“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
Which is a more useful response to stress: a proactive or a reactive response?
Actually, it’s both!
First, is the proactive approach.
Proactive approaches involve modifying your behavior or mindset before the stressful situation has occurred.
To illustrate, let’s imagine you are moving to a new home. This is typically a pretty stressful event!
Healthy proactive responses would include:
- Making a plan for moving day
- Gathering all packing supplies in one area
- Asking friends and family for help with packing, moving or unpacking
- Carefully labeling boxes with their contents
- Hiring a cleaner to prepare your new home or clean your old home
- Arranging child care for moving day
- And of course, buying snacks for any friends who come to help!
Reactive approaches involve changing your behavior or mindset during or after the initial stress has occurred.
Healthy reactive responses would include:
- Taking rest breaks when you need to
- Remind yourself that you won’t feel unsettled for long
- Focus on the positives about the move: what do you love about your new place?
Ideally, you want to practice healthy proactive AND reactive approaches. Regardless of the stressful event, be it a move, a job transition, or a health crisis, you can think through your proactive and reactive responses and prepare yourself ahead of time with proactive strategies, and then use your healthy reactive strategies in the moment.
Watch your stress get washed away!
Share your personal tips for proactively or reactively responding to stress in the comment section below!
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