Manage stress with mindfulness
Review the life values listed below. Choose a few that connect with you most.
“I’m so stressed out!”
Likely, someone has said this to you — or you’ve said it yourself. These days the word “stress” has a negative connotation. But what if it isn’t the actual stress that’s harmful, but how it’s perceived?
Your Reaction to Stress Matters
Research published in Health Psychology has shown that there’s a higher risk for premature death in those who perceive stress as negative, including those with only a minimal amount of stress. However, study participants who experienced a high level of stress, but didn’t perceive it as harmful, had a lower risk for premature death.
These findings suggest that having a positive mindset about stress may help develop resilience.
Avoiding stress may seem like a rational strategy, but this often leads to feelings of discontent. When you seek a stress-free life, you may develop feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and depression because being stress-free is an unrealistic goal.
Turn to Your Life Values
Generally, daily stressors are conflicts with our life values. Life values give us a foundation and sense of purpose.
So in order to rethink your stress mindset, it helps to understand which values matter most to you.
Take a look at the list of values, then take a few moments to reflect why each of these values is important to you.
How do you express this value in your everyday life? How do these values support you in being true to yourself?
Recall a past experience in which you overcame a stressful event or task. What value or part of you made that possible?
Research illustrates that reflecting on your values in moments of stress can help reframe a negative, reactive mindset to a positive, reflective response.
Becoming Mindful of Your Values
To develop daily mindfulness around your values, write them down on sticky notes and place them in visible areas, such as your home, car and workstation. When you notice stressors in your life, looking at your sticky note will help you mindfully reframe your reaction.
This can help you “rise to the challenge” and face stressful situations with reason, logic, compassion, and self-control.
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