Stress isn't a bad thing
Let’s start by putting an end to the idea that there is a way to get rid of stress. I know you read all these reports about how stress is killing us and how we need to achieve stress free lives. The idea that I am supposed to not have stress causes me to stress about stress. It’s not true! Regardless of what all these endless gurus tell you about nirvana and promises to teach you how to eliminate stress from your life, I am sorry...not going to happen.
After all, the world is a stressful place. The second you you step foot in the street you have to avoid people, cars, bikes, dogs, busses, frisbees and pieces of sputnik falling on your head. You have to fight time, traffic, work, home, bills, bosses, clients, customers, kids, husband, wives and neighbor who blocks your parking spot. The different stressors we all have are endless. I guess you could move to the middle of the woods, but then you have to worry about spiders, snakes, animals, storms, getting food and the Loch Ness Monster. Stress is a reality and it’s here to stay. However, that is not bad news, in fact that is good news because stress is actually good for you.
Sounds completely wrong, stress being good for you. Sounds wrong because you have been told differently so you believe stress is bad for you. Keep in mind though that The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was not caused by Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern. A newspaper reporter made it up because he thought it would make colorful copy...swallowed chewing gum does not take seven years to digest, frequently cracking one's knuckles does not cause arthritis... hold onto your hat, Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb nor did Alexander Bell invent the telephone and a penny dropped from the Empire State Building will not kill a person or crack the sidewalk.
All the things we have been told...remember when margarine was good for you? It’s funny how if you hear something enough or from what you think as a credible source (the news) you accept it as truth. So I say it once again, stress is good for you. Any other approach is... sorry to say, silly. It is silly because you are never going to get rid of stress and stress actually helps you perform better. The key is directing stress into energy that can be productive instead of being paralyzed into inaction by feeling overwhelmed.
I know what you are thinking, and you are right...stress does damage and can even kill. Too much stress puts strain on your heart, damages the brain by decreasing memory and mental clarity and worst of all puts your heart at risk by increasing your risk of chronic disease. Still, stress is good for you.
An athlete while performing will experience the heart beating at an accelerated rate, energy supplies directed towards the muscles and a respiratory rate increase. This response is what the body and mind needs to give the athlete the ability to perform. However this same physiological effect if it was sustained for too long a period would have a negative effect on the body. So what is good for you in the immediate circumstances becomes bad for you if prolonged.
When you hit a stressful situation the body reacts like an athlete's body in a way to help you perform. The initial stages of stress put your mind into a zone of optimal performance. The vessels dilate increasing blood flow to the brain and effects on the body and brain are very similar to an athlete's. The result being that you can actually perform tasks more effectively, the mind can be more focused, clearer and your memory improved.
However, once the stress is prolonged or you adopt a negative outlook the vessels constrict, your heart can beat erratically, blood pressure rises, you get foggy, unclear, angry and illogical in choices. The difference between you going into a zone of tackling situations and being overwhelmed and losing control comes down not to the elimination of stress, but in how you mentally approach obstacles, adversity, and challenges of life.
Many go into a state of panic or believing that there is no way to resolve what you are going through. You then will live in a prolonged level of stress and it will have detrimental effects on your body, brain and life. If you adopt a philosophy that things will work out and that no matter what is happening you can take steps to make it better, stress will then be an energy boost to get into action.
Honestly, if you look at your life and recognize where you excelled or even daily when you get things done, it has been when you used stress in a positive manner. Learn to accept reality and do not stay a prisoner in your own mind to doom and gloom, and look for ways to resolve issues and to take action.
You cannot always predict or control where you will end up. You could end up in your car at the bottom of the escalators. The question is will you focus your energy towards solutions and action, or will you retreat and be paralyzed. The stress will exist either way, that is not going away, but believing that your actions can affect a better or positive outcome tends to produce good stress.
Edin at Tue, Jul 24 06:34 AM:
Thanks, Devlyn. Nice to hear from you again.
CoachSteele at Wed, Jul 25 04:34 PM:
Thanks Edin! Hope you are doing great!
Jayne242 at Sat, Jul 28 03:55 PM:
Hi Coach! Yes, it's great to hear from you again! Thank you. :)
a_beisker at Tue, Sep 18 04:33 PM:
i just joined today. so far this is the kind of stuff i need to hear. thank you for providing this kind of help.
Shanyi at Sun, Feb 24 11:22 PM:
I needed to read this today because I have always had stress, but I have been letting it defeat me lately...or at least today...