A lot of courses, books, and videos exist out there that give you methods of coping with everyday stress. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but there’s a bigger issue here – everyone is focused on how to cope with stress, but shouldn’t we be trying to eliminate stress in the first place?
Stress is a biological response to dangers. How can you compare our ancestors’ stressors (lions and toxins) to our modern day stressors (work and being too busy)?
We are extremely habitual creatures. Whatever you ate for breakfast this morning, you’ve probably eaten that same thing for breakfast sometime in your past. Whatever you get stressed about today, you’ve probably been stressed about before. So in order to eliminate your stress, you first have to discover what is causing it. Then you can retrain your thought patterns.
Check in on yourself. Self-checking is a first great step to discovering the roots of your stress. I’m not saying you need to meditate, but you should tap yourself on the shoulder a few times throughout the day. Step back, take a few breaths, and take breaks when necessary.
Write about it. If you want to figure out your stress habits, start becoming self-aware when you’re stressed and then write it down somewhere. You might start finding some patterns. Sometimes saying your issues out loud can help too. Maybe you have a close friend, or even a stuffed animal you can talk to. When we get our problems external and out of our head, it can help us be more realistic.
You make yourself stressed. A key thing to keep in mind is that you create stress for yourself. Sh*t happens to all of us everyday, to varying degrees. It’s our perception of external events that inevitably shapes our mood and stress response. Try to become more aware of how you perceive events and little by little stop yourself from going down the same stress pathways.
There are a few apps that exist to help you track your stress day to day and get to the root of your stress habits. I hope this helps you start your journey to a stress-free life!