Is This Word Causing Your Stress?

    You’ve got a lot to do. The world is asking you to do it in less time, so you can do even more. There’s an insane pressure in all this busyness that’s pushing you to the edge. Yet, what if it’s not all those demands “out there” that are doing it to you?

    What if there’s a word you keep saying subconsciously that’s at the root of the stress you feel? What if knowing this word and how to turn it around could free you from stress?

    For example, when you’re stuck in traffic and late for an appointment, what do you say to yourself?

    When a new stack of work lands on your desk on Friday afternoon, what does your subconscious tell you?

    When your kids are complaining about not getting the latest iPhone when they just got one for Christmas, what is it that makes your blood boil?

    Is there a word that subconsciously triggers the tension that shoots up your spine?

    Could the source of your stress lie in the word “should” and its partner “should not?” Before you shake your head in disbelief or disagreement, let’s see how that could be and how you might use that insight to free you from stress.

    Recall a recent time when you felt stressed-out. Take yourself back to that moment and remember how you felt in your body. Can you remember what you were thinking at that moment?. . .

    Now, can you phrase that thought as a “should” or “should not” statement?

    For example, “There shouldn’t be so much traffic in my way.” “I should be done with my work for the week, so I can enjoy my weekend.” “My kids should be happy with what they have. We didn’t have any of this when I was a kid.”

    The bottom-line is: When you are thinking things “should be” different than they are, you feel stress.

    Now, here’s a simple strategy that can begin to release that stress from your mind.

    List all the reasons you can think of “why things are the way they are.” For example, “It’s eight a.m., which is rush-hour, so, of course, there’s lots of traffic.” “We just got a new account at work, so, I can expect there’s going to be lots to do.” “My kids want to be liked by their peers, so, it makes sense that they want the latest iPhone.”

    When you begin to notice the causes for the way things are, it can take the edge off the stress you feel. You can then choose to accept them as natural instead of fighting against them. This opens the door to taking productive action.

    You can then ask yourself, “Given what is happening, what’s one thing I can do right now to feel better and move things in a positive direction?”

    When you ask that question and take that action, you will likely immediately feel more empowered and less stressed. Then you can put your time and energy into what can make things better.

    I would love to hear some of your thoughts that cause you the most stress and what helps you turn those around. And, if you enjoyed this post, please share with your family, friends, and co-workers. 🙂

    Have a great week!

    P.S. Meditation is a great way to discover your stressful thoughts and turn them around. Learn more about our Mind-Body Training courses here: Programs on Meditating and Manifesting

      20 Responses to “Is This Word Causing Your Stress?”

      1. JC says:

        Even thinking of going to work causes stress! Stress is here to stay! But we can control it. The best time to happy is now!
        Be prepared for the unexpected.Let nothing Upset you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes away–except God. God alone is sufficient!

      2. Kathryn says:

        Thank you for the post… sharing thoughts always takes time.
        As Louise Haye says… ‘change your thoughts, change your life’.

        Sometimes it is our perception of what happens that causes stress. A welcoming perspective can change the outcome of how one feels.

      3. Eunice says:

        Thank you for the post. The challenge is understanding the sequence of the words why, what, in any given situation even if we know how. Its amazing.

      4. Leanne says:

        I can’t believe the timing of this message!
        I just had a morning filled with stress – all relegated to 4 invitations and commitments falling on the one Saturday… But the major problem is that one of the commitments (a nice thing for me – planned for months) will consume most of the afternoon!!
        So, feelings of guilt mixed with the endless responsibility that comes with raising 2 small children consumed me.
        Reading this blog, gave me perspective and allowed me to take a (more rational ) breath.
        Thank you : )

      5. Noranne says:

        Hi Guys,
        When my partner says “you should have blab blab blab” after the event I can feel my self get tense and that word causes me stress big time.As I know how useless it is.It’s in the past it’s gone.
        Thank You

      6. Vicky says:

        For me the trigger word is MUST. External (sometimes internal) pressure leaving no option other than compliance.

