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Redress stress image

How to redress stress – give stress a mental makeover

Do you have the ability to recognise your own stress and others in dis-stress?

Stress is the mind’s way of preparing us for a challenge and can be a very normal (and sometimes helpful) response to everyday life. But when stress becomes overwhelming and prolonged, it can increase the risk of mental health problems like as anxiety and depression. It can also affect us in physical ways such as sleep loss, chest pains, memory loss, headaches, and muscle tension, to name a few.

We want to give you the tools to be able to recognise your own and others stress more consciously and create new habits to help make your personal and work life better. This article is for you to reflect on how you see stress.

Stress and YOU

We all respond differently to stress; how do you respond?

Picture a recent stressful event at work:

  • How did it feel?
  • What/where did it feel in your body?
  • What were your thoughts?

Being CONSCIOUSLY self-aware of how we feel under stress is the first step in your stress makeover.

The next time you face a similar situation, TELL your brain what looks best by using:

1) ‘’I am’’ statements: These are affirmative positive statements such as 

  • I am brave
  • I am smart
  • I am always learning

2) Anchor words: These are 3 words from your list of affirmative statements that stand out the most to you when getting through a negative situation.
For example, if you’re in regular situations that cause anxiety, your anchor words could be ‘Calm, Courage, and Positivity’.

Try keeping your anchor words close to you regularly. This can be done by setting reminders that pop up on your phone hourly.

3) Be your own best friend: Be kind to yourself with your ‘self-talk’. Every day we experience thoughts or ‘self-talk’ about our behaviour and actions. These are often unconscious, but they help shape our mood, our decisions, and actions.

Stress / wellness image

Practice catching your negative self-talk and stop it in its tracks by clicking your finger with your dominant hand and take a breath:

1) Talk positively: Remind yourself that you are competent (or use your anchor word) and that the situation won’t last forever. You have dealt with difficult situations before, and you can do it again.

2) Relinquish perfection: Setting unrealistic goals and trying to be everything to everyone is impossible. Recognise that we all have limitations and view mistakes as a learning experience.

3) Don’t blame or criticise yourself for not meeting everyone else’s needs. The demands of your job are extreme so remind yourself of the good things that you have achieved in your day.

Stress and OTHERS

We have explored how we experience stress, now what about the people around us at work and in life? Picture the last time you saw someone in dis-stress.

  • What did you see?
  • What did you hear
  • What did you sense

Being CONSCIOUSLY self-aware can help us be more aware of how others may feel.

Remember, in a situation where someone around you is stressed;

1) Hold off on the judgement
2) Get curious about what’s pushing their buttons (every behaviour serves a purpose
3) Be their friend

Problems VS Solutions Focused

Problems focused (pain): Stressed, Uncertain, Worried, Fearful
Solutions Focused (gain): Informed, Empowered, Included, Valued

How do we go from Pain to Gain?
When we shift our mindset into solution mode, we go from REACTING (pain) to RESPONDING (gain).  It starts with being aware of what’s going on for us (and for others) and then making deliberate choices about what we feed our mind.

Moving into responding mode makes us empowered, builds resilience and lessens stress. This is good for our overall wellbeing, productivity, and happiness within life and at work.

For more guidance, please download our some of our free resources below so you have something to refer to when you need to give stress a makeover.


We deliver the contents of this article as a workshop for organisations to support their workforce. If this sounds like something of interest to your organisation, please contact Laura Sutherland on her details below.

Laura Sutherland
Director & Founder

M  1300 831 949
E   hello@aboveandbeyondgroup.com.au 

Laura is a Workforce specialist, Leadership and Career Coach with a background in Psychology. Considered the go-to trusted advisor on workforce challenges in our industry, Laura partners with clients to understand their specific challenges and tailor the most effective and sustainable solutions. Her core professional purpose is to improve and future proof Aged Care & Community Services by supporting organisations to develop the potential within their people.