Millennials, who came of age after 1999, and Generation X, born between the early 1960s and early 1980s, are now being called Generation Stress. That’s because for the last three years, the American Psychological Association’s research on stress has found Millennials to be the most stressed demographic in America, with Generation X coming in a close second.
Both generations report nearly twice the level of stress that’s considered safe from serious health risk. They’re having problems with anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression, and it’s affecting their children. Research has found that today’s kids are stressed, now more than ever, and it’s because of how stressed their parents have become. Yet 83 percent of people are doing little or nothing about it.
BUT DON’T STRESS. If stress is a problem in your life, it because genetics and past traumas wired you for stress and anxiety. You can rewire those faulty circuits with simple, proven approaches that can change uour experience of life dramatically. It is all achieved through a change in mindset that elevates brain function to instill more joy in your work, more peace in your life, more harmony in your relationships, and more spring in your step. It’s higher state of mind stimulating higher order brain networks to sustain a higher quality of life. This change is simpler than you might believe and change occurs quicker than you might imagine.
Below is a starter kit to get you moving in the right direction. These stress busting tools are part of the more extensive program in my new book, The End of Stress, Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain.
The tools are all quite simple. This is because simple approaches are what work best in generating positive neuroplasticity. Positive neuroplasticity is the shift in mindset that rewires the brain to change the stress-provoking auto-pilot that is the brain working against you to an auto-pilot that enables the brain to work for you, accessing the IQ, creativity, calm, and optimism that solve problems and achieve goals. It’s a higher state of mind stimulating the higher order brain function that generates a higher quality of life
THE STARTER KIT
The first step is to eliminate negative, stress provoking thoughts and perceptions. This involves making the essential shift from fear to peace. Biologically, stress is fear-based. The opposite of fear is peace, which is a state of mind and way of being that is essentially stress-free. Both fear and peace are clearly internal matters, meaning each begins with thoughts you believe that then extend outward to form how you experience the world. All your moods are produced by your beliefs, determining how you see the world and what you expect will happen. Mood and expectations profoundly influence what does happen, meaning you usually get what you expect to get. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that is wired into the brain.
Another fact research has uncovered: The negative thinking that causes anxiety and depression nearly always contains gross distortions, meaning the greater part of the emotional turmoil people experience is largely mind-made, unrelated to reality. It is happening in you, far more than to you. Thus, the first step in rewiring your brain is changing your mindset. The Clear Button is a tool that can help you bust the negative thinking that blocks brainpower.
Imagine there is a button at the center of your palm that, when pressed, sends a signal to your brain to stop fearful, worried, judgmental, or pessimistic thinking.
- Press the button and keep pressing it.
- Next, take a breath and count “1” and on the exhale think red.
- Take a second breath and count “2” and on the exhale, think blue.
- Take a third breath and count “3” and on the exhale, think green.
Now take a final breath and as you exhale, let your mind go completely blank for about 10 seconds. Then, relate to the present moment and engage the current situation, consciously choosing to be at peace, confident in the clarity this choice affords you. Below is a video that guides in using the Clear Button until you get hang ofit
The second step is to accentuate the positive. Start each day on a positive note.
- Begin by asserting the established fact that you are inherently worthy, meaning you’re inherently golden, exactly as you are. Your worthiness has no prerequisites. Simply asserting your inherent worth is how you actualize it.
- Next, frame your day in a positive light by feeling appreciation for the gift of another day of life; another day to share with the people you love; another day to pursue your dreams.
- Reflect on how you want to feel today as you work. Reflect on the state of mind you want to sustain throughout the day. Reflect on how you want to be with people.
- Set your intention to have a great day, achieving meaningful results in whatever you do. Equally, set the intention to succeed at sustaining a peaceful and positive attitude on the inside, regardless of what happens on the outside. Listen to the audio of this guided process.
Research also shows that people who start the day mindfully in this way experience more positive emotions during the day, are more engaged in their work, and are more likely to feel connected and supportive toward others.
In addition, whenever a moment occurs that expands, elevates, or deepens your experience during the day – whatever it is, for whatever reason – stop and take note of it. Tell yourself this moment is important. Allow the experience to imprint on your brain. Don’t try to hold on to the experience. Simply surrender to the moment for as long as it lasts with a willingness to experience it fully.
Practice these simple steps every day for the next two weeks and your brain will begin to change.