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The Good News About Stress

5 facts about the benefits of stress

Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious or frustrated?  Everyone encounters stressful circumstances most every day.  Stress is a natural reaction of your mind and body to external demands. The good news is that stress can also provide an invitation to improve your life and recognizing stress is an opportunity for individual growth and positive change.  Stress is actually essential to life.  It is the excessive or unresolved stress that results in negative consequences. The key is how you believe, perceive and react to the various less-than-desirable circumstances of everyday life.

Below are five, perhaps surprising, ways that stress can actually help you and increase the satisfaction of your life:

It gets your attention

Noticing stress in your life serves as a warning sign – a waving, glowing red flag that something in your life may not be working its best.  How do you first recognize stress in your life?  You may experience symptoms of stress either physically, emotionally or behaviorally.  Some people first recognize stress when they detect a headache or backache.  For others, they may easily become impatient, snappy and snippy.  And others may notice the stress in one area of their lives only when it has leaked into or even barraged other areas, much like dangerous and scattering cancer cells.  Experiencing excessive stress can get your attention by unveiling a number of issues; including lack of life balance, unhealthy relationships or deteriorating health problems, to name a few.  Pay attention to these. Take note of the warning signs that your stress level may be climbing, and do something about it today.

It reveals core needs*

Think of the last time you had a stressful day.  One person’s experience of stress may be very different than another person’s.  This is because as individuals we have different core needs (see table below). When these needs are not being met, stress soon follows.  If one spouse, for example, has a core need of order, and the other does not share in this need or try to meet that need, anxiety and stress can be a daily irritation. Or, if one person in a group has a core need for planning and scheduling and the rest of the group prefers to “wing it,” the person who needs certainty will definitely feel stress. It is important to identify your core needs and acknowledge the link between unmet needs and stress. Therefore, when you recognize your core needs are not being met in one way, you can choose a different way to get them met.

It readjusts your expectations

We are full of expectations – lots of expectations.  Some we are consciously aware of and many others, we are not.  Expectations are always there in the background of our daily experiences. however. They are a common source of stress in our lives, creating emotional distress, relationship conflicts, misunderstandings and many other repeated problems.  Expectations produce stress in two main ways. Some are unrealistic or untrue, like the blissful and problem- free expectations that newlyweds encounter. Others expectations are those of which we are completely unaware, like the belief that life or people will be fair. This blindness will surely lead to stress and strain. When we harbor expectations that are too high, we set ourselves up for failure.  The stress resulting from this disappointment serves as an opportunity to readjust our expectations – of ourselves, and of others.

It reminds  us of personal responsibility

Stressful experiences serve as reminders of what you can control and what you cannot control. You are probably keenly aware you cannot control other people – whether family, friends or co-workers.  Their actions can disappoint us, betray us or discourage us on a regular basis if we allow them to.  We have no control over what another person ultimately does. We can only control our response to them.  This kind of stress serves as a distinctive reminder to take personal responsibility for our choices.  The stress encountered from other people’s actions, or inactions, can sometimes feel like it is eating us alive.  It is unfortunate when we fail to see our reaction choices as options for immediate stress management.  Circumstances may be beyond our control, but there are many options for how to deal with them that can cause less stress.

Begin taking responsibility for your choices that contribute to, or minimize, your stress today.

It leads to growth!

Life is never stagnating, and this is a good thing.  Change is constant.  It is constant in relationships, in the environment, and in the workforce. The burden of stress resulting from change is common in our culture today.  As leadership expert and motivational speaker John Maxwell puts it, “Change always involves growth.”  Through the growing pains of adjusting to aging and to navigating through other life transitions, experiencing some degree of stress is normal.  Through disappointments, loss and the fact that we live in an uncertain world, stress is normal as well.  And through this stress and change, we grow and persevere by learning new ways to accommodate, to develop patience, to mature and to practice lessons learned.  Any given circumstance of stress will change with time.  Or we can choose to change ourselves.  The good news about stress here is…it always leads to growth.  Capture your opportunities for growth for whatever current stressors it seems are managing you.  And look back to the growth that has brought you where you are today.

