Are you tired of hearing about stress? Yes, it's more than an annoyance. It’s a downright drag, especially when either your head or heart pounds.
Here’s a thought: Harness that burdensome monster, turning it into something beneficial. That’s right! Take that constricting feeling of a harness and turn it into a lasso. Whip it around, capturing the stress-energy, making it work for you. What a concept?! Is it really possible to take that rankling, gloomy burden of stress and use it for good outcomes?
Our response is yes–a resounding “Yes, go for it!” Let’s look at how that can happen throughout your workday, increasing your productivity, leaving you with energy to enjoy precious personal time.
That subhead could read “Boa Constriction” – stress can sure feel that way. One thing or another is regularly squeezing the living daylights out of you. The outcomes are gross. Along with aches and pains, confidence wanes. Sleep gets disrupted. Too often, you’re left with moodiness or anxiety brought on by mounting tension.
Different Types of Stress
One seemingly outrageous factoid is that little or no stress isn’t good for anyone. Huh? You got it, stressors help people to learn and grow. Just watch a one-year-old learn to walk. Talk about stress! Wait a minute–it looks more like perseverance. That little bundle of energy keeps falling down. Ouch! Then gets back up, again and again. Watch out when stress causes that kid to run--or dance!
Now’s the time to consider the differences between ‘good’ stress and ‘not-so-good’ stress. The first may come with a promotion or managing your company’s #1 client. The pressure’s on…big time! Wait a minute! It’s your productivity and optimistic outlook that brought you to this point.
Another form of good stress is physical activity. Your 5-minute Wakeout activity break, or weekend workout, helps with managing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This in turn affects the glucose levels that feed your brain.
The ‘not-so-good’ stress somehow feels more constrictive. It can be anything from gargantuan computer issues, to a relationship gone awry, or ongoing financial concerns. The issue with this sort of stress ranges from feelings of inadequacy to loss of control. It stops you in your tracks or rattles you with nervous disruption. These are sure signs it’s time to lasso that stress beast for your benefit.
Turn Stress Lemons into Sweet Productivity
Have you heard the saying about turning lemons into lemonade? All the pucker power and lemony tartness become something sweet with a bit of squeezing and swirl of honey. Another way to look at stress is gazing at roses. Each blossom has a gorgeous allure, yet there’s all those thorns.
Like those examples, stress can be sour and prickly, yet there’s a side that’s beneficial. That’s when all prickles and tartness lead to productivity. Getting there means learning how to harness that stress energy for good.
Harnessing Stress How-To’s
We’re endowed with physical factors that help us valiantly use stress to our advantage. That happens when we give stress something productive to do.
- Use stress to energize your focus.
- Put stress in charge of keeping you on task.
- Use stress as the reason to pounce on procrastination, surging you toward your goals.
Here’s how that happens in your brain and nervous system. Stress seems to be sucking the life out of you. Stomach cramps, headaches, and a pounding heart are signs. This is the stuff that makes you want to take flight. It’s visceral. It’s primal. It wreaks havoc on health and happiness.
When stress is harnessed for a purpose, the brain brings the whole matter to a higher level. As in, using your gray matter for good. That’s because the source of the stress response has moved from affecting your gut to stimulating your creativity and can-do power. As this happens, you’re likely to feel yourself moving from feeling stale and stalled to a place of prowess and power.
Your nervous system is now responding to cognitive stress, boosting your resilience. This effect parallels the way physical activity stressors boost health. You’re now in the harnessing process!
That stress-destroying mindset helps you stay focused and more alert. Stress energy, when used in this way, is the ticket to becoming productive in whatever you’re doing. But, what if stress sneaks in with its constricting force? That’s the time to shift gears with a physical activity break, especially one that’s vigorously fun.
Harnessing stress is about finding balance. It’s about using stress as an ally instead of an adversary - something that causes burnout or work fatigue. With stress on your side, every day is productive! There you have it – stress is no longer nasty. It’s now a motivator, letting you know when it’s time to call it a day.
From stress horror stories to stress productivity – that’s one big transformation!
9 Tips For Being Stress Savvy
- Pay attention to what’s annoying–First things first means knowing what rankles you even a little. These just make the big stressors worse.
- Find your exuberant zone (EZ)–regardless of what you have to do to be productive, where does your passion lie? What makes you perk up and pay attention? Maybe it has nothing to do with your workday. The importance is that tasks are easier when you’re in your EZ. Embrace it–celebrate it–hang out there each day…even for just a few minutes.
- Move your body more to worry less–physical activity breaks are a surefire way to perk up, while getting stress lassoed to work for you!
- Get into relaxation. Put your feet up. Do some breath work. Practice mindfulness. Find what puts you in the peace zone.
- Name your demons–this sort of goes with #1. The vital part is to give it a name–gut-wrencher is one. Head-throbber’s another. Paper-pile works for some. The endpoint here is that this gives you power over your demon. And yes, use whatever *@^% language you want for calling your demon to the carpet.
- Make your dreams visible–this can be as simple as your dream car or vacay destination. Okay, neither of those is all that easy to get! Hang an image, go for a test drive. Let the good stress of working toward your desires urge you along.
- Tune out. That means ditching the news and lots of the electronics. Then tune in to your favorite music or the lovely beats of your heart.
- Call on your buddies–human and otherwise. Harnessing stress can mean corralling others’ joy in being with you. Sure that can be the two-legged variety. What about your friends with fur, scales, feathers, and leaves? Whatever and whoever makes you feel alive and welcome increases your stress-harnessing ability.
- ZZZero in on what works for YOU–turn harnessing stress into a game as you find ways to bust through tension and stress-induced limitations!
Somewhere you’ve likely read that stressed spelled backwards = desserts. Now’s the time to turn what’s stressing you into the delightful desserts of productivity, creativity, and the desire to bound into your workday with enthusiasm. You can do it!
Tame Back Tension Too!
Now you've got the goods on how stress can work for you. How's about trying some lower back stretches to tame your too-much-sitting tension? That's one more way to lasso Wakeout's wonders!
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