Health & Wellness

State of Mind – Controlling Your Stress

Jaime Cobb
By Jaime Cobb

Ever feel like a hamster frantically running on a wheel? You’re not alone. We all have countless responsibilities, numerous demands, and a variety of worries that sometimes make it hard to just stop and breathe.

In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, an incredible 75-90% of all medical visits are stress related. A poll conducted by the Institute in May of 2017 reports 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress while 73% experience psychological symptoms of stress.

In other words, prolonged unmanaged stress can lead to fatigue, irritability, stomach problems, headaches, nervousness among many other symptoms that wreak havoc on relationships.

The good news? We have the power to control our stress! I am not talking about quick “fix-it’s”, but real ways to change how we think about and manage all those responsibilities, demands, and worries. And it starts with practicing small, daily mindset shifts to help you manage your stress in a positive and empowering way.

First, start with a self-assessment. What is really bothering you and how is it affecting you? Are you really mad at your brother for changing your plans at the last minute or have you been feeling taken advantage of at work and home and that is what is really bothering you? Slow down and ask yourself this and other important questions. Before you can cure the symptom, you must first diagnose the real cause.

Tip: journaling is a good way to discover our true feelings, see themes in our behavior and identify positive personal actions. Or talk to disinterested party who can give a different perspective. But be open to feedback that may be uncomfortable to hear.

Second, take responsibility for your life. Your actions, your decisions, and your behaviors are yours and yours alone. Prominent psychologist and best-selling author, Robert Anthony, writes, “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” Dr. Anthony keenly points out that overcoming stress is a fundamental act of self-empowerment.

Finally, figure out what motivates you. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Prioritizing and putting energy into the positive relationships in your life will reduce your stress and make it easier to change your mindset. Remember, those unanswered emails, household chores, or misplaced worries won’t take care of you when you’re sick!

Like with all long-term changes in behavior, the road to success is paved with consistency. Improvement and changing our mindset isn’t about short spurts once in a while, it is a dedication to taking practical, and yes, painful steps toward a long-distance goal. And there’s nothing wrong with slowing your pace to give yourself sure footing. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”

Jaime Cobb
Jaime Cobb, is a Certified Senior Advisor and the Vice President of Community & Caregiver Education at James L. West Alzheimer’s Center.  She has developed and implemented a comprehensive Alzheimer’s & Dementia Family Caregiver Training series and other innovative programs...Read More
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One response to “State of Mind – Controlling Your Stress”

  1. Kells Brown says:

    Finding the true root of where the stress is really coming from and not blaming others for our own poor choices is excellent advice. Thank you for bringing up two excellent points.

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