So much has been said about how stress is like the black plague, and it’s all bad and we should all do whatever is necessary to get rid of all stress from our lives. Truth is, stress can be a vital benefit to your life. Under the right circumstances, stress can be your best friend! Let’s look at some of the reasons why you need some stress:

Productivity

Short bursts of stress can really lit a fire under you! Whenever you feel some stress about finishing a certain task, it can create the right inspiration to get you going. I know that when I’m a little stressed, my productivity level skyrockets. When I have a few things that need to get done by a certain time, I become unstoppable and thus I get the job done. Without that stress, I’d probably be more carefree and not get anywhere near as far. So in that case, stress is my friend. The key here is to know how to channel that stress into being a productive ally. Any feeling of overwhelm or “mental paralysis” due to stress would require you to do the proper methods we all know of for ridding of stress: deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc. Short bursts of stress that are manageable are a difference maker when it comes to productivity. This type of stress can help eliminate procrastination, boredom, and lack of self worth.

Competition

Anyone that’s ever played a sport knows that feeling those butterflies in your stomach and feeling anxious to getting out there and win is absolutely necessary to succeed. If you don’t get those butterflies, you don’t belong in the game! Stress can help you rise above your competition and guide you to succeed at heights you never thought you could reach. For example, imagine a hockey game, the team is down 2-1 with 50 sec. left. All players will have jitters and butterflies, but this will get them to do incredible things to even the score. In this case, stress creates a higher level of commitment that would otherwise be non-existent. Another example is competition at work or in business. When I worked in sales, seeing somebody else above me in the results would drive me to working my butt off to beat them. Without that stress, I would be passive, not care, and not succeed as much. This stress helped me become a top salesperson and in return, earn more money. Same can be said with competing businesses. One business sees the other one having a sale and the idea of losing customers and sales creates a stress that makes them think outside the box and come up with a counter offer to win over the customers & sales. So stress in competition can bring about drive, determination, desire, and creativity like never before.

Security

This is an interesting one, because on some level, we do experience this on a daily basis, and it can save our life. Think of yourself driving, and someone cuts you off. Without feeling some stress to help you change your course and move, you would have been in an accident. So stress can save your life! Another example is sensing danger. Let’s say you walk in a dangerous dark alley without being concerned or on your guards, how prepared would you be in case something goes down? In this case, stress can make you aware of danger and prepare you for it. It triggers a fight-or-flight mode within you that can be a life saver. In such situations, stress can bring up alertness, higher levels of perception, and quick decision-making skills that can truly mean the difference between life & death.

Health

We all know the damage that long bouts of stress can do to one’s life. It’s the cause of a vast array of cancers and diseases, as well as making us age faster. However, short bursts of stress can actually be good for your health. As a matter of fact, it is vital to your well being. Research has shown that it can strengthen your immune system and prevent against such diseases as Alzheimer’s, in that it keeps your brain cells working at peak capacities. It has also been shown that patients who experience moderate levels of stress recover faster after surgery than patients experiencing higher or lower levels of stress. The key term here is “moderate”. We require stress for our bodies to function properly, physiologically speaking, but just like with anything, too much of it and the opposite effect takes place.

A short burst of stress is like an energy boost, and that is why it can make us do incredible deeds. What needs to be done is properly directing that burst into productive action without feeling overwhelmed by it. When you become overtaken by stress, you start feeling things such as aches, pains, shortness of breath, prone to getting sick, and mental fogginess. Those are signs that your level of stress has gone overboard, and that’s when you should try the relaxation techniques we all know and love. Stress is unavoidable. It’s a part of life. The better we understand how to cope with it and use it to our advantage, the better we will succeed at whatever it is that we are doing. Stress can be a valuable tool in anything that you do. When you feel stress, recognize it and channel it in ways that creates a benefit for you. Just like any tool, use it properly and the result is magic ;)