5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Stress

Chronic stress corrodes your brain. Image of a rusty head.

Chronic stress corrodes your brain.

Stress in large doses makes you stupid. Some parts of your brain shrink under the influence of prolonged stress.*

Chronic stress lowers brain power and emotional responsiveness.

Protect yourself from stress: Some parts of your brain shrink under the influence of prolonged stress. Image of a stressed child.

5 ways to protect yourself from stress:

#1. Protect yourself from stress by changing your thinking:

Life without stress is tedious.

Chronic stress kills you.

Moderate stress brings you to life.

Healthy stress enhances brain function, memory, and performance.

  1. Notice your comfort level while fulfilling your responsibilities. Which are completely comfortable? Which cause you stress? How might you use stress for advantage?
  2. Dance on the edge of comfort and discomfort.
  3. Don’t resist stress. Use it.
  4. Challenge yourself and others to test-drive new skills and behaviors.
Stress precedes growth. Image of a deadlift.

#2. Protect yourself from stress by finding rest while you feel stress.

Stress wants you to doubt yourself.

5 ways to find rest when you feel stress:

  1. Remember how stress brings out your best.
  2. Practice grounded confidence. Lean into tough situations. Stay curious – be a learner, not a knower. (Read Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown.)
  3. Embrace inter-dependence. When you have expertise, trust yourself. When you’re a novice, depend on skillful others.
  4. Seek input. Stress wants you to go it alone. Everyone benefits from input – especially those who think they don’t need it.
  5. Focus on what you want. Stress wants you to focus on what you don’t want.

#3. Protect yourself from stress by taking action.

Stop thinking about things you can’t do. Go do something.

Procrastination elevates stress.

Ruminating fuels stress. Defeat blackhole-thinking by making something better.

#4. Protect yourself from stress by associating with confident people.

Stress is contagious. One source of stress is hanging with stressed out people.

#5. Protect yourself from stress by asking three questions:

  1. How can I grow through stress?
  2. What am I learning?
  3. What’s the worst that could happen?

What are the worst leadership stressors?

How might you protect yourself from stress?

*Re-Entry Stress Is Contagious. Here’s How to Protect Yourself.

Still curious:

A Realistic Approach to Stress Management that doesn’t cause more Stress

How to Navigate Stress in a Storm