* For further exploration and valuable understanding of your core needs, see the list below. Share these individual needs with special people in your life, and encourage them to share with you. You may be amazed at what you learn.  These core needs are what make you unique. It is worthwhile to identify your top five or so needs, and frame your life around opportunities to have these met.    Less stress and greater life satisfaction will abound!

Needs List

TO ACCOMPLISH

Achieve

Fulfill

Realize

Reach

Profit

Attain

Yield

Consummate

Victory

 

BE ACCEPTED

Approved

Be included

Respected

Permitted

Be popular

Sanctioned

Cool

Allowed

Tolerated

BE ACKNOWLEDGED

Be worthy

Be praised

Honored

Flattered

Complimented

Be prized

Appreciated

Valued

Thanked

 

BE LOVED

Liked

Cherished

Esteemed

Held fondly

Be desired

Be relished

Be adored

Be touched

BE RIGHT

Correct

Not mistaken

Honest

Morally right

Be deferred to

Be confirmed

Be advocated

Be encouraged

Understood

BE CARED FOR

Get attention

Be helped

Cared about

Be saved

Be attended to

Be treasured

Tenderness

Get gifts

Embraced

 

CERTAINTY

Clarity

Accuracy

Assurance

Obviousness

Guarantee

Promises

Commitments

Exactness

Precision

 

BE COMFORTABLE

Luxury

Opulence

Excess

Prosperity

Indulgence

Abundance

Not work

Taken care of

Served

 

TO COMMUNICATE

Be heard

Gossip

Tell stories

Make a point

Talk

Be listened to

Comment

Informed

 

TO CONTROL

Dominate

Command

Restrain

Manage

Correct others

Be obeyed

Not ignored

Keep status quo

Restrict

BE NEEDED

Improve others

Be a critical link

Be useful

Be craved

Please others

Affect others

Need to give

Be important

Be material

 

 

DUTY

Obligated

Do the right thing

Follow

Obey

Have a task

Satisfy others

Prove self

Be devoted

Have a cause

 

 

BE FREE

Unrestricted

Privileged

Immune

Independent

Autonomous

Sovereign

Not obligated

Self-reliant

Liberated

HONESTY

Forthrightness

Uprightness

No lying

Sincerity

Loyalty

Frankness

No withholds

No perpetrations

Tell all

WORK

Career Performance

Vocation

Press, push

Make it happen

A task

Responsibility

Industriousness

Be busy

ORDER

Perfection

Symmetry

Consistent

Sequential

Checklists

Unvarying

Right-ness

Literal-ness

Regulated

 

PEACE

Quietness

Calmness

Unity

Reconciliation

Stillness

Balance

Agreements

Respite

Steadiness

POWER

Authority

Capacity

Results

Omnipotence

Strength

Might

Stamina

Prerogative

Influence

RECOGNITION

Be noticed

Be remembered

Be known for

Regarded well

Get credit

Acclaim

Heeded

Seen

Celebrated

SAFETY

Security

Protected

Stable

Fully informed

Deliberate

Vigilant

Cautious

Alert

Guarded

 

 

If you or someone you love needs help, contact Centerstone at 888-291- HELP (4357) or visit www.centerstone.org.

If you are in crisis, call Centerstone’s 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline at 800-681-7444

If you or someone you love needs help, contact us via email or phone:

Florida - 941.782.4150; Crisis Line: 888.291.4357 • Indiana - 800.344.8802; Crisis Line: 800.832.5442 • Illinois - 855.608.3560; Crisis Line: 855.985.0911 • Kentucky - 502.589.1100; Crisis Line: 502.589.4313 • Tennessee - 888.291.4357; Crisis Line: 800.681.7444