A lot of people get bogged down by stress. For some, their lives become increasingly unbearable until they have a breakdown. This doesn’t necessarily mean that their stress is worse than yours (though this can certainly be the case). It might just mean that they lack the coping skills to manage with their stress.
Coping skills are one thing, but we can go another level higher. There are ways that you can actually teach your brain to use stress to your advantage, so stress isn’t just something that you deal with anymore, it’s something that you can learn and benefit from. That’s what we’re going to cover today.
1. Increase your self awareness
One of the best things about stress - or indeed, any negative emotion - is that it can be a strong reminder of the fact that you’re not in alignment with what you want to be feeling. This is a bit of a philosophical outlook, but it’s true - any time you feel stressed, you can remind yourself to increase your self-awareness.
Instead of just looking at stress as an irritating obstacle to overcome, you can look at it as something that can give you an alternative perspective on life. It’s a sign that you need to organize yourself so you can work more efficiently. Nothing should be so stressful that it causes you to break down, but worrying about the stress only makes you all the more likely to do so.
2. Increase your creativity
Usually people get stressed out from something that they’re not expecting: an extreme workload, unfamiliar situations, or an overload of things to finish. This means that it’s a good opportunity to explore your creative potential and figure out how you can best tackle these unfamiliar situations.
People tend to get stressed out when they approach a situation rigidly instead of fluidly. Rigid things brake, fluid things accompany whatever they encounter. If you’re getting stressed, then you need to approach the situation from a different perspective so you can figure out alternative ways of getting it done.
Stress is also another great opportunity for you to work on your prioritization skills. This means that, whenever you’re stressed, it’s time to take a deep breath and figure out what you need to check off your list first.
If you approach a situation as if it were a cluster of unfamiliarity, then of course you’ll get stressed. You can only do one thing at a time, and knowing that is the key that prevents you from getting flustered and finishing things in an appropriate manner.
A good way to do this is to get the most stressful things off your plate first. Or, if you know you’re going to be in a less-stressful environment later, you can tackle some of the easier things first and do the more difficult ones in a more comfortable situation.
4. Seek opportunities
Stress is also a sign of a challenge. You can use this challenge to help yourself overcome obstacles and barriers. Doing this will increase the knowledge you have, teach you how to organize your tasks better, and will also help you feel accomplished.
Don’t focus on past stresses and associate them with the current ones. Focus on the task at hand and figure out how you can approach it in a more effective and efficient manner than anything you’ve tackled before. That way you’ll stop associating stress with negativity and begin seeing it as an opportunity in itself, and by that point, stress will almost entirely cease to be a problem.
5. Get smarter
In addition to being a good opportunity to enhance our creative outlets, stress has been shown to actually improve cognition and mental function. The fight-or-flight response, which is triggered during times of high stress, releases certain neurotransmitters and hormones that help the brain function better (if you’re running from a tiger, it’s evolutionally wise to be at your top cognitive game to figure out the best route).
Stress is an opportunity for you to experience hyperfocus and increased logical thinking. It can help you understand new things and provide you with the motivation to study and learn more than you would normally. As long as you practice proper stress reduction techniques during these periods, so you don’t get overworked or overtired, you might be able to gain more knowledge than you would otherwise.
Another thing that stress can help you do is learn how to develop strategic thinking. It’s great because we have to understand the best way to work through our problems and the most effective way to manage our own stress without getting pulled under.
People tend to be more innovative when they’re stressed out because they want to be free from the blanket of stress. Reacting on impulse is not the best way to manage stress: it’ll just create more. For that reason, you’ll have to develop techniques and lay out a game plan - or strategize, in other terms - to make sure that you keep on top of your stress.
This usually involves slowing down and thinking for a bit before you jump in and try to tackle everything head-on.
7. Expand your network
One of the most important things that a human being needs is social interaction, and unfortunately, during times of stress, we often forget about that. Looking at it a different way, though, you can see that stress is actually a great opportunity to expand your network and get to involve other people in your life.
A lot of people who are very successful have gotten to where they’re at by recognizing that people are capable of producing greater works when they work together instead of alone. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Stress is a great opportunity to recognize ths. While you might not want to have someone else finish your work for you, having them around to help you focus or to collaborate on the work so you can develop new ideas can be a great help.