Mindset

Can Stress Ever Be Positive? (And 3 Easy Ways to Turn Bad to Good)

Do you wake up stressed?

Hopefully not! But how long into the day does it take before you’re feeling tense inside?

And are you imagining all the terrible things that could happen? If one more person comes to you with a problem, will you throw up your arms and go join a traveling circus? (Are there any circuses anymore?)

You want to be helpful and do everything, but you don’t feel like you have any time for yourself. 

You’ll sleep later. You’ll meditate later. Everyone will eat before you.

We need to stop putting ourselves last.

And we need to learn how to transform our negative stress into positive energy.

Woman feeling a lot of stress

Don’t Give Yourself A Heart Attack

When we feel too much stress, it can manifest into health problems that can lead to heart attacks, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases.

So be aware of the warning signs that you have too much stress:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Problems concentrating
  • Often sick

What Are the Benefits of Stress

Yes, there are some positive aspects to stress!

When you’re stressed, you have better focus as well as a strong motivation to achieve some goal.

Stress can also boost your memory for a time.

And I know this may seem crazy, but researchers are testing that some stress will improve your immune system. And it can fortify your heart.

But as we’ve seen, too much stress can be harmful.

Stress can also be very helpful when you’re trying to make a decision. You need to learn to listen to your body’s signals.

Also, if you’re around someone who makes you feel stressed, chances are there’s a good reason for it. Your intuition is picking up on something.

8 things to give up
doubting yourself
negative thinking
fear of failure
criticizing others
negative self-talk
procrastination
fear of success
people pleasing

How to Positively Re-frame Stress Reducing Its Impact

Some people call positive stress “eustress.”

And one of the best ways to manage your negative stress is to re-frame it with positive self-talk.

I’m screwing up

Re-frame this as you’re learning. You’re growing. And the other person is really happy with your efforts and results.

They’ll be angry at me

Maybe. There’s always that possibility.

But they’ll get over it.

Or, maybe, they’ll be grateful that you’re not saying yes and then not be able to complete it because you’re overwhelmed with all the things you said Yes to.

And you can always defer them. You can’t do it now, but you could do it later.

Be careful of not personalizing everything. Remember, they’re more focused on themselves than they are on you.

I can’t do this

Just because you haven’t before doesn’t mean you can’t now.

And if someone else has done it, you absolutely can too!

Be aware of making everything all good or all bad.

Life isn’t just succeeding and failing. It’s actually all about learning and growing.

Harnessing Stress to Your Advantage

You are the owner of your life.

Life your life for you and not for anyone else.

Oh don’t get me wrong. It’s essential to have people in your life. And all relationships bring stress with them.

If you make a mistake, own up to it quickly and authentically. This will reduce your stress as well as the other person’s.

And figure out what you can learn from it.

Easy Ways to Be Proactive

Learn how to identify stress sooner so you can transform it before you’re stressed.

If you know that when you visit your parents that you will get asked a stressful question, practice smiling in the mirror and saying “That’s not something I want to discuss right now.”

The more confident you are, the better the situation will go.

Then also remember to have a few other conversation starters so you can show that you do want to talk with them, but about other things.

awkward dinner with family

Put Your Head In the Lion’s Mouth

I must have the circus on my mind. But indeed, you need to allow yourself to be open to situations that are stressful and practice how you handle it.

Practice really does make perfect. And it builds up your self-confidence.

And speaking of cats, go ahead and be curious.

Why does a situation make you feel stressed? Maybe something happened in the past that you need to let go of so you can grow and embrace the future you.

I hesitate to put it bluntly, but often, we get stressed because we think we’re the only person to do something correctly.

Or we think someone will get angry with us if we don’t do something for them.

It’s absolutely OK to set boundaries and learn to let others step in and help.

Put Your Stress Picture In A New Frame

When we’re stressed, we get a picture in our mind of how things are.

And it can be very difficult to let go of that picture.

A friend recently had some difficulties with her step-mom. My friend took her father out for lunch, and then they went back to her place for a bit. The step-mom got a picture in her mind of her husband being abandoned while her step-daughter went off to do whatever.

So the step-mom hopped in her car and drove over completely in a frantic state. She couldn’t not believe that any other story was true, nor did she take a moment to get curious and ask herself why she wanted such a bad story to be true.

She was stressed, and not in a good way.

Do you ever have that problem?

Take some time to breathe deeply and visualize a positive outcome.

Re-frame your stress and ask yourself why you created that picture in the first place.

Can You Take Control?

Think through the last few times you were really stressed. Then plan out different endings.

Remember it doesn’t do any good to tell yourself that you just won’t get stressed. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

In fact, the stress is like a radio that someone keeps turning up the volume on. And then someone else brings in another radio and turns it on.

All your practice in staying calm will go out the window because you cannot ignore a problem.

It’s good to address that it will happen, and have a plan for how you will react and respond.

In essence, it’s important to gain control of yourself. Remember when I discussed NLP and Visualization?

Have a Stress Support System

Don’t try and keep all the stress inside yourself.

Find a few good friends and designate them your stress support system. When you are feeling overwhelmed, contact them for a sanity check.

Maybe you can go for a walk to burn off the nervous energy.

And give them permission to point out when you’re continuing to run into the same stress over and over again. Maybe you’re not learning the lesson, or you need to find a different solution.

Your stress support system can help you get insight into what is stressing you out and why And they can help you find the path to turning it into positive stress.

The positive stress will give you the focus and motivation to fix the problem or learn to let it go so it doesn’t stress you out any more.

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