At some point yesterday, you likely had a negative reaction to something. A comparably negative thought popped up in your mind, your mood shifted to something less pleasant, your body reacted with an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, tightened muscles, clenched jaw, elevated shoulders, stomach flip, face flush…one or some of those, or something else entirely. Your response is unique to you and happens automatically.
This is your stress response. It operates on your behalf. It is finely tuned and has deepened over time – a life-long simmering of conscious and subconscious reactions to the events of your life.
When you’re thinking about the effects of stress on your immediate and daily well-being and your longer-term health outcomes, be clear that it is not the stressor that is causing harm. It is our response.
Perhaps you’ve heard the quip, “if you can’t change your circumstances, then change the way you think about them.” This is a reminder that, to a large degree, we can learn to manage our responses to what life presents. (Changing the way we think about them is not the only way, but more on that another time.)
For sure, this is one of those Simple-But-Not-Easy things. But the good news is; we can do it.
At some point today you will likely have a negative reaction to something. At that moment – wake up. Realize that you have a choice to make. It may feel like you don’t. You may think that you don’t. But you do.
Perhaps the question to ask yourself at that moment; “who is the person I want to be right now?”
p.s. ask the question and already, you have changed your response…