How Your Beliefs About Stress Affect It

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Feb 012018
 

stress-desserts-yckrqARKi-smWhen I was in school, I had a debilitating fear of tests. Even though I’d studied and knew the material, the stress would cause me to freeze up. It sent me straight into fight-or-flight mode. I viewed the test as a threat and couldn’t remember the answers. Sometimes, if I had time to go over the questions a second time, I would be more relaxed and more answers would surface. Despite this, my grades were decent. But I know they could have been better without the paralyzing fear and stress.

This is one of the things stress does when we feel threatened. Our bodies were developed to deal with physical dangers by having extra energy to fight a danger or flee from it. But in our modern society, having a tense relationship with the boss, a deadline for a project or taking a dreaded test can trigger the exact same response. The mind doesn’t distinguish between a physical danger and a mental threat.

But stress does have a good side. When stress is controlled, then it helps us to learn and grow. To build a muscle, we stress it by lifting weights or going a bit beyond what’s comfortable. When we feel excited, creative, stimulated or challenged, we’re triggering the same pathways as when we have excessive stress, just not to the same degree.

The downside of stress is that it can also make us feel anxious, tense, hypervigilant, drained, depressed and hopeless. We feel like we have no control. There will always be some stress we can’t control. The best we can do is minimize its effects on us. For instance, when we have too many things to do, a toxic boss, or a loved one who is ill, we need to take steps to take care of ourselves.

But there’s research that shows that if you don’t believe that stress is harming you, it doesn’t. Your belief and perception that stress is a challenge reduces the dangers of the same amount of stress that harms other people. I once had a friend who refused to use the word “stress.” He didn’t like the connotation, so he used the word “pressure” instead. Research is showing he had it right.

In an eight year study, researchers found that people under high levels of stress had a 43% increased risk of dying. That’s not unexpected. We all know the dangers of stress and how it can affect our health. Those who had a negative view of stress were most likely to die.

But the study also found that those under high stress, who didn’t believe that stress harmed them, and instead perceived it to be a benefit, were less likely to die. They also had the least negative effects from stress, almost equivalent to people who reported low stress. Their bodies secreted a hormone that counteracted the cortisol that stress creates.

Those who worried about stress and believed it was harming them suffered more consequences. Their belief became a self-fulfilling prophecy for them. In the same way, those who perceived the stress as energy, preparing them for a challenge or excitement minimized the unhealthy effects. Changing your mind about stress changes your body’s response to it.

Belief is powerful. Not everything you believe is factual or real. But you make it so by your attitude towards stress. Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t—you’re right.” You are instructing your subconscious mind and the Universe how you expect stress to affect you. And it complies with your expectation. So how can you shift your attitude and make stress work for you? Reframe your perception of it.

For instance, when I got into college, I decided to change my attitude towards tests from one of fear to thinking of them as a challenge. It allowed me to more easily retrieve the answers from my memory and my grades reflected my improved mindset.

When you reframe your attitude towards stress, you shift your relationship with it. No longer are you helpless in the face of stress. You’re taking control, which is one of the ways you reduce stress.

To downgrade your emotional charge around the idea of stress, use the word “pressure,” like my friend did. Or use some other word to describe it, such as “hassle.” Words matter. When you use a different word, it immediately changes the way you feel about the subject. And the way you feel affects your body, your thoughts, and your responses to the situation.

Like my shift in perception about tests, look at the situation or condition as exciting or a challenge. Instead of resisting the stress, which increases its power, change your attitude so it becomes natural and something that you can handle. By viewing it more positively, it also allows you to think more clearly about what you want to do. You open a clearer channel for your intuition and Divine guidance.

Your beliefs can put you in control of how stress affects you. When you change your beliefs, you you change your life conditions. Once again, the idea that Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Change your thoughts and you change your world,” is confirmed.

Affirmation:

Stress is a normal part of life and I have control over how I believe it affects me. I now choose to change my beliefs about the stress that I experience. It simply primes me for action and keeps me on alert for anything unexpected. By shifting my attitude, I’m able to think more clearly and be more open to my intuition and Divine guidance.

Watch the accompanying video, 6 Simple Ways to Take Control of Stress.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Trending Articles of the Week

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Jan 192018
 

Sunset Crater, Flagstaff AZCreating the Right Attitude for Success
If you’re not reaching the kind of success you want, you need to assess where you’re holding yourself back. It may mean you need to develop some new skills. But more likely, it’s a result of your attitude. Believe it or not, having the right attitude for success is a skill. And it’s not just about having a positive one. This article covers some of the attitudes you need to readjust or cultivate to achieve success.

10 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Sensitive People
Some people love conflict and argument. They need it to feel stimulated. But then there are other people, an estimated 15-20% of the population, who are sensitive. They feel overstimulated in situations others deal with easily. There isn’t anything wrong with sensitive people. They’re just wired differently. If you’re one of those people, here are some valuable tips on how to accept yourself and start thriving.

