Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle.” ―Bill Phillips

Stress doesn’t necessarily always have to be terrible; we often just have a tendency to think of it that way. Stress can be a necessary component of moving forward in life, getting things done, and accomplishing our goals because, without it, we can feel less driven. Basically there are two types of stress: positive stress and negative stress. It depends on us how to turn our stress into positive one.

Positive stress, often referred to as eustress, is the kind that provides you a little extra push and drive to complete tasks. This kind of stress occurs when you have a big event coming up (like a wedding, a big holiday, or being pregnant). This kind of stress is associated with good feelings, and it might motivate you to complete that large assignment so you can enjoy the trip, pack so you’re prepared to go to the hospital, or make final plans. This kind of stress might assist you with your tasks when it is present in moderation. Generally speaking, this kind of short-term stress will motivate you and be something you can handle on your own. Your performance in more that you do may well increase since you’ll be more motivated and accomplish more.

Negative stress is also known as distress. You experience this kind of stress when you feel overburdened and overworked. It can give you the impression that you just don’t know what to do or how to complete tasks. When your supervisor is being particularly critical of you regarding a major project or when you simply have a tonne of tasks to complete, you could experience this form of stress. This type of stress is linked to feelings of worry or anxiety. Even if you’re trying to push yourself harder, you feel like the tasks you’re attempting or the situations you’re trying to tackle are more than you can handle. This emotion could be temporary or persistent, but the longer it persists, the worse it makes you feel. Additionally, the longer it goes on, the more likely it is that you will encounter various physical and emotional issues.

Sources of Positive Stress

Positive stress typically emerges during moments of anticipation or significant life changes. These instances often involve joyful events that might naturally trigger a touch of anxiety or require additional effort. Yet, instead of becoming overwhelmed, this type of stress is invigorating. It arises when you’re brimming with excitement about what lies ahead, enabling you to navigate challenges with enthusiasm. Such moments may include welcoming a new addition to the family, relocating to a new residence, embarking on a journey, celebrating holidays, transitioning into retirement, embarking on a fresh career path, achieving a promotion, tying the knot, or becoming a homeowner. In each of these cases, the positive stress stems from the exhilaration and readiness to embrace the changes and opportunities they bring.

How to Use Stress For Your Advantage

Since stress is a constant and inevitable component of life, we should learn to handle it better so that it works for us rather than against us. Here are a few ways you can use stress to your advantage.

Create a stress wall

You might have a constant barrage of anxiety-inducing anxious thoughts when you are under stress. Try to use your active imagination to block off thoughts when they arise. Imagine the concern drifting away from your current focus of attention as it hits a large, unbreakable wall in your mind. Maintain that wall until you are prepared to address the issue, and visualise all future unpleasant thoughts bouncing off of it. You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you stop allowing anxious thoughts to dominate your mind.

You are not required to visualise a wall; instead, you are free to choose any suitable thinking metaphor. You could find it more comforting to picture your thoughts as birds landing on a tree that you can then make fly away from, or to put them into a box and seal the lid.

Be creative

“Creativity is a natural anti-depressant. It floods the brain with positive hormones, which can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.” – Karyn Hall

If you’re feeling stressed, there’s probably a task that needs to be completed. So, think outside the box. Look for new approaches to problems or for a new perspective on them so that you can come up with a new solution. You can be anxious about the new project because you doubt your ability to manage it effectively. Find various approaches to working on the project or various routes to the necessary finish. It can turn out to be simpler than you anticipated.

Experience something new

Give something new a try if you’re feeling positive tension because it usually indicates that you’re excited about something. Sit up and volunteer for that new endeavour rather than quitting and allowing someone else lead. Get involved in the moving process rather than leaving it to someone else. Experiment with new things and broaden your horizons. You might be astonished by all the new things you can accomplish and how much you can channel your enthusiasm into possibilities and new abilities. Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from engaging in something you’re interested in.

Let go

You may feel out of control if you have a lot on your plate or financial or romantic concerns. Stress is a result of feeling powerless. We become increasingly anxious when we struggle to manage a situation. Recognise that not all aspects of life are within your control. Stop clenching your hands, hunching your shoulders, and frowning. For immediate tension alleviation, take a deep breath and release it.

Come out of the world of “what ifs”

We inhabit the what-if universe when we are under stress. What if this takes place? What if I’m unable to accomplish that? What happens if I embarrass myself?

