If someone were to ask you, on a scale of 1-10 how stressed you are, 10 being the worst, how would you rate yourself? Besides causing you to feel more anxious being asked this, it gives you a chance to reflect. Reflect on how stressed you are, what is stressing you and how you perceive stress.
Stress is known to be negative. Many people associate stress with higher rates of depression, anxiety, blood pressure, and impaired performance. But what if we look at stress in a different way? Research has found that some stress is good for you. Stress can in fact improve performance as it causes our brains to be more alert. When we are stressed we experience the fight or flight response in the body and normally people shy away from the stress and fly away. What we need to do is practice positive reappraisal, which essentially is changing the way we think about stress to then change the emotional impact of it. There are many articles online that interview several CEOs of major companies, to determine what their stress levels are. Many reported only a 3 or 4, on a scale of 1-10 but from the outside looking in, we may wonder why its not a 10 at all times. Several of the CEOs interviewed reported they saw stress as a challenge rather than a threat. From their perspective, this creates opportunities. The second most important factor related to stress is the physical preparedness that it manifests. The CEOs reported they viewed their increased heart rates, or shaky hands as a bump in energy preparing them for a good performance. Everyone perceives stress differently, and that’s okay, but it is helpful to welcome the stress instead of running from it. Stress does not have to be this paralyzing experience, and if we can learn to change the way we think about a 6 or 7 on our own scales, we can grow resilience within ourselves.