bration of a child really trying to do some-
This shift in perspective is helpful at
any age. Whenever you are stressed,
remember that you are feeling stressed
because you care and are challenging your-
self. Become aware of what you’re feeling.
Mindfulness strategies o;er a way to
stop and notice how you are feeling in the
moment. B Grace Bullock, author of
Mindful Relationships: Seven Skills for
Success (Handspring Publishing, ;;;;)
suggests that you “pause for a moment
each day and ask yourself, ‘How stressed
am I really feeling?’ ”
Once you acknowledge the feeling,
focus on your ability to address the situa-
tion. Mindfulness strategies help you
cope, because they teach you how to focus
your attention in the here and now, where
you may actually solve the problem.
Mindfulness practice is essentially
the simple decision to pay attention to
where you are, what you are doing and
what you are feeling in any given
moment. One research study found
that washing dishes in a mindful
way—paying attention to the bubbles
and the scent, for instance—reduced
Research with MRIs shows that
mindfulness practices change the neurological structure of the brain. People
who practise mindfulness strategies
become more adept at managing stress,
are better able to regulate di;cult emotional experiences and have lower levels
of anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
High-level athletes know that managing stress is part of improving performance. For instance, research by David
“Professional athletes understand
that their mental processes are an important part of their success. They deliberately utilise relaxation skills to manage
both performance anxiety and everyday
anxiety,” Eccles says.
Your new story: you’re strong. You’re
resilient. You’re comfortable in your own
skin. You are good at stress. C
Kimberlee Bethany Bonura’s
course, “How to Make Stress Work
for You,” will be available via DVD
and digital streaming in February
BY KIMBERLEE BETHANY BONURA
STRESS CAN LEAD to a range of health
issues, like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, insomnia and anxiety.
You may have tried to reduce your stress,
and ended up stressed about stress itself.
New research shows that, rather
than reducing your stress, you need
to transform your relationship
with it. If the story you tell yourself
about stress is that stress is bad for
you, your health will su;er.
One large analysis of longitudinal data by researchers at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison
found that people with high stress
levels who believed stress was unhealthy had an increased risk of premature death. However, people who had
high stress levels but believed that stress
was a normal part of life actually had a
reduced risk of early death compared
with people with lower stress levels.
Collaborative research from Florida State
University and Stanford University
showed that people with higher levels of
stress report more meaningful lives.
Shift your perspective
Absorb that as your new story about
stress: being stressed means your life is
meaningful. You are feeling stressed
because you care about the people and
activities in your life.
Consider the perspective that Costco
member Nina Spadaro, licensed psychologist, teaches in her parent-child kung
fu classes in Bellingham, Washington.
Spadaro has noticed that, for children,
stress often comes from fear of failure.
She encourages parents and children “to
treat mistakes as opportunities for cele-
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here for a lesson in “square
breathing.” (See page 7 for details.)
FOR YOUR HEALTH