Other than the usual stress load that we already getting from work, family, relationship, money etc
Covid 19 hit us in the face in 2020 and that changed everything
A normal 8am to 5pm (or 9am to 6pm) job that is normally pretty decent, safe and secure is now suddenly on the rocks
It feels like being pushed to the cliff and the cliff itself is crumbling
Even if your job is safe, the work from home has become the standard and the new norm
And yet, our minds are cracking from the stress, pressure, and work now never seems to have an end point
Especially when boss text or email you about something urgent
Your work laptop is now at home so… hard to deny it also…
Even though the state of being stressed out seems bad…
I will like to invite you to consider…
Can stress be good?
Sounds weird I know
But stick with me and hear me for a minute or two ok?
Ok fine, 5 minutes, I know I tend to share a lot hahaha XD
Well first of all, we need to understand what is stress all about
Simply put, it is a reaction to a change in the self or the environment
In fact, pretty much our emotions are as such
You managed to get the latest phone, and you got absolutely elated
Your grandfather just passed away… and you succumb to grief and sadness…
Your boss gave you more work that was unexpected (or even expected) and you got more stressed…
These are all changes in the environment, and our emotions are reactions to those changes
Hence, stress is simply that
Just like all our emotions are a state of our mind, stress is also such a state
So what, you might ask
And I’m glad you asked
Similar to what I covered in this article of the “Yin and Yang of Hypnosis“
I also believe that all our emotions play a necessary role in our lives
For example, the emotion of fear is to warn us of danger and to keep us safe
The emotion of anxiety is for new experiences and keeping us prepared in one way or another
Anger is to defend ourselves and gives us some form of power
Sadness deals with loss and grief
So then, what about stress?
You see, these seemingly negative emotions can play important roles in our lives
But yes, the problem is when such emotions get out of control and we are unable to handle it anymore
Too much fear keeps us from moving forward
Too much anxiety makes us overthink in being prepared for an event
Too much anger causes frustration and potential violence (whether physical or verbal)
Too much sadness makes us lethargic and seem like in depression
So then we know that too much stress cause us a lot of problems
Like feeling trapped, overwhelmed or overloaded
So what’s the positive of stress?
What’s the intent behind us having or experiencing stress?
Stress, my friend, is for growth and learning
Wait what huh?
Ok hold on, don’t blow your mind to space just yet
Stay with me or you got to reread this again
I know this may seem bizarre
Although hey it’s me, I got enough weird stories and theories to last a lifetime or two
And you know what
It might be a good time for a story
If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s the short rundown
A lobster is all soft and mushy and needs a tough shell to protect itself
However, it will come to a point in time where it gets all uncomfortable in the shell because it’s growing
And now it needs to find shelter under some rocks to shed away the old shell, break out of it and grow a new one
Essentially the lobster feels stress from being stuck in its same old shell and needs to break it in order to grow!
Hence the quote in the video
And that is why I say stress is for growth and learning
Perhaps it might still be tough to understand it
I get it, I have been there too
So many questions
First of all, breathe and we will go through this ok?
Let’s look at work stress for a moment
When we get stress from the tasks, projects or events
Or sometimes from bosses who breathe down our necks
Let us look at some of these things and see what kind of growth or learning we can get
For the mundane tasks that is repeatable and yet overwhelming, you could possible learn methods to improve the tasks completion, to streamline processes so things will get easier
What about new projects and events?
One can deduce that such assignments might require one to learn and develop new skillsets
And the bosses breathing down your neck does add additional stress too… for you to figure out how to improve certain processes, work output etc
Or maybe in the worse case, to realize this job ain’t for you haha
Shrug hey it’s possible too
What about relationship stress?
And that’s a good question, what can we learn from a stressful relationship?
Well it also depends on what constitutes the stress in the relationship
And if you do look at your own relationship to see what is creating the stress
You might agree with me that communication can potentially relieve or even resolve the situation
So yes, that’s something you can learn too
Well both of you I suppose
Learning how to communicate effectively and cleanly with each other
To be open and authentic with each other
To learn how to love each other better
In fact, a lot of people have issues in their relationship that causes a lot of stress
You are not alone
You’ll be surprised how often I hear of relationships (whether married or not married) where the female is doing so much in the relationship and for the male, and yet the male does not reciprocate
Having said that, I also do hear of cases where the female doesn’t know what she wants in a male and this causes her to change boyfriends easily or even cheat
The list goes on
But seriously it takes 2 hands to clap
Both parties must willingly want to work their issues through
Hey, if your partner send this to you to read, please reflect on what you are not doing well ok?
They didn’t tell you, I tell you
But… what if you don’t know what you are doing “wrong”?
Other than talking to me, you can search my website for other articles on love and relationship
Anyway I digress
Relationship stress is a way for both parties to learn how to communicate better with each other, to love each other more fully, and so much more
Even exercise is a form of stress on the body
Exercise stress stresses the muscles and this causes to muscles to grow stronger
So yes, I’m talking about physical stress ah
Too much mental stress can admittedly dampen the body
Back to exercise
When you train your body, you put your body through physical activity that pushes your muscles to the limit
Some people push past the limit, some just hit it good enough
And this is a form of physical stress, which aids in the growth of stronger muscles!
Ironic I suppose, when we don’t know this applies to our mental state too
We can have adequate mental stress that causes our minds to grow, expand and learn
Unfortunately… there is a tendency for most of us to dispel the mental fatigue of work (for example) and our minds gets overloaded with stress eventually and this can cause quite a few issues
Quick story time
You probably already know that my lung burst for no reason in my sleep when I was 20 years old (if you don’t know, read this story)
And I did a chest surgery to fix it
However, I was attending poly and it was so painful to carry my laptop and books around
So I ended up chugging my laptop and books and bag in a locker and decided to attend lectures with nothing in my hands
i went in with the aim to record the entire lecture in my mind
The stress and pressure of potentially missing out of my lecture versus the pain of carrying my laptop and books, cause me to develop a nearly photographic memory
I say nearly cause I do not have a photographic memory!
I can remember things if I want to remember, word for word
But that’s because I record the entire lecture in my mind like it’s a video
So not just word for word, but the time the lecturer walk from one end to another, the tonality she was using, the other students and where they were seated, who stood up for what reason etc
Until lecture ended then I stopped recording in my mind
Simply because there is no backup so I got to remember everything now!
So what can you do about your stress?
Perhaps you can start by identifying which stresses can potentially grow or develop you, and which stresses are negative and limiting
These are unique to you, remember this ok?
Just because boss is harsh, does not mean boss want you to grow
Some do, some are just mean… shrug
Write it down, all the stresses and where they are coming from, then indicate which might be good for you and which aren’t
The ones that are good, doesn’t mean you keep them, but rather, figure out what can you learn as a result of this particular stress
Then go and learn it, develop, grow it
Like in my case, my memory
The ones that are negative, see what can you do about it
Resolve? Reduce? Or if really cannot, can you live with it??
And if you need to, you can join this Slack community that I just created
You can create an anonymous display name if you need to rant, or ask for advice with a growing community
However, if you prefer to figure things out by yourself, that’s ok too!
I got a video that can help guide you to manage your stress levels
Do take note though, practice makes perfect 🙂