Turning Stress into #Careerlion Fuel
What is the purpose of stress really? Is it really only bad? Should we still aspire to eliminate all stress in our lives or should we be embracing it and see it for what it can be? Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and Ph.D. She has written a book the Upside of Stress in which she has uncovered her acquired knowledge on how to see stress for what it really is and how to make you better at stress. Her research has actually shown that stress can have positive effects as well. It can make you smarter, stronger, more successful, courageous, and compassionate. Stress can even improve your learning curve. What more can a #careerlion ask for? Today’s blog will define what stress really is and how we can turn it into fuel!
According to McGonigal, stress is what arises when something we care about is at stake. Where the spectrum of what you could have stress about ranges from the most unimportant things like traffic jam frustrations to grief about loved ones. Stressful thoughts, emotions, and physical reactions are inevitable, as you only experience stress about things that you care about. Getting rid of all stress would then mean to no longer care about anything. Are you stressed all the time? Well good news, you are doing the things that you care deeply about!
Remember the whole growth vs. fixed mindset theory by Dr. Carol Sweck? A similar theory is proposed about stress. There is the “stress is harmful” mindset most people have, but you should be having the “stress is enhancing” mindset. Stress is actually the body’s way of helping you achieve your goals, in the pursuit of engineering your life that is. We should be embracing the energy we feel when stressed and let it fuel our performance and growth.
“I am excited”
McGonigal also promotes techniques to achieve this shift in mindset. When I get super nervous, I usually try to calm myself. At a dancing competition, this goes something like: “Ashley, you are not nervous. You practiced, no need to be nervous. You are calm, stress is a choice.” And so on obviously… never said I was easily calmed. While I am not sure any of that really works, I now found out this strategy SUCKS. What we should be doing is telling ourselves how excited we are. Excited to see how you will do on stage. Excited to see what the result of all your hard work is. There is no need to let the anxiety get the better of you, by embracing it we could be taking ourselves to the next level. At my next competition, I will try out saying “I am excited!”. We will see what the effect of having that affirmation on repeat can do for me.
Research indicates that those of us that find meaning in our lives helps us deal with stress in a more effective way. Having meaning, you will no longer see stress as a hassle. You will find that it is an expression of your values. Do you still need help finding your meaning? Start by writing down your values gradually and you find that these are your true meaning in life. A small grasp of my values to give you a bit of inspiration: resilient, continuously growing, open-minded, realistic, committed, loving, and so much more obviously. Maybe I would like to add best potential dog owner, hint hint?
Find Goals Beyond Yourself
Your own personal and maybe more selfish goals could become frustrating, competing with others along the way. The more self-oriented your goals are, the more likely that you will avoid the stress of getting there. You will be more motivated to endure challenges with a greater goal in mind. What is it that you want to do for others? Personally, I want to get the most out of everyone. Whether it is through our #careerlion blogs, helping someone, or teaching Irish dancing. Giving someone the information, push, or what it is they need to improve and grow further is what I would like to achieve.
Are you ready to turn your stress into fuel? Or will you keep the “stress is harmful” mindset? Let us know in the comment section below. If you have any other tips for making stress work for us, don’t hesitate to share this too.