The Value in Stress

By: Rachel Carpenter

Last week we worked on defining stress tolerance. But today we wanted to take stress tolerance into a completely different direction.

We discussed last week how to manage stressful emotions and how to keep from feeling the negative impacts of stress. But do not be misled… stress CAN be good! Stress that is properly managed is good—it pushes you to work harder, makes you more aware and allows you to be more prepared for what may come. Psychologists call this type of stress “eustress”. Today I want to look at ways to develop your stress tolerance and management that will help you turn your bad stress into EUSTRESS!

Eustress makes you feel anxious about what’s to come- but in a positive way. 

Instead of dreading what’s in front of you, you may have feelings of excitement. You may feel a few butterflies in your stomach but you probably won’t experience a nervous, nauseous churning in your stomach.

Let’s look at this through the lens of a hypothetical situation.

Maybe moving up in your career could result in good stress… say at your nail salon you’ve been asked to be the new manager. This is a big change in responsibility—but it’s an honor to be asked. You might be stressed about this advancement. But what can you do to turn this nervousness into excitement? This acute stress into eustress?

First, take a look at all the good that you’ve done to be offered this position. 

Obviously, you’ve been doing your job pretty well if you have been asked to advance. Use the skills you have developed by excelling in your former position to power you into this one!

Look at the good that could come of this. Maybe you have had some ideas for the salon that you’ve wanted to implement for a while but haven’t had the power to do so. This new position gives you more RESOURCES. Fall forward into success and use your new position to better your work experience as a whole!

Keep a positive GROWTH mindset! If you use this opportunity as one to further grow from, the bad stress begins to melt away. Use the feelings of eustress to remind yourself that you once were nervous about the job you had before. Working in that position was so great for you that you were asked to advance. Realize your ability to repeat that with this situation and channel your anxiety into feelings of good!

Though this situation may not apply to you specifically, there are so many ways to use these pieces of advice. Whatever is stressing you out can be made better by evaluating your skill set, looking to the possibility of good, and keeping a growth mindset. Stress tolerance isn’t always about getting rid of nervousness or anxiety- it’s about channeling it for the good of what’s ahead of you! It’s so important to use stress to your advantage. Take it as a signal to make a change and handle the things you are stressed about- being proactive rather than reactive! If you’re stressing about the things you cannot control, this can be your signal to talk to someone who understands or to give yourself a break! 

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