Stress is everywhere. It’s always lurking, always ready to pounce, and always ready to turn all good into bad, or at least that’s what many of you may think. But are you right to think this?

Well, I used to think of stress as how many of you reading this probably think of it. I used believe that stress is something that should be feared and advised against — something that can cause only harm. I used to be scared of it. Now it’s hard to explain what stress really is or the exact feeling of being stressed, and stress is different for everyone, but I want to tell the story of how I learned how to “Hug the stress” and give you all a few steps on how to do so.

One day when I was really stressed for a big exam that I had barely even started studying for, my mom came into my room and told me to imagine stress as a comfy pillow and to “hug it” or embrace it. Now you’re probably thinking what kind of parents does this person have, and believe me I was thinking the same thing. Over the next couple of days leading to the test, as expected my stress levels rose. As I was sitting at my desk, I reflected back on what my mom had said and came to my own interpretation of what she meant. I began to take these very wise words of my mother and put them into practice and created a method that you all can follow as well to truly “Hug the stress”

  1. Acknowledge that the stress is there. Take a break from whatever your doing and say “What’s up?” to it.
  2. Ask the stress why it’s there (find the causes of your stress).
  3. Now “Hug the Stress”- realize that stress is a normal feeling and comes and goes. Stress should not be feared, for if feared it cannot be confronted, or “hugged”.
  4. Write down or think about the things you are grateful for, the people that love you, the things you have going for you, and the times you were at your happiest. THINK GOOD THINGS. Create a clear image in your head and keep it there.
  5. Try to think about the long term, know that this stress will leave and do whatever else stress does.

As I previoulsy stated stress is different for everyone and can range from minor to very intense. These steps aren’t a cure to stress because there is no one true cure to stress. Stress is not a diseases but rather a natural human emotion and I hope these steps will help you manage the stress in your life.

Image: Lewis, About the Author: Rona. “When The Stress Monster Attacks.” Play More Corporate Wellbeing, playmorecw.com/when-the-stress-monster-attacks/.