Stress is a given in life – both at work and at home. It comes in different levels and in different ways. It shows itself in different ways too. And quite often, people see stress as a negative thing. As something to stop. As something that we should all try to avoid.
And to a degree they are right.
Too much stress can be a bad thing for a person – physically, mentally and emotionally. It can have harmful effects.
But, I believe too little stress can be just as negative.
When I was just starting my career, I was asked by one of my colleagues about how I deal with stress. Being a young, up and coming person, I replied back with “I don’t tend to get stressed”. And at that point I believed it.
But I was wrong.
I had experienced stress. I had experienced stress when I was a child going through a challenging family set up. I had experienced stress when I was at school to meet the expectations that people put on me – and the expectations I put on myself. I had experienced stress getting a job, getting married, buying a car, and in the everyday journey of life.
But I had ways of dealing with it, of channeling it, and of using to push myself forward.
I’ve always used stress as an adrenaline kick. As something to give me a boost. As something to make me do a task I had put off. So many times during my life I have put things off until the last minute so that I get the adrenaline kick and focus that the stress of a pressing deadline gives me.
Sometimes I’ve done this too much over a period of time, without any real drops in my stress level, so I have suffered physically, mentally and emotionally. And sometimes I have had periods with too low levels of stress for too long which means I lose a lot of my energy, my focus and my ability to complete tasks.
But when I get the balance right, I feel alive, I feel full of purpose, and feel like I’m being a better me.
Whilst meeting up with the super insightful Carl Taylor we’ve often talked about stress and what it does to me. And I’ve come to realise, that when my stress levels are getting too high I seek a retreat. Not a retreat like my wife would have – a spa day! Not a retreat like many men have – a golf day.
No. My retreat is something else. The high levels of stress, adrenaline and focus make me more creative. Ive realised that enough stress brings out my superpower. [see one of my earlier posts to see what I mean by superpower!]
I seek new ways to let it out – such as writing this blog, or writing books, stories and poems, or drowning myself in creative inspiration.
The right levels of stress just seems to light a fire in me, to connect new bits of my brain together, to give me new inspiration, and to be a better me.
That’s why I believe that the right level of stress for the right length of time is important, it is something that everybody needs, and it does have benefits. It should be nurtured – it shouldn’t be allowed to become too big or too small. It shouldn’t just be looked at as a bad thing. Stress can be good for you. Stress is good for me.
Stress is helping me to do life, better.