Back to Hewit Young Blog

Stress & Well-Being

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” 
― Charles Swindoll

Life and all that it entails is always changing. Many things are outside of our control; the weather, the traffic, our coworkers, our neighbors, friends, family, and some major life events. One constant, among everything, is that we are all under stress.

Hans Selye coined the term “stress” in 1936 and in his later years, ultimately said, “everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.” How can such a pervasive term, be so impactful, yet difficult to define?  Stress is a highly subjective term because it can differ so greatly from person to person. The overall popular connotation is that stress is a negative term. The truth of the matter is, stress is neither positive nor negative; its and our reaction to it that defines it one way or another. How we react to stress and how it affects us is known as perceived stress. Studies have shown that a higher level of perceived stress predisposes people to anxiety and lower quality of life, insomnia, and physical ailments. Conversely, those with lower perceived stress have lower levels of hostility and depression, report better overall quality of life, better sleep, and better health. Practicing healthy coping techniques can reduce the impact of negative stress. With a world full of things out of our control, how we choose to view and cope with that stress (life!) is in our control.

Here are a few tactics to positively cope with stress and reduce negative perception:

  1. Acknowledge and identify variables that you can have an impact on. Use those points to identify problems and create solutions. Don’t fall victim to circumstance and do what you can do to mitigate the source of stress, instead of focusing on what you can’t do. This is a way to empower yourself and be proactive. Being in control of your life is something no one else can do.
  2. Acknowledge that whatever you’re facing is temporary. It’s easy to get totally enveloped or overwhelmed when it comes to difficult or frustrating feelings; no matter how big it feels, it will pass in some form or another. Sometimes situations are fleeting, other times they will continue to grow and morph into a different situation through time, but things are always changing.
  3. Use humor, appropriately. The last thing you may feel like doing is laughing, but if you can find a way to laugh at yourself or a situation, it can diffuse negativity and inspire a different outlook.
  4. Remember, you are not alone. Likely, no matter the topic, someone has been through something similar. Reach out to others, know you are not the first to tread this ground and discover ways others may have dealt with whatever you’re facing.
  5. If situations go beyond personal control, try to reframe or reinterpret to make things more manageable. In turn, this could create opportunities for solutions.

By taking charge to manage stress levels and minimize the negative impacts of perceived stress, we can lead a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Article By: Kristina Bidwell