Here’s some good news: You don’t need to get rid of stress to live a happy, fulfilling life. But you do need to separate yourself from your stress. This doesn’t mean you pretend is the stress isn’t there. It means you identify less strongly with the emotion, realizing it’s a bodily response to a feeling about your view of the world. Instead of thinking “I am stressed,” try “I feel stressed.” This subtle shift helps you step back, even just a bit, so you can gain the perspective needed to move forward. To do this effectively, you have to understand why you’re stressed. Where does the feeling come from? Curiously interrogate the feeling, considering the reasons behind your stress, the people who might be causing it, and the qualities of the stress experience. How do you behave when you’re stressed? What do you tell yourself when you’re feeling anxious? Recognize the patterns in your responses.
Adapted from “How to Use Stress to Your Advantage,” by Susan David