You can stop stress before it really starts by changing your perceptions so that you see stressors--even things that normally drive you nuts--as a challenge vs. a threat, or as a learning experience. If you 'look for the gift' in each situation instead of seeing stressors as scary or even inherently negative, you can stop your body's stress response before it starts the cascade of changes that can lead to feelings of overwhelm and chronic stress, with all of its negative effects.
It's true. This is because the body's stress response responds to perceived threats--threats to our physical or emotional safety--rather than actual threats. If we don't see something as stressful, it isn't. No stress response, no sweat. The trick is training your mind to see things with more optimism, more adventure, more trust in yourself. This strategy of changing your perspective can't eliminate every stressor in your life, but it can eliminate some, soften others, and be an invaluable tool for general stress management.
So how is it done? One way is through reframing, or seeing things from a different perspective. Another is through gratitude, or looking at what you can be thankful for. Seeing things from a positive explanatory style is helpful. And for specific examples of how to do this, see this article on cognitive reframing to get ideas from other readers and share your own. And practice, practice, practice.
How has this concept come up in your life? What are some things you can start looking at differently? Add your thoughts in the comments section. And if you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it.