The benefits of stress

Have you ever thought about turning stress into something positive?

We constantly receive informations, from news and medical attention, about stress and its negative health impacts and that is something to be avoided as much as possible.

But there are different points of view under which we can look at stress. It seems on the other side of the medal that pursuing a “stress-free” life often causes more stress down the line-problems compound, and by failing to face our most intense challenges we never overcome them.

Think about all the winning moments of your life, where you reached something when you accomplished a task, when you completed a winning project or performed at your highest level (that include every sphere of your life). What was that motivated and fueled you to grow, learn, improve and never give up during these times?…For sure those times involved some stress or struggle.

Stress can have many wonderful attributes. It shows that we care about something, connecting us with the most challenging and important aspects of our life. Is clear and there are no doubts that a constant stressful situation doesn’t take energies but it can bring unexpected benefits too especially regarding personal growth.

We might just try to adopt a “stress is enhancing” mindset. This can lead to greater performances and less negative impact on our mind and health. Of course, resting is still a fundamental aspect of our daily life.

From a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review with executives, students, Navy SEALs and professional athletes, it comes out a 3 Step Approach to respond to pressure and stress that can help you unlock your creative power, minimizing its deleterious effects. 

1st  See it

Visualize your stress, identify the reasons why you feel under pressure rather than denying it. You can just simply name or labelling the stress that you are facing. From acknowledging your stress, you can move reactively but let you pause your visceral reaction, allowing you to choose a more enhancing response. Evading stress can be counterproductive anyway, has it seemed that individuals who view stress as debilitating tens to under or over react while the “stress enhancing” approach have a more moderate cortisol response to stress which allows to be open to feedback and can help them to grow for the longer term.

2nd  Own it

The key to own your stress is to recognize that we tend to stress more and more intensely about things that matter to us. Stress shows that we care, realizing this unleashes positive motivation. Things never comes in an easy way. Your journey up to the top will always be made of dark and cold nights but if you own this feeling and discover your sense of motivation and meaning they will likely be more tolerable.

“In Navy SEAL training,” former SEAL Commander Curt Cronin recently told us, “the leadership cadre designs situations that are exponentially more stressful, chaotic, and dynamic than any combat operation so that the teams learn to center [themselves] in the most arduous circumstances. When the stress of the training seems unbearable, we can own it, knowing that ultimately it is what we have chosen to do—to be a member of a team that can succeed in any mission.” _HBR_

3rd Use it

Contrary to what you might think, the body’s stress response is not designed to kill us. In fact the evolutionary goal of stress response was to help boost the body and mind to enhanced functioning, to help us grow and meet the demands we face. When the body meet stress it produces hormones, dopamine and adrenaline, which fuel the brain with blood and oxygen increasing energy.The issue, then is not the stress response itself but how we channel or employ this response. Simply rethinking to stress as something that is beneficial to you can be extremely helpful!