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Can it be good to be stressed out?

stressed out; maybe it's not all bad?

Can it ever be good to be stressed?

Do you find that you are often stressed-out and nervous or tense about work or family? Let’s consider what stress is, and how it can be a boon as well as a bane.

How you define stress will influence how you think about stress. Consider a definition of stress that focuses on the downside and how stress damages you:

Stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation, such as being stuck in traffic. Or it can last a long time if you’re dealing with relationship problems, a spouse’s death or other serious situations. Stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life over an extended period. You may feel tired, unable to concentrate or irritable. Stress can also damage your physical health.
American Psychological Association

Consider a definition of stress that looks at stress not as a disease, but as part of life. This definition considers the positive aspects of stress.

Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it’s an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body…You may not be able to control the stressors in your world, but you can alter your reaction to them….
Psychology Today

Understanding where stress comes from?

All of us face real stress every day. Stress can be:

  • Internal – external (am I setting hard goals for myself, or is somebody setting for me?)
  • Real – imaginary (do I really need to accomplish what I think that I need to accomplish)
  • Positive – negative (marriage, promotion – unemployment, illness)
  • Controlled – uncontrolled (exercise program – natural disaster)
  • Acute – chronic

The kind of stress that I face, and the way that I manage stress, can lead to positive action and growth. However, stress can lead to stagnation or destructive decisions.  In counseling, we will work on learning to channel stress for positive outcomes.

Stress and Meaning

stressed-out?

Finding meaning can help you grow from stress. Reach out today to learn how you can use the stress in your life to grow and thrive.

Image credit: Maria Marshal

How I deal with stress, and how stress affects me, is affected by how I ascribe meaning to stress.  Imagine the case of a world power that is constantly thrust into the role of resolving international conflict. If that country sees its primary role as  maintaining equilibrium (“leave me alone”), then any event that requires its intervention is stressful in a negative way. But, if that same country finds meaning in its role as peacemaker, then the stress is easier to handle and the conflict is more likely to be approached in a healthy way.

What holds true for countries or communities, applies to individuals as well. If you find meaning in your challenges, you will find that the stress that accompanies those challenges is easier to manage. You will find that stress contributes to your growth and even to your happiness.

Stress is not always controllable, learn to welcome stress

It’s not always possible to prevent stress. In counseling, you will learn tactics for stress reduction, stress management, and coping with stress.  In the face of stress, or even because of stress, you can become more resilient.

How would our world look without stress? What would have been the achievements of Lebron James, Bill Gates, or Thomas Edison?

The bottom line is that we need to embrace stress, just as we welcome certain life events that bring stress:

  • Pregnancy
  • Getting married
  • Moving
  • Studies
  • Running a business or getting a promotion at work

Once you become aware of the life awaiting you, would you turn back to a life of complacency?

Stress can be our friend. We can learn to embrace stress, to listen for stress, and to use stress to gain meaning.

Moderate levels of stress are most helpful for attaining goals (Southwick)
It is a sign Yossarian (Heller)
Our will to meaning is constantly on the lookout for meaningful moments (Frankl)

Stress is a gift — learn to unwrap it!

Stress can be, for us, an alarm clock. It can make us alert to existence, meaning and values. It can boost our self-confidence. It is, in effect, part of our lives. Come learn how to use it.

Call Avraham today, or just fill out the contact form and click Send.

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