Is it possible to turn stress to your advantage? You bet! It just takes a little tweaking.
Bizarrely, we’re in a stress epidemic and yet surrounded by an abundance of creature comforts, safety, food and instant connectivity. Women in particular are feeling pressed to impress and feel the effects on their health and emotional/mental well-being.
In a world which seems to get busier every day, it’s important to have some strategies to keep things in check, to be able to arrive at the end of a day or week and feel content.
How to know when stress is good for you?
There is such a thing as good stress. You know you’re experiencing it when you:
- feel really alive and connected,
- are challenged within reasonable limits,
- feel energised by the roles in your life
- can put your list down when you feel the need for slowing down or a break,
- and you bounce out of bed each day looking forward to what lies ahead.
Is that you? If not, then a few tips might help.
Discerning between helpful and unhelpful stress
Real stress: relates to your well-being and emotional/mental health. It’s about meeting your needs or those of your dependants. This is something for which only you can be responsible (worth taking action on).
Fake stress: otherwise know as a perceived stress, is caused by falling prey to someone else’s expectations. This happens when people feel the need to compete or start comparing. It creates the ‘illusion’ or ‘perception’ of stress, but it’s not real. IT’S NOT REAL! It just creates unnecessary anxiety. You’re not responsible for this (waste of energy and resources).
Take action on real stress, avoid getting hooked into fake stress and you'll save a huge amount of time, worry and guilt.
Maximising stress to your advantage
Once you've stopped spending energy on ‘fake’ stress, it’s time to tweak stress to maximise contentment. This can be done by choosing activities, roles and work that are aligned with your natural strengths, talent and most importantly, with the things that will matter many years from now.
Working towards things that have deep value to you will be the surest way of looking back on life and avoiding regret. Think back on all the things you've naturally wanted to do, been interested in just because or spent your spare time doing because it’s fun. These activities provide the clues to what you’re naturally aligned to and where your strengths lie.
Remember, it's up to you to choose and to say “No thanks” if something isn't working for you.