It’s Monday, and there’s usually a mixed sense of optimism and exhaustion with what lies ahead for the week. A fresh start, and a new mountain of work. Here’s a few simple reminders about how to keep stress at bay and use it to your advantage. Found over at Psych Central, this quick article will hopefully kickstart your workweek with a positive charge.
Don’t Let Stress Get the Best of You
By JESSICA BELTRAN, MS
Living in this busy world
where everything moves at a thousand miles per hour can be overwhelming.
Keeping up with technological advances, juggling our endless career and family demands, and working hard to achieve success and stand out from the crowd in a very competitive world can definitely take its toll on our well-being.
We have become the “can do” generation, and as such, have raised the bar high on our expectations. We don’t realize that placing excessive demands on ourselves can be harmful and counterproductive.
Stress, if not managed effectively, can paralyze us and even break us down.
It’s like those nightmares in which you are dreaming someone is chasing you and despite your best effort to run you just can’t manage to move forward. You end up exhausted and right where you started.
In other words, stress doesn’t get you ANYWHERE.
I’m not suggesting we should become slackers then and just let life happen to us instead of us making it happen. Not at all. But I can assure you that inspiration and excellence will NOT come from tight muscles, headaches, short breath, fatigue, insomnia, and the heaviness of burnout.
You need a healthy mind, body, and spirit to keep moving in the direction of your dreams and accomplish that greatness you are yearning for.
When you push yourself just enough to reach a goal, eustress kicks in. This is positive stress that gives you the adrenaline and vigor you need to take action. It motivates you and actively engages you.
The problem is when you go too far. When that initial motivation goes wrong and starts dragging you down instead of lifting you up. Not necessarily because of how difficult the challenge is, but because of the strain you put on yourself. You think that the end justifies the means and fail to realize that you will accomplish nothing except your own self-destruction.
So how can you manage stress and prevent it from hindering your growth and development? Below you will find some tips:
1. Social Support –
This means more WE and less ME. Interacting with family and friends can counteract the negative effects of stress. Cultivating our social ties provides us the emotional support we need during difficult times. Instead of trying to deal with it on your own, reach out to the people who care for you. Don’t isolate yourself. Call a friend or cuddle with someone you love. But make sure to connect.
2. Sense of Humor –
Laughter can be the best medicine. When we laugh we produce endorphins that make us feel good and give us a sense of general well-being. So don’t take life too seriously. Laugh your worries away every now and then. Turn on an episode of It’s Always Sunny or talk to someone you find hilarious. Whatever works for you as long as it makes you laugh until it hurts.
3. Distraction –
If you feel the tension is building up to a point it starts to overflow…STOP! You will not get any further by forcing it. Distract yourself by doing something else that helps you ease the pressure. Then you can come right back to it. In a relaxed state of mind, it’ll be so much easier to get your groove back. And only then will you be able to move forward.
4. Physical Activity –
Putting our body into motion reduces fatigue and restores the energy stress takes from us. Just like laughter, exercise releases endorphins that both exhilarate and soothe us. So go for a walk, do kick-boxing, ride your bike, or go dancing. Even cleaning your house will do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s ten minutes or two hours, as long as you get that body of yours MOVING.
As they say, “no pain, no gain”. So I’m sure you’ll face enough perspiration and discomfort on your way towards your lifetime goals. And that’s a sign you’re right on track. Just make sure you don’t let such “pain” get the best of you.
You can use stress to your advantage. To move forward, to keep walking, to even fly. But don’t let stress handicap you. Don’t let it become your own worst enemy. Don’t let it ruin your chances of succeeding.