4 Simple Habits for Peace of Mind

#1: Manage stressors, not stress

Nick Wignall
9 min readJul 2


Photo by Sam Lion

When times are tough, it’s easy to get lost in spirals of stress and anxiety — endlessly worrying about the future, obsessively ruminating on the past, and procrastinating on the goals that matter most.

Unfortunately, many of the habits we fall into during difficult times only make our stress worse in the long-run:

  • Worry leads to panic and chronic anxiety
  • Rumination leads to self-doubt and depression
  • Procrastination leads to shame and low self-esteem

And guess what happens to stress when you multiply it by anxiety, depression, and shame? That’s right: it gets worse — a lot worse.

But here’s the silver lining:

While bad habits intensify stress, good habits shield you from it.

Which means if you want to deal with stress in a healthy way, you need to build better habits — habits that buffer you from stress before it takes hold, keeping your mind calm, your mood balanced, and your focus sharp.

Here are 4 psychological habits that will help you keep your head when it feels like the world is going to pieces around you.

1. Manage your stressors, not your stress

Because I’m a psychologist, people are especially shocked when they hear me say that stress management is usually a waste of time.

Of course, I phrase it that way for maximal surprise value, but I really do believe it. But before we dive into why, we need to get clear about a critical distinction:

Stress is your reaction to a stressor. And a stressor is anything that causes a stress reaction.

See the difference? Stressors are the cause and stress is the result.

Think about it like this:

You would never treat a gunshot wound with a Band-Aid because the bleeding is not the real problem.

Bleeding is just a symptom of the underlying issue — organ damage from a bullet in your chest.



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com