Sometimes we feel unlucky and wonder if the world is really against us. The boss criticized our work. We’re living beyond our means. We’re stressed. So, what role do we play with all of this stuff?

According to the American Psychological Association, the top two sources of stress are job stress and financial pressure. But maybe, the number one source of stress in your life is you.

Sure, the boss might criticize your work, and you feel stressed. You may have more month left than you have money, and you feel stressed. But it isn’t necessarily the event, it may be your thoughts and beliefs about the event, that creates the emotional reaction, and the stress.

So stress isn’t just what happens to you, it’s also your interpretation. Most events are neutral, but we attach meaning to the events with our thoughts and beliefs.

Take snow for instance; I lived in Minnesota. I had chosen to live in Minnesota. When I was a child and it snowed, it was fun with snowball fights, sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling. Now as an adult, I battle slow traffic, schedule delays, cold temperatures, and frozen windshield wipers. Minnesota winters and snow haven’t changed. As an event, it is neutral. However, I need to be aware that my thoughts and beliefs may have changed and so may have my reaction.

When I combine the neutral event with negative thoughts and beliefs it can lead to stress.

If you self-monitor your thoughts, and recognize irrational beliefs and negative self-talk, you will be able to minimize your catastrophic fantasies and neutralize your stress. And, if you live in Minnesota, you may enjoy the beautiful snowfall and a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Life events are neutral. They happen to everyone. It is our own thoughts and beliefs that can make them stressful or not.

If you need to find a keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin, M.A., CSP, CVP, is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at or