“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” -Viktor Frankl
For most of my life, I thought stress was something that happened to me: the disappointment of a boss, the anger of a spouse, the rebelliousness of a child, the idiocy of a politician, and even weather that didn’t respect my schedule. Stress was an external element over which I had no control. But upon further exploration I realized that, quite to the contrary, stress was actually created from my internal response to these events. So my new viewpoint is that stress is really just the ‘cost of doing life’ – it happens to everyone but since it’s subjective, we all have the freedom to respond in our own way. I confirm this theory every time I observe two people reacting differently to the same stressful situation or when someone becomes entirely stressed-out from a slightly delayed train while another gracefully navigates the catastrophic death of a loved one.
This realization can be very empowering. Since we control our responses, doesn’t it mean that we are the ones responsible for the stress in our lives? Doesn’t it also mean that we can thereby reduce this stress by simply changing our response? That’s the practice I’ve recently adopted and it has been incredibly effective. That’s also what I want to share with others at the upcoming workshop entitled ‘Stress-Free 1,2,3′ at The Open Center: cultivating new mindsets and practices that eliminate stress and its harmful effects.
I no longer wake up in the morning and just hope for a great day…… I no longer have to.
You can do the same.
1) The next time you experience stress, stop considering it to be external and say to yourself “I’m allowing this situation to stress me out.” This gives you back the control to change your response.
2) Learn several relaxation techniques and experiment with them during times of stress. Notice how quickly you can relax by briefly closing your eyes and practicing deep breathing, mindfulness, visualization, or reframing.
Have a happy and healthy week!
(4 Sessions) Tuesdays, November 13 – December 11, 2018, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Stress Free: 1,2,3
Daniel Javit, MD, a physician for over 30 years and now a certified health and wellness coach, leads workshops in a wide variety of venues. He graduated cum laude from Amherst College and Cornell Medical School. He has been practicing yoga and meditation for 35+ years.