The Annoying Thing Coaches Say:

 “You don’t have to feel stressed.”

Stress doesn’t feel like an active choice, and we can’t just change our feelings on the spot because we want to. But consider this:

Do you talk about stress as something that is inextricably linked to certain situations (or people)?

Do you ever say “that’s going to be stressful” as though it’s just a statement of fact?

Stress is a part of life, but not all stress is unavoidable.

The Thoughts that Cause Stress

When we link stress to a future situation by saying things like “that’s going to be stressful”, our subconscious begins to believe that if there is no stress in this situation, something has gone wrong.

Our subconscious does everything in its power to confirm that what we believe is true.

But I want you to consider something that you consider stressful. Stress comes from our thoughts about a situation, specifically from predictions of having to experience uncomfortable feelings. Thoughts about dealing with uncertainty and the possibility of unfavourable outcomes, having to make many decisions, knowing something will be tiring, and the inconvenience of not being able to control everything (or everyone).

If you have decided that something is stressful, you are going to emotionally engage with the thoughts that send to the predictions of things going wrong. Which in turn will make you ore stressed.

The Problem With Predicted Stress

Ready for some irony?

When we assume that something will be stressful we are much more likely to avoid it and procrastinate anything related to it, which makes it even more stressful. 

Do you always put things off until the last minute? This is why you might have built the habit of procrastinating until the stress of not doing something finally gets worse than the stress you predict you will experience dealing with it.

Some people have unconsciously built the habit of procrastinating and creating stress because they rely on it in order to get into action. 

It’s exhausting and unnecessary. And furthermore, if you rely on stress, you will continually need to create an even greater amount of stress to get into action.

A Well Managed Mind

The people who aren’t stressed don’t have an easier life than the people who are stressed. I’m sure you know people who you think have it easy and who are constantly stressed, likewise you may know people who seem to keep their cool no matter what. Uncertainty is universal and everyone has their shit (trust me, even the people who look like they have it all together).

The people who don’t take on extra stress are the ones managing their minds. A well-managed mind comes from the willingness to question our own thoughts and the practice of intentional thinking.

When you have a well-managed mind you feel more in control because you aren’t being controlled by your feelings. 

As you learn to manage your mind the things that used to be stressful become less stressful. And when something unexpected happens and you feel a huge surge of stress it’s easier to keep going, and you know how to get to the other side of feeling overwhelmed way faster. The entire idea of stress becomes less stressful.

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