Whenever you’re feeling stressed or anxious; your heart pounds and your mind probably feels jumbled. How often do you try to tell yourself to calm down when you’re feeling that way?
How’s that working out for you?
It’s almost impossible for the body to simply calm down in periods of heightened sensation like this. It’s like telling someone to spin around 50 times and then walk a straight line. You can’t just stop what the body is doing and feeling and go about your regular routine.
Next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, instead of trying to stop it, think about transforming that sensation into an equally physically and mentally stimulating emotion.
Anxiety > Excitement
For example, excitement mimics anxiety. Your pulse speeds up, and your mind starts whirling around. But when you’re excited, you’re experiencing a positive emotion that will actually help you perform better and remain clear-headed. It’s a motivating emotion instead of a draining one. Next time you feel anxious, tell yourself “I’m so excited” instead of telling yourself to calm down.
Overwhelm > Motivation
What about the feeling of stress that comes about when you have 5 million tasks on your to-do list? You might plod along through them, but the whole time you’re telling yourself that you’re so overwhelmed with all your projects, and your mind is jumping ahead to the 10 million tasks you have set up for tomorrow. Instead of telling yourself to stop feeling so overwhelmed, try telling yourself, “I’m so motivated.” That motivation will get you through your to-do list faster and help you enjoy what you’re doing at the same time. When you’re done, you might just be motivated enough to eliminate a couple of items from tomorrow’s list because you realized they just aren’t a priority right now. Someone who kept reminding themselves of their overwhelm would just stare blankly at tomorrow’s list and become even more stressed out.
Uncertainty > Curiosity
Are you one of those people who dreads change? Maybe you were promoted at work, but the idea of taking on a new role feels stressful until it becomes routine again. Maybe you’re going on vacation, but you won’t be able to throw on a rashguard and relax in your swimsuit until you get there and get settled in. Instead of letting that uncertainty throw you for a loop, transform it into curiosity. If you’re curious about what’s to come, you’re in a receptive mind frame that allows you to work with all of the thoughts going through your head instead of working against them. When you’re curious instead of worried about the unknown, you’ll also take steps to better prepare yourself, eliminating future stress and overwhelm.
So next time you’re feeling stressed and want to tell yourself to calm down, don’t. Transform your emotions into something more positive and constructive. You’ll eliminate the stress while getting the most out of life.