I’m HONORED AND EXCITED today to feature a post authored for Circle of Hope by world renowned dermatologist, author, speaker, and mindfulness expert Dr. Keira Barr. Her work has been featured in MindBodyGreen, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, SELF, and Oprahmag.com, and many other prestigious publications. Enjoy!
Do you stress about feeling stressed? You’re not alone, and there’s good news….you can use that stress to your advantage, starting NOW!
In my book, “The Skin Whisperer”, I dive deeper into this, but if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, I want to share some insight and tools to help you get the most out of your emotions.
Because here’s the thing, there will always be experiences, situations and interactions that have the potential to make your palms sweaty, cause your heart to beat faster and raise your blood pressure.
But it’s how you perceive stress that makes all the difference regarding how you process it. Do you see stress as a threat or danger? Or do you view stress as an opportunity to challenge yourself?
When you see stress as an opportunity for personal growth, your heart may race, and your adrenaline goes up, but you get a jolt of energy which differs from the fight or flight response in several important ways that work for you rather than against you:
- You feel focused rather than fearful.
- You can tap into your creativity, resourcefulness and physical capabilities more readily
- You release different levels of stress hormones.
The outcome is that your level of confidence, concentration and performance is amplified. What’s more is that people who are able to think about stress more like an opportunity and less like a threat report lower depression, anxiety, have higher levels of energy and increased life satisfaction. Plus from a skin standpoint, this means fewer wrinkles, frown lines and more youthful looking skin. Hands up if you want that?
If your tendency is to want everything to be simple, predictable and secure, then now is the perfect time to shift your perception about stress and try on a different lens. Here’s how:
First, change your response to “What if?”
When you are in stress mode, the default answer to “what if?” is usually a negative. For example, you are about to start a new treatment regimen and you’re worried it won’t be effective. “What if it doesn’t work? What if the side effects make me sick? What if I spent all this time trying something and it doesn’t make me better. Time wasted?”
Now let’s flip that script and reframe your response. “What if the treatment is a huge success? What if all the time I spend going to treatment is an opportunity to read those books I’ve had on my wishlist? What if this treatment helps make my recovery easier?”
Two very different responses to the same question. One puts you into defeat mode with associated feelings of depression, anxiety and overwhelm and the other into possibilities mode boosting your resilience, energy and creativity.
Next, include variety into your day.
Do you allow for flex time in your schedule or are your days planned out to the minute? Don’t get me wrong, having a schedule especially when juggling work, family and social obligations are useful and necessary. But rigidly sticking to your plan may backfire and be counterproductive to your overall sense of wellbeing, creativity and performance. Giving yourself permission to allow flexibility in your schedule and more importantly by intentionally creating opportunities to shake things up from your typical routine will increase your resilience (and perhaps spark some unexpected joy from the novelty!)
Lastly, try new things like start a random hobby or join a group.
Does the idea of trying something new make your stomach do flips? Does the idea of change make you feel anxious and overwhelmed? Trying something new and pushing you out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable. I totally get it. But it’s in the experience of discomfort that you grow and develop new skills. So start small and/or start with something that’s meant to be fun like taking up a new hobby. Taking an art class, or music lession or joining a meet-up group of like minded people in your area of interest are great ways to introduce change and to challenge yourself in bite-size pieces. By stepping into an opportunity to try new things it’s not only a great way to reduce stress, recharge your creativity and get in the flow, it also builds your resilience, improves your performance and bonus…makes you happier.
Stress doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s a reality that you can leverage to your advantage starting now. You got this!
Adapted from blog at: www.drkeirabarr.com/blog
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Keira Barr is a holistically-minded wellness expert, author, speaker and physician with more than twenty years of experience in medicine, mind-body health, and clinical research. Dr. Barr is a dual-board certified dermatologist who helps women address the skin they’re in – literally and figuratively – to achieve greater physical, mental, and emotional resilience so that they look, feel and perform their absolute best.
Blending her medical expertise with cognitive science and her own health struggles, she has lectured throughout the world on health topics, teaching communities and health professionals with compassion and a unique perspective. Her passion is bringing forth a whole-self approach to skin health and bridging the gaps between science, soul and connection in medicine.
Dr. Barr’s expertise has been featured on national television, radio, podcasts as well as outlets including MindBodyGreen, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, SELF, and Oprahmag.com.
P.S. Looking for a holistic approach to skin wellness? These articles here and here in MindBodyGreen can help.
P.P.S. Ready to make your skin GLOW? Get your FREE Glowing Skin Cheat Sheet HERE!
P.P.P.S. Skin giving you issues? Check out my #1 Internationally Best Selling book “The Skin Whisperer: A Dermatologist Reveals How to Look Younger, Radiate Beauty and Create the Life you Crave”