Be grateful for your toddler's tantrums

Despite our attempts at containing tantrums, there are some great reasons to be grateful for your child's tantrums. It's a normal part of development that can signal growth in your child and gives adults practice at managing our own emotions during times of stress as well. 

There is no such thing as a stressful life event


Could this be true? 

This post isn't to invalidate feelings of stress, but instead, to shed light on examining one's perception of stress in a different way. Everyone, myself included, experiences the physical symptoms of stress which are directly tied to the meanings we make of a stressful situation based on our past exposure to how we and others around us dealt with similar occurrences. 

That said, I want to point out that everyone experiences stress in different ways in their life and their approach to how they handle it varies from person to person. Some people are more resilient than others to stressful situations and can handle them with ease. Take public speaking for example. Some individuals can effectively and voluntarily engage large crowds while most people would cringe at the thought of being in the spotlight. I truly believe that all people can create more resilience in their way of encountering stressful situations through conscious awareness and insightful meaning making.

The elusive truth is that there is actually nothing stress-producing in the physical world. Things simply are. Molecules move. Light and sound appear. Nothing inherently stressful is happening, but we experience stress because we believe certain thoughts about the things happening—about life, death, money, success, love, sex, etc.,—and our beliefs create our experiences. You could say that everyone has a range of stressful beliefs which they define as their unique experience...but that's just another belief, and in this case it's one that shuts the door to a much happier life. 

Just knowing this isn't enough. You can't tell yourself that your stress is produced in your head and feel better. You still need to learn how to create a change. To begin the journey, be clear on one thing: There is no such a thing as a stressor. There are no stressful life events. All stress is an inside job. You experience what you believe. This model of stress brings to mind a bulletproof vest. We can't avoid the bullets in life, but we can wear a strong Kevlar suit to insulate us and minimize the impact.

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