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Your Stress Mindset Threat or a Challenge

Stress Mindset— Threat or Challenge?

Is your stress mindset, that stress is a threat or a challenge in your life?

In the book, The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. explains the difference.

If you’ve ever had stress in your life (got any?) and have wondered how to deal with it more effectively, I think you’ll love this. McGonigal tells us that how we THINK about stress plays a huge role in its effect on us and walks us thru the science behind it. Rather than try to get rid of stress (if you find a way to do that and still grow, let me know!), we’re much better off shifting our mindsets to embrace and use the stress wisely!

To optimize the way we live, we need to get a new view on stress, its management, and one that is not divorced from energy management because you need the energy to deal with stress.

“My curiosity about how your attitude toward stress influences its impact sent me on a search for more evidence. I wanted to know: Does how you think about stress really matter? And if believing that stress is bad for you, what’s the alternative? Is there anything good about the stress that’s worth embracing? …The latest science reveals that stress can make you smarter, stronger, and more successful. It helps you learn and grow. It can even inspire courage and compassion.

The new science also shows that changing your mind about stress can make you healthier and happier. How you think about stress affects everything from your cardiovascular health to your ability to find meaning in life. The best way to manage stress isn’t to reduce or avoid it, but rather to rethink and even embrace it.

So, my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to help you get rid of your stress—I want to make you better at stress. That is the premise of the new science of stress, and the purpose of this book.” ~ Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. from The Upside of Stress


With that said, don’t for a second think, that you don’t also at times need to reduce stress. Certainly, you can’t avoid it, but we have to be open to reducing, managing, and even eliminating stress if we’re going to have true mastery of it; but that mastery is not going to come if your “stress mindset” as a whole is that stress is bad. ~ JAM

“So as we begin this journey together, I offer this conception of a new stress mindset: Stress is what arises when something you care about is at stake. This definition is big enough to hold both the frustration over traffic and the grief over a loss. It includes your thoughts, emotions, and physical reactions when you’re feeling stressed, as well as how you choose to cope with situations
you’d describe as stressful. This definition also highlights an important truth about stress: Stress and meaning are inextricably linked.

You don’t stress about things you don’t care about, and you can’t create a meaningful life without experiencing some stress.”

“Psychologist Alia Crum and her colleagues have developed the Stress Mindset Measure to assess people’s views of stress. Take a moment to look at the two mindsets below and
consider which set of statements you agree with more strongly—or, at least, would have agreed with before you picked up this book:

The Typical Mindset: Stress Is Harmful.

  • Experiencing it depletes my health and vitality.
  • Experiencing it debilitates my performance and productivity.
  • Experiencing it inhibits my learning and growth.
  • The effects of it are negative and should be avoided.

The Performance Lifestyle Mindset 2: Stress Is Enhancing.

  • Experiencing it enhances my performance and productivity.
  • Experiencing it improves my health and vitality.
  • Experiencing it facilitates my learning and growth.
  • The effects of it are positive and should be utilized.

Of these two mindsets, ‘stress is harmful’ is by far the most common. Crum and her colleagues have found that while most people can see some truth in both mindsets, they still view stress as more harmful than helpful. Men and women do not differ, and age does not predict mindset.”

My mentor and coauthor Dr. Arthur P. Ciaramicoli Ph.D. also discusses this idea in The Stress Solution —Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience

“We work too much, sleep too little, love with half a heart, and wonder why we are unhappy and unhealthy,” writes clinical psychologist Arthur Ciaramicoli. In The Stress Solution, Ciaramicoli provides readers with simple, realistic, powerful techniques for using empathy and cognitive behavioral therapy to perceive situations accurately, correct distorted thinking, and trigger our own neurochemistry to produce calm, focused energy. He developed this approach over thirty-five years of working with clients struggling with depression, anxiety, and addictions. Over and over again, he has helped sufferers overcome old hurts and combat performance anxiety, fears, and excessive worry. Ciaramicoli’s pioneering approach offers new promise to readers facing a variety of stress-based concerns.

So when you learn the new stress mindset that is enhancing, you’ll have a whole different experience. As you learn The 5 CoreEssentials of Human Performance, for maybe the first time in your life, you’ll actually have all the essential lifestyle skills to manage your energy and stress, and when you do both you’ll start living a high-Performance Lifestyle where you can live your full potential with grace.

JAM is a leading, Performance Lifestyle Coach and authority on living the High – Performance Lifestyle® with an online training academy and community that teaches people how to manage their energy like the pros, and develop a Performance Lifestyle you can call your own. He helps you get free of the hidden lifestyle challenges, that distract and hold you back from living your full potential. He’ll help you optimize the way you live for the energy, health, and high-performance you need to flourish. JAM and his team, run Performance Lifestyle Inc, and an Accelerated Recovery and Performance Lifestyle Center. He is a father of two lives and works with his wife and partner Mariahna.




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