Stressful Times: Empowering Life Lessons

 Question your stress. It has a lesson for you.


1/ Identify a stressor / challenge in your life. Be specific.

For example: Not enough money. Too busy. Lack of sleep. Pushy relative.

Your Answer: ______________________________

2/ What is this stressor / challenge trying to teach you?

For Example: Slow down. Change jobs. End a relationship. Get help. Breathe.

Your Answer: ______________________________


3/ How did you overcome challenges in the past? Be specific.

For Example: Trusted myself. Reached out. Held on. Said no. Moved on.

Your Answer: ______________________________

4/ Which strength will help you overcome current challenge?

For Example: Faith. Patience. Positivity. Reflection. Connection. Laughter.

Your Answer: _______________________________


5/ List positive results of mastering this stressor / challenge.

For Example: Enhanced self-esteem. Less negativity. More authenticity.

Your Answer: _______________________________

What empowering lessons have your stressors & challenges taught you?

53 thoughts on “Stressful Times: Empowering Life Lessons

Add yours

  1. Thank you, Andrea! I completely love this exercise, it helped me today w/a challenge I was having. It reminds me of one of the key foundations of my spiritual path, which is “Use everything for your upliftment, learning, and growth.” Words to live / love by! ❤ Blessings.

    1. Love that you tried the exercise & it helped! Your foundation of “Use everything for your upliftment, learning, and growth.” is so empowering. Thank you for sharing Debbie.💙✨

  2. Hi Andrea! Thanks for sharing this exercise! I generally try to look for the lesson in the challenges and failures I experience. This is a framework that I’ll definitely use in the future. Thanks again!

  3. This post appeared on the day my husband lost his job. I’m a full time student and we live in a small town with limited job opportunities. I am feeling the stress, and it manifests as Fear, with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Power chakra!

    The appearance of this message at this moment is amazing, and reminds me that there is a mysterious connection among all things. I am considering these questions and keeping in mind forgivingjournal’s comment to use everything for my betterment and spiritual advancement.

    1. Sorry to hear about your husband’s job. Fingers crossed that the universe has something better waiting for him. I agree wholeheartedly in the amazing connection / synchronicity in all things. May this post arriving at the right time be a sign of great things to come.💫

    1. I hit the “enter” button without editing or finishing my thought 😛 Anyway, Dr. Dinardo, the format and step-by-step process is helpful for a stressed brain! I particularly like the step that asks us to consider how we have overcome the challenge in the past. It reminds us that we have overcome challenges before, and we can surely do it again. I think the thing that is important for me to remember is that even if I am enacting a positive change or taking positive actions, I may still feel negative feelings of anxiety, etc. The “negative” feelings don’t cancel out the positive changes that are happening!

      1. Amen to that Jenna!💫

        We all struggle to hold positive & negative emotions at the same time. But it is possible. (As you shared above.) Understanding the neuropsychology of fear helps us hold diametrically opposed thoughts & feelings.

        Neurologically it’s taxing for our brain to hold positive (right side of brain) and negative (left side of brain) simultaneously. We then blame ourselves for “not knowing better”. But in fact, we have minimal control when our brain senses “danger”. Even if it’s as minimal as a ridiculous voicemail or text.

        Stressful Times -> Empowering Lessons Exercise

        Which is why the exercise I shared in this post helps. (I use it with my nursing students at the height of midterms). Any (big or small) cognitive prompt (such as this exercise or quotes or even a song) shifts us UP to our cerebral cortex (where it is possible to hold conflicting emotions & thoughts) and helps us integrate our competing emotions.

        DBT Anxiety -> Balanced Emotions

        I also love the principles of DBT for integrating conflicting emotions & thoughts. Helpful article on DBT and stress/anxiety:

        Have a wonderful weekend!😊😎

    1. What a wonderful place to be! I am sure that you have worked very hard to get to there. Careful about which projects to pursue. (Willing to “s t r e t c h” yourself for the right projects. But not for just any project.) I am right there with you! This is the ultimate upside of life experience and hard work. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Andrea, this is a great day to day reminder especially for those lessons that seem to resurface again and again. My question always being, how have I not gotten this one yet…how many more times do I have to face it?

    1. Your statement: “How many more times do I have to face this.” is certainly the one I hear (and say) the most during stressful times. And it’s times like this that I’m reminded to stop facing the stress, and begin rising above it. Be it literally (stand up on your kitchen countertop) or metaphysically (release it to Heaven). Either way, we rarely overcome challenge at the level it was created. (Note to self.) 🌿🍃

    1. You are so welcome! Amazing that you took the time to do the exercise. It is truly ly empowering when we make take ownership of our stress / problems. And finally take back our power from “out there” to “in here”. Only then can we realize the transformative lessons / solutions that have been within us… all along. 🌟💫

      1. Exactly…sometimes, we automatically assume that challenges are hindrances…seldom do we perceive them as the stepping stones. So it’s nice to see motivational exercises like this- helps us shift our perspectives. ☺

    1. Thanks Demby! I’m grateful for your feedback.

      I use this exercise in my stress hardiness presentations to underscore the energetic shift that takes place when we move from “Woe is me” to “WOW ME!!”. 😞 -> 😎

  5. This so resonates with my post yesterday, “Lobsters in the Desert?”, as with your “Stand Your Sacred Ground” post. We must learn that as much as we try to hide, medicate (addictions too) and/or run away from our past, fears, etc., they will always stand in our way until we face them straight on. There is a reason why those things are presented to us-a lesson to be learned-and we create a whole plethora of other issues if we don’t listen and trust in ourselves to overcome those barriers/challenges.

    I love your work and the manner in which your posts are succinct, engaging and informative, always with that positive message! You inspire me.

      1. Fantastic! I’ve reblogged with the following comment: Dr Andrea Dinardo asks some fabulous questions to help us identify our ‘stressors’ and to remind us that whenever we face a challenge in our life, we are able to learn important and empowering lessons. This is a great read – pop across to Dr Andreas’ blog for some wonderful insights into how it’s possible to improve the quality of our lives, with some simple changes about how we think….
        Thank you!! xx

  6. Reblogged this on Brilliance Within and commented:
    Dr Andrea Dinardo asks some fabulous questions to help us identify our ‘stressors’ and to remind us that whenever we face a challenge in our life, we are able to learn important and empowering lessons. This is a great read – pop across to Dr Andreas’ blog for some wonderful insights into how it’s possible to improve the quality of our lives, with some simple changes about how we think….

    1. Most excellent! Thanks for the feedback!
      Stress => Empowerment exercises still work for me this very day. Helpful shift from the emotional right side of the brain to the logical left side in moments flat.

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