5 Steps to Engineer Your Stressless Mind


Lara Zahabi-Bekdash, MD, PhD, Physician, Ethicist, and Global Health Expert for HuffPost Blog

Stress is the sine qua non of modern life and the leading killer in modern society. We all struggle to juggle work and life responsibilities. We worry constantly, and our brain wheels are perpetually turning in first gear, often in multiple directions. Mental chatter, which has become a deeply embedded habit in our everyday life, is the basis of stress and anxiety. You can, however, re-program your mind to immunize it against mental chatter and hence stress. Here are five steps to engineer a stressless mind.

1. Tackle stressors at the source
Identify stressors and tackle them at the source. Avoidance and procrastination are in fact the most powerful stressors. When I was working towards my Ph.D., for example, I often resorted to creative cooking to evade the stress of writing difficult thesis chapters. Consequently, anxiety started creeping into my life, making me less productive and more frustrated. It was a vicious cycle! Whether it's a strained relationship or a nagging task, it is more time- and cost-effective to deal with the source as soon as possible. Realistic short-term goals are more effective, as they are less overwhelming than comprehensive or long term plans. For example, aim to write one page every hour vs. eight pages per day or to lose one pound every week rather than four pounds per month. The sense of fulfillment generated by accomplishing short-term tasks creates positive reinforcement and mitigates stress.

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