Is Stress Good or Bad?
Is Stress Good or Bad? Great question, no? Don’t we all understand stress as something harmful? Is it maybe because a great amount of research was devoted on the negative effects of stress? Of course those effects are significant and cannot (and shouldn’t) be neglected. But is there a different point of view? I believe it worth watching the following video from the health psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal and then continue reading… I have some questions for you (as always ☺).
Can you Build a new Perspective?
Don’t you agree that the above 14 minute talk can give you a whole new perspective on life? If science has proven that “how you think about stress matters” then why continue thinking that it’s a bad thing? This might bring you to the question, “how to become better at stress”? Well Dr. Kelly says: identify the body’s reactions, embrace what follows, rely on others, care for the people next to you, and ask for help if you feel like it. I would totally agree with the approach. But is there something else you can do?
Actually, as per my opinion, one more thing could help you change your point of view. Express your self. Let thoughts out of your system. If something bothers you then open up. Always to the right person (even to the mirror), with the right words and at the right time. From my personal experience, this brings “closure” to torturing mind thoughts. It liberates! I know that this is not an easy task to do. But take into consideration the children below the age of 5 or 4 years. Do they face stress? Do they fear of what others will say? For sure that cannot apply in real life. We cannot behave to everyone like we are 3 year old child correct? What do we need to do then?
Build up Empathy
Being empathetic means two abilities. Firstly to understand and monitor your own emotions. Secondly to sense and acknowledge the feelings and emotions of others. But you don’t stop here. The purpose behind the development of empathy should connect to the utilisation of that information towards the right and beneficial decision!
Can you make the connections to stress? If you are aware of what is happening in your body then you already reached 50% of controlling the situation. Where does the remaining 50% rely? Well, where is the stress coming from? Does it relate to you solely? Then you should figure out the solution on your own. But if relates to another person or situation don’t you need to express yourself? Being empathetic is about having self-awareness and self-management, which aids in building social-awareness and relationship management. The base of all the above concepts is communication and in order to communicate properly you need to keep a clear mind!
Separate “Fear” from “Anxiety”
We have it mixed up in our minds. Yes, I am talking about the terms. Biopsychology makes things so simple. Fear is external and anxiety (stress) is internal. That is, we are afraid when we face a dangerous situation (possibly a life-threatening one) and we feel anxiety from the thoughts our brain generates (based on external signals).
Did you know that the human brain has 12 main neuron groups which consist of ~1 billion (~1,000,000,000) neurons? Did you know that these neurons can make ~100 trillion (~100,000,000,000,000) synaptic connections? Why am I telling you these?
What if I told you that 1/3 of the human brain (under normal conditions) is consumed every single hour of the day in the analysis of the information that originate from vision and perception only? Can you do the math what happens to the brain if you are stressed? It burns…
Don’t you owe it to yourself to become better at stress?
Just to sum up…
It depends how you see it! If you believe it’s good then it can do no harm to you…
– Identify the body’s reactions
– Embrace and welcome the feelings
– Separate “fear” from “anxiety”
– Build Up your empathetic skills and utilise the information towards your benefit
– Express yourself (to the right person, with the right words, at the right time)
– Repeat. It’s not a static process. Everything changes, thus practice builds awareness and resilience