As Sydney J. Harris once said, “the time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Look at it this way: Every single one of us experiences stress at some point in our lives. The most enlightened Zen master might claim to be free of stress now, but there will have been some point in his life when he had to manage it just like the rest of us.
And for many of us living in our fast-paced world, stress is just a part and parcel of our lives. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it isn’t going to go away. So the only thing you can do in such a situation is use it to your advantage.
Instead of spending all your time kicking and screaming at stress and trying to battle it like a frustrated child, let’s take a look at how you can actually grow as a person by using stress to your advantage.
Adopt A Positive Attitude
The first thing you absolutely must do is adopt a positive attitude. If you try to deal with stress with lots of sighs and an “I cannot cope with this” attitude, it’s very likely that your situation is going to get much worse before it begins to get any better.
Continuing to approach life with an upbeat, positive attitude despite everything that is going wrong right now is a great way to use stress to your advantage.
See, there is good stress and there is bad stress. Bad stress breaks us, but good stress can push us forward. It’s something we thrive on.
As associate professor at UC Berkeley Daniela Kaufer says: “If you tend to have a positive attitude – a self-confident sense that you can get through a rough period – you’re more likely to have a healthy response than if you perceive stress as catastrophic.”
Feeling really stressed? Then let it all out on a treadmill!
Use your frustrations to your advantage by letting off steam after work and getting yourself a leaner, fitter body.
If there is one thing that stress has reminded you of, it’s that you need to sleep more often.
Sleeping is crucial to mental and physical wellbeing, and if we don’t get enough sleep we’re not going to be 100% the next day.
And when we’re not 100%, we’re not as productive as we can be. As such, we fall behind with work, which leaves us stressed.
Change Your Perspective
What is perspective? Perspective is really nothing more than our subjective take on an event. It is our opinion of an objective fact.
For example, instead of saying “today happened,” we offer our preceptive interpretation by saying “today was good” or “today was bad.”
It’s the same when it comes to a stressful situation. We can either just say “I am stressed” and try to run with it, or we can say “This is bad”.
Even better, we should simply say “I have this and that to do today,” or “This is what I did today.”
Don’t even focus on being stressed. Don’t say the word. Be objective. Admit you have things to do and then do them.
Stress gives you this opportunity to be more objective. It will allow you to make more rational, more composed decisions. If someone has shouted at you, just admit that they reacted. But that’s all. Don’t say that it upset you or made you feel angry, too.
Ask Someone For Help!
If you’re feeling burnt out from stress, now is the time to ask someone for help.
A lot of first-time entrepreneurs suffer from the problem of trying to do everything themselves. Eventually, they burn out.
Once they ask for help, they realise that they should have just done this at the start.
Fix Your Diet
A poor diet can make stress even worse. Now is the time for you to make the biggest change in your life you’ve always told yourself you would make – eat a better diet.
Get A Change Of Scenery
When we’re stressed, we start to hate the four walls of our work space. We’ve been stuck in there for months and months!
Well, now you have an excuse to take a break.
Instead of letting stress overwhelm and frustrate the heck out you, thank it for reminding you that you need a change of scenery. Embrace the fact that it’s encouraged you to at last get out of your office and try something different.
If you must, take a few weeks off work. Recharge your batteries. Get back to being you.
If there is one thing stress makes us realise is that it’s VERY hard to be in control all the time. Stress teaches us that it’s okay to let go now and then.
Rescinding control can either be scary or exciting – it really depends on your perception. For people who are suffering badly from stress, the idea of letting go sounds a bit scary. But it really isn’t.
Loosening your grip on things is liberating, and it’s very possibly what you need right now. Stress has already loosened your grip somewhat, and now all you have to do is take your hands off it completely.
Being free from control leads to unpredictability, but this is the exciting bit. New opportunities can arise. Freedom awaits. It’s breathtaking.
Focus Focus Focus
One of the reasons we get stressed in the first place is because we let things get out of hand. Sometimes, this happens because we took on too many jobs at the same time and lost all focus. Hey, it happens.
Stress can remind you that multitasking doesn’t really work, and that what you should be doing instead is focusing on each task one at a time.
Now is your chance to get back to doing just that. Take small steps. Don’t move on from one project to another until the first project is totally finished.
Manage Your Energy
Finally, instead of trying to manage your time, manage your energy instead. Time is linear and cannot be altered. There are 24 hours in a day, no more.
But energy can be altered. If you’re feeling like you have no energy to do anything right now and it’s stressing you out, make changes to your lifestyle that ensure you have more energy.