5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Stress
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.
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.
- Notice your comfort level while fulfilling your responsibilities. Which are completely comfortable? Which cause you stress? How might you use stress for advantage?
- Dance on the edge of comfort and discomfort.
- Don’t resist stress. Use it.
- Challenge yourself and others to test-drive new skills and behaviors.
#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:
- Remember how stress brings out your best.
- Practice grounded confidence. Lean into tough situations. Stay curious – be a learner, not a knower. (Read Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown.)
- Embrace inter-dependence. When you have expertise, trust yourself. When you’re a novice, depend on skillful others.
- Seek input. Stress wants you to go it alone. Everyone benefits from input – especially those who think they don’t need it.
- 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:
- How can I grow through stress?
- What am I learning?
- 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.
A Realistic Approach to Stress Management that doesn’t cause more Stress
How to Navigate Stress in a Storm
There is a fantastic book on managing stress in the modern world called Burnout. The authors discuss doing items to close the stress cycle to bring our bodies back to a baseline state. Some of the actions are exercise, laughing, physical comfort from another person (hugs, cuddles). These items tell your body it is safe again and that it doesn’t have to maintain this steady state (because our bodies cannot tell the difference between the stress of a work deadline and a bear).
Stress management/burnout prevention are particularly important for women as many of the responsibilities of life such as childrearing, maintaining a home – fall to them disproportionately.
Thanks for your insights, Lyzzzz. I’m glad you brought ‘body’ to the conversation. Physical things matter when it comes to stress. Noticing our body. Exercise. Breathing. Stretching, all matter.
On the other hand, a mental shift is important also. How we define life and how we define our responsibility is a factor… among other things.
The authors did a great podcast with Brené Brown too. I had forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder – very timely for me.
Love your blog.
What does it look like to use stress in your third point under #1?
Give me an example.
That’s a great question, Denise. One way to use stress is preparation. Being stressed out might indicate lack of preparation. Perhaps you’re stressed about a big meeting you have to lead. How might you thoroughly prepare? Hope that helps.