What Is Worth the High Cost of Getting Stressed-Out?
Are You Getting Stressed-Out about Minor Stressors?
Stressors come in all forms, ranging from potentially life-threatening to common annoyances of everyday life.
If you go through life feeling stressed-out, it’s worth making an inventory of everything in your life that you find stressful.
Make your list complete. Include the big stressors and the minor annoyances and everything in between. Then you can evaluate which of these stressors are worth worrying about.
What Is the Cost of Minor Stressors?
You might discover that most of what you worry about comes under the category of minor annoyances. If this is true for you, you can then consider how much you are stressing yourself over stressors that aren’t that important. You can ask yourself if stressing-out over minor stressors is worth the high cost to your health, wellbeing, and happiness.
Keep reading to find out how small stressors can damage your health.
Everyone feels overwhelmed and stressed from time to time, but if you’re not careful, even small stressors can end up damaging your health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), stress affects both your mind and your body and can lead to illnesses such as depression, headaches, stomach disorders, heart disease, and stroke.
While stress is a natural part of being human, many common stressors are not worth our physical and mental energy. Below are seven unnecessary causes of stress and advice on how to avoid them. Take charge of your life during the HHS’s Stress Awareness Month.
- Rehashing Stressful Situations
Replaying a stressful situation in your mind over and over again doesn’t do you any good and could actually cause you to relive the stress you’ve already experienced, says Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., a health and wellness expert who specializes in stress and mind/body medicine, and who authored the book
“The brain can’t tell the difference between what we are thinking about and what is really happening,” Gruver says. “So, if we are reliving or dwelling on something negative that happened in the past, we will re-experience a stress response in our bodies.”
In order to overcome this bad habit, Gruver recommends changing the way we think about some situations.
“It’s really hard to stop thinking about something,” Gruver says. “It’s easier to replace that thought.”
Gruver says making affirmations about the situation by concentrating on thoughts like “I am healthy and well,” “My immune system is strong,” and “I move forward confidently into the future” can help stop the never-ending cycle of negative thinking.
Take time to meditate, she says. Concentrating on your breathing while thinking “I am” on the inhale and “at peace” on the exhale can also help stop the stress response in its tracks.
- Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking
Focusing on the possible negative outcome of a situation—such as how a date will go or whether your new boss will like you—only projects negative thoughts into the future, Gruver says.
“We worry about these things when we don’t really know what is going to happen,” Gruver says. “Why suffer twice?”
Life coach, educator, and author Diane Lang, M.A., of Discovery Wellness, LLC, says one way to combat worst-case-scenario thinking is to consider whether the stressor is realistic and ask yourself whether it is something that will bother you one or two months in the future.
“Sometimes, when you ask yourself those questions, you start seeing clearly that this is really not that big a deal and that it’s something you can actually handle,” says Lang.
Another way to avoid worst-case-scenario thinking is to stay in the present, Gruver says. For example, while completing daily tasks, such as washing the dishes, you can take the time to experience the smell of the soap, the feel of the water, or the way the light hits the bubbles.
“The more you can get lost in that stuff, the more it keeps you from dwelling on the past and being mindful of the future,” Gruver says.
Everyone procrastinates for different reasons, but in many cases, people put things off because they feel overwhelmed by or scared of what they need to do. This can create frustration and stress, Lang says.
Lang recommends coming up with a plan to tackle a challenging project in stages, rather than all at once.
“Set a long-term goal and then set smaller goals to reach it,” Lang says. “When you do something in small, ‘bite-size’ pieces, it allows you to get a sense of accomplishment and creates positive reinforcements that motivate you to continue.
“Be proud of yourself for every little accomplishment,” she adds.
[Original Post, October 8, 2017]