Before we start discussing stress in this article, you need to know one important fact that stress is basically a lifelong friend that we cannot get rid of. Stress is always there, anytime, anywhere, only sometimes we can feel it, sometimes we can ignore it. To live healthier both physically and mentally, we need to make friends with our stress. Not only so we can control it, but also handle it well. But how can we befriend stress? Is that even possible? Let’s have a look at the review below.
How to Befriend Stress? – Is It Possible?
Many people think that stress is the ‘enemy’ and the cause of unhappiness. Therefore, avoiding it is often used as an alternative way to overcome it. In fact, this method can actually make your stress level higher, you know. And the fact is, many people and experts say that actually stress can actually spur us to live our life to the better.
Is it possible to befriend stress?
The answer is: YES. We can definitely befriend stress.
When experiencing stress, a stress hormone known as cortisol is released. Cortisol is good if it happens in a short time because it increases our focus range in doing something. However, if the level is already high, it can even have a bad influence on your brain cells and the body’s immune system which results in diseases or disorders.
But, do you know that there is a hormone called oxytocin that has anti-stress effect by reducing blood pressure and cortisol level? Oxytocin hormone is known for its healing and growth. This hormone can also stimulate various types of social interaction. So that means, positive social interactions through touch and psychological supports can trigger the release of oxytocin hormone that promotes health.
Why do we want to befriend stress?
According to Stephen Joseph, professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, people who can manage stress and use it in constructive ways will experience extraordinary personal growth. This positive stress can provide encouragement to complete tasks before deadlines, do more reps in the gym, and also alertness.
Joseph explained, there are five situations that create stress in a moderate amount that can have a positive effect on your life.
1. Stress at work
Want to live a stress free life? Then check your ambitions. According to the Director of The Stress Institute, Kathleen Hall, people who do not have a sense of stress in general are people who are not ambitious. “Being stressed at work means you are productive. You work under deadlines and are motivated to reach higher positions and seize opportunities. The key is, you need to focus on achieving your goals,” he advised.
2. Stress at home
When stressed, the body secretes the hormone cortisol to speed up metabolism, according to a study from Stanford University. A long stress response can trigger health problems, but if it occurs occasionally it will improve the ability to remember, strengthen the immune system, and activate brain cells.
3. Stress in competition
Competitions often cause stress. According to Hall, if you are never stressed, then you will never know your greatest potential. “Stress in competition will make you bring out your best potential to win it,” she said.
4. Stress at school
According to a study in Social Indicators Research, stress at school will provide benefits, one of which adds to the intelligence of your brain. Students who are stressed academically are more likely to excel in class.
5. Stress in the gym
Study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reveals, positive stress is associated with certain biological functions that help the body become stronger to do exercises in weights. When the body feels it reaches its limits, the body’s stress will stimulate adrenalin which helps with discomfort.
How do we make stress our friend?
Is there a way to be friendly with stress? Grishma Giri, a doctor from Nepal, explained the 8 ways to make friends with stress as follows:
1. Unplug ourselves
Everything in this life strives to keep us connected and hold ourselves back. If you are stressed, what to do is release yourself from your daily routine and enjoy life.
Get out of the house, leave the cellphone and all other gadgets so you don’t need to check emails. Give a chance for you to rest and see how this can work wonders in your life. Disconnecting ourselves from all daily activities will provide an opportunity to recharge ourselves.
2. Share what troubles you
Stress can make you feel helpless and weak. If you already feel exhausted, you need to talk about that feeling with friends, parents, bosses, or anyone who is comfortable talking to.
Sharing a problem will reduce the burden of that problem. Talking with your closest friends will help motivate and generate ideas that can be used next.
3. Have enough sleep
To maintain physical and mental health, you need to sleep well. You should take a rest at least for 8 hours a day so you can take time to reflect and relax. Having adequate rest will get rid of disturbing negative thoughts.
4. Keep moving
Sit or lay down all day or do nothing will only worsen your problem. You must get up and move to reduce the stress you feel and make yourself calm. Find something you enjoy doing that can make you busy. You can exercise, write journals, clean up the house, etc.
5. Stay focused
Stress will drain energy and destroy the enthusiasm for work. You need to stay focused when dealing with various problems and use your time wisely in order to solve them. If stress causes problems, think about your life in a different way. Create ways to deal with it, make a to-do-list and push yourself to get things done so you’ll feel better and happier later.
6. Realize that there are things that cannot be changed
Sometimes the best way is to accept the fact that the past really cannot be changed. Accept the fact that all things happen there must be a reason. There are things that really can’t be changed.
We have to stop wasting time and energy thinking about mistakes in the past. Consider those mistakes as lesson learned that will help you to do better next time and avoid those same mistakes again. What has passed will not come back, so start living in peace with yourself, accept what you have now and look for better opportunities to improve the quality of your life.
7. Generate a positive attitude
Always thinking about mistakes will create negative energy that will undermine confidence. If you are stressed because of mistakes that have been made, you don’t need to feel frustrated.
Seek help if you can’t fix it yourself. Build a positive attitude and try to release the burden of negative emotions. Learn new things and do something that makes us happy.
8. Create a new perspective
Stress can actually help you look at life in a different way. For example: You just broke up and are now lonely. Go to parties, meet friends and find people who can be invited to enjoy how beautiful life is.
Learn from your mistakes, correct yourself. Success will not run away from you if you change and start seeing things in a different way.
Other ways to make friends with stress
The authors of ‘Peak Performance’, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness share 4 steps you can follow to make friends with stress.
1. Choose the conditions that you want to master so that your stress can focus on solving the problem there
Know in advance and be specific about what you want to overcome. Without planning, it will be difficult for you to focus on the goals that you want to realize. Once you know clearly, then you also divert your stress into focus on the next steps you must take. That’s what successful people from various professions do. They know what they are afraid of and try to conquer it.
2. Seeing stress from the positive side
Getting out of your comfort zone and facing challenges that have never been felt is not easy and can trigger stress. Maybe a variety of negative thoughts about your goals arise, but face your anxiety. Because actually it only happens in your mind. By looking at it from the positive side, basically the stress that arises can stimulate you to improve your performance.
3. Take a break
Taking a break is different from ‘avoiding’ which means giving up on your target or goal. Giving a break to rest, means you only do it for a little while. For example move on to hobbies or do short projects. If you are an athlete, you can switch to lighter training. That way, you are physically and mentally fresher once you are back to pursue your long-term goals.
4. Return to your daily routine
Once you feel more refreshed, return to your routine. Try to push yourself to make greater achievements. For example, for athletes by doing new types of exercises. This way your ability level will increase.
Understand stress and make it your friend
In addition to taking those steps, to help you better understand stress and how to make it your friend, you can check out the TED video from Psychologist Kelly McGonigal.
There you go folks. Hope this article is helpful. Now you know that it is possible to befriend stress. Can you do that? Let me know and leave a comment below.
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Stay safe, happy and healthy!
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.