You constantly hear how bad stress is for you: it’s damaging your health, jeopardizing your relationships, and hurting your performance. While these risks are real, recent research is showing that stress, when managed correctly, can actually have a positive impact on productivity and performance. So how can you take the stress you thought was killing you and turn it into a friend? We share the best ways!
1. See the stress as helpful
Stress is a completely normal biological response to a potentially dangerous situation or increased need for performance. The heart racing and contracted blood vessels is an indicator that your body is preparing for a challenge – a tool to succeed! Once you see the stress a benefit instead of a threat, it doesn’t become as stressful. You can then learn to recognize and more easily manage the stress so that the short-term stress gives you increased energy to productivity and performance.
2. Focus on what you can control
One of the most positive things you can do when faced with worry or anxiety is to remember what you can affect and what you can’t. Far too many people spend time feeling bad about things they simply can’t change. Write two lists of what stresses you, one for what you can control and one for what you can’t. Ignore the second list and choose a concrete action to handle the first one. This will begin to solve the stress and give you the power to move you toward your goal.
3. Create a network of support
Knowing that you have somebody to turn to can help a lot when you feel anxious, worried or stressed. Being surrounded by people who care about you increases the chance of dealing with the specific situation and overcome the anxiety and worry. Social relationships play an important role in our health and well-being, which is why it’s a good idea to nurture your relationships. Why not invite a friend to a coffee or talk to someone who can help you map the stress, provide tools and create a long-lasting plan.
- Think of stress as a helpful reaction rather than a cause for panic
- Focus on the task, rather than the emotion
- Build relationships so that you have people to turn to in times of stress
- Assume your stress is going to last forever
- Worry about things that are out of your control
- Spend time with people who are negative