How to Manage Stress?

Yesterday I talked about the ripple effect of my past relationship with timeToday I want to talk about how to better manage stress.

Kelly McGonigal defines stress in her book The Upside of Stress as “what arises when something you care about is at stake.” In her words,

You don’t stress out about things you don’t care about, and you can’t create a meaningful life without experiencing some stress.

This school of thought highlights how good stress can keep us alert of our meaning of life. Yet I find it challenging to navigate the fine line between being challenged and being overwhelmed by stress.

In Emily Fletcher’s book Stress Less, Accomplish More, Emily has shown how stress diminishes our ability to function at the top of your game. Since I changed my belief about stress and began meditation, my relationship with stress has changed. I am finally able to fully rest and enjoy the little moments of life. Perhaps, stress is just another disempowering story we tell ourselves.

4-step to deal with stress

  1. Take a deep breath. This will calm your nerves and expand your awareness.
  2. Be aware of how stress affects your emotions and body. Notice how it may trigger flight-or-fight responses.
  3. Recognize the source behind the stress. Why do you care so much about the things at hand? Why is it so important to you?
  4. Repurpose the stressful energy. Instead of worrying about the stress, can you shift the energy to deal with the situation at hand? How would someone who is good at stress management do differently?

If you can practice this 4-step a few times, you will be able to see stress in a new light. If you want to see lasting changes in your life, I highly recommend combining these four steps with meditation.

How I applied these 4 steps to a stressful interview

  1. 30 minutes before the interview, I took a couple of deep breaths to slow down my heart rate.
  2. I noticed I got extremely upset about the little noise made by my neighbor. I even asked Chris to tell them to be quiet. I asked myself: Was the noise really that loud, or was it just me being stressed by the upcoming interview?
  3. I then reminded myself how far I had come to earn this opportunity. I celebrated the progress I had made along the way.
  4. Now that I knew why I deserved this great opportunity, I was able to channel the stress into positive energy.

The result? I nailed the interview and went to take a good long nap!