How embracing stress can result in growth
Take a moment and think about a time in your life when you experienced a lot of personal growth. Perhaps it was in your career or your personal life. Maybe it was a time of spiritual growth. Got it?
Now pause again and think about a time in your life when you were extremely stressed or overwhelmed or struggling with change. Got it?
Any chance this is a similar time period?
Isn’t it true that many of the strengths that we’ve developed, the personal power we’ve tapped into or the emotional reserves that we have refined have been created through adversity in our lives? What if feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or challenged is actually a good thing?
Our modern culture and everyday media tells us that stress is something to avoid at all costs. We are told that it creates health problems and lowers productivity on the job. It causes emotional problems in our relationships and affects our image of ourselves. Research supports all of these things.
But what if this is only one side of the story? What if our attitude about stress mediates the affect that it has on us? What if our mindset determines the outcome of the challenges and hardships that are an everyday part of our lives? What if stress also develops our character, our problem solving ability and our sensitivity and compassion for others? What if it increases motivation and determination?
Will we crash and burn or will we be the phoenix rising from the ashes? Maybe the choice is really up to us.
Psychologist, Alia Crum has spent years doing research on the power of mindset on the effects of everyday stress. Take a look at this video to learn more about her findings:
Convinced that stress has benefits? How do you make sure that you tap into those benefits? How do you avoid the adverse effects? Here are Dr. Crum’s findings:
- Acknowledge stress- Instead of pretending stress doesn’t exist, avoiding stress or even trying to overcome stress, acknowledge what is and give it a name. In this way we begin the process of problem solving and coping. We actually move the stressor in our brain from the fight or flight response region of the brain to the prefrontal cortex which is the problem solving part of the brain.
- Recognize the positive possibilities- This is not the same as mindlessly taking a Pollyanna approach to stress. On the other hand, it does mean that we don’t continually dwell on the disastrous effects of the problem either. When we go on a rant or decide to vent our frustration with others, we are aren’t fixing the problem but rather adding fuel to the fire. Be honest. How often has something positive come out of a session of venting? Don’t you feel even more justified and resigned about the problem? Instead anticipate the potential positive outcomes of the situation.
- Utilize the stress- This is the action phase where you identify possibilities and put them into operation. This is making changes and taking chances despite feelings that may discourage you from doing so. Recognize that everything is research and development so that no matter the outcome, you will learn and grow from it.
Ready to embrace change and move forward with goals for 2018? Let’s talk:
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