When you hear the word stress, you immediately associate negativity and panic with it. It’s true that stress has a negative effect on our physical and mental health. But, at the same time, being relaxed and calm can make you lazy and a bit too comfortable. Thus, a little dose of stress, every now and then, is required to push us out of our comfort zone and make us ambitious. Experts give us a step by step guide on how we can weaponize our stress into a positive force rather than a panic creator.
The term is coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye. He defines Eustress as beneficial stress that can help an individual to grow and remain healthy. Selye states that our bodies are specifically designed to store energy and produce the required strength to deal with stress. For example, if you are facing a challenging task like giving a presentation, initially you might feel stressed. But once it’s done, you feel better. In fact, when you do your homework before facing a stressful situation, the entire process could be a rewarding one. The positive experience derived from finishing the task can boost your motivation, influence your creativity and can energise you.
The art of transitioning from distress to Eustress
1) Find meaning: The trick lies in turning stress from a threat to a challenge. “Think of it as an experience that will help you learn new skills and can increase self-awareness. Once you’re able to do this, the experience can be invigorating,” says Pulkit Sharma, psychologist.
2) Stress is just a feeling: If you perceive stress as a source of worry and not as fleeting moments, it’s going to create panic. “Remember, the level of stress is directly related to the importance of the activity you are involved in. So, if it’s important to you, you’ll worry more. And being worried is an indicator of the significance attached to the work and not as a symptom of panic. Stress is nothing more than a temporary feeling that will eventually pass,” says Dr Anil Sethi, psychologist and motivational speaker. Stay, calm and respond in an objective manner to stress.
3) The mindset: Once you understand the cause of your worry, then it’s all about the mindset with which you deal with it. The effects of stress on you depends on how you perceive it. “If you have a negative approach, your brain will tend to go into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. This limits your ability to think. And, if you have a positive approach, your brain goes into a ‘broaden and build’ mode. This helps your brain to simplify the problem and build a step-by-step action plan to deal with it,” says Sharma. In the manner you identify stress, your mentality will shift from passively accepting to actively responding.
4) Control: In the end, it’s all about control. “There are things one can control and there are things one cannot. Hence, there is no point in stressing about things you can’t control,” suggests Dr Sethi. Focus on the task ahead of you. And rather than reacting, respond objectively.
Three Dos and Don’ts
1) Stress is an indicator about something you care about, not a cause to panic
2) Objectively focus on the task and not on your feelings
3) Have a support system of people who support you
1) Assume that stress will last forever
2)Worrying about things you cannot control
3)Surround yourself with negative people who tend to pull you down