#142 How to Eat Stress Like an Energy Bar

Reappraisal + Paradoxical Stress Swap

Are you chronically stressed?

Of course, the good life is not one in which we never experience high levels of stress and/or try to eliminate it per se. (No pressure, no diamonds!)


We do want to get really good at using the energy of stress to our advantage and mitigating any potential harmful effects.

First step: Know that, according to Kelly McGonigal in The Upside of Stress, how you perceive stress is actually the largest determinant of how it affects you.

In short: If you think life is challenging you to step up and give your best, you’ll use that energy to do your best and feel energized. If, on the other hand, you think life is threatening you and your well-being, that stress will erode your health and you’ll feel enervated.

Part I quick check in: How are YOU perceiving the stressors in your life? As threats or as challenges? Choose wisely!!

Part II:

In addition to reframing your perspective on stress, here’s a somewhat paradoxical way to alleviate any potential chronic stress: Increase your levels of acute, short-term stress.

Two ways to do that: Physical exercise + short-term projects.

For a variety of reasons, engaging in a nice, intense little workout is one of the best ways to mitigate any lingering, chronic stress you may be experiencing.

And, remember: If you’re NOT exercising, you’re effectively taking a “Stress Pill” every morning. Not a good idea.

Deliberately “stress” your body with a quick, acute bout of physical stress (aka a workout!) and voila! You made a dent in your chronic stress. Do that habitually and you might just wipe it out.

Second, short-term projects. Feeling stressed about something at work (or in life?)? Get busy on a short-term project with a well-defined, doable (!) near-term goal. Create some opportunities for small wins. Celebrate them. Repeat. Although you’ll increase stress in the immediate term, you just might reduce it longer-term.

Let’s eat stress like an energy bar.

Nom nom nom.

+1. +1. +1.

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