Stress is perceived as a negative thing. It makes us unhappy, induces depression, damages our health, and can produce a downward spiral because it negatively impacts on our abilities, often resulting in more stress. Eustress is the term given to good stress, the kind that motivates us. So how can we turn negative stress into happy stress?
Attribution: Flickr - Hartwig HKD
It all comes down to how we feel about the stress. For example if you have to do a presentation for school or work, that is pretty stressful. If you feel that it is something that you hate and don't want to do that negativity bounces back on you with all the negative effects of stress.
However if you feel excited about the task, believe it to be a great opportunity and look forward to it, then you will not only avoid the negative problems of stress, you are likely to also perform better.
This is why i can never understand why many managers use the "if you fail you will be in trouble" approach instead of "do well and you will be rewarded". After all, when people are excited by something are going to do better.
Here are some approaches to creating happy stress in your life.
Even just saying to yourself or others that you are excited by something that is stressful is enough to make the stress positive. Be excited by everything. That big presentation, that school exam, a change of job, even that increased workload.
Attribution: Flickr - blinking idiot
I mean you don't have to be excited, but the choices are, do you want to feel good and do well, or would you prefer to become sick and depressed?
Focus on the positive
I personally enjoy a lot of stressful activities at work because I generally focus on the positive outcomes of succeeding. Think about exams during study. Exams are a great and exciting opportunity to test your skills and achieve your career goals. Fellow students have usually thought me to be crazy because of this, but it certainly makes exams better.
Attribution: Pixabay - PublicDomainImages
Same with your boss increasing your workload. Think about how exciting it can be to achieve the goal and be promoted if you succeed. Sure you could fail and lose your job, but if you focus on that, then you will fail, or at least suffer through the process.
**Gain as much control as possible*
One of the most negative aspects of stress is a loss of control. Once again managers and teachers are often responsible for creating this stress by assigning tasks without warning or choice.
Attribution: Flickr - Faramarz Hashemi
For yourself, always be pro-active in your approach to dealing with a problem. The more you decide on what you are going to do the less negative stress you will suffer.
Help others to be excited instead of stressed
When you create stress for other people it often comes back to haunt you. So give others control, be rewarding and help others become excited about the challenges they face. This will be infectious and spread to others and return to you as well.
Attribution: Flickr - Dave B
So get excited
Life is full of challenges, problems, hassles and stress. Let's break away from the idea that all of these negative and instead focus on the idea that this is in fact an exciting life.