Stress is bad … at least that’s what other people want us to believe. But is it really the case? Do we really have to fear stress and try to avoid it at all costs? Can’t we use stress to make us stronger?
Okay, since I’m writing this article you probably expect me to say that stress is good for us at some point … so let me not keep you waiting any longer: Yes, stress is good!
Well, maybe not good. Good is not the right word. Stress can still get us in trouble. All the health problems, sleep problems, addictions and such, they can all result from stress, but only if you don’t know how to deal with it.
First of all, I’m no expert. I know just as much about stress as you do. However, I’ve found an approach that lets me fight through stress and use it to my benefit. This is nothing fancy, but it helps me get back on track whenever I find myself in a stressful situation.
What is stress?
This is the first question we have to answer, just so we’re on the same page.
As it turns out, stress is quite difficult to define. Everyone seems to know what stress is, but no one can explain it clear enough.
Wikipedia’s definition says, for example, that: “Stress typically describes a negative concept that can have an impact on one’s mental and physical well-being.”
In essence, it’s everything that makes us feel uncomfortable and convinced that there’s something bad waiting for us if we won’t get a given thing done. It’s not the punishment that scares us, but the waiting itself.
What’s the worst that could happen?
This is the first question we can ask ourselves that can set us free. Most of the time the consequences of our action (or inaction) are not that serious. Once we try to imagine the absolute worst case scenario it becomes clear that we don’t actually have that much to lose.
Let me say that again, understanding the worst case scenario of the stressful situation we’re in is the first and the best step of fighting stress.
Sometimes just this simple realization sets us free and lets us take whatever action is required stress-free.
Use stress to improve your performance
The top performers are always ones who can turn stress into something that fuels them to reach the best results. Athletes do this all the time. They know that when the day of the competition comes it will be a stressful experience, but at the same time they know that this additional adrenaline can be used as an advantage.
This is all about training, it’s most likely not something you can learn overnight, but if you set your mind in the right direction you will be able to reach this stress-friendly attitude.
Here’s my advice. Start by creating a habit.
Whenever you’re in a stressful situation, begin by searching for the positive aspects of it. For example, if you have a project due tomorrow, begin by acknowledging that when you manage to get it done in time, you’ll basically acquire a new skill of focusing on the essential stuff and not doing all the side tasks that can sprout up (otherwise you won’t get your work done in time).
Another example, if you find yourself in a situation where one of your key clients decided to leave you, start by realizing that once you get a new client, you will improve your customer acquisition skills significantly, and you will be able to use these skills again whenever you like.
I guess what I’m saying is that in every stressful situation there’s a positive angle. This goes for all things, even if you’ve just lost your job… There are hundreds of stories of people who made it with their own businesses after losing a 9-to-5 job.
In a nutshell, my advice for you is: (1) identify what stress means for you and how it feels, (2) imagine the worst case scenario, which is usually not that bad, (3) find the positive side of the situation.
I believe that these 3 steps can get you through any stressful situation.
What’s your take on this? How are you dealing with stress?
About the Author: Karol K. is a freelance blogger and a productivity enthusiast. You can find him at ThemeFuse – one of the leading WordPress theme stores. Check out their great premium WordPress themes.