Millennials, who came of age after 1999, and Generation X, born between the early 1960’s and early 1980’s, are now being dubbed Generation Stress. That’s because 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 us 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 it. You can rewire those faulty circuits with simple, proven approaches. Your experience of life can change dramatically without circumstances necessarily changing. Experiencing a higher quality of life is simpler than you might imagine and change can happen fast, as happier, healthier, and more successful outcomes build one on the other to achieve the Good Life.
Below is a starter kit of three simple steps to get you moving in the right direction. These 3 stress busting tools are part of the more extensive program in my new book, The End of Stress, Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain. You will notice that each of these three tools are quite simple. This is because simple approaches are what work best in resolving stress. They are also neuroplastic, meaning they rewire the brain to change a stress-provoking auto-pilot that makes problems worse, to a calmer auto-pilot accessing the clarity, creativity and optimism of higher brain networks, enabling you to solve problems and succeed at life.
The first step is to eliminate the negative. Eliminating negative stress provoking thinking involves making the mindful shift from fear to peace. Both are clearly an internal matter, 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.
Obviously, 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.
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.
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.
The third step is to occasionally during each to stop and smell the roses, meaning 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 and your brain will begin to change for the better. With the brain, the potential for change is significant. If you decide you want to develop it even further, get my book.