Bear in mind that stress is nothing new. Humanity has probably been stressed since the world began, for various reasons of survival. It makes one wonder if over time, stress has actually come to serve a useful purpose. Well, as it turns out, that just may be the case. While there is no question that too much stress is a bad thing, there are instances where short bursts of stress can have tangible benefits. Consider the motivational effects a looming deadline, or the rush of excitement and adrenaline that comes with public speaking or playing in a championship game.
Recently scientists have increasingly turned their attention to the positive aspects of stress, and what they're finding is that under the right circumstances, it can potentially boost your immune system, motivate you to be more productive at work, improve your focus and memory, and even make your life more interesting.
The key is to get a handle on stress and not let it become a constant state. Only then can you harness its benefits while avoiding the negative consequences, of which there are many. Here are a few ways that you can accomplish this.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
This states the obvious, but it highlights the importance of keeping it short and sweet. Under stress, our body releases hormones that actually serve a useful purpose to our productivity and our health. When it gets overwhelming, find ways to restore a healthier state of mind.
Be Aware of Where Stress Comes From
Stress can come from many sources. Understanding what causes stress in your life is the first step toward getting it under control and deriving some positive benefits from it.
For me, one of the biggest sources of stress is being disorganized. When I have all my ducks in a row and things run smoothly, I get energized and feel good when I take care of business.
Challenge Yourself in Positive Ways
Embracing new challenges is not only a way to experience small doses of stress, but it can enrich your life and help you grow as a person. Being a parent opens up countless opportunities to accomplish this, so take advantage of them when they arise.
Learn How to Deal With It
Stress is a fact of life, so rather than avoid it (which is virtually impossible), accept that it will arise and know how to respond. This takes practice but begins with awareness.
Know When to Walk Away
One way to keep tabs on stress is by removing ourselves from very stressful situations. The less we repeatedly place ourselves within the reach of stress, the less it will harm us.
Many stressful situations can be mitigated significantly by simply taking a step back and taking a deep breath.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Feeling healthy makes you feel good about yourself, building self-esteem, and helping you better cope with stressful situations. Too much sugar and salt can bring you down.
Turn Off Your Phone
When you're stressed, a ringing phone can be the final straw to push you over the edge while distracting you from the task at hand. Simply turn off your phone until the storm has passed.
Don't Take Things Too Seriously
I think it's fair to say that a lot of stress is self-imposed. As long as your family is healthy and safe, then let it go and don't stress. Most things work out in the end.
Surround Yourself With Positive and Supportive People
A lot of how you feel is influenced by who you associate with. Avoid people who stress you out and reach out to those who calm you.
Allow for Recovery Time
Stress should be followed by time to recover and restore some peace. Remember, the constant onslaught of stress is what begins to erode your health and quality of life.
Exercise has so many benefits that we should all get more of it. It makes us feel better, and being healthy helps us cope with the daily onslaught of stress.
Meditate and/or Do Yoga
Mindfulness is a good thing, and taking part in mindful exercises like meditation or yoga can calm us down and prepare us for whatever challenges await us.