November 2, 2022
Stress Can Make Your Life Better
What is significant about November 2, 2022?
Today, November 2, 2022, is Stress Awareness Day. Stress Awareness Day started in 1988 and has been held every first Wednesday of November ever since and then expanded to International Stress Awareness Week in 2018. Carol Spiers created it to raise awareness on stress and its management and reduction.
What is stress?
The World Health Organization defines stress as any change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. It is our way or responding to challenges or anything that needs action. Stress is a part of life because it is our natural defense against threats or danger.
Every human being encounters stress, but not all individuals respond to it in the same manner. The effect of stress can vary from person to person even if they are exposed to the same stressors or challenges. Individuals can either face or flee from the challenges they face.
The American Psychology Association has categorized stress as acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Acute stress happens for a brief period to help one cope with dangerous conditions or new situations. Episodic acute stress occurs when acute stress happens frequently. Chronic stress, on the other hand, arises when there is constant or prolonged exposure to stressors.
There are also eustress and distress. Episodic acute stress and chronic stress falls under distress. It is the negative form of stress that wreaks havoc on our mind and body. On the contrary eustress is known by psychologists as the positive stress.
Yes, there is such a thing as positive stress, but few are aware of it, as most people have always thought of stress as something bad for us.
Why people think stress is bad
Many individuals have viewed stress as something negative because society has conditioned us to think that way. We have always associated stress with the adverse effects it brings us. Numerous articles and advertisements have all focused on the negative impacts of stress on our body and mind.
Most often than not you would read statements related to the harmful physical, emotional, and mental effects of stress. Stress causes cardiovascular diseases and fatigue. Stress can lead to depression and other psychological ailments. Stress worsens your health conditions.
Furthermore, when you seek professional help psychologists would often tell you the need to manage your stress and this adds on the idea that stress is indeed abysmal. Kelly McGonigal in one of her talks even confessed that her initial approach to stress was that it was the enemy.
All this information reinforces in us the idea that stress is the culprit and that we should avoid it. This overshadows the goodness that stress brings us. It trivializes the fact that stress can make our lives better.
How can stress make life better?
Stress is not at all bad. We just cannot see the goodness in it because its benefits have not been highlighted as much as its disadvantages. Stress can be positive.
Stress can lead to better health
First, stress saves and protects our lives. It is our initial reaction when we encounter danger. Stress keeps us alert and ready by releasing hormones like adrenaline. These hormones help you keep focus and readies your body for the next probable actions you can take to shield yourself and survive.
Second, stress increases our immunity. We have always been informed that stress lowers our bodies’ defenses against illnesses, but research shows that it can likewise do the opposite. In a study, Dr. Firdaus Dhabhar of Stanford University, noted that immediate threats stimulate immune cells activity and redistribute them in the affected areas of the body.
Third, stress improves our mental well-being through resilience and confidence. We learn to overcome our fears and lessen our anxiety as we become more in control of our situation.
Stress can improve relationships
Stress helps build interpersonal relationships. When we share our experiences and our stress, we learn to connect with others. In the same way, if others come to us for help during their times of struggle, we listen and care for them. We have the desire to help them.
The connection that we have with each other becomes deeper as we validate each other’s feelings and relate with one another. Compassion, love, understanding and support for each other arises in times of difficulties. A positive environment ensues from a negative situation.
Stress can improve wealth
Another benefit of stress as noted by Dr. Richard Shelton of the University of Alabama is that it arouses our brain to help us focus on the task at hand. He also mentioned that low-level stressors produce brain chemicals which can lead to improved memory.
Kathleen Gunthert likewise disclosed that stress at appropriate amounts can increase one’s motivation to act or do a task. Deadlines though it is a stressor can push you to accomplish an assigned task.
The motivation along with the ability to focus more on your work makes you more productive at work. Better performance can lead to promotions or greater opportunities to earn more. It can make you more successful.
Moreover, stress builds resilience. Facing challenges and adapting to new situations allows us to have confidence in ourselves and our capabilities. We learn to control our emotions and our actions as we deal with our conditions. We develop the courage we need to overcome future adversities.
Resilience, courage, and self-confidence not only allow us to look for better opportunities, to discover new things, to learn and grow, but improve our mental well-being as well. These lead to a more successful life.
We need stress to grow and be better.
How can we take advantage of stress
Given the benefits one can have from stress, it is now time to move forward and let go of the negativities. Stress will always be in our lives. It is not a matter of coping with or managing stress but changing the way we respond to it.
We need to have a change in mindset. As Kelly McGonigal mentioned in one of her talks, “How you think about stress matters.” For years we have thought of stress as something negative, let us now look at it from a different point of view. Stress is not bad for us. It is something that will help us to become better than who we are.
Look for the hidden opportunities within the situation. How can you rise from the demanding situation? Are your emotions getting the better of you? How can that challenge make you stronger? What insights do you need to gather? What skills do you need to learn to surpass the challenge?
Always be aware of how you think. Let go of the ones you cannot control.
Know and connect with your Future self
Changing mindset is not something that happens automatically. You need to deliberately change the way you think. For this to happen absolutely, you need to know your future self and connect with the person you want to be.
If you keep in mind the person you are becoming, if you let him guide you then you will act toward making that person a reality. Everything you do and think will be toward your better future.
One contributing factor to your stress is your habits. Stop and think what habits are limiting you.
Are your habits the root cause of your stress? Has procrastination and rumination gotten the better of you and has resulted in missed deadlines and accumulated tasks? Stop these habits now and start doing those that will help you to be better.
Exercise is a habit that you can start while stopping those that limit you. Exercise not only improves your physical health but your mental well-being as well. Exercise. It enhances your positivity.
Changing habits is not always easy, but the Stop One Start One Habit Tracker app makes it simpler. It provides you with a community of people you can connect with, people who will motivate and support your goals. It tracks your progress and gives you training videos to help you on your journey.
Meditation is another way to help you use stress to your advantage. Meditation clears your mind. It gives you a sense of calmness and peace. It relaxes your mind and body allowing you to refocus on what is important.
You can use one of our meditations to help you connect with your future self and see stress in a more positive light.
There are people who need others to guide them and help them. Not everyone can change their view of stress. It is up to you to aid them through their plight. Be there for them, listen to them, offer an unfamiliar perspective. Help them be a better person. Instill positivity and spread compassion and love in a world that is full of negativities.
Be a better person. Be the change you want to see in the world.
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