Mental Health: How To Use Stress To Your Advantage

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The word stress usually has a negative connotation. It comes with nervousness and anxiety, and can almost tear you down. What we need to realise though, is that we are the ones who make sense of our feelings. If we can change our perception of stress, it can turn out to be a good thing.

By definition, stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable.

The thing is, stress is not necessarily a bad thing especially if it is redirected to doing good things. If you let your stress consume you, trust me, it will. If you sit there and excuse yourself from doing what you are supposed to because you are ‘stressed’ then yes, you will end up procrastinating and being even less productive. However, if you change your perception of stress then it can lead you to do great things.

Here are a few ways of using stress to your advantage.

  1. Change your perspective

Viewing stress negatively will do you more harm than good. If you want to use stress to your advantage, then you might just want to change how you see it. If you attach purpose to a situation that seems difficult you make it much more bearable and easier to deal with. Make meaning out of whatever it is that is stressing you. If it is a class assignment, then understand what it is teaching you. This will give you the resilience to push through and create the best and nothing short of that.

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  1. Convert stress to a superpower

If you view it negatively, it will affect you negatively. Which is why you might want to change that perception. Stress can be a superpower. You can use it to make change or action in your life, and in so doing, you will see great positive changes in your life. That’s why it’s important to be more proactive than reactive.

Proactivity tells you to work towards making something better, while reactivity will make you sit there and wallow in negative thoughts. Whenever stress creeps up, start working on whatever is causing you to stress rather than allowing yourself to be consumed by the negativity.

  1. Use stress to get fit

We’ve all been to the gym, or even a workout session, and by the end of it all we feel much better, not only physically but also mentally. Because stress is in itself very overbearing, you can use exercise as an outlet for your problems. In doing so you kill two birds with one stone. You will get fit and achieve your workout goals, while at the same time your stress levels will reduce.

This is a great way of dealing with stress. It’s healthy and it works. It doesn’t even have to be too time-consuming. There are online applications with workouts that are as short as seven minutes, and by the end of these seven intense minutes, you feel much better. Use stress to your advantage, don’t allow it to use you.

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  1. Take advantage of stress for learning

A study conducted concluded that an individual’s interpretation of and response to the stressor can make it either a positive challenge or a hindrance to learning. The same study encourages us to avoid demonising stress and to be open to the possibility that stress can be beneficial for learning. Paradoxically, thinking about stress as being negative may contribute to its negative impact.

Alternatively, we can focus on how we embrace and maximize the value of stress even if we sometimes need to reduce stress. It is said that stress can enhance memory and learning as well as improving decision-making skills. The way you view stress is the problem. If you change your perception and make it a positive one, then you may just reap full benefits out of it. But if you think that stress is negative, its effects will be portrayed, full force.

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