Changing mindset is one of the most powerful ways to mitigate stress.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, has shown how we think about a situation will ultimately change the outcome.
People with what she calls a “growth mindset” attribute mistakes and mishaps as opportunities for growth and improvement.
In contrast, people with “fixed mindsets” are more apt to give up and attribute their shortcomings to character traits or fixed variables that they have little influence over changing or improving.
At Wellness Garage, we encourage our members to adopt a “The Better Mindset”:
'small changes, done consistently, lead to massive results over time.'
In other words, people can improve by doing better in small ways:
When the situation challenges you, and you cannot fit in a workout, eat well, or get your 8 hours of sleep, the better mindset helps you find something you can do better than what could have been.
When things don’t go well, the “better mindset” allows you to reflect and learn from the situation to plan better next time.
When you fall off track, the “better mindset” reminds you that tomorrow is another day to be better.
Above all, the “better mindset” is about taking small steps to improve and feel good about yourself.
Combining the “growth” and “better” mindsets will help you manage the multiple stressors many of us have in our lives: work, kids, family commitments, financial stressors, our health.
When you find it overwhelming just managing everything in your day-to-day routines, try to shift your thinking about stress.
Use the “growth” mindset to look for how you can extend control over your current situation. Instead of focusing on being overwhelmed, examine how you can learn and grow.
Then take the “better” mindset and realize that you do not need to do everything perfectly; that better is better.
Maybe you don’t have time to cook dinner, do your workout, help your kids with their homework, but you can order a healthy meal delivery from a local restaurant that you have meant to try, get out for a walk (instead of cooking) and help the kids.
By shifting to “better” rather than “perfect,” you get the opportunity to learn new ways to manage.
Whenever you find your mind sending messages of being overwhelmed or feeling powerless, try countering the thought by feeling grateful for opportunities in your life.
Feel gratitude for all the good things in your life, even if together they can be a bit stressful at times.
Research shows that having a “gratitude” mindset and doing the simple exercise of reciting three things you are grateful for each day will make you a happier person with less stress.
We cannot control everything in life, but we do have more control over our mindset and how we interpret our stressors.
Dr. Brendan Byrne