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Column: Think of the positive when in stressful situations

Stress is the inability to adapt to a changing environment. Stress is your body’s way of responding to a situation that exceeds what you feel is your ability to cope. The less adaptable you are, the more stress you experience. Stress can be beneficial when it produces the incentive you need to complete deadlines, yet too much stress is not only uncomfortable and undesirable, it negatively affects your body. Studies have shown that 70% to 90% of doctor visits are linked to stress.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned about stress is that it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you perceive what may or may not happen that counts. Our perceptions are what make heaven or hell out of our lives. Since it’s common to perceive only the negative side of an event that’s stressing us, we unconsciously bind ourselves to the stressor and do not feel relief until it’s over.

Daily mission

If you are in a stressful situation, ask yourself how your situation is positively serving you. For example, is it helping you stay on track, be productive, build or improve a skill, communicate better with your spouse, speak up for yourself, bond to your co-workers, etc.? The key to dissipating your stress is to balance your perceptions by bringing conscious awareness to the positives. The more positives you can assign to your situation, the more balanced you will feel. When you can see that the value of what’s going on is working to your advantage, your stress dissipates.

Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit

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