Stress is an engineering term. I learned this from my therapist who I started seeing because of pandemic anxiety.

She told me to imagine a structure where there was heavy pressure pushing down causing stress on the structure. There are two ways of removing stress: removing some of the load or adding more support underneath the structure.

When humans face challenging situations, we can also feel stress. We can either take the weight off by taking a break or self-care. But let me tell you, a soothing bath, face mask, a day off from work or yin-yoga before bed is not enough. The same stressful situation is still there, and you’re still you, only with softer skin and a calmer exterior. Inside? You’re still the clammy anxious you.

What my therapist recommends (hope it helps you) is supporting your structure from underneath. Find ‘helpers’ such as 1. a daily win (something that’s just for you…even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around the block) 2. laughter with friends and family 3. something that helps you master your skills. These helpers will push you to become the person you’d like to be and stay true to your values.

Interestingly, at that point when I was experiencing anxiety, I wasn’t even thinking of my values and I had to re-assess what was important for me.

Stressful situations call for decisions – will I help myself or will I not? Will I move towards the person I want to be or not? Roy Disney says “It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are”