Stress Has Been Given a Bad Name
Posted On Jan 24, 2017
People I know generally do not like stress, try to avoid it, and do not talk about the positive aspects of stress. From a psychological perspective, stress is typically thought of as bad and causing, or contributing to, physical illnesses, such as hypertension and skin problems. If the world and people were simple, single issue, and good vs. bad environments, maybe stress could be best viewed that way. However, I have found that stress can lead to success and excitement, to growth and thrilling lives. How is this possible?
I believe a better way to think about stress is that it is the human state when we realize something important is involved. If a person does not believe he/she can overcome or succeed in the situation, it is interpreted as negative and stressful. If, however, a person realizes an important event is coming up or that a great challenge is facing him/her, and he/she develops some skills and confidence to succeed, stress can be interpreted as positive, as "eustress" (as opposed to distress). If/when a person sees a very important event on the horizon and prepares for it, builds skills, and practices, with the intent and hope of winning (in some way) - that can lead to learning, success, and greater self-confidence and self-esteem.
This may seem like a superficial and simplistic idea (there are deeper aspects and implications of this), but this understanding of stress holds hope and potential for not freaking out, suffering, or giving up. Many successful CEO's, Olympic athletes, martial artists, musicians, actors, stand up comedians, and animal trainers may understand this at a deep level.
There are ways to transform our brains, therefore our lives, to experience more eustress. Someone once said, "Nothing great was ever created in the comfort zone."