Education | April 23, 2021


By Rory Coulter


It’s simple — and once it clicks, everything changes.

Benjamin Franklin famously said: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He could have saved himself some time and just said stress. Stress, unfortunately, is a part of life. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to deal with it — in healthy ways! As our friend Dr. Leaf says, “You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can learn to control your reactions to your circumstances.” 

We’ve shared a lot of conventional stress management techniques — such as acupuncture, meditation, and yoga — and some unconventional ones — getting outdoors, connecting with nature, and cold plunging. We’ve offered some practical tips — such as getting enough sleep, getting good exercise, and taking magnesium — and some helpful products — Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, Sleep Blend, and Mellö. And we’ve talked about how finding your ikigai, learning to love the life you’re living, and sewing more seeds of kindness can reduce stress. Now it’s time to let you in on what we’ve found to be the single best tip for dealing with stress. It’s simple — and once it clicks, everything changes. 

Here goes: Always stay connected with your core values. Or, as we like to say — always follow your North Star.

Executive Coach David Brendel explains: “When we identify our values and live true to them, we become more resilient against stress. In overwhelming and frightening moments, stress can be prevented or managed by self-disciplined contemplation of core values and goals.”

Things like taking care of your family, working long hours, and dealing with life’s problems are stressful, but if you can stay connected to why what you’re doing is important to you, you’re much better at handling the stress. 

Studies have shown that reflecting on personal values can actually lower your stress response (the stress hormone cortisol) and keep it low. In her book the Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You (and How to Get Good at It), Kelly McGonigal shares: “It turns out that writing about your values is one of the most effective psychological interventions ever studied. In the short term, writing about personal values makes people feel more powerful, in control, proud, and strong. It also makes them feel more loving, connected, and empathetic toward others. It increases pain tolerance, enhances self-control, and reduces unhelpful rumination after a stressful experience. In the long term, writing about values has been shown to reduce doctor visits, improve mental health, and help with everything from weight loss to quitting smoking and reducing drinking . . . In many cases, these benefits are a result of a one-time mindset intervention. People who write about their values once, for ten minutes, show benefits months or even years later.”

Stressful situations are an opportunity to live and breathe your core values, an opportunity to feel good about showing up as your best self. As Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Staying focussed on your core values puts everything into perspective, gives meaning to the stressful events in your life, and keeps you grounded in what’s really important. 

What are your core values? How are the stressful things in your life connected to those values?