“I’m so stressed.”  “So busy.”  “I’m overwhelmed.”  All day long we’re asked, “How are you doing?”  It’s not really that the other person wants to know.  It’s a greeting – a polite way of beginning a conversation.  Because this is a rote question, we typically have a rote answer.  Most of the time, the answer is negative.  We don’t even think about what we’re saying.

But we should.

By answering in the negative, you’re continually reinforcing a state you don’t want to be in

When you tell others over and over again that you’re stressed, overly busy and overwhelmed, you reinforce it to yourself.  Words have power.  You’re telling your conscious and subconscious mind that you’re in a bad state, which is reinforced every time you say that you’re stressed.  You will therefore begin to notice more and more the stressors in your life to reinforce your point of view – you’re stressed!

What can you do about this situation? 

Change your rote answer to something positive

Years ago I decided to break the habit of saying, “I’m stressed.”  I consciously changed it to, “I’m fantastic” or “I feel great!”  I realized quickly that by changing my reflexive answer, I began to actually feel fantastic, or at the very least, to feel better than I did when I repeatedly said I felt stressed. 

It’s nearly impossible not to smile when saying, “I’m fantastic,” or “I feel great.”  Smiling releases endorphins, which do, in fact, make you feel better. 

People respond to positivity

Many people are initially taken aback by the answer, “I feel great!”  But over time, the burst of positivity will make those around you happier.  Sure, there will always be the grumpy manager who finds your peppy response annoying, but most people will be enjoy being around you more.  Why?  Because people subconsciously mirror the emotions and facial expressions of those around them.  Your smile will likely make them smile, releasing their endorphins, creating a positive cycle.

Commit to trying it out for a week

For the next week, decide what your new rote answer will be, and try it out.  See if answering, “Great” makes a difference for you.  If “fantastic” isn’t your style, try “I’m having a wonderful day,” or “things are going really well.”  Your smile will bring a smile to others, and that will be, “fantastic.”