A landmark 20-year study conducted by the University of London concluded that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high cholesterol foods.
"Why is it when spring hits, you begin cleaning out your closets, drawers and garages but you don't clean out your thoughts? Since a main source for your stress is your thoughts, what about cleaning out your head this spring?" says Lauren E. Miller, author of her recently released fourth book 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Stressing Out! (DocUmeant Publishing, 2011.
"The fight, flight or freeze response served your ancestors well out in the wilderness. Today, the threats exist in your head. Instead of an animal predator lurking behind you, it's your negative self-talk. Whenever you perceive a situation as a potential threat to your safety, stress becomes your natural state. You often create an internal jungle where your thoughts constantly prey on your sense of well-being: I'm not OK, I can't handle this, I'm not smart enough, likable or capable," she says.
Miller recommends spring cleaning the negative thoughts out of the closets that exist inside your head.
"Spring cleaning may de-clutter your outer surroundings which holds value; however, cleaning out negative thoughts can result in a profound shift of your self-perception in relation to the world around you and end up saving your life," she says.
Miller offers three stress-management tips to de-clutter your team members' and your clients' minds.
- Watch and observe your thought life. As soon as a negative thought enters your radar, simply say the word, "Delete." Your subconscious mind has had enough experience with that word that it will evoke a strong response.
- Replace all negative thoughts with a positive statement. Instead of, "Nothing ever works out for me," try "I got an undesirable outcome this time giving me an opportunity to explore other available options." Instead of, "I can't do that!" try: "I don't know how to do that yet, and I have full confidence in my ability to learn new things." Try this reframe, "It's not rejection, it's just direction."
- Practice remaining present to the life in front of your face. The nonessential thoughts in life exist in the past and the future. All that is of value exists in the experience of the present moment. Stop your antics of comparison; they rob you of your God-given ability to stay present to your inner creativity and inspiration.