Don’t Let Stress Rule Your Life – 5 Ways to Use Stress to Your Advantage

From missing work-related deadlines to coping with a family illness, we all deal with stressful situations in our work and personal lives. And while stressful events come and go, the residual feelings left behind can lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and many other negative emotions that can leave you feeling weak, tired, and powerless.

Luckily, you can control how you manage these negative feelings. Sometimes you can use these feelings as motivation to accomplish challenging goals, or you can use them as a temporary source of focus and strength when you really need to concentrate.

Instead of actively trying to avoid situations that cause you to stress out, you should lean in more often, accept the challenges life has to offer; and then learn from them.

Here are five ways you can benefit from stressful situations that you can incorporate into your work or personal life:

Become a Better You

Taking a bad situation and learning from it can lead to emotional and mental growth. During stressful situations, take a few moments to think about ways to use your natural abilities to solve or manage issues that have caused stressful emotions.

You may already have answers to these problems based on prior experiences or from watching others go through similar situations.

Unfortunately, stressful events occur whether you want them to or not. We do not have much control over what happens in life. However, we can control how stressful events affect our mood.

When working through stressful situations, you may find mental, physical, and emotional strength you didn’t think you had. You may also find areas in which to work on going forward. Learning more about yourself and what you’re capable of can lead to better decision making in the future.

Take a personal inventory every once in a while, even when your not experiencing stressful emotions. Consider your strengths, weaknesses, and all the personality traits that make you unique.

Don’t beat yourself up about those little quirks and traits you don’t like about yourself. The goal isn’t to create stressful emotions, but to help you gain more perspective into the emotional strengths you already have.

Harness the Power of Collaboration

In most cases, having one or more people to turn to during stressful times may prove more beneficial than trying to fix problems all by yourself. Learn to confide in others who can help you figure out your next move. These people can help you brainstorm new ideas or simply listen to provide a platform for you to work through difficult issues.

When working on projects with tight deadlines or projects that have stalled due to unforeseen problems, consider reaching out to your co-workers for help or advice.

Rather than succumbing to feeling of anxiety, contact other people you’ve worked with on previous projects to see what they have to offer. If working with a team, get together as often as necessary to come up with new solutions to pressing problems.

Stressful situations can help you become more comfortable collaborating with others. If you’re used to handling everything by yourself, why not challenge yourself to collaborate with co-workers, friends, and family members? Not only will you learn something new about yourself, but you’ll also learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of those around you.

The same approach should apply to family members and friends. Even though you may think you know your family and friends better than your co-workers, you may find hidden strengths that these people have when coping with a stressful event. Don’t assume that you know how family members and friends will react during an emergency. Sometimes it’s during those difficult times that you really get to know someone.

Increase Positive Thoughts while Decreasing Negative Ones

Stress can cause a variety of negative emotions including anger, sadness, grief, envy, and jealousy. Negative emotions can often lead to bad decisions and poor reasoning. These emotions may also cause you to misread events and miss important opportunities.

Rather than simply embracing these feelings, try to focus on positive thoughts like gratitude, empathy, and happiness.

Think positive thoughts to counterbalance the negative ones. For example, instead of looking at a problem as a never-ending burden, look at it as a temporary setback to help put your anxious feelings in perspective and allow you to focus on solutions rather than becoming consumed with the problem itself.

Negative emotions can creep into your life at any time. Learn how to balance out these feelings by pairing them with positive emotions. Don’t disregard negative emotions, just don’t give these emotions all of your attention. By looking at the downside and upside to life’s problems, you will gain deeper perspective and appreciation for what’s going on in your life.

Develop Coping Skills

Coping with stressful feelings in a healthy way includes investing in a fidget toy, taking a walk, chatting with a friend, or taking a step back and working on something completely different for a while.

Fidgeting helps your body stay alert and your mind focused throughout the day. Find one or two objects to fidget with or buy fidget strips made specifically to help people cope with increased stress and anxiety.

In addition to fidgeting, you should take a deep breath whenever you feel anxious. Use this time to remind yourself that stressful situations are unique and temporary.

Tap Into Your Creative Side

To solve a tough problem or to manage a stressful situation, you should utilize all the emotional resources you have to get through it. Most people have a creative side that’s underutilized. Realizing various outcomes to issues, thinking about the future, and seeing situations from another person’s perspective require you to use your imagination.

When thinking creatively, you can remove all boundaries and obstacles that prevent you from solving problems. Even though some of your creative ideas will not work, the point is to free your mind to see other solutions you may not have thought of when approaching a problem logically or rationally.

A Natural Part of Life

Feeling stressed has become a natural part of life. And even though these feelings can seem overwhelming and permanent, stressful events come and go. How you cope with these feelings can increase your self-esteem, build your emotional strength, and help you deal with other problems and issues in the future.

Keep in mind that it’s also beneficial to recognize when stressful events have become too overwhelming. When you reach this point, it’s best to take a step back or ask for help. While heightened feelings can lead to emotional and mental growth, too much stressful emotions can cause lingering health and emotional problems.

Most people can manage negative emotions for a short period. If you feel anxious or depressed for a few days when dealing with a stressful event, that’s okay. If you still feel anxious or depressed weeks or months afterward, then you should consider talking with a friend or a therapist.

About Fidget Strips

Fidget Strips can help you cope with stressful events in your life by providing a rough or smooth texture for you to fidget with. Place this reusable strip next to your workstation, or on the back of your cell phone, tablet, or laptop to use at work or home.

Available in solid black or multi-colored strips, Fidget Strips provide comfort to adults and children with autism. To use, simply run your fingertips up and down the textured strip. Perfect for those with autism, these strips help reduce anxious feelings by providing a calming distraction. With a one-year warranty and 30-day return policy, we want you to be satisfied with your purchase.

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