The majority of your anxious thoughts are unfounded, and they just get in your way. Try to live in the present instead of imagining what may have been. What if something doesn’t go exactly as planned? There is value in learning something new, which you have just done. Be willing to take a chance.

Be mindful

Worrying about our past and future actions—what we’ve done and what we still have to do—is a common source of stress. Spend a moment appreciating this very moment. You’ll feel less anxious if you can live in the moment more frequently. The future hasn’t happened yet, but the past is over. Is it really worth your concern?

Practise gratitude

Lack of thankfulness fosters anxious emotions and ideas. Instead of stressing about what you lack, practise being appreciative of what you do have. List five things for which you have cause to be thankful at the moment. Every day, count to five and work on being more appreciative.

Since feeling comfortable wouldn’t be as pleasurable without sensations of stress, you should occasionally be thankful for them.

Ask for help

Never be ashamed to solicit a little assistance. If you become too overwhelmed, that excitement will rapidly fade, and you’ll find it difficult to complete your tasks. Additionally, you might notice that you’re experiencing distress rather than eustress. So, spend some time looking for someone who can assist you, whether it be a friend, member of your family, your partner, a work colleague, or anybody else.

Get more information

You can use more information to assist you use that positive stress, or you can use it to help you lower the amounts of stress you’re currently experiencing. Look for new ways to prepare because you might be worried about having a new baby because you’re unsure you’re ready. This is one way that a healthy sort of stress can motivate you to become a better version of yourself and begin making plans for the future. If you’re a little anxious about that new job or that significant move, the same is true.

Embrace the opportunity

Take advantage of the extra incentive that this positive stress usually gives you to complete your task. Strive to evolve and be capable of readjusting your priorities. The greatest way to make the most of that stress is to take advantage of the extra incentive it gives you to prepare for the upcoming big event. If you take advantage of the push, you’ll not only feel much better, but you’ll also reap a lot of rewards (like being ready for that new baby or succeeding in your new career).

Make a plan

You’ll start off even better if you have a strategy for how you’re going to keep pushing yourself and moving forward. Make the best of the motivation and drive you’ll feel; they may also be a touch unsettling. Make a strategy for how you’re going to handle that situation, then carry it through. Just because you’re happy doesn’t mean that your happiness and good stress won’t turn bad if you’re not careful. The best defence against that is preparation.

Spend time with positive people

Try to spend more time with people who will improve your wellness when your lifestyle permits it. This doesn’t necessarily imply that other people don’t experience stress as much as you do; in fact, a person experiencing similar feelings to your own could serve as a confidante and you two could work together to manage stress more effectively.

Reframe your perspective

A challenging circumstance becomes simpler to bear or, at the very least, encourages you to handle it when you give it a purpose. You give your stress a useful purpose when you reframe stressors in order to enrich your life.

It may be used to achieve one of the benefits mentioned above, such as encouraging behaviour, fostering resilience, or improving cognitive performance, or it may serve a completely different purpose. You can see stress’s benefits and the reason it exists more clearly if you associate it with a goal.

Retrain your brain

It will take time to retrain the brain to see stress as a tool rather than a barrier because the latter has probably been deeply ingrained. You can alter how you react when stress arises, albeit it will take some practise.

Change your negative ideas to more positive ones, such as, “I’m experiencing stress and welcome it fully,” when they initially appear at the first symptom of tension. Next, consider how you could use it to achieve a goal or resolve an issue. How can you use stress to your advantage?

Find the cause of your stress

You may experience stress occasionally and be able to pinpoint its origin, but other times you may not. Finding the source of your stress will enable you to manage it rather than fight it. You could experience a sense of helplessness when you experience the physical or psychological signs of stress but are unsure of what caused them. However, tracing its roots and approaching it from a more optimistic angle puts you back in control.

Write away!

Journaling is a terrific method to put a stop to your racing thoughts and figure out what is setting off your present stress response. Use writing to develop a more positive outlook on your circumstances and to search for any patterns or repeating themes that might be hurting you or preventing you from moving forward.

Final Word

It makes sense that when people hear the word stress, they automatically associate it with something bad. However, good stress can also be helpful in your life. This kind of tension may serve as inspiration for you to accomplish objectives or overcome obstacles. You may use constructive stress to help you realise your maximum potential once you can tell the difference between the two. Even if you try to will it away, stress is a part of everyday life and will surely return. Making stress your ally will help you learn how to take advantage of it and possibly even pick up some new skills. So the next time you’re feeling anxious, recognise it as a necessary component of the journey and welcome it with open arms. The outcome might surprise you.


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