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I asked this question in our members only Facebook group the other day.

What’s the opposite of stress?

I got the answers you might expect.






All of which, on the face of it, sound about right.

But, I’ve come to a realisation over the last few years.

About what stress really is.

If you look in the dictionary, it says “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”.

And that’s part of it, sure.

But I think it only tells half of the story.

It’s not an automatic reaction to specific circumstances.

Because I’m sure we all know people who seem to get less stressed than us over things that we feel cause us stress.

And, conversely, we’ll know people who we feel get more stressed over stuff we’re not so bothered about.

People we might think “need to chill out a bit”.

It’s all related to our expectations.

Our blueprint of the the world and how things should be.

And how reality compares to that.

If those expectations are met, the actual situation is somewhat secondary.

We think something will go a certain way……..

And it turns out better……….

Then we feel OK about it.

Our expectations are unmet?

It causes stress.



At least some degree of that ‘family’ of emotions.

So, what’s the opposite of that?


Accept that a situation is a certain way………

That a person / people will behave in certain ways……..

That things will happen like that……..

That the world just works that way……….

Then stress is, at least, felt much less keenly.

Acceptance is something we often struggle with.

It’s easy to feel that it’s a lowering of standards.

Putting up with something that we’re not OK with.

But if we can’t (or aren’t willing to) change that thing………..

How does arguing with reality help us?

We can have expectations that will never be met………

And invite stress into our lives.

Or we can accept certain things……….

And have more mental energy, focus and enthusiasm to work on what we can actually change.

It’s not a lowering of standards.

It’s a raising of them.

There’s a prayer called the Serenity Prayer.

I’m not remotely religious, but it sums this up nicely for me.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…….

Courage to change the things I can……

And wisdom to know the difference.”

Arguing with reality is the proverbial old man shaking his fist at the cloud.

It won’t help.

Realising that the opposite of stress is acceptance………

And considering what of the things that have caused us stress………

We could just choose to accept……….

Will destress us much more than any temporary relaxation or sedation based fix ever could.

Much love,

Jon ‘Eustress’ Hall

P.S. Many of our members report that, after years of gyms and diets being seen as a source of stress and frustration, our approach is the first time they’ve got results and found life easier at the same time. Check www.myrise.co.uk/apply if you like the sound of that!


RISE in Macclesfield was established in 2012 and specialise in Group Personal Training weight loss programmes for those that don’t like the gym and find diets boring and restrictive!

Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.