I’ve always been pretty good at dealing with stress, but as I get older and new things come up to stress me out, it’s helpful to go back and remember that a little stress is okay. I wrote this post back in July of 2012, and is being published as part of my 2017 daily writing project.
Despite what some may tell you, a little bit of stress can actually be a good thing. Before you shake your head and tell me I’m crazy, let’s look at what research says on stress:
- Stress keeps your brain sharper
- Stress causes an increase in creativity
- Ambition and stress keep you happy
- Stress is normal
- Stressed people let themselves fall in love
- Movement and stress make you live longer
Why you and I need a little stress
Relaxation and complacency are the enemies of productivity. Working hard, feeling mental stress build, and fighting your way through the anguish all make you a more productive and ambitious person, even though they do make you feel “stressed.” The truth is that boredom doesn’t benefit you in any way. When you look at your upcoming week and think, “oh gosh, I have so much to do,” be thankful! If you didn’t, you might be letting your brain rot away.
How to deal with it in a healthy way
Now, if you feel stress, that doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel. In fact, that’s probably the worst way to handle stress. Stress that leads to inaction breeds more stress, and more inaction, so when you feel the screws turning, it’s time to get up and act. Here’s how I deal with it when my life starts getting stressful:
1. Stop working and make a list
What do you have to accomplish today? Next, look at the coming week. What do you have to get done. If you can prioritize your stresses, you’re much more likely to succeed at the next step.
2. Focus on the task at hand
I think most people deal with stress poorly because they lose focus. If you constantly think about the hundreds of things you need to do, you’ll never get anywhere. That’s what you made the list for though. You don’t have to remember those things since you wrote them down for later.
3. Take a break
I know, you don’t have time for a break, right? It doesn’t matter because regularly planned breaks will help you work better, and allow you to keep your focus longer. Use break time to work out, go to lunch with a friend, or call a family member.
Stress can be expose weaknesses, but it’s also a great way to remember what’s really important and refocus yourself. Some people handle stress very poorly, becoming overwhelmed by their mounting troubles, but others - those who have a stress plan - take action based on a focused plan when things get stressful.
What do you think? Do you let stress overcome you, or have you learned to turn it into a good thing?