Did you know that stress is not a medical but a psychological response that triggers physiological reactions in the body?

Very often, we say, “I have had a stressful day”, “My job is so stressful”, or “My boss stresses me out”. What we are actually doing here is responding in stressful ways to situations and/or people.

A study conducted by two researchers in Yale University found that if someone changed his mind set around stress to view it as a challenge instead of a threat, he enjoyed a significant reduction in stress-related physical symptoms like headaches, backaches and fatigue.

While the stress was still there, its effect on the body was completely changed.

What this shows is that while stress is inevitable, its effects on us are still within our control.

So, how can we take what we perceive to be stressful situations and convert them to our advantage? Here are some tips:

1. Think positive

If you are faced with a task that you find boring, like washing dishes, try looking at its positive aspects.

For example, think about how you enjoy the feel of warm water, or how washing dishes allows you to disengage from the buzz of life for just a short while.

Doing this trains the mind to realise that there is not just one reality, but multiple realities at any point. It allows you to change the way a situation is viewed, from a negative to a positive.

Consider these facts: Simply changing your perspective in the workplace enables you to achieve greater long-term growth, 37% higher sales and 31% more productivity.

2. Realise the meaning behind the stress

Banish mental hijackers by focusing on the positives and looking at the larger purpose of your situation.

For example, if you are stressed about a job interview, re-focus on how it will advance your career.

Likewise, if planning a party is stressing you out, think about how holding it deepens your relationships. Harness these positives to jump start your productivity and increase social bonds.

3. Enjoy and harness quiet time

Studies show that when the brain is overwhelmed, it becomes harder to see the positive side of things.

Try to allow for some downtime for an hour each day by avoiding activities that create “noise” in your mind such as watching television or surfing the internet, Instead, relax by going for a walk, meditating or doing some light exercise.

This gives your mind a break, allowing it to better focus on positives.

In this way, whenever you encounter a stressful situation, you will be well placed to find solutions and to deal with it in a positive manner.

4. Set yourself up for success

Whenever you face a challenging task, remind yourself of the times you succeeded in similar situations.

This once again allows your brain to focus on the positives, enabling success to become a reality.

5. Focus on what you can control

When faced with worries, remember what you can affect and what you cannot. There is no point in focusing on things that are out of your control, for example, the weather.

Instead, focus on an action that needs to be done that can help your situation – like being prepared for rainy weather and making the best of it.

6. Sleep well and do not skip meals

Ever realised that you feel more stressed when you have not slept or eaten? Getting the right amount of sleep and eating at the right times are important in keeping your mind positive.

7. Create a network of support

Knowing that you have somebody to talk to is crucial. Surrounding yourselves with people who think positive does wonders whenever stress is around.

In essence, remember the saying, “Stress itself is not your enemy. Stressful thinking is”.

By viewing stress as an indicator that you care about something, you can harness it to focus on the tasks at hand.

FitForLife KL 2017, with the theme ‘Get Fit. Live Great!’ aims to inspire Malaysians to lead a healthy lifestyle by being physically and mentally fit. FitForLife KL 2017 is organised by Star Media Group Berhad with Great Eastern Life as exclusive event partner.

Nestlé Omega Plus is the official wellness sponsor. The fair will be held in Halls 1 to 3 of the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from April 21 to 23. It is open from 10am to 7pm and admission is free.

For enquiries, call 03-79671388 (ext 1529/1243/1466) or visit us www.facebook.com/starhealthfair.