Ohhhh I can feel the eyes rolling now, as you assume that I’m totally belittling stress, being sarcastic as hell, or sitting pretty in a privileged position of having never experienced stress in my lifetime.
None of those things are true. Especially the third one.
We’ve all suffered from stress, and we’ve all had different experiences of it. For some, it will break them. For others, however, it will make them.
The key is learning to look at stress in a positive light, if possible.
Why is stress viewed so negatively?
That very word, ‘stress’. It’s a go-to for almost any situation where there is negativity and an assumption of not being able to handle something. It’s associated in society with an inability to function, cope or perform. Even the Mental Health Foundation defines stress as synonymous with being unmanageably ‘overwhelmed’. Great.
Think about how you use the word ‘stress’ yourself – and in what context. Do you ever consider it as positive?
I’m betting that you don’t, and I want to help you change your view.
Stress is actually a thing of beauty…
Yes, you read that correctly. Stress is actually pretty impressive, as it’s a physiological response that enables us to adapt, perform and stay safe from harm. It spurs us into action, inspires creativity, and even helps us to problem-solve. Stress is its own unique brand of motivation.
This physiological response comprising an immediate and complex set of chemical reactions gets our bodies and brains ready to fire on all cylinders and poised to take action. Stress actually helps you get through the day – even on the days when you’re convinced it’s the very reason you can’t be helped at all.
If we take time to understand stress, and tune in to our own stressors and responses, we can learn to manage it very effectively indeed.
We can use it as a power for good, if you will.
I’ve not gone completely mad…
Of course, when stress becomes extreme and prolonged, we can end up with a problem on our hands. It’s emotionally and physically tiring, and it can put our bodies and minds under extreme strain. It can lead to ill-health, daily struggles and burnout.
Really, the actual problem with stress is that we’re just not meant to be in a constant state of heightened stress arousal. We need to embrace it where we can and learn to manage and channel it each time. The good news is that it’s completely possible to embrace stress positively in our lives, and that’s exactly what I work with my clients to do!
Can we change the narrative of stress?
What if we stop telling people to ‘be strong’, and instead equip them with skills to build resilience that will help them not only make it through the other side, but come back even stronger?
What if we stop focussing on how people cope with stress, and instead work towards ways of removing ourselves from those situations in the first place?
What if we stop thinking that doing more, adding more, and trying to be more is the only route to success?
Wouldn’t that be a great start to reducing negative stressors before they take hold?
Interested to know more about making this whole thing work for you?
I’m happy if you read this blog and took something away from it, I really am, but if you want more, please do put yourself in a positive position to learn and develop – for example, through joining my email list.
Or, if you prefer to get stuck into the detail right now, you can get a copy of ‘Have It All Without Burning Out’ or enrol in my programme ‘The Resilience Formula’. Start where you’re happy to start, and let’s look at changing the way we look at stress – to make sure we know exactly how to manage it.
(Image credit: Kaboompics.com from Pexels)