Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Feature: What's Your Default Stress Response?

Last week, I reposted a meme on Facebook that rang true for many of my friends:

via Purple Clover on Facebook

I don't think I do this -- at least not most of the time -- but I do sometimes worry about the way I manage my stress. Am I acknowledging it? Obsessing over it? Letting it take over my body in ways I don't think I am?

I think I do a reasonable job of handling life's little curve balls, so I was really interested to read Michelle Gielan's article, "You Can Improve Your Default Response to Stress." Gielan and her husband, Shawn Achor, are happiness researchers and part of the team behind the GoodThink Inc. website. I've been a big fan of Achor's since I saw his TED Talk ("The Happy Secret to Better Work") and I love the upbeat and practical tone of the site's (short) articles.

As it turns out, I do manage stress reasonably well, but I also have a tendency to catastrophize, usually about things that aren't likely to be catastrophic.

Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay
This wasn't exactly news to me, but it served as a reminder to dial back the drama and, instead, use the de-stressing tools that are in my arsenal. In addition, being aware of my own mild tendency (relatively speaking) to make mountains out of molehills can remind me that I'm more vulnerable to other people's rabbit holes than I think I am, and should, perhaps, learn to find paths that go around them instead of through them.

Stress is, after all, an unavoidable part of life. And, while we can't make it go away, knowing we can do something about the way we respond to it can, perhaps, make it a little less stressful.

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