Can stress be a good thing? Definitely. If it’s the right kind of stress.
People often associate stress with problems, such as work pressure, unfulfilled dreams and failing relationships. But that’s not all there is to it. In terms of bodily and mental tension something amazing, like a promotion or a wedding, can be as big a stressor as something disastrous.
So, what is ‘positive stress’ and how is it different from negative stress we are used to? Positive stress motivates one to overcome difficulties and achieve goals. Simply put, it’s a boost of energy in response to something that requires effort.
- is short-lived
- feels exciting
- actually improves performance.
Think of an hour in the gym after a break, especially a tad too long one. Is training hard? Most certainly, and your whole body hurts. Yet is it invigorating? Hell yeah.
That’s positive stress.
It has one very important attribute – you know you can deal with it, and there’s something good waiting at the end.
For instance, meeting a deadline or closing a deal brings immense pleasure, no matter how little sleep you get in the process. Marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with makes one happy even if planning a wedding was anything short of a nightmare.
Now let’s compare that to negative stress, which:
- feels overwhelming
- often mounts up during a long period of time
- causes anxiety and a decrease in productivity.
Everyone knows negative stress is to be avoided. Positive stress, on the other hand, won’t cause burnout and should be experienced. How can you trigger positive stress if you aren’t going through major changes in your relationships or at work?
- Plan a vacation. It may be a weekend getaway or a long trip, whatever you have taste for. Don’t leave it to agencies – book your flight, contact the hotel and draw up a schedule. You may like the feeling of control you get afterwards.
- Try an extreme sport. Bungee jumping or climbing will do. Knowing you’re safe won’t affect the boost of adrenaline you get from challenging your body.
- Take up a new activity. Aim for something you can do or learn to do. Paint, learn a new language, enter a competition you need to train for. The key thing here is, it ought to have a visible outcome, so your struggles pay off.
You don’t always need to run away from stress. Turn it into something useful and enjoy it!
Featured Image: Yes Man/Warner Bros.