Although stress is a constant in our lives, it CAN be managed. Did you know that there is “constructive stress” caused by positive events? A good job interview is the perfect example. You’re elated, but totally stressed about the outcome. On balance, it’s good.
Far be it for me to lie about a lack of stress in my own life. Fat chance. 49% of Americans reported stressful experiences last year, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. Only 49%? Seriously? 13% reported “problems with work.” For those of you “looking for work,” the percentage could be higher. Uh-huh.
Let’s look at some facts about “good” and “bad” stress that could help you deal with your own in more healthful ways.
- The gory details are all around us, but let’s look at both sides of the coin.
True, the Harvard study shows that too many responsibilities and problems with finances cause stress. If you’re a job hunter with a family and bills to pay, it’s a double “duh,” right? But, there are some good things you need to hear. First, 3rd quarter stats in the US show that we had an increase in jobs and drop in unemployment. Power Connections CEO Susan Howington says recruiting is up.
Good news, right? Stay focused on thinking about how this news could motivate your search. Let it be a “good stressor” to keep you going.
- What’s wrong with us? We’re the most anxiety-laden citizens on the planet.
The Atlantic says one reason is the pressure to succeed. You don’t say? I have flailed around my office in anguish over this, and need to get a grip. Et tu?
Jeary says be clear about your own values and what YOU truly want for yourself, no matter what someone else wants to hear. Ohhhhh, boy. If you can leave the pressure to succeed behind and do what you value, “bad” stress will dissipate. Follow your path. That’s “good” stress.
- Aha! I knew it! Worry can kill me!
Note to self: get over it! Achor and Alia Crum, Ph.D. at Stanford say that stress can enhance new priorities, greater appreciation of life and self-meaning. Studies show that folks who learn this experience a drop in headaches, backaches and fatigue.
- Relish the “good moments” every day.
While you’re rushing like a hamster on a wheel, stop and enjoy any good moment that happens. Had a great lunchtime? Savor it for at least 12 seconds and it will go to long term storage in your brain. Experts say pondering positive moments creates lasting neural structure. Our neuroplasticity helps us become more positive thinkers.
- Coffee with a buddy busts stress like nothin’ else.
Isn’t that great to know? If you want to live a long healthy life by slashing stress with zeal, keep strengthening your relationships, baby! It absolutely reduces mortality and boosts happiness.