      7. Sandra says:

        I think most all of my stressors lead back to the basic one: I’m not good enough. Most ‘shoulds’ are saying that I should be better than I am, then I wouldn’t be late, or overworked or lonely or rushed or short of money. The trick is to remember at those times that I am enough, just as I am. I am whole and perfect and enough. So is everyone.

      8. Janet says:

        What do you do when your spouse has an anxiety attack and blames you for how he feels? There is nothing I can do or say that will help.I try surrounding him and us with white light and praying but it does not help. He threatens that he will never go on holidays with me again or do whatever I want/ enjoy doing. I know this is to punish me. What do I do?

      9. Hi to all,
        Thank you for sharing your experiences, insights, and strategies on handling stress.

        To Janet’s question, here are some of my thoughts: your spouse’s anxiety is not your responsibility. He is a grown man. He can say he doesn’t want to go and then you can decide what you will do. It isn’t your job to make him happy-that’s his. You can listen and be compassionate, you can offer alternatives and support, but you are not the source of his insecurity.

        I hope there is something helpful in there for you,

      10. dennis says:

        There is a colleague who seems unhappy or jealous whenever he perceive others not working as hard or as stressed. Often he would peer or peep at others’ work. How infuriating! He also pass sarcastic remarks undermining a person’s intelligence or worth. Many choose to ignore; some retaliate in equal measures. What’s the best thoughts/actions that can neutralise/reduce this provooation/cynicism.

        1. Hi Dennis,
          I like your word “neutralize.” I think one of the best actions we can take is to find that neutral place in ourselves, that place that enables us to observe what’s going on without being “all caught up in it.” From that place we can see what’s the most effective action we can take.

          Thanks to you and to everyone who is joining our Discussion and adding examples and insights.

      11. Kat says:

        The bottom-line is: When you are thinking things “should be” different than they are, you feel stress.

        Greatest timing ever – I have a backlog of Things Should Be Different – right now and quite often. I am in a stressful job (teaching)and we have a lot of what I perceive to be Shoulds placed on us which can make it challenging. We also place a lot of Shoulds on our students so perhaps that is where the culture of Shoulds perpetuates itself…
        I think it is part of human nature to want to control people, places and events… and really most things in life are beyond our control, such as other people’s responses to our expectations, being stuck in traffic and when people we love do things we would rather they Shouldn’t.
        It is a tough one for most of us!
        Keep up the great blogs. 🙂

      12. Kat says:

        BTW whatever Sue said above reads very oddly…

      13. Amanda says:

        I enjoyed reading that short, yet informative, article. And THANK you for actually TELLING us the “trigger word” in your article, instead of TEASING us with “And when you do NOT use this word in your conversation, it will help you relieve stress and help your mind get back on track, away from stress….” like other gurus do when they want me to BUY a product of theirs in their article which actually HAS the word in it, but I have to BUY the product before I find out what the word is. Does that make sense? So again THANK YOU for telling me the words “should” and “should not”! I will write down the neutralizing sentence to keep at my desk or on my computer so I can read it and reduce my negativity and turn toward positivity again for ANY situation that I encounter in my day!!! 🙂

      14. Kandu says:

        It’s very much accurate, nothing else to add. Great, thanks.

      15. Nicolette says:

        My main stress is that I haven’t got a job while I feel I should. And all those potential employers who rejected my application should be kissing the ground beneath my feet, or at least have offered me a job and security.

      16. Farhat says:

        It’s so much impossible not to be stressed. There are people around and in your family who behave weird causing you stress. Not possible to get rid of people, nor can you change your standards. How can one turn a deaf ear to everything.

        1. Hi Farhat,
          True, it is not possible to be rid of events, circumstances, or people who trigger our stress responses. However, we can adjust how we respond to them. We can access a calm place inside from which we can choose what we take in and what we filter out. This is what I hope to share on this blog and in our Mind-Body Training Company programs.

          Thanks for participating in our Discussion,

      17. Helen says:

        Interesting. How we deal with stress can make a difference in how we handle the problems.

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