The Joy of Stress…John Page Burton

It seems like everyone I talk with is either under a “great deal of stress” or just plain “stressed out”. There is a lot of stress in today’s world. I know that I experience both “good stress” and “bad stress”. “Bad stress” occurs when I focus on past or future reference points. In other words, when I experience “bad stress” it’s usually because I am choosing to dwell on a past experience or I am obsessing about something that may or may not happen in my future. Interestingly, studies have shown that stress can actually be quite healthy for us. Recently, my friend Crystal ran her first 10k road race. Toward the end of the 6.2 mile run, her body was experiencing stress, her mind was experiencing stress and yet she felt fantastic as she crossed the finish line. Anyone who has burned the midnight oil in order to launch a new company is familiar with what I refer to as “stimulating stress”. Some of the benefits of “positive stress” include…

*Boosts brainpower. Stress can actually cause us to think more clearly.

*Stress can temporarily increase our immunity. Stress produces extra Interleukins which are chemicals that regulate our immune system.

*Stress can make us more resilient. This is the premise behind the rigorous training undertaken by Navy Seals.

*Stress can be a motivator for us to win or succeed. For example, it’s the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, 30 seconds are left in the game, the team is down by 5 and it will take a touchdown to win the game. Closer to home, how many of us have been under pressure to meet a significant deadline at work knowing that a potential promotion hung in the balance?

It’s the “bad stress” that we need to eliminate or effectively manage when it surfaces. “Bad stress” can create physical and emotional health challenges.

4 Tips For Managing “Bad Stress”…

*Minimize “bad stress”. We problem solve from the past, we create in the present. When we begin to experience stress related to a past event or circumstance, we must remind ourselves that we did the best we could with what insight we had at the time and quickly move on. We can only control our actions in the present moment.

*Seek “positive stress”. It is important to place ourselves in a position to experience “positive stress”. Working out, volunteering for a challenging project at work or starting our own business are great ways to bring “positive stress” into our lives. FYI…like with everything else, we must be mindful to step away from time to time in order to give our minds and bodies a chance to re-charge.

*Find the lesson in every adversity. Regardless of how hard we try, how much we have planned or how much time and money we have invested, none of us are immune from set backs and failure. When we focus on the lesson and what we can take away from the experience, we significantly reduce our stress. Conversely, when we “beat ourselves up” we are adding additional stress to an already trying situation.

*Stay out of other peoples drama. “Not my monkeys, not my circus” is a Burton family mantra. It’s human nature to insert ourselves into other peoples drama. Please don’t get me wrong, I am a very compassionate person who truly desires to lend a helping hand to anyone experiencing a temporary challenge. The operative word is “temporary”. When we constantly find ourselves in the middle of someones marital, financial or family challenges it’s time to take a serious look at why we are willing to bring this added stress into our lives? Being “addicted” to drama is an unconscious and very unhealthy way to live.

So the next time you are feeling “stressed” do a quick check up from the neck up and see what type of stress you are experiencing. I know that I am currently feeling some “good stress” as I approach my deadline to publish this article. Cheers!

As Always, your comments and feedback are appreciated.


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