Stress has a hugely bad reputation. Headlines scream at you that stress is the origin of the 20th (or 21st) century health epidemic. There’s countless lists of steps on how to fight or avoid stress. You can learn in stress management courses about ways to deal with it or go to the spa to wind down.
What if I told you that there is a different way to think about stress? What if there was a possibility to change its impact from negative to positive?
If you would like to see it for yourself try the following: Think about something or someone who typically stresses you? Now ask yourself: Why do I feel stressed in this situation or by that person? When you start to dig deeper you will probably find that the particular cause of stress is based on something that is actually important to you: You want to do a good job to be successful (positive self-image), earn money (basis for paying food, shelter and the like), you want to be loved, you to live life purposefully.
So what happens when you try to avoid or fight stress? You actually get more stressed because:
If we are opposing stress, we are actually fighting against what is important to us.
What could be the opposite reaction to stress that helps you to utilize the activation of stress for your own benefit?
A first step is to become more conscious about your stress reactions, what is stressing you and why: Look at typical stress-related behaviour (do you become angry and shout, do you become inactive, procrastinate, avoid contact with someone, eat more or less, have sleeping problems?). What is causing these actions or in-actions? Write down what it is exactly that stresses you to become more aware and bring the reasons out in the open and into the logical part of your brain. Then dig in and understand why do you get stressed? Find the purpose behind the stress. Which important personal aspect or value is threatened by the stress? What do you actually want to achieve? What is the positive underlying base of your stress?
The second step is all about assessing how your reaction to stress actually impacts what you want to achieve. What could you do instead to use the activation energy that comes from the feeling of stress to get closer to what is important to you? Come up with alternative ways to react, write them down and try them out.
Finally, repeat these steps over and over until using stress as a fuel for positive action that gets you closer to your goals becomes second nature.
You want to learn on a more detailed level about how to use stress as a fuel to reach your goals? Simply, run through the free course to get more detailed guidance and learn further detail on the research around stress. Start creating a more useful mindset around it here: link to free course
If you want a guided session with one of our trainers to help you uncover your current stress mindset and reactions and work on strategies to change these click here: link to request guided session 1:1 or workshop.