What is your stress mindset?
Missed your train? You are late to work again? Spilled your coffee? Forgot to do the laundry? Given the pace of our lives it is so easy to lose track, and so difficult to stay on top of things! And this causes our stress levels to shoot upwards. Stress is your body’s reaction to the ever-changing environmental stresses that you may encounter daily and find it difficult to cope with. How do you manage your stress levels?
Or what is your stress mindset? Let’s backtrack a bit for a moment and ask, what is a stress mindset? Simply put a stress mindset is your key to stress management.
Your stress mindset is how you view stress and further how you respond to it. Broadly speaking there are 2 ways to interpret stress.
- You can see stress as a threat. If yes, then stress will negatively impact you, your productivity, your performance, your mental health and ultimately even your physical health.
- You perceive stress as a challenge. Now, this view is more likely to motivate you, to increase your productivity, and to charge you with a high level of energy to perform a task.
Growth mindset, in the context of stress management, is understanding that stress (when perceived as a threat) will be debilitating. It will negatively affect your emotional state. A prolonged period of stress will stop you doing the things you love, achieving a career goal or attempting a new challenge. And this will ultimately add to your stress, trapping you in a vicious cycle of low productivity, low outcome, high stress….
How to develop a stress mindset?
Changing the way you react to stress is the first step to developing a stress mindset.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find out what your stress mindset is, and how you need to alter it, to be more productive, and achieve the goals you have set for yourself:
- Are the effects of your stress positive or negative? Does your stress affect you doing your daily tasks, and does it lessen your productivity?
- How can you avoid stress, fight it or conquer it?
- Do you sometimes fear not being successful and get locked in a state of acute stress response?
Evidence suggests that when your stress when left to fester, can have long-term effects on you physically, mentally and psychologically. You can become demotivated, feel worried about even small things, and your anxiety levels goes up. The good news is that you can win this battle with stress, with a little help and support, you can cope and come out on top!
How you handle situations depends on your stress mindset. By altering your perception of your stress (response), from threatening to challenging, you can improve and effectively manage your response to stress. This strategy of viewing your stress as a challenge and not a threat is called Reframing. It is not pretending that your stress does not exist, but changing your perception about that situation. Learning how to change your perception takes a little time and effort and guidance.
Implement a growth mindset
To change your mindset, you must change your attitude! Yes, this is much easier said than done. But, it can be done! Your goal is to stop perceiving stress as a barrier and see it as an enabler. Your growth mindset is about helping view every stressor as a challenge (not a threat). And to do this effectively, you need to equip yourself with the tools and necessary strategies. You need to focus on your energy on viewing and understanding how you perceive your stress, not how you perceive the stressor. It is about acknowledging the feelings that the stressor is generating in you. And then it is about using skills and strategies, to take control of your thoughts and emotions, to better handle your stress.
Remember, the role of a positive stress mindset is crucial in shaping your cognitive, emotional and mental well-being. Developing a ‘stress helps’ mindset, will go a long way in bringing about a balance in your life and helping you maintain a positive mental and physical state.
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