The Power of Stress

The Power of Stress

Stress can be Negative to the body and in moderation, and some can be Positive for the body, mind and soul. Once this blog post is published I have succeeded in achieving a self-imposed Blog writing Marathon. 10 blog posts in just over 3 days. Aiming for 1000 words per post, I think I have averaged approximately 750 words. The reason for this self-imposed marathon I discuss here. In this post, I thought I still needed to write 14 posts to achieve my February Super Affiliate Challenge tasks, yesterday I discovered I only needed to create 10 – phew! Still, in my blogging experience this stretched me and the reason why I’m sharing this background with you, created different kinds of stress.

the power of stress

What is Stress?

First let’s define the term Stress so we know what we are talking about however for the purposes of this post we are referring to mental or emotional strain or tension etc experienced in a modern, first country, lifestyle where all our basic needs such as sufficient shelter, food and water and emotional needs are met:

Reference source:

noun: stress

  1. 1.
    pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
    “the distribution of stress is uniform across the bar”

    • the degree of stress measured in units of force per unit area.
  2. 2.
    a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
    “he’s obviously under a lot of stress

    • something that causes a state of strain or tension.
      plural noun: stresses
      “the stresses and strains of public life”
  3. 3.
    particular emphasis or importance.
    “he has started to lay greater stress on the government’s role in industry”

    • emphasis
      given to a particular syllable or word in speech, typically through a
      combination of relatively greater loudness, higher pitch, and longer
      “normally, the stress falls on the first syllable”

verb: stress; 3rd person present: stresses; past tense: stressed; past participle: stressed; gerund or present participle: stressing

  1. 1.
    give particular emphasis or importance to (a point, statement, or idea) made in speech or writing.
    “they stressed the need for reform”

    • give emphasis to (a syllable or word) when pronouncing it.
      “in French, the last syllable is usually stressed”
  2. 2.
    subject to pressure or tension.
    “this type of workout does stress the shoulder and knee joints”

Negative Stress

I believe that Negative Stress can simply be Positive Stress not managed. For example, for experienced public speakers, they have learned strategies on how to prepare and manage the stress (often called performance anxiety) experienced through public speaking. For a novice, without appropriate training, support or experience generally finds the first experiences in public speaking extremely stressful and a negative experience. This is often due to the symptoms of stress feeling out of control.

physical stress

Another example is beginning a new physical exercise routine that is not suitable to your physical needs or abilities again can be extremely stressful and can cause some to never return to physical exerice due to the levels of stress they experienced.

Symptoms of stress can be:

  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking hands
  • Nausea
  • Loss of memory
  • Feeling light headed and more

My experience over the past 3 days I experienced both negative and positive stress. Negatively when I had broken my toe. This brought all kinds of feelings of stress at the beginning of a long weekend with my son. I felt stressed that I couldn’t look after him, he would have to assist me. We couldn’t go on our usual ‘adventure walks’ etc. In addition, I felt negative stress when I set the blog marathon goal. After I had set the goal, I simply didn’t know if or how I could achieve it. As soon as I set the goal, my first thoughts were, although it’s the long weekend, I have my son, so I can’t just write all day and ignore him. Can I do it, will I fail? I have shared this goal publically on social media (why did I do that!).

Then after some deep breaths I thought, well what do I have control over? What can I do to achieve the goal, which gave me control and reduced my feelings of stress. Interestingly, stress affected my ability to comprehend how many blog posts I was required to write. Somehow I thought it was 16 when in actual fact it was only 12! This is an example of how powerful negative stress can be. I realised my mistake yesterday (fortunately in time to adjust) and has made writing the last 3 posts much more enjoyable rather than feeling highly anxious.

So is a lot of stress, mind over matter?

Positive Stress

Positive Stress is when you knowingly put yourself into a stressful situation where you have control (or at least you feel you have control) and support. Let’s return to our above examples:

Public speakers experience levels of performance anxiety (stress) almost everytime they speak depending on their experience levels and speaking conditions and audiences. They are able to manage this stress through experience. Through having appropriate preparation. Through having sufficient information on the environment the presentation will take place. Most powerfully, through education and support on how to manage the stress emotions. Remembering when the physical body is put under stress, the body is immediately trying to find out if this is a fight or flight situation. The brain wants to know, are you safe? This physical response often happens before the brain has had time to think. Therefore it is learning to recognise your own symptoms of stress and to calm the mind down through deep breathing and postiive mental self talk; ‘I am safe’ ‘I am looking forward to this experience’ ‘This experience will challenge me and I am excited by this’.

positive stress

In addition, when beginning a new physical exercise routine, you will feel more stress in the beginning than when your fitness increases and the routine becomes less stressful.

Finally, for my own blog marathon experience. I made a plan of when I could sit down and write (in between time with my son and time out to relax too). Then I focused on writing one blog post at a time. I focused on how I would feel when I achieved my goal. Then I just got on with it and wrote when I planned I would. In a nutshell, I focused on what I could do rather than on the stress of achieving it.

Lessons learnt

I truly believe without putting myself under pressure of the blog marathon, I would not have achieved completing all 18 tasks in the first month of the February Super Affiliate Challenge. I wanted to achieve it as a personal challenge to myself. Therefore, this stress was positive and moved me into action out of procrastination all about writing. So I have now achieved this goal. Thank you for reading this post. I now commit to a regular writing routine rather than a few days of stress and panic each month.

Please share your experiences of how the Power of Stress has affected you, negatively and/or positively:

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4 Replies to “The Power of Stress”

  1. I am glad to hear you turned it into positive thinking. I think we would all benefit from being able to do that, no matter what it is that is causing us the stress. What you said about the brain makes total sense as well. If we train our brain by telling it we are safe or we can do this, then it might not be so stressful. I believe they call it ” retrain your brain”.
    I am going to start trying that to see if it helps with my everyday stress,
    Thank you for this post and I am glad you succeeded with your goal. Well done

    1. Thanks so much Lee Ann, appreciated your support along the way too. Yes mind over matter is a very powerful thing, what I have seen playing sports, performing as a musician and as a public speaker. We can control and retrain our brains absolutely!

  2. you are so right! stress is definitely the number one underlined reason why people get sick all the time! and they dont realize how much it affects their physical body! I love reading about things like this that people hardly ever talk about. your state of mind definitely matters! I feel like we all need to focus more on this aspect of heath to improve overall health!

    1. I completely agree Anavai. I think too many are slowly beginning to acknowledge the powerful connection between body, mind and soul. I think for those of us that already understand the power of our minds and therefore the power stress has on our bodies, we simply need to continue to share our experiences. Including simple things such as getting enough sleep has a huge impact on our stress levels and overall health and as adults we often dismiss it as important. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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