We live in stressful times. But stress can be our friend.
Even prior to the Pandemic HSE figures for 2019/20 reported that depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.
Over the last 18 months we have also noticed a dramatic increase in people reporting higher levels of stress as they profile their Mental Fitness using our Cognosis profiling tool.
We are huge advocates for taking this seriously. Too much stress and our productivity can decline and it can negatively impact on our health and resilience and even contribute to burn out.
But we also believe that one of the best ways to help manage our stress is to make it our friend.
We all have different relationships with stress and it’s important to develop our own management strategies based on our own drivers and the way we respond. You can find out more about this in our e-book here.
Thinking about it differently
But we can all think about the way we frame stress.
The starting point for this is understanding that there are different types of stress. Eustress, is the way our body responds to challenging situations by releasing endorphins, can actually help to energise and motivate us and increase focus and performance. Being able to define stress in this way can allow us to reframe it as something positive and a source of our wellbeing and success rather than an adversary.
The benefits of this go beyond simply being able to see stress as a tool or something that helps us perform.
Have a listen to this incredible TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal.
We’ve watched and shared this video with clients, friends, family and, well, complete strangers, many many times. Because we still find the insights it conveys absolutely remarkable. The research she draws upon shows that being able to frame stress positively and see it as something that benefits us, rather than an adversary or something to fear, actually increases life expectancy! And makes us more social and releases the hormone Oxytocin that helps us connect with and form relationships with others.
So making stress our friend helps us make more friends, and have a longer life to spend enjoying them.