How You’re Stressing Yourself Out Without Even Realizing It

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Stress has become part of the cultural narrative. (Photo: Getty Images)

Amanda Enayati fled her home country of Iran when she was a kid (without her parents), lived in the West Village in New York City during 9/11, worked as an attorney for years, and then got late-stage breast cancer (while raising two small children).

So you can take her word for it when she says she knows about stress.

But Amanda is devoted to researching and teaching the best ways to understand and handle the stress that all of us experience — and she sat down with me to talk about it.

Amanda is all about finding your happiness and serenity, and that means doing everything you can to be your true self, find your purpose, and then use that purpose to serve.

There are things that we do that Amanda considers either “little whys” (taking out the trash, doing the dishes, and turning in assignments) or “big whys” (what do I want my life to be about, who do I want to have been).

Are your little whys adding up to your big whys? If they aren’t, or you’re spending no time thinking about the big whys, you’re in trouble.

I also asked Amanda her thoughts on how plugged in we all are and how that contributes to stress. Her response was incredible. 

Related: The One Thing Most Of Us Are Stressed About

She says it has become part of our cultural narrative to be stressed out. Stress as the bane of modern living is only a story that we started telling ourselves in the 50s. Stress isn’t about what’s happening, but about how your body is reacting to what’s happening. The more you do stressful things, the more they become part of your body and your life.

We have to work toward optimism. Amanda’s definition of optimism is the ability to suffer but still tell good stories that propel you forward and out of that suffering.

I asked Amanda for some tips on reducing stress in day-to-day life. Here’s what she told me:

  1. You have to change your mindset. If you’re walking around responding with a stress mindset, then you will suffer from that stress mindset.

  2. Examine your stories. What are the stories that I’m telling? Do those stories serve me? How can I cultivate optimism?

  3. Realize that a stress-free life is a delusion. But all stress isn’t the same. There’s a difference in the stress that makes you jump out of the way of a car, the stress you feel when trying to meet a deadline, and the stress that happens when are about to have a first kiss.

  4. Insert pockets of joy into your life. You don’t have to go on vacation, you don’t have to buy anything. It can be cuddling your dog for a minute, or taking a hot bath, or working out. Design your days so that you don’t have to stay at a level of high stress all the time.

  5. Unplug every 90 minutes. Get outside, walk around. Get away from your stressors, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Related: 10 Surprising Stress-Busters

Listen below for my full conversation with Amanda: 

For more of Amanda’s stress-busting tips, click here

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ABOUT LEWIS HOWES: Lewis is a pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur who hosts the top-ranked podcast The School of Greatness. He interviews the best and brightest minds in health, entrepreneurship, relationships and lifestyle. Follow Lewis on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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