When's the last time you were stressed doing something you love?
Stress thrives in the void between our values and our actions. So when we're doing things that reflect our values, stress is squeezed out. But as the space between our values and our actions grows, stress happily fills in. Stress is natural outcome of disconnect between how we live (our actions) and what we believe (our values). Viewing stress through this lens provides us a road map to reduce it. When I notice stress, I look at my daily schedule. Though I value exercise, have I gone to the gym? Value/action disconnect. When a friend noticed herself losing her cool, she found that though she treasured alone time, she hadn't had it in days. Value/action disconnect. And when a super-anxious client with a strong Catholic upbringing mentioned she hadn't been to church in years, she realized the value/action disconnect could be responsible.
Stress thrives in other places, too. Our values and actions can be perfectly aligned and we can feel stress from illness, conflict, powerlessness, pain. But stress in the value/behavior disconnect is uniquely within our control to relieve. So how can we limit value/disconnect stress? Think about your values and what's important to you. Then start at the areas with the highest disconnect and make a plan to take one step towards closing the gap. The tighter the connection between beliefs and behavior, the less space for stress to live.
Need a space to think about your values, your life, and how it's all working together? Request an appointment and come on in!
Debbie Granick is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a Therapist in Raleigh providing both counseling and medication to reduce anxiety and depression and improve mental health. She is available to speak about wellness to groups of all sizes.