Stress, our favourite thing in the world!
Stress can ruin people. It plays a significant factor in causing many illnesses and generally lowers our quality of life.
I was letting stress get to me too: in my field we have a lot of work to do by tight deadlines – a recipe for stress. As a result I was always worried or nervous about not being able to get things done or in time; it got to a point where I could never not think about work and how on earth I was meant to finish the tasks that I was assigned.
I knew something had to change, so I spent some time actively working to reduce my stress levels.
I’m not going to go into detail about specific techniques like being organised or getting a good night’s sleep, because they’re everywhere... instead, I’m going to focus on the mentality aspect to how you perceive and think about stress.
Before I get into them, I want to stress that stress is a perception of our emotions; stress is similar to fear and excitement – it is a feeling we get when we are faced with performing or dealing with a set of events.
The beauty about emotions is that they are all perceived; studies have shown that excitement and fear actually elicit a very similar response in us – the only difference being that we decide to associate the feeling as either fear or excitement; this is why some people are buzzing about public speaking whilst other people brick themselves
I have found that stress is similar; what’s stressful for me might be exciting to another person. With practice, we can learn to choose how to perceive the event and how we are feeling.
When I’m faced with a stressful set of events at work I now try to think about it in 1 of 2 main ways:
1. A challenge
Life is challenging you, not stressing you: it is giving you a test to see what you are capable of; can you finish x, y, and z by the end of the week? That’s your task, and as soon as you start to perceive it as a challenge instead of stress you start to analyze it and try and break it down in order to tackle it, instead of being completely overwhelmed by it.
2. A non-threatening life event
So let’s imagine your boss gives you an insane amount of work to do in not enough time for a deadline – what’s the worst thing that can happen? You get yelled at, the company looks bad and it’s your fault, or some other thing that is not particularly good happens such as getting fired… but are you going to die? Nope.
Sure you can try and do the best job possible, but unless you’re in a real threat because of it is there a reason to panic or feel stressed?
These two thoughts have helped me look at work from a much calmer perspective; either as something exciting and challenging, or something that’s not going to kill me if I don’t achieve what I’m meant to.
I hope this helps!
Michael Tawiah’s life ambition is to help you become a better version of yourself. He writes about how to overcome fears, insecurities, and live life to the fullest over at his blog www.InvincibleMentality.com . Connect with him on facebook (/invinciblementality) or email ask him anything at firstname.lastname@example.org