“Happiness comes from solving problems.” – Mark Manson
So often we think problems keep us from being happy. But, what if they are essential for happiness?
Pause for a moment and think about one of your happiest memories.
Now look at the road to that moment. What is it paved with? Problems. Challenges. Obstacles.
Happiness comes from solving problems. The joy is in the overcoming.
You don’t need fewer problems. You need more solutions.
And, that’s why you need to carefully manage your stress level. Negative stress (or distress) causes you to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Distress inhibits your performance and your problem-solving skills.
But stress isn’t always bad. In fact, stress can be a good thing.
Positive stress (or eustress) can push you to improve yourself, or to get help when you need it. It can motivate you to change your circumstances.
Good stress turns you into a problem solver.
The key is managing your stress level so you stay in the positive, problem-solving zone of eustress.
Here are three things you can do to make that happen:
1. Think Differently: Cultivate a healthy mindset around stress. Accept that stress is normal and even healthy, and that it can lead to happiness.
There is this teaching in yoga that says, “Be at ease with your dis-ease.”
You don’t have to stress about your stress level. Stress and calm are not mutually exclusive, not either/or.
You can feel both…at the same time.
Try this simple practice. When you feel stressed, frame the specific problems that need to be solved.
Anticipate the feeling of happiness you are going to experience as you solve those problems.
Then, take the smallest step you can toward finding a solution. Then another. And another.
2. Act Differently: Think right now about your stress coping strategies. What do you do when you feel stressed?
Do you snack on junk food? Drink a glass of wine? Mindlessly scroll social media? Watch TV?
In other words, are you in the habit of trying to numb the sensation of stress?
It’s okay to take a break from stressful situations. Walking away can give you perspective on a situation that is helpful.
But, if you are in the habit of walking away, and not returning to the problem, the stress just builds. This can quickly push you into a state of distress.
Instead of numbing out, can you choose a simple self care practice instead?
Drink a glass of water.
Take a brisk walk outside.
Or, try the Ultimate 5-Minute Stress Relief Practice.
Taking an intentional self care break will prepare you to return to the situation as a calm, focused problem solver.
3. Rinse and Repeat: It’s important to remember that stress and problems are a fact of life. They will keep coming.
When you feel stressed, make the choice to think differently and act differently. Over and over again.
Here’s a replay of a Facebook Live chat I recently gave on this topic. (Be sure to follow me on Facebook to get notified of future live chats.)
Remember, the joy is in the overcoming. Here’s to the solutions I know you are ready to discover.