7 Things To Do If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Do you often feel overwhelmed with too much to do, and too little time in which to get it done? Technology promised to make life easier, but it has failed in that promise. And we’re expected to do more and more, just to keep up. So far, we can’t clone ourselves so we have more bodies to get it all done. Instead, we have to find ways to deal with the unrealistic demands. Here are some suggestions on how to approach your life if you feel overwhelmed.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

7 Ways You Unconsciously Limit Your Vision

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Dec 152017
 

“Aim at heaven and you get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither.” C.S. Lewis
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Are you aiming high enough to achieve your dream or are you keeping your vision little and manageable? A dream is what you’re working towards. Your vision of it should be out of your immediate reach so it inspires and motivates you and pulls you farther than you thought you could go. You may not get as far as your dream, but you’ll soar higher if you have it as your target. The Universe always wants something greater for you.

But too many people keep their vision small and insignificant, so they can stay invisible and play it safe. If you do that, you’ll never be able to reach much further than where you presently are. You’ll just be playing in the same sand box and never climb out of it to explore what else is possible. And you thwart what the Universe wants for you.

By aiming too low, not only do you limit your potential, you also sabotage yourself by holding yourself back. You don’t take the actions that would lead to success, choosing instead to do what is familiar and comfortable. For instance, you don’t follow through on leads, prospects or customers. In so doing, you’re instructing your subconscious / the Law of Attraction to keep you stuck.

There are all sorts of reasons and ways you undermine your dream. Most have to do with the past or fear of the results. Once you recognize how you’re keeping yourself small, you can turn it around and aspire to something greater. Here are 7 ways in which you may be keeping yourself grounded and how you can cut the restraints.

1. Habit.
You’ve created a habit of creating easy goals to achieve, so you have a feeling of accomplishment. But they’re haphazard, don’t take you in any particular direction, and you don’t make any progress.

Choose goals that lead in a specific direction, each one building on the one before. This takes you out of your comfort zone and creates a new habit of success.

2. Past disappointments.
You figure it’s easier to keep your dream reachable, especially when you’ve been disappointed in the past. So you focus on manageable goals, but don’t get very far towards your dream.

Create a vision that’s just out of reach, and set manageable goals that can take you there. As you accomplish them, it will encourage you and build your confidence to aim higher.

3. Doesn’t fit your self-image.
You want to be a leader in your field and make your mark, but you can’t imagine yourself as that person. The person you want to be has qualities you don’t have and are alien to the way you perceive yourself.

Decide what characteristics you need to cultivate so you can become the person you want to be. Take one at a time, and practice incorporating it into your life.

4. Fear your dream will take over your life. You’re concerned about what achieving your vision would change. For instance, you may have to work longer hours and not be able to spend time on other activities you value.

Reaching your vision will change your life. But you always have control over how much time and effort you put forth.

5. Fear you won’t be able to handle success. Reaching towards your vision stretches you and takes you out of what you’re familiar with. So you try to stay in your comfort zone and safe.

You can always develop the new skills, abilities, and characteristics you need. When you do, you will grow and expand to fill your new role and responsibilities.

6. Fear of being criticized.
You’re afraid of people disapproving of the changes you’ll be making. To avoid this, you make sure you stay invisible, under their radar, so you don’t get hit with their condemnation or rejection.

The person you most need acceptance and approval from is yourself. When you’re pursuing your dream, you’re on purpose and fulfilling your highest potential.

7. Guilt about how it will affect others. If you commit to your vision, you may not have as much time for friends or family. Or you’re concerned that you’ll be taking advantage of others if you get ahead.

Ask yourself, “How much more can I offer if I reach my vision?” Playing small doesn’t help you and doesn’t give you the greater opportunity to help others.

These issues need not concern you any longer. You have gained wisdom, maturity and understanding and can now handle the challenges your vision brings. The Universe will always support you on your path. Use your vision as your destination, and establish goals like rungs on a ladder to climb to new heights. You’ll be able to accomplish your goals, while staying on track to your vision.

Affirmation:
The Universe wants something more for me. I now have the wisdom, maturity and understanding to aspire to something greater. Any old issues are now dissolved in the light of peace. With the support of the Universe, I can handle any situation that arises. I am always Divinely guided and directed to make the best decisions.

Watch the accompanying video, Give Yourself Permission to Dream.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Dec 082017
 

Flagstaff Aspen Rainbow7 Small Changes That Will Make a Big Difference in Your Life
Our happiness and success rely on thinking constructive thoughts, acting with intent and creating strong relationships with others. The good news is we have control over all of these areas. It is possible to choose to change. Here are some of the most common changes that can make the biggest impact in your life.

How Successful People Stay Calm
The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. Moderate, intermittent stress can be helpful, but it can be managed. Here are some of the strategies top performers use to lower their stress levels despite what’s happening in their world.

Should You Go With Your Gut or Think it Through?
Many people will say that it’s better to follow your heart, and it will never steer you wrong. But research is showing when this is true and when it isn’t. Your intuition is an important step to help you make a decision, but there are other factors involved. Learn about how your intuition works to help you and how you can maximize its guidance.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Nov 272017
 

Sparks of Insight“People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.” ~ Epictetus

People tend to filter the things that happen to them through their past experiences. The subconscious colors the current event through the lens of the past. It may be a completely different place and person, but the subconscious doesn’t know that. Therefore, it’ll judge the situation according to outdated information. Just because a poodle nipped your ankle when you were nine doesn’t mean your friend’s dog will do it now. It’s not the present animal that is affecting your emotions, but your perception of the canine that’s disturbing you.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Sparks of Insight

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Nov 102017
 

Sparks of Insight“I focus on the good in my life. What I give my attention to expands. Therefore, I experience greater good manifesting.”

When you give your attention and power to fearing some conclusion, then you’re attracting that into your life. The same is true when you direct your energy to what it is that you desire to manifest. Your focus simply gives your subconscious mind the direction, “This is what I want more of,” even if it’s what you don’t want. The subconscious cannot make that distinction. It’s just giving you what it thinks you desire.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Trending Articles of the Week

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Nov 102017
 

Grand Canyon Train TracksWhen You Understand Stress You Can Manage It
To survive in this world, you need to learn what stress is and how you can handle it. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. We all know the damage stress can do to our mental and physical health. There is a purpose for stress, and when you understand what that is, you can take steps to deal with it.

How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them
It’s not so much how people make bad decisions, but why they make them. Bad decisions may seem that the right idea at the time, but they can seriously impact our lives. There are all sorts of reasons we do make decisions that are bad for us, and this article explores three of them. It also gives three keys to consistently make great decisions.
[mindset, intentionally make decisions with self-knowledge]

So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion
Introversion is a misunderstood personality trait. Most people believe it means that a person is shy. That’s not necessarily the case. There are shy extroverts, just as there are shy introverts. This article describes a theory that there are four types of introverts: social, thinking, anxious and restrained. Only one of them could be associated with being shy. The article also includes a quiz for introverts who are curious which type of introvert they might be.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Oct 192017
 

Grand Canyon Rim TrailHow to Always Solve a Problem Once and for All
Many people aim for a band-aid solution, without ever getting to the cause of a problem. Unfortunately, the band-aids never hold and they’re back at the starting point again. This article gives a couple of techniques to easily find the cause of a problem. And once you have the cause, you can find a permanent solution.

Seven Ways to Overcome Inertia and Get Yourself Unstuck
It’s hard to break habits and get moving in a different direction. This article shares ways to overcome your reluctance to change and to help build momentum towards achieving your goals. For instance, one of the suggestions is to shock yourself into change by asking, “What are the consequences of not doing so?”

15 Things to Remember When You Don’t Believe in Yourself
Almost everyone had periods of self-doubt. It can rob you of courage, confidence and happiness. Rarely is it beneficial. But it’s a part of life. Just don’t get stuck there. When you begin to doubt yourself, use these as inspiration to encourage yourself.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Oct 172017
 

Do you sometimes leap into a situation before you look at it? Does it ever turn out as you hoped? If you think about the action you’re going to take before you commit to it, you’ll get better results. Discover what you can do to improve your results and some questions to ask that can lead you in that direction.



Transcript:

Do you sometimes jump into a situation before you’ve had time to assess it? How often does that turn out the way you hoped? And how can you get better results?

I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, vision strategist, hypnotherapist and speaker. I help women entrepreneurs to focus, gain control, and accelerate to the next level of their business. Today, I’d like to talk to you about how you can get better outcomes by planning before you step into a situation. Many people will leap before they look, and it rarely brings them the results they expected.

Maybe a friend made a suggestion that sounded good to you at the time. For instance, years ago, I took a friend’s advice and joined a gym for 6 months. I hated it, and after the first few visits, the membership went unused. Has anything like that ever happened to you?

Or maybe you made a commitment before you’d thought it through. Such as volunteering for a charity before you knew much about it. Once you found out more, you realized it wasn’t right for you. Have you ever done that?

Or, as entrepreneurs, we often spring into different types of marketing without any idea of whether they work for our business. For example, you decide to network because someone said it was the best thing since sliced bread. But, when you attend an event, you stand in the corner of the room, never meet anyone, and never follow up with those you do meet. Have you known of anyone who did this?

It’s a truism, that, as Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” It feels good to spring into action. You feel like you’re doing something, making progress, building momentum. But all too often, you’re just wasting time and energy because it doesn’t fit into a whole picture. It’s just pieces that don’t fit together.

Don’t get me wrong. Action is important, because without it nothing happens. It also anchors a commitment to change and to move forward. But action needs to be targeted, with a specific reason for doing it. That’s where the plan comes in. Think before you leap.

Some questions to ask yourself: What is your plan for your action? Why are you doing it? What do you expect from it? Will there be any consequences? After you leap, what’s next? What steps are you going to take, and how will you know when you’re getting results?

I’ll post the questions I just mentioned with the video (see above). And for a free ebook of tips on how to take charge of your day, and get more done more easily, click on the link for it that accompanies this video (see below).

Think through what you plan to do. When you’re deliberate and intentional about your actions, you’ll be much more successful. They’ll be more integrated with who you are and what you want. So how can you create a thoughtful plan that supports your next steps?

Free Guide: Take Control of Your Day, with specific tips and instructions on how you can get more done more easily. Increase your efficiency, confidence and clarity, while reducing your sense of struggle and overwhelm. http://www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide.html

Read the complementary article, Are You Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Are You Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

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Oct 052017
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

“Action without planning is the cause of every failure.” Alec Mackenzie, time management expert

Quote-Mackenzie-Action

Last year, my husband and I hiked a mile-and-a-half down the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon. We planned and trained for almost a year. When the day arrived, we had the right boots and equipment, and enough food and water to sustain us. Unfortunately, many people on the trail hadn’t had the same foresight.

There are warnings all over the park and at the trailhead about how much water a hiker needs. But sadly, many hikers we saw took only a fraction of the water they needed. We witnessed several people in distress due to dehydration: weak, tired or dizzy. A family fought over their child’s small bottle of water, because they’d already drunk their allotment. Two women hiked the dirt and rock trail, that was hundreds of feet above the canyon floor, in high heels. One turned ankle in the wrong place could have been disastrous.

These visitors let their enthusiasm overrun their common sense. Instead of thinking ahead, they impetuously jumped into an experience and suffered for it. Fortunately, most Grand Canyon visitors survive with just blisters, sore muscles and a headache from dehydration. But they could have avoided those consequences if they’d just heeded the warnings and considered what they’d need for a safe hike.

Unfortunately, many people act in a similar way when they get an idea. They leap into action before they even know what to do. In our Western culture, action is idolized. Supposedly, if you just take action, any action, you’ll be successful. Action is considered a panacea and always brings you results, so the thought goes. But how many people do you know who are so busy that they barely have a personal life, but they’re not achieving their goals?

Some people want to let the Universe guide their way. They don’t have any direction, and just react to whatever shows up in their path. In this case, the Universe is simply acting on their strongest desires. And those desires change from day to day. Even when you let the Universe guide you, have a vision of where you want to end up. You can always intend, “This or something better.” Then the Law of Attraction can draw what you need to manifest your greater good.

Have you ever seen a skyrocket firecracker flying through the air? It spirals all over the place because it has thrust, but no guidance system. Most of the time, it goes up to explode in a beautiful display, but there are occasions when it swirls down to the ground and sets something on fire. This is what it’s like when you jump into action before developing a plan. You’re probably going to go up, but you don’t have any control over your direction. And you also have a good chance of crashing and burning.

The same is true if you have a plan, but you don’t know where you want to end up. If you have no vision, it’s like throwing darts at a target while blindfolded. You don’t know where your target is, so you waste your energy and ammunition. This happens if you have a marketing plan, before you settle on a niche. You spray the consumers with information, but because it’s not aimed properly, it’s ineffective. Instead, you need to find the right people for your product or service then spend your energy on connecting with them.

There are times when jumping into action, without a plan, can be helpful. But it has to be strategic. You want to build up some momentum, stir up some information, gain clarity or some other specific reason. Doing that is a plan in itself. You know the results you want from your actions.

Conversely, you need to keep from getting stuck in the planning process. Your plan isn’t going to ever be perfect. You’ll tweak it along the way. And there will be times when it will change completely, as you get feedback or knowledge. Making progress is better than perfecting your plan.

When you’ve decided to create something new in your life, be intentional about it. Don’t “Put the cart before the horse.” Keep your priorities straight and make sure you have some sort of plan. Life can be treacherous and catch you off guard. If you’re going for a trek in unfamiliar territory, isn’t it a good idea to heed the warnings, make sure you have the right equipment and plenty of resources to sustain you? This isn’t just good advice for the Grand Canyon, but also for every area of your life. Make sure your horse draws your cart, and you’ll make faster progress.

Affirmation:

I decide what direction I want to go in, and the Universe then lights my path. It ensures that I receive whatever I need for the fulfillment of my desire. I stay on track and take the steps I need towards my vision. Each step illumines the next one. And the Universe provides me with whatever is for my Highest Good.

Watch the complementary video Think Before You Leap.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.