Stress is an Internal Response

Stress doesn’t exist outside of you in the environment or in your external situations. Instead, stress is an internal response to a perceived threat or unmet expectations. It isn’t the flat tire, the broken sprinkler, the argument with your spouse that causes stress - it’s your thoughts and the story you tell yourself about an event or circumstance that creates the emotional upset, racing heart rate, shallow breathing, surging adrenaline, and all of the other symptoms of your stress response.

Stress isn’t in the external event but is your perception of it. This week, see if you can tune in to the events and situations that arise in your daily life. Stop for a moment to notice your reaction to those events, conversations and situations and observe how your body feels. Notice your thinking around that situation. Ask yourself if it is the situation or event that is causing your stress or is it your perception of the situation or event that is.

Consider this daily action as a moment to insert a little mindfulness practice into your life. Recognizing our responses to certain situations and events as the feelings arise is the first step in understanding how to better begin to shift our response to it and thereby reduce stress. The daily practice of meditation is a wonderful foundation for stress-reduction.