Can you recall a time when you succeeded at something, when you overcame a challenge against the odds?
This could be a time when you surprisingly excelled at something, or won a victory you didn’t expect to win.
It could be overcoming your nervousness to stand in front of an audience to give a presentation.
It could be mastering a fear of water and learning to swim or dive.
It could be passing a test, obtaining a degree or securing a job after a series of gruelling interviews.
It could be giving up a bad habit, or cooking the perfect meal or defusing an argument.
Let me show you how to transform your stress into success…
Just like you, I’ve faced challenges and won, and I’ve learned how to turn stress into success. This is how.
I invite you to remember a personal ‘success story’ that stands out for you? This is a time when things worked out well despite your worst fears?
You don’t necessarily need to know how it worked out, but somehow it did. Providence seemed to be on your side.
Think of this as your ‘miracle moment.’ You may have more than one of these occasions in your life.
Think of a title for each of your ‘success stories’ and ‘miracle moments.’
One of each will suffice but if you have more, list them all.
Your ‘success story’ and your ‘miracle moment’ can become integral components of your stress management toolkit.
Stress is a result of the story (or inner narrative) we tell ourselves about the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Whenever you begin to feel the onset of anxiety, frustration, stress or panic, recall your ‘success story’ or a ‘miracle moment,’ and notice how the recollection of that memory immediately changes the way you feel.
You’ll know which story to call on at the time.
Recalling a time when you succeeded in a similar situation, or when you were able to draw on strengths you didn’t know you had, gives you a chance to refocus your attention, boost your energy and confidence, and enhance your sense of calm in the present moment. It’s like someone placing a reassuring hand on your shoulder and saying, ‘it’s okay – you’re going to be okay.’
Even though this situation might be different to anything you’ve dealt with before, you have the inner resources and resilience to succeed. You can do this because you’ve overcome big obstacles before. You are living proof of this.
Recalling a ‘success story’ from your past is more powerful than trying to engage in positive self talk because it’s a real experience associated with positive emotions.
Positive emotions change our brain chemistry and set off brain circuits that expand our creativity and capacity for problem-solving. In addition, our forebrain – the rational decision-making part of our brain (the pre-frontal cortex) – sees our past success as tangible evidence that we can tap into the strengths, skills and attitude that pulled us through before.
You are giving your brain a blueprint for success and it repeats the pattern.
In the case of situations that you feel are beyond your control, your ‘miracle moment’ can come to the rescue. Your ‘miracle moment’ is proof that even when you aren’t in control, things can still work out.
The best thing we can do in such a situation is remain calm and think clearly.
Recalling your ‘miracle moment’ does exactly that. It dampens down activity in your amygdala – the main part of the brain responsible for the fright, flight and fight response. This allows your left prefrontal cortex to guide you through the lens of compassion rather than alarm and fear.
The more often you apply these reframing and refocusing approaches with your mind, the more you’ll realise your personal power.
All power to you!
And remember: it’s not what happens to you that defines you… it’s how you respond that counts.