about your body getting ready for peak performance.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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