I used to see stress as my worst enemy, the cause and root to all my problems. I blamed stress for everything, it was the reason for bad sleep, poor digestion that I went in to a discussion with a colleague at work, that I made unhealthy food choices and that I forgot something I had planned to do.
But what is actually this so often used term; stress?
Stress happens when we feel that we can’t cope with pressure and this pressure comes in many shapes and forms, and triggers physiological responses. It’s usually described as the fight and flight response, a reaction to perceived threats to our survival. More distinctly, stress is our response to unfulfilled needs.
Do you want to see stress as challenge or a threat?
We have been taught to see stress as an enemy, as something that is bad, something that hurts us and makes life harder. More precisely, something we have to break through it in order to feel better. However, that´s not what it has to be like what always serves us.
Thus, instead if you see stress as a challenge, as an opportunity to growth and as a way to become a better you. In the extent, this approach and mind-set will not only give you a better outcome and make you handle your everyday life better, it will also create positive emotions. The resulting positive emotions of pride or excitement can be motivating and invigorating.
“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it” – Hans Selye
The power of Stress
For a long, long time after, I avoided stress as much as I could. I avoided it through school, and took an easy and less demanding way. Decisions were based of fear, I didn’t want to experience stress and I didn’t want to fail. But I come to realize that my life, empty of stress, was less meaningful.
If you want a meaningful and developing life, you need to put yourself out there, it´s vital challenge yourself. Thus, we only feel stress towards the things we really care about.
Sometimes, in order to grow, we need to take the way that seem more demanding. But taking that more challenging way and managing stress, has taught me how to work with my stress and fear. It has taught me to give my stress and fear a home. Avoidance isn’t the way to break free from something that doesn’t serve you. You break free by turning around and seeing the stress and fear for what they really are.
Stress and fear are often the same response, and we can’t truly get rid of them (as much as we might like to). Being human, they’re always going to be there. They’re not there to hold you back; they’re there guide, make you grow and to make you become a Better You.
Do you need some help with your stress management?