Utilise The Positive Side Of Stress
A significant amount of information, evidence and personal experience identifies stress as being negative, unhealthy and detrimental to our health, relationships, happiness and careers.
We often work hard to rid ourselves of ‘stress’ and stressful events. There is a common thought that if we remove ourselves from stressful situations and events we will be healthier. When we are able to dodge the stress bullet, side step the stressful situations, and beat the pathway of stress to burnout, then we will be better for it.
However, if we allow ourselves to look into the world of stress, there are also undeniable benefits of stress. When we view stress with curiosity, awareness and self-efficacy we may realise that short bouts of stress can enhance our performance in life and even provide us with a secret super power.
When we can work with and through stress, instead of always fighting it or running away from it, we can create opportunities to harness the benefits of positive stress and excel. When you harness this Super Power, you create possibilities of discovery, growth, and innovation.
“It is not stress that kills us, but our reaction to it.” Hans Selye
A ‘stress trigger’ is an indication that we need to respond. If we react to the initial signal with a negative view of bad, scary, dangerous, then we will resist any opportunity presented. Whereas if we are able to view the signal with curiosity, self-awareness, self-regulation and an optimistic mindset, then we are creating a situation that can provide us with discovery, growth, and innovation.
In small doses stress can be our Super Power. It can assist us to achieve more efficiently, face our fears and achieve at higher levels. Stress can help us to switch on our laser-focus so we avoid danger, see possibilities and discover new strategies.
This Super Power of positive stress is known as Eustress. Eustress is defined as ‘good’ stress – from the Greek prefix of eu – and a positive psychological response to a stressor (Selye, 1965). Eustress can be interpreted as stress that energises the individual on all levels (physically, emotionally, mentally and often spiritually) and supports health and wellbeing rather than deplete it.
How Do We Cultivate This Super Power? Follow The 3 ‘E’ Method.
- Expand your understanding of what makes you tick (self-awareness) – What are your innate strengths those strengths within – not our skills or abilities? Who are you being in all aspects of your life? What are your motivating factors?
- Enhance your ability to manage, modify and master your emotional state (self-regulation) – How do you respond in the positive times and in the tough times? How do you control your thoughts, to guide your emotional state and actions?
- Enrich your view of situations, events and people (optimistic mindset) – Are you able to see opportunities rather than obstacles? Do you choose to engage in uplifting, solution focussed options? Do you see failures as openings to learn and grow?
We often hear and learn that stress is only a destroyer of opportunity that pervades every part of our life. But, when we unleash our innate strengths, become the master of our emotional state and perceive opportunities rather obstacles we can move to eustress and unleash our Super Power to achieve greatness!