Stress: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The words “stress” and “good” aren’t usually associated with each other, but believe it or not, many people enjoy that feeling and do their best work under pressure. For the rest of us, however, stress can make us feel bad and the results of that stress can get pretty ugly.
So, how do you deal with it? First, consider how you’re thinking about stress and the cause of it. Is it your current workload? Has your job has changed? Is your boss as overwhelmed as you are and pushing more work your way because of it? Maybe the company you work for doesn’t know who they are, and you’re getting mixed messages about how to be successful in your role. Or they do, and they don’t match your value system. Getting a handle on the specific thing stressing you out will make you feel less overwhelmed overall, and give you something to focus on when searching for relief.
With that being said, some people confuse stress with anxiety. Stress is caused by something specific…like one of the examples I listed above. Anxiety is stress that continues after that stressor is gone. Are you thinking all the time about work, even when you’re not under pressure? Are you anxious and worried about everything that goes on and wondering if you are doing a good enough job? Being “busy” is great for most people…in general, people tend to thrive when they have a purpose. However, allowing yourself to get too busy (did you say “yes” one too many times?) and then worrying and stressing about everything you need to accomplish slows you down, and the worry cancels out the satisfaction you would normally feel about your accomplishments. It’s important to recognize the difference between stress and anxiety in yourself before you decide how to tackle the issue. You can read more about the differences here.
There is a lot of information to be found about what stress and anxiety do to your body. None of it’s good. So when you think about the ways to lower the stress in your life, ask yourself the following:
- Are you in the right job for you?
- How is your diet? (What you eat affects the amount of inflammation in your body – too much creates problems both physically and psychologically.)
- What shape is your gut in? Yes, the health of your gut greatly affects the quality of your thoughts. Check out this article for more information
- Have you considered meditation? You might want to take a look at the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. Meditation has a huge impact on the brain.
There is no substitute for seeing a physician for an assessment because one never knows what is creating the stress or the anxiety. Your journey is your own, but be sure to take the journey.