Balancing Your Stress Equation
Written by Fritz Nugent
Knitting. Leisurely walks. Meditation. Arts and crafts. Bob Ross petting a baby deer…We must each learn to remove (or, at least, mitigate) harmful stressors from our lives while adding in activities we deem pleasantly-to-excitedly challenging.
Mindset and Outcomes
Two people can experience the same stressful situation with vastly different outcomes. For example, criticism from a spouse or superior. Person A takes it personally and shuts down. Person B doesn’t like it either, yet they take an open mind and look for opportunities within the criticism to grow.
Stress and Eustress
In the example above, Person A experiences this particular bout of criticism as negative stress, where Person B has learned to face similarly stressful situations as a challenge and an opportunity for growth. This is referred to as eustress. When our mindset is optimal, we THRIVE on increasing the magnitude, duration, and variety of eustress over time.
Relentless mindsets demand greater stress for challenge and growth (think Joe Exotic from Tiger Kings running for president, ha ha). Fixed mindset lend one to become comfortable with how things are and like to stay warm and comfy and cozy, like a whittle baby tiger cub. Don’t be a cub. Be Joe Exotic.
How to Balance Your Stress Equation
In our lives, there are things that provide positive, challenging, growth-producing stress like exercise, hobbies, restorative activities, etc. There are also negative stressors like unhealthy relationships, past shortcomings, anxiety, and your coworker, Cheryl, who constantly shares all of her problems with you even though you did not ask. We must each learn to balance our own equation.
How can you remove the unhealthy stressors in your life? If not, what can you do to reduce the stress? Or, how can you mitigate the situation? Perhaps you could benefit from reframing your mindset on how you feel towards the stressor. For example, can you create a situation or mindset where this particular stressor provides you benefit? For example, maybe you can learn to talk to Cheryl in a way that diffuses her negativity, and in the process YOU grow as a person.
On the other side of the stress equation is Bob Ross high as a kite petting a baby deer. Or you, knitting away on a Wednesday. How can you keep things interesting and challenging in your personal life? Where can you fit in new habits that could provide you benefit?
So, the final stress equation looks like this:
Unhealthy Stressors: Remove / Reduce / Mitigate / Reframe
Healthy Stressors: Add / Increase / Optimize
How to Increase Your Healthy Stressors
Breathwork can be a healthy stressor and this might be the ideal time in your life to start your practice! For ideas of how to incorporate breathwork into your workouts and daily routine or to learn more about why we recommend you rethink your breathing, check out the linked material and practice work for nasal breathing and box breathing.
If you don’t want to have to figure it all out right now but want to incorporate some guided breathwork practice into your life: enter XPT. They are a human performance company who specializes in utilizing a plethora of breathing protocols to elicit various feelings, emotions, and adaptations. They have FREE guided breathing sessions on their app. For those of you who want to play around with breathwork and meditation, I highly recommend this company. You can download the XPT App here.
As always, post to the comments or reach out with any questions and with your personal successes! We love to hear from you all!