Some days ago I had the chance to attend an event that made me reflect on the importance of dealing with stress in a positive way: one of the organizers was really affected by stress, to the point where she fell sick. The other organizer, a friend of mine, was very concerned when the person who was sick didn’t show up on time. When I noticed that my friend was becoming more agitated I offered my help. We devised a plan in case her partner didn’t show up