By Dennis McIntee
Nearly every single career under the sun comes with a certain degree of stress at various points of time. When it comes to health care and senior living in particular, the pressures and stakes for every decision are obviously quite high. If we aren’t careful, we can let the stress associated with a typical day cloud our ability to be our best selves.
What if I told you that stress can actually be GOOD for you?
Before you quit reading out of shock and disbelief, consider this analogy. A nonathlete sets out to run a half marathon. They consult with a trainer and create a multimonth training plan designed for their body and lifestyle. Every training day includes a little bit more running and strength work. At times, it can be quite miserable. But when it gets to race day, the challenge is not as “impossible” as it once felt. Their muscles are literally ready to handle the strain and demands placed upon them because they have been building for this precise moment.
Our Brains Work the Same Way
Believe it or not, our brains work the same way. They are heavily influenced by our ability to reposition our mindset and imagine a different perspective than the one our senses are taking in. When examining this mindset shift, we can see daily stressors as strength-building exercises helping our brains build up their proverbial muscle.
The key is to think of stress as a certain energy … it can be guided positively or negatively like any kind of energy.
Here are four concrete ways to guide stress into the positive zone:
- When you are feeling stressed, ask what this is now making possible. In doing so, you are sending positive energy toward something that can so quickly turn negative. This mindset shift is powerful!
- Evaluate the expectations you have of yourself. Are they too high and causing undue stress?
- Take care of your body and mind in seasons of stress. Exercise, eat well, and sleep well. There is no better antidote.
- View times of stress as a series of sprints versus a marathon. After concentrated times of focus or hard work, physically step away and get fresh air before you start the next sprint.
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