TODAY   |  November 06, 2013

Pull a 180 on severe stress with these tips

Hoda and Kathie Lee talk to psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo about how changing focus and doing away with obsessive thoughts about perfection can turn around terrible stress.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> stress is defined as the state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, et cetera .

>> and co-host. and almost no one gets through this life without dealing with it on one level or another.

>> what are we all stressing about? we decided to hit the streets to find out.

>> i am most stressed out in the day, actually. usually before i go to bed and i'm trying to anticipate the next day. and then sometimes in the morning if i haven't slept well because i spent the night stressing about something.

>> what stresses me out the most is trying to get to work on time in the morning.

>> i am most stressed out probably in the middle of the day , like when i'm trying to handle everything and get back to folks calling me, that kind of thing.

>> my highest stress level time is in the morning when i'm trying to map out my day and the phone is ringing and people are wanting everything all at once.

>> thing that is stress me out the most are kids, work, trying to balance everything through every day life.

>> all righty. here to help turn that stress into positive energy is psychologist elizabeth lombardo,

author of "a happy you: your ultimate prescription for happiness." you look like a happy little elf.

>> you certainly do.

>> thank you very much.

>> we spoke to a woman who mainly stresses at night before she goes to bed and in the morning.

>> we have to remember all stress isn't bad. there's actually good stress.

>> latin word for good?

>> something like that, yes. this stress is what we think of as stressed, feeling overwhelmed, anxious, you can't focus, you can't sleep. it's positive stress. it motivates us and inspires us to get things done.

>> give us an example of a good kind of stress.

>> planning a wedding. hopefully that's a positive thing you're looking forward to.

>> it can easily become distress.

>> it can.

>> it's about managing. we have really busy days in the next three days. hoda and i were just talking about that. you have to take it one thing at a time. if you look at the whole thing it can freak you out.

>> it's not the situation that causes stress but what we're saying to ourselves. if you have three days of oh, my gosh, i have to do it. how am i going to get this done? one day at a time is a great way to deal with that.

>> isn't it anticipatory stress like oh, my god, this is a big thing that's coming. i used the big word, just wanted to point that out.

>> what are we afraid of with stress?

>> we tend to be very perfectionists. we want everything to be perfect instead of focusing on the passion, the fun and why you're doing this.

>> it's hard sometimes to see the fun because you know that you have a deadline. you know your boss needs it by wednesday. finding the joy in that isn't always easy.

>> it's not always easy. it's about your interpretation. if you have a big presentation, you can focus on i'm never going to get it done. i'm not going to sleep. that would be the distress. but good stress can be like it's going to take a lot of time and energy but it will be a good way to showcase to myself my boss how good i am.

>> go on.

>> no, i was just going to say -- i don't remember. everybody's anticipations are different and our priorities are really, really different. i remember the other day i had to rush home to get on the telephone. i was going to be late for an interview but i ended up passing right by my neighbor, who has been battling cancer and i said, you know what? i made the wrong choice. my choice should always be the neighbor. i walked over the next day, took over a bottle of wine, we sat and it meant the world that -- i was glad i caught myself like don't make the wrong choice, kathie. that stressed me out that i made the wrong choice! why am i yelling?

>> you're passionate. i call it goldie locks syndrome. she didn't want her porridge too hot or too cold.

>> it's a pain in the rear to be around somebody who is never happy with anything.

>> right. no stress and you're bored to death. too much stress and we're overwhelmed. we're looking for that happy medium, just right for you.

>> i told you, hodie.

>> that's what i thought. thank you very much.