Thankfully, according to researchers at Stanford, a meaningful life is almost always a stressful one; the more we care about the things in our life, the more stress we are likely to feel. We simply can’t have one without the other. So, for all of those finding that stress is a daily occurrence - at least it means we are having a meaningful life. Apart from this statistic, there is little advantage to stress only a heap of consequences, many of which, actively reduce the quality of our lives.
But imagine if you could have a meaningful life, with stress (as we can't have one without the other, unfortunately), that didn't involve health consequences or unhappiness? Sound too good to be true? Well, actually, it isn't - we have a lot more control over our stress than we think. Here are the best strategies to overcome the consequences of stress.
Change your thought process
How you think about stress ironically impacts you more than the actual stress. Positive attitudes about stress were correlated with better health outcomes even when stress levels were chronically high. Interestingly just knowing you can handle stress is a way of protecting yourself from its harmful effects. For more reading on how to rethink stress, see Kelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress.
Forsee your stress
Don't let stress throw you into a tizzy. Instead plan when stress might hit you and foresee when it might reduce your ability to be as organised, eloquent or as efficient as you usually are. If you have trouble remembering things or spotting mistakes in your work during periods of stress be aware of this and make extra allowances or time to ensure it doesn't impact your life.
Let stress motivate you
Stress is adrenalin, that can be put to good use. Rather than letting it crush you - use it to let you crush everything else. Knowing you are putting your stress to good use, or even thinking it benefits you actually helps you to avoid its negative consequences so, it's a double win.
Whether you walk with a parent, chat with your colleague or talk to your spouse during your commute, socialising helps you to cope and feel supported. Irrespective of whether you talk about the stress at hand - simply knowing you have people around you makes you feel stronger and more able to defeat consequences of stress.
Stress can be challenging, especially if you are career driven and ambitious. But, by simply changing your perspective, on how stress fits into your life, you can avoid its negative consequences and even reap a few rewards!
For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out this useful anxiety blog.