Stress is a normal response that occurs when our body reacts to a change or a challenge. Most people think of stress as being “bad” but it’s not always harmful. There are two categories of stress. Acute Stress, also known as “Fight or Flight”, helps us avoid danger in a moment’s notice. Chronic Stress develops over time and when left uncontrolled, this stress can affect your body and immune system. ‘Good’ stress is also known as Eustress. An example would be if you are planning a party and having some trouble trying to decide on the best theme. Being newly hired for a job and contemplating what might follow can be stressful, but it’s not the same type of stress as having a stomach surgery to remove a tumor. Ultimately, stress can either help us grow or cause long term distress.
Positive State of Mind
When it comes to being at our best, keeping a positive state of mind is crucial. Think about how your life is different when you have a positive attitude and thinking. I’m sure you are more energized and focused. You also probably get along with people better and manage stress more effectively. Of course this is easier said than done right? We all have bad days when we feel down. We get discouraged and frustrated and start to focus on problems and what’s going wrong. When we notice ourselves getting negative, (Notice is the key word here, self-awareness is the key to elevating our state) we need to have a plan to shift our state of mind.
Here’s the plan - in 3 Simple Steps
1. Write a gratitude list
A gratitude practice such as writing a gratitude list each day, or writing a gratitude letter can help keep you in a positive state of mind. Give thanks for the day ahead of you!
2. Fill your mind with positive messages
From the moment you wake up in the morning, think about what ideas you’re filling your mind with. Many people wake up watching the news and fill their head with stories of tragedy and fear! Try to avoid that.
How would your life change if you started reading a daily devotional or inspiring article? Another thing I do when I’m driving in my car is listen to uplifting audio books. There are also countless videos on YouTube that offer inspiration. Ask yourself, how can you start filling your mind with positive messages?
3. Surround yourself with supportive people
We don’t always notice how contagious other peoples’ emotions are. If we are around negative, discouraging people, it will eventually rub off on us. Find supportive and encouraging people that you can interact with as often as possible.
It may not be every day that you interact or talk with these people, though hopefully it is, but if you have someone that can offer you support when when things aren’t going well, you will have a greater chance of staying positive.
At BayTMS, we are committed to helping people with depression and encourage our patients to work towards more consistently positive states of mind, as this will help lead to a better outcome.
Refer to our previous blogs on sleep, approaching new years with a new perspective, managing sadness and grief, mental health, guide to help reduce depressive symptoms, and more to get information specific to you that can help reduce stress in your life.