You Can Have It All

4 Hacks to Reprogram Your Stress

Imagine yourself running down the street. Warm sun on your skin, the wind whispering through your hair. Sounds idyllic, right? But then a neighbor shouts out to you: “Go win the marathon for us this year!” That careless remark can morph your happy jog into a stressful dash towards a future finish line. You envision other runners. Your pace quickens, the breeze feels harsh, and the sunshine mocks your burning lungs. See how a simple act like running can become a source of distress?

The culprit? Our mindset. We get caught up in the “what ifs” and “should haves,” transforming a potentially energizing activity into a burden. But there’s another way! Let me introduce you to the concept of eustress, the good kind of stress that fuels motivation and growth. The key is to learn how to convert the everyday distress lurking in our lives into this energizing eustress.

So, let’s revisit that run. As you pound the pavement, four main culprits can creep in and steal your joy, all conveniently labeled with the letter “P”:


Maybe you’re picturing yourself winning the marathon and buying a new car with the prize money. This focus on acquiring possessions can turn your run into a means to an end, robbing it of its inherent enjoyment.

The Eustress Hack: Shift your focus from “getting” to “giving.” Run for a cause you care about, raising money for charity or simply inspiring others. Helping others is a powerful way to transform a run from a chore into a meaningful experience.

Back to the Run: Now, imagine the satisfaction of crossing the finish line, knowing you’ve not only challenged yourself but also made a difference. That’s the power of eustress!


You’re running down the street. Suddenly, you see three large figures approaching from behind. Your mind races with worst-case scenarios. You check your wallet, your watch. Your pace quickens.

The Eustress Hack: Practice mindfulness. When fear arises, remember F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. Perhaps they’re not chasing you at all! Maybe they’re also runners looking for company.

Back to the Run: You stop and strike up a conversation. They turn out to be friendly marathon enthusiasts who admire your dedication. You run together, sharing stories and motivation. See how a fearful projection transformed into a source of connection and support?


Again, on the run, suddenly the guilt monster rears its head. You should be working, cleaning, running errands – anything but running!

The Eustress Hack: Prioritize your well-being. Those ten minutes of running are an investment in your physical and mental health, making you more productive in the long run.

Back to the Run: Focus on the gratitude of having a healthy body capable of movement. You’ll return to your tasks feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle your priorities with renewed focus.


On the run, you get distracted by the potholes, the noisy cars, the pollution. Suddenly, the run feels like a chore in a hostile environment.

The Eustress Hack: Practice gratitude. Appreciate the fact that you can run! So many cannot. Appreciate the sunshine, the greenery. Focus on the positive aspects and reset perspective.

Back to the Run: Now, imagine running with a grateful heart, acknowledging the beauty of the world around you. The same run feels completely different, doesn’t it?

In conclusion

The Serenity Prayer captures it beautifully: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

By recognizing the sources of our stress within the four Ps, we can reframe our minds. We can learn to control our thoughts, accept what’s beyond our control, and find the wisdom to navigate life’s inevitable bumps.

Remember, the next time you find yourself running down the street, or passing through any aspect of life, take a deep breath and check which of the 4Ps might be stressing you. Reprogram with a eustress hack and transform that into an energizing journey towards a healthier, happier you!