Positive pressures create a way to balance out anxiety and worry
This post by Mark Swartz was originally published on the Monster Career Advice Blog.
Here’s some sunny news about stress: certain types can actually be good for you. A bit of pressure and nerves gets you focused.
But too much of what happens at work creates “distress” (negative tension). Like lack of control. Or not enough resources to do the job well. That can lead to ailments of the body and mind.
Creating more positive tension, also known as “eustress,” takes a conscious effort. A number of techniques are available to turn this into a healthy habit.
Good Stress Builds You Up
We all know the symptoms of stress. Over time the bad kind can lead to health problems, or play havoc on emotions unless dealt with.
Eustress does the opposite. There’s still tension and pressure involved. Only it challenges you to try harder, reminds you to concentrate on what’s important, and generates results that improve self-confidence.
Good stress is a great antidote to negative tension. There is less wear and tear, more drive toward accomplishment.
How Eustress Is Experienced
You know that feeling of butterflies in your stomach? Not the kind that makes you violently nauseous, or leaves you paralyzed with fear.
It’s more like the nervousness you feel on the way to a job interview you’ve prepared for, or before making a presentation in front of your colleagues.
The adrenalin is flowing. Your heart pumps faster and louder. All of your senses seem amplified. This fight-or-flight response makes you more alert and ready for the tasks at hand. It seems like whatever is about to happen will be within your coping abilities.
When the challenge you’re facing is completed, relative calmness returns. Eustress tends to be short-term and event-specific.
Typical Good Stressors At Work
There are lots of examples of positive personal stressors on the job. These may include:
- Starting a new job or career you’re excited about
- Receiving a desired promotion or raise
- Relocating for work after asking to be re-assigned
- Getting ready for a much needed vacation when things are busy
- Preparing for retirement
Big events such as changing jobs or relocating don’t arise frequently. So you’ll have to produce your own eustress on a more regular basis. Consider the examples below.
Learn a new skill
It can be stressful to try and pick up new knowledge or skills. Yet it ultimately brings about self-improvement and increased personal marketability. Those are the hallmarks of eustress.
Set Firmer Boundaries
Have you said “no” recently when the boss asked you to work nights and weekends? Standing up for yourself takes gumption. It often creates tension at first, which encourages you to take care and do it respectfully.
Volunteer To Do A Presentation
Few things boost your profile like giving a well-prepared talk. Yet few things are as nerve-wracking as public speaking. The secret is to know your stuff, cater to the needs of your audience, and rehearse till it hurts.
Deal With Workplace Conflicts
It is risky to confront an annoying colleague or supervisor. However if something must be done, proceed in ways that are likely to generate eustress. Plan your approach carefully. Try to propose win-win solutions. And do your best to keep emotions in check.
Take On A Stretch Assignment
Step out of your comfort zone every so often. Offer to work on a committee that puts you in a leadership role. Attempt to solve a problem that no one else has been able to.
Eustress Versus You Stress
Worry and strain are among the many aspects of working life. They need to be balanced with positivity in your daily routine.
Eustress is beneficial pressure that ignites your resolve to succeed. Insert more of it into your overall activities. At first you may feel increasingly vulnerable. But as you learn to manage the fears, you can harness those butterflies to fly in formation.