October 3, 2023

Acute Mental Stress and One New Powerful Way to Think About It

Dr. Roy Vongtama

Acute Mental Stress and One New Powerful Way to Think About it

We are all familiar with stress. Heck we are living in it now, right?

What I want to share is a different way to understand it, and with that understanding, make better choices.

There are two sources of mental stress, those from the external environment (the world) and those from the internal environment (your mind).

When looking at external environment, there are two main sources- everyday stressors and acute stressors.

Everyday stressors are those that are "always" there: money, relationships, your job's daily grind, your life's daily chores.

Acute stressors are those that pile on top, things we cannot predict: like the pandemic, a huge project deadline, illness, a death in the family, even positive things, like a wedding.

What people usually focus on are the acute stressors because they are new, they are unusual, and mostly, because they seem to be more important.

It is reasonable thing to do, but in reality, these acute stressors are the ones you cannot control, so looking to address them and leaving everything else to pile up is the wrong move. What we must do instead is to take care of what we can control FIRST.

Then use the rest of the time to deal with the acute stressors.

Why? Because if you really think about it, most of these huge acute stressors cannot be made to go away in one session.

So not only have you not completed the acute stressor, you've not done the dishes, done the wash, spent time helping the kids with the homework, etc.

Then guess what you do?

Do something to comfort yourself: like overeating, not exercising, not meditating, and binge watching Netflix.

Try tackling the everyday stressors FIRST. Then schedule some time for the acute stressors.

You'll get four wins and a "draw" with the acute stressor!

Hope this helps- email me and let me know if it does.