Is there a way to use stress to our own advantage?

Is there a way to use stress to our own advantage?

Many of us feel stress because we are in a hurry. We are faced with this mental schedule which must be achieved by a certain time; obtain your degree, work in a big successful company, get married and have kids. We get upset at ourselves and blame it on stress for failing to meet our goals. But does stress really deter us from realizing our goals?

There are two major types of stress – ‘eustress’ or good stress, one that is beneficial and motivating, and ‘distress’ or bad stress, which cause anxiety and affect your overall health. Stress can also be in a form of emotional, physical and mental stress. Most people tend to associate stress with it being detrimental; thus bringing about negativity an unhappiness.

Benefits of Stress
Healthy stress level has shown to actually improve and push you to peak performance. For instance, if you know that your deadline is looming and you fear of the consequences, you will be more focused and motivated to complete the work. This is similar to athletes’ training using stress as adrenaline to compete for top spot. Good stress can also be a vital warning sign, producing the fight-or-flight response. Being in a physically stressful situations will heightened one’s senses and alert us to avoid dangers – such as taking extra precaution when crossing on a busy road or being mindful of your behaviour and words during funeral for fear of receiving backlash from others.

Side Effects of Stress
When stress is at an unhealthy level, it can become toxic and affect your daily life. Being overwhelmed with stress mean your mind and body will become strained and prone to fatigue. Most often, the expectations we have often do not correspond with reality. We assumed that we are able to handle stress. But how do you know when is too much stress? There are a few signs that your body will let you know if you are struggling with stress.

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches & chronic pain
  • Fall sick easily
  • Increased level of anxiety and irritability
  • Loss/change of appetite
  • Inability to focus at given task

Stress is key for survival, but too much stress can be harmful. That’s why it is important to be in tune with yourself and be able to tell when you have had too much. You may not be able to control the types of stress you are having, but you can control your reactions to them. You can minimize or avoid some of the stress in your life, and this can make it easier to handle the pressure. If you can navigate around the bad stress and overcome it, you will have more resilience against the types of stress in your life that are unavoidable.

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