I enjoy sharing the science of stress management. I like explaining to my audiences the way stress affects their heart, brain, and body and the way those function, and what research shows are tools and strategies to conquer stress.
But really, when it comes to stress management, there is a science and an art.
I get questions like, “Do I have to meditate and for how long?”, “What do I do with these thoughts I can’t get rid of?”, “How do I know if I am stressed?”
While science can help get you started answering this questions, there is an “X” factor that is not that easy to explain.
That “X” factor is “the art”.
Art has nuances and subtleties…and that’s a significant component of effective stress management.
When it comes down to it, you have to play with the tools and strategies for stress management to find the combination of what works for you.
For example, science shows that it is important to be aware of your internal environment - the way you feel, what emotion you are experiencing, your perception, and where your attention is focused.
The art is really about making it happen. How will you remember to “check in” with your internal environment? Maybe you need sticky notes, a chime on your watch, an alert on your phone, a friend to remind you. (It’s only until you don’t need the reminder anymore because you make it a habit and a way of life.)
Science shows that experiencing positive emotions and attitudes is healthier and much more effective for optimal performance and motivation than experiencing negative ones. So suppression - the conscious blocking of unwanted thoughts and feelings - can seem like a good option. But science shows that is not true.
The art is in simultaneously accepting (rather than suppressing) the negative emotion while choosing to experience a positive emotion.
How do you do that?
With practice. Discipline. Persistence.
But also with play, humour, and light-heartedness.
The art is in finding the balance.
Here’s to conquering stress.
The Stress Experts
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