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Is there a way I can feel better fast from stress? I don’t have time for yoga or meditation.
Stress feels bad. You need relief fast. Meditation and yoga can take years before they make significant changes to your brain.
But, there’s a simple stress habit that can having you feel better quick. It only takes a couple of minutes to learn and 1 minute to do. Now that’s my kind of stress management!
It turns out that you can change your stress from the bad kind of stress to the good kind and use the energy that stress gives you for good—just by learning a simple 3-step habit.
The Quick Stress Action Plan (QuSAP) can be done anytime, anywhere —no yoga mat or Tibetan gong required. Here’s the three steps to QuSAP:
Notice the stress signals from your body
Identify what it is that you care about that is causing the stress.
Make use of the energy that stress is giving you for good.
You can’t always get rid of the stresses in your life. But, don’t worry. You can use the How to Make Stress Your Superpower series to get great at stress.
DIY your stress with this series, or you can get help from me 1-on-1.
Whichever option you choose, you can finally master stress.
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How to Make Stress Your Superpower
If you’re just joining me, You’re going to want to check out the other episodes in this series, so you can learn Stress Paradox #1 and Stress Paradox #2, what stress is for, and how to always get the good kind of stress.
Ready to transform into Super Amazing Stress Woman or Super Amazing Stress Man?
Let’s Do This!
Stress Makes You a Great Learner
Remember back in Episode #3 where I talked about all the things that stress is good for?
Along with all those other good things, I said that stress teaches your brain to learn from your experiences, so you keep getting better and better at handling life--and stress.
So, your stress response is super open to practice. Whatever habits you make during stress, you teach your body and brain to do them over and over again automatically.
If you want to respond to stress differently—like face challenges head on, seek support, find meaning in stress, then you’ve got to practice your stress plan. You got to have an action plan that you repeat over and over again to become a master of stress.
But unlike slogging through years of piano practice and drills (true story!), this is a skill that you can learn quickly and get good at fast.
QuSAP—Quick Stress Action Plan
I teach my clients the three step Quick Stress Action Plan--nicknamed QuSap! QuSAP can make you a stress superhero in no time.
Without further adieu--let’s QuSAP!
Step #1—Notice Stress in Your Body
The first step to QuSAP is to notice stress when you experience it. The other two steps won’t happen, if you never realize you’re stressed. Just like Batman needs the bat signal to swoop into action, you need your body’s stress signal to activate your QuSAP powers.
So, notice how stress shows up in your body…
Are your muscles tight?
Are there butterflies flying around in your stomach?
Is your heart beating quicker?
Are you palms getting sweaty?
Are you breathing faster or maybe even holding your breath?
Are your hands shaky?
Or are your feet bouncing up and down?
Most of us have one or two tell-tale body signals that we’re stressed. Mine are holding my breath and feeling my heart pick up the pace. Yours might be sweaty, shaky hands.
Notice what your personal signs of stress are. Then, use that as your stress signal to use the Quick Start Action Plan (QuSAP). QuSAP every time those signals show up.
Step #2—You Stress Because You Care
The second step of QuSAP is to realize that stress is a response to something you care about. The reason your heart is pounding and your stomach is churning is because something you value is at stake.
So, ask yourself, “What is it here that I care about?”
Every time you’re stressed, it’s a chance to connect with what you value most in life. And, even if stress doesn’t feel good, connecting with what you care about--does.
Step #3—Make Use of the Energy Stress Gives You
The third QuSAP step and the most important is to make use of the energy that stress gives you. Remember stress is really like Nature’s cup of coffee to get you energetic and moving.
Ask yourself, “What can I do right now to use this energy to move towards my goals and values?”
Don’t waste that stress energy by trying to ignore it, using harmful coping methods, or just deep breathing it away. This is your chance to be a superhero because of that stress energy.
QuSAP In Action
Let me show you how QuSAP works in real life.
Yesterday my husband took my 11 year-old to a soccer tournament two hours away. When my daughter was getting out of the car, she realized she forgot her cleats at home.
So, my husband calls me all stressed because he’s trying to buy her new cleats in the next twenty minutes before her game starts. And, the first sporting goods store he went to was apparently going out of business and had nothing on the shelves.
So I talked him through the steps of QuSAP. First, I asked him, “What are you feeling?”
“Well, my muscles are tight, my stomach is clenched, and I feel tense,” he tells me.
“Ok, That’s your stress response,” I inform him. (Step #1 complete.)
“Your stress response is there because something you care about is at stake. What do you care about?” I ask.
He replies, “I care about my daughter doing her best in her soccer game because I care about her.“ (Step #2 complete.)
I go on to step 3. “Now, that stress is actually energy so you can do something about her shoes. That’s your body giving you the energy to drive to another store, run in, buy the shoes, run out, and then get back to the field,” I tell him. (Step #3 complete.)
And as a bonus, he added his favorite question, “What’s the worst that could happen? She has to wear sneakers for a few minutes of the game. No one’s going to die, and hopefully she’ll learn to double check her gear bag next time. “
My husband was a good sport QuSAPing with me, but he told me it was helpful. He was able to reframe his stress and use it to his advantage. Instead, of feeling at the mercy of a threat response he traded his stress in for a more helpful challenge response.
QuSAP is an Easy One Minute Habit
I QuSap several times a day. It gets easier and faster every time I do it. It takes just a minute, but because I’m using stress to my advantage, I no longer feel like a victim. Instead, stress is the source of my power that helps me move closer and closer to my goals.
QuSAP has made stress my superpower. I’ve taught it to my clients and they’re “rocking” their QuSAP powers too.
Teach Your Kids to Master Stress
One of the most exciting things I’m doing now is teaching QuSAP to my kids. I can’t wait to see how learning these stress skills early on in life affects their lives for good.
Want to help your kids master their stress super powers?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if our kids grew up knowing how to save themselves from stress?
How would your life have been different if you knew this as a middle schooler, a teenager, or a college student?
Check out the next episode in this series to teach your kids how to make stress their superpower.
What to Do Next
Want to DIY Getting Better at Stress?
If you need some help reframing your stress and getting good at it, make sure you check out ALL the videos/ blog posts in this series.
Next week, I’ll teach your kids How to Make Stress Their Superpower.
Want Real Results Now?
If you’re done with DIY and want to fix your health and stress once-and-for-all, here’s what you should do:
We’ll map out your customized health and stress habit plan together.
Then, we’ll get started--finally succeeding one habit at a time.
With the Real Healthy Habits Jumpstart Program, your definition of health and stress management success can finally be a reality.
Until next time,
Kudos to Kelly McGonigal, PhD
I want to give a big shout out and a high five to Kelly McGonigal, PhD, the author of The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It.
I read stacks and stacks of books on stress trying to figure out what to do about it. Kelly’s book was the only book that gave me hope and a true mindset shift that stress could be my superpower.
I hope that I’ve done (so many of) her ideas justice.
I'm a dietitian, personal trainer, and health coach who started asking all the tough health and weight loss questions-- like how do we get more willpower, why can’t we stay motivated, and why is getting healthy and losing weight so tough?
I discovered that the answer to all these questions is simply--Your Brain.
I help frustrated people end their health and weight loss struggles by understanding their brain and then working with it—instead of against it. Then, I teach them how to put their personalized health habits on autopilot for results that last.
You deserve the health and energy you need to live your best life.