Getting your Trinity Audio player ready…

Now, I’m not at all a gambler, but occasionally I think it is interesting to read about poker players and how they “read” people during a game.  One of the ideas I find really interesting is that of a “tell”—a change in how a player behaves or looks that gives a clue to their hand.

The thing about a tell is that you don’t know that you’re doing it, but others can see it.

Stress and Tells

I’ve been thinking about that and how it can apply to stress. Sometimes I will be feeling a lot of stress and think I’m hiding it well, but my husband and close friends can see it. Sometimes it’s because I’m quieter than usual, or staying frantically busy, or even tugging on my clothes and constantly straightening them. These are my tells and those close to me can point them out, and check in with me about my stress and how I’m doing.

Having someone who knows your tells can be really helpful, because lots of times a person can be stressed and not even be aware of it consciously.  Once you become aware that you’re having lots of stress you can work on stress management.

Know Your Tells

Here is a challenge for each of us this week. Go to someone you trust and are close with—a spouse, a friend, an adult child—and ask them what your stress tells are. Write them down, and then do two things: 1) ask your trusted person to point out to you when they see your stress tells; and 2) pay closer attention to your tells yourself.

When you’re giving the signal that you’re experiencing high stress through a tell, stop for three minutes and breathe, get a drink of water, stretch, vent to someone, or whatever helps. Then think about what is stressing you and how you might be able to handle the stressor.  Sometimes there is nothing to do about the stressor, but you can always do things to manage your body and mind’s response to it (like practicing being SAFER or any of the other stress management strategies in this blog).

So identify your tells, not to win at poker but to win at thriving. The payout will be great, I promise.

And, just because we’ve been talking about poker, here’s a link to Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler (my dad’s favorite song.)

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