How to find the positive side of stress
Stress- a word I hear very often almost daily in my environment. When I open the TV in the morning I find a reportage about stress, when I switch the channel some people are discussing lively about the negative consequences of stress. When I open a woman magazine I surely find a test to measure my current stress level. After that I go out to do some shopping I meet my nice neighbour and from the moment I see her I know she will be talking about stress with me (she does not have to open the mouth – I know it). Stress, stress, stress … everybody is talking about it.
Would I ask some persons by chance, I could receive more or less negative definitions of stress. Probably I would hear something like „I carry a heavy load“ or „stress makes me sick“. So the first thought is: We have to do something against stress! The great demand brings also a large offer with it: The Internet is full of stress management programs. Some of them promise to eliminate stress out of our lives. Only by reading this I suppose: „There is too much magic – too nice to be true“.
The fact is stress is part of our life – it is foolish to try to avoid or ignore it or even to put it behind for another time point. This is an illusion! Moreover you will suffer from health problems – if you try to do so – like depression, anxiety, headaches or stomach aches. The other part is: problems do not get solved on their own but get worse and increase, if you do not act at the right time. This aggravates things and brings more stress – imagine it like a vicious circle. We cannot influence our fate but we have it in our hands how we handle it. The attitude counts! When you feel stressed the next time it is a sign to consider „something matters to me“. Now it is up to you how you interpret this situation: Do you see this as a threat and feel overwhelmed by the situation? In this case your body sets an emergency program that means that your body prepares for the worse (our heart beat raises, our veins narrow and the blood pressure goes high. This state cannot be sustained by your body for a long time and therefore you get sick. If you interpret the situation as a challenge you discover the positive side of stress. We tend to help other more in stressful situations und surprisingly stress can fuel us with supplementary energy to work highly concentrated on a task and to be top-performing. Besides this we can learn from this situations and apply the knowledge to future stressful situations. This type of stress has no negative effects on our body – we interpret physiological signs like the heartbeat also positively as sign of joy.
Conclusion: Only the way we think about stress in a particular situation and what it means to us decides if it is friend or foe!
- Kelly McGonigal: The upside of stress: Why stress is good for you (and how to get good at it). Avery, New York 2015
- Hellen Heinemann: Warum Stress glücklich macht. Oder: Wieso wir aufhören sollten zu entspannen. Adeo, Asslar 2015
How do you cope with stress? What are your own techniques? Please give an input in the comment field.