When you think of stress and how to make stress your friend; positive adjectives rarely come to mind. Of course, there’s the negative impact stress has on your body, your ability to interact with others, and of course, your confidence. Depending on the severity of your stress, you may even have a hard time getting through your typical day-to-day activities.
Although stress-related anxiety is usually considered a villain, there are some upsides to dealing with it. For one, the stress associated with pressure is often enough to pull through a tough assignment. How many times has the pressure of turning in homework been enough to power through? It’s especially fulfilling when you get a good grade. The same applies to career decision making.
“Sometimes I panic to the point where I don’t know what I’m thinking or doing.”
Even celebrities deal with stress and anxiety. While they may appear brave, both seasoned actors and musicians can feel panicked while following their dreams. However, successful performers learn to persevere.
Distress vs Eustress
It’s important to understand the differences between the types of stress. Distress is the body’s response to perceived negative stimuli. Examples of distress include a death in the family, getting fired from your job, and a divorce or separation from your spouse.
On the other hand, eustress is the anxious feeling that usually accompanies a task you’re excited to do. Waiting in line for a roller coaster and giving birth are examples of eustress.
Luckily, humans are subjective and can turn perceived distress into eustress. Say you’re working a stressful commission job. You’ve been looking to go into business for yourself but feel nervous that you may fail.
Conveniently, you get laid off. Initially, you’ll feel distressed, but you have the power to convert that energy into eustress. The ability to support your family your way is motivation to achieve your goals.
The Benefits Of Making Stress Your Friend
If you need a bit more convincing, there are some upsides to stress backed by science, including:
It sharpens your cognitive function.
In some cases, dealing with mild levels of discomfort is necessary to achieve your goals. When you deal with moderate amounts of stress, you trigger your fight-or-flight response.
This is a physiological behavior your body uses to assess the level of danger you’re in. When your mind decides that you’re not in immediate danger, your body gives you the strength and energy to power through the stressors and succeed.
Over time, dealing with stressors increases your brain’s number of neurotrophins. Neurotrophins determine whether nerve cells die or survive. The constant flow of neurotrophins leads to more healthy brain cells and the elimination of unwanted ones.
It’s an immunity boost.
By dealing with consistent stress, you produce more interleukins, which are chemicals that help your immune system fight off infection. Of course, this is when you deal with mild to moderate stress levels. Chronic stress has an adverse effect on overall immune health.
It assists with child development.
Although it’s not ideal to be stressed during pregnancy, a study showed that minimal exposure to everyday stress increased the fetal development and continued into the child’s toddler years. Generally, this evidence applies to women who didn’t otherwise have mental illnesses.
“Nothing in life comes easily. Everything comes with sacrifice.”
Naturally, you will deal with some stress. The key to overcoming stress is to embrace it. When you learn how to make stress you friend, you improve your mental and emotional health.
How to Make Stress You Friend
There are many ways to embrace stress and lead a healthier life, even for beginners. These ways include:
Change the way you think about stress.
Health experts believe that it’s better to embrace your triggers than work towards reducing them. When you accept them, you can change your emotional and physical response. Trying to eliminate stress creates unhealthy coping mechanisms.
For instance, if you feel stressed, you may turn to drugs or alcohol to drown it out. This not only leads to addiction, but it also alters your mind and body in a negative way. For others, they manifest even worse outcomes by responding to the scenarios they create in their head.
Remember that everyone deals with stress.
In stressful situations, it’s easy for you to feel alone, which takes an even greater toll on your emotions. Although it’s hard to realize in the moment, everyone is dealing with stress. By reminding yourself of this, you can either handle it yourself or speak to someone for support.
Use stress as motivation.
If you’ve ever given up on a goal because of your stress, you understand that it can feel just as bad as trying and failing. At least when you fail at something, you’re one step closer to figuring out the solution.
Distress and eustress have similar characteristics as well as physical responses. What separates them is how they’re used. When you use distress as motivation to complete a goal, it becomes something that boosts your confidence in anticipation you’ll succeed.
Overall, dealing with stress makes you a stronger person. In addition to increasing your self-confidence, overcoming mild amounts of stress helps you fight off diseases. This is especially important since stress is a natural part of your everyday life.
Although getting rid of stress appears to give you control, it’s the opposite. It’s not until you embrace stress and change your mindset that you’ll have the power to feel confident in your life decisions. When you feel like your anxiety is taking over, channel it into fuel to achieve your goals.
If you have a family or loved ones, you don’t have to deal with stress alone. Speaking to someone about your stress is another way to make it go away.