Check out the quote to the right. It’s a picture of the same tree – from two different perspectives. This is to remind us that, in any situation there are many realities. To better manage our stress perception is key. Because choosing one reality over another, just might bring about better responses – and less stress for us.
In previous videos we talked about how our stress response occurs within a millisecond from when the incident starts. It happens and BAM, we respond. And, sometimes it’s bad. Not just from the implications of our response, but also in terms of our health, weight, and our energy. Stress is exhausting. To get a different (hopefully better) response, we already talked about two things:
First, notice your reaction – because you can’t change your reaction, until you recognize it for what it is. Then, second, slow down your response by taking a few deep breaths, walking away, or just delaying our response using one of the creative strategies I shared.
Change Your Stress Perceptions
Here’s the 3rd part to managing our stress – how to change your stress perception. To illustrate, let me share a true story of something that happened to me years ago.
Back when my daughter was young, our little family often ran together. Since my husband typically ran a bit faster than me, he was in charge of pushing Ali in the baby jogger. And, I jogged along side them.
On one very hot Houston day, I was feeling particularly good. We were coming into the home stretch and I said, “Hey do you mind if I sprint on ahead to the house?” So, I took off, in my fastest pace to get to the house in time to step inside the house, grab some popsicles and greet them as they came up into the patio. I was feeling pretty proud of my little sprint.
The three of us then sat on the bench swing eating our popsicles. A few minutes later my daughter said, “Mommy, daddy beat you.” I was feeling so proud of myself that laughed it off and responded, “No, Ali, I beat Daddy.” She countered, “No, daddy beat you.” “No, Ali, I finished first.”
As she continued to insist, I screamed “ALI, HOW DID DADDY BEAT ME?” With tears in her eyes she cried, “He finished his popsicle and you haven’t.”
I felt pretty small at that point. Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you jumped to conclusions about what the discussion was about in the first place?
This situation reminded me of Roseann Roseannadana. That was a character played by Gilda Radner, one of the original Saturday Night Live actors. In her skits, Roseann Rosaannadana would misunderstand something, go off on a tirade, and then upon finding about the misunderstanding would retort, “never mind.”
If you’ve ever had a Roseann Roseannadana experience, then it’s time to check your stress perception before you get too heated up. Make sure you understand the situation exactly by asking questions. Start with “who, what, when, where, how.” (Skip the questions that start with why, that always gets people more irritated).
Maybe, just maybe with a few clarifying questions you can tone down the stress level. Just it a shot and let me know what happens. I’m still working on this 🙂