Obesity, diabetes, stroke, addiction even death can all be named as side effects of stress. Recent studies found global stress levels are rising 6 in 10 workers heightened stress levels are costing the world economy billions in lost productivity and health related problems. Philanthropist Luke Mathers shares how to take advantage of your stress.
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Stress is getting everyone anxious and searching for ways to decrease their stress levels. From medication, drugs, alcohol and eating comfort foods we are all looking for ways to release the tension. But what if we stopped viewing stress as a threat?
What if we saw stress as a challenge and not an obstacle that is going to destroy us? What if stress wasn’t the enemy? In fact, what if I told you it’s kept us alive?! Let’s look at how we can utilize stress to propel us where we need to be use it to our advantage.
Everyone who has trained for a sport knows if you want to improve you must push yourself. How do you know you can run that extra kilometre? Shave that split second off your PB? You don’t! But you have to try in order to improve. Same can be said for anything you want in life. That dream job, starting that business, meeting your perfect partner it has to be done outside of your comfort zone which can cause you to feel stressed but it’s where the growth takes place.
Like the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going” When we hit the bumps in the road (And believe me the road will always be bumpy) Tenacity is the glue that keeps you hanging in there. Tenacity is when stress hits and we choose to respond to stress as a challenge and not an obstacle to help propel you over the hurdles life throws at you. Anyone who has succeeded at life be it Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong or Amelia Earhart all of them had two choices. 1. was to stop at every bump in the road or 2. Utilize the stress they were facing. They choose the use their tenacity to work smarter and harder to find solutions to move them forward rather than let stress stop them at every block in the road.
3. Being fired up
Fight or Flight has been key in the human species survival and evolution. Thanks to stress producing adrenaline which then causes increase in our heart rate, our breath to quicken and pump more oxygen and energy into our muscles telling our body parts when to fight and when to run so we could dodge the tigers in the jungle we are now here today. Nothing like a last-minute assignment or a looming deadline to give you the rush of energy you need to get stuff done! Stress fires you up so you can channel that energy rush into the right way to serve you.
Everyone is going to fall, stumble or trip in life. If you spend your entire life avoiding challenging situations, then you can’t recover from them. We need stressful situations to build belief in ourselves. The belief that we can do this, we can handle this, we can handle the next problem life throws at us. Resilience is the capability to bounce back from difficulties and building resilience requires stress. Toxic stress will tell you that you can’t handle the situation but you can! When we learn to embrace the toxic stress in situations we learn to be more resilient.
5. Close Bonds
Oxytocin is the hormone released as part of the stress response and it shields your heart from getting damaged. It is a social bond generating hormone designed to make us find people to help in times of stress. Have you ever noticed men who fought side by side in battle together have a bond 50 years later? That’s our human biology ensuring in times of stress we build stronger bonds with people. Overcoming adversity and affliction brings people together.
Looking at these positive’s stress can give you I urge you to re-think how you see stress. Next time you feel the physical symptoms of stress freezing over your body, stop. Think. Don’t see it as a threat. Instead see at as a challenge to grow. By changing your view a stressful situation can become your short-term power tool to help you embrace the challenges life throws at you and help eliminate the harmful effects stress has on you and your everyday life.
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