Cultivating a ‘Stress is Good’ Mindset

“Feeling burdened rather than uplifted by everyday duties is more a mindset than a measure of what is going on in your life.”

Kelly McGonigal – The Upside of Stress

Daily hassles are a fact of life. You cannot exist in this world without having to deal with banks, bureaucracy, relationships, paying bills, other people, work.

No matter how advanced the technology, how streamlined the processes, daily hassles are here to stay.

The life enhancing solution is to change your attitude towards these daily hassles if you want to reduce the stress in your life and work towards a healthier attitude to life.

Psychologist and author of The Upside of Stress, Kelly McDonigal, states: “The same experiences that give rise to daily stress can also be sources of uplift or meaning – but we must choose to view them that way.”

Understanding Your Values

Aligning your daily hassles with your overall values in life is a powerful way of developing this ‘stress is good’ mindset.

It allows you to calibrate the emotions you generate as you go about your daily business, because you always have the bigger picture in mind.

For many, these values get lost in the mists of time. The family values that you strived for when you first got married and welcomed those cute bundles into the world, may have been forgotten as the reality of bitter divorces and moody teenagers has taken its toll.

Re-evaluating and re-establishing new values will be a powerful reminder of those areas of your life which are important and meaningful.

The following exercise can have deep lasting, extremely powerful ramification on your long term health and happiness.

Many studies indicate that the more you understand your values (those things that drive your attitude to  life, give you motivation and inspiration) the more your mindset shifts to you becoming that person who is less stressed over day to day hassles, seeing them instead as a process in achieving the chilled and happy life you aspire to.

So what are values? Well that’s completely down to you. Here’s just a few examples to get you thinking along the right lines – you can add your own:

Adventure, Independence, Community, Tradition, Equality, Patience, Self Reliance, Hard Work, Family, Discipline, Nature, Honesty, Strength, Resilience, Positivity, Trust, Transparency, Integrity, Money, Purpose, Inspiration, Commitment, Loyalty, Love…. And so on.

Take your pen and paper, and make a list of those aspects of life that are important to you as an individual.

Spend some time keeping these in mind. There’s no deadline – you can keep adding to them over the course of time.

The next time you start to feel your stress levels rising as you tackle one of those endless daily hassles, place it (the hassle) in the context of one or more of your values.

For example, when the quote for your 17 year old’s car insurance comes through, remind yourself that it won’t be long before he is paying for it himself as part of his journey towards independence and self reliance, and as a parent you are fulfilling your family duty to steer him in this direction.

And next time you’re stuck in traffic, running late with the clock ticking, remind yourself that it’s not life threatening, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about the traffic. So exercise some patience, and reframe it as an opportunity to listen to a motivating podcast, for example, or even just switch off the outside noise and work on listening to your thoughts without any outside distractions.

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