Updated: May 27, 2020
I know what you’re saying, “What possible benefit can I receive from stress? I hate feeling stressed.” It’s true, you are hard-pressed to find people that “like” stress but stress is an inevitable part of life, so how can you make stress work for you (instead of against you)?
Let’s start with a quick definition, common ground if you will, on the story behind stress:
Stress definitions (Webster)
constraining force or influence
a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
intense effort or exertion
“Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition.” According to The American Institute of Stress (http://www.stress.org/what-is-stres...)
Now that we understand the science defining stress, let me share what I’ve learned from my experience as an Air Force Veteran, Guinness World Record holder, and career firefighter. Stress, in my experience (opinion) is an emotion, and as such, like all emotions is controlled by our mind. Emotions like stress are understood through our experiences and dealt with by our belief in our ability to handle the challenge or situation. Simply put, stress is all in your mindset. Let me repeat that, stress is all in your mindset. Don’t allow outside influences or other people's definitions create fear and doubt that ultimately challenges your mindset (and future).
3 Steps to dealing with stress
1. Identify the stressor (inside or outside, fear or reality).
2. Decide to move forward and learn from the stress (without fear) or forget it (In that moment…do not hesitate). That’s right, learn what and why you feel stressed and take that knowledge into new and more challenging experiences or DROP IT!
3. Make the #1 and #2 a habit and don’t allow stress to dictate your life. Don’t allow stress to hold you back from pushing forward, trying new things, and becoming the person you are meant to be.
2 Big Benefits of Stress
1. Increased focus
2. Confidence to challenge fears (past, present, and future)
So there you have it! Stress, just like any other emotion, when broken down to its core, can be a wonderful addition to your growth. Next time you feel stressed, remember, this is an opportunity to learn and grow and make stress an asset instead of a liability.
Stress is a good indicator that your goals are outside your comfort zone…
GO FOR IT!”