Stress and Happiness

There are good kinds of stress and there are bad kinds of stress.  Negative stress can even lead to burnout and depression and anxiety.  Dr. Tom Muha, an Annapolis Psychologist offers some strategies for dealing with stress, some of them are: decide to be happy, value happiness, recognize that only you have the power to decide whether or not you’ll be happy, think about happiness, think about what you want, be happy now, practice appreciation, practice forgiveness, create positives to balance out the negatives, do something to feel good when you’re feeling bad, make others happy, focus on your attitude, and keep your spirits up.

There are good (positive) kinds of stress and bad (negative) kinds of stress.

Are you the type of person who typically does great work when under pressure? In this case, you are experiencing a good type of stress, or eustress. This stress is highly adaptable and leads to a stimulation of mental and physical well-being. Not all stress is bad for your body!

Negative stress, or distress, however, does most certainly exist. It can be associated with depression, anxiety, and burnout.

But even if your stress levels aren’t that high, you can still feel the effects. When you’re stressed out, you’ll find yourself worrying more often and, as a result, you are less likely to enjoy life. Even when you are at home with your family or taking the time to enjoy some of your favorite personal interests, you won’t be able to give these activities your full attention and concentration.

Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. ~ Hans Selye

Dr. Tom Muha, an Annapolis psychologist, offers the following 14 strategies for decreasing stress while increasing happiness:

  1. “Decide to be happy”. This will direct your thinking toward activities that will bring joy into your life and attract people who want to share in that joy.
  2. “Value happiness”. Choices you make are based on your values. If you hold happiness in high regard, other choices will take a back seat to it.
  3. “Happiness is an inside job”. Only you have the power to decide whether or not you’ll be happy. No person, place, thing, or situation can make you happy or unhappy.
  4. “Think about happiness”. Thinking involves solving your problems, and determining how to bring out the best in yourself and others.
  5. “Think about what you want”. What do you think will make you happy? Picturing positive outcomes.
  6. “Be happy now”. Take steps today.
  7. “Practice appreciation”. Recognize 3 things each day for which you are grateful.
  8. “Practice forgiveness”. Forget the past and move on to making yourself happy again.
  9. “Create positives to counterbalance negatives”. Generate a minimum of five positive moments to offset the negative emotions that are automatically aroused by a bad situation.
  10. “Do it anyway”. Do something to feel good when you’re feeling bad.
  11. “Practice being happy”. You’ll become better at it the more you do it.
  12. “Make others happy”. Do unto others ….
  13. “Attitude creates gratitude”. Provides positive reinforcement.
  14. “Keep your spirits up”. To renew your energy, you need to make time to replenish your spirit.

Blah, blah, blah you say? You’ve heard it all before?

I like to think of it in this simple way: When I’m not unduly stressed I can enjoy what life has to offer instead of feeling like life is draining the energy from me bit by bit. I’d much rather lead an exciting life than a “not so bad” existence any day.

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