Almost everyone, everywhere experiences stress. Stress cuts through cultures, genders, and economic positions – neither the rich nor the poor are immune, and the young are just as susceptible as the old. It’s the singular theme that emerges from every meeting in the diverse countries where I lecture. Stress has become the number one obstacle to life satisfaction. But here’s the surprising thing: stress, itself, is not the enemy! In reality, positive stress is the key to growth because it drives and motivates us. For a muscle to grow, it must experience stress, which stimulates and steers performance to help us achieve our targets. The real enemy is the lack of recovery.
Stress is simply the release of adrenaline in the body in response to a trigger. Of course, major negative life stressors, such as loss and trauma, cause “bad stress” while positive stress can help us grow. Positive stress boosts determination and ambition, enabling us to reach goals, achieve targets and get ahead with life. However, we shouldn’t allow the daily grind of work and life commitments to push us into overwhelming overload and exhaustion.
The constant expectations, demands and deadlines may lead to depletion and burnout. This is because we’re not designed for continuous, sustained performance. We’re most productive when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing our energy. Very short intervals of effective energy renewal are vital during the workday, along with longer periods of rest outside of work. Managing your stress can help prevent burnouts so here are six ways to make stress work for you:
We may have resigned ourselves to the fact that stress, fatigue, and exhaustion are simply parts of life in the 21st century. The good news is that we can enhance and sustain performance by changing our mindset and making stress work for us, as well as maintaining a nutritious diet and implementing of some of these simple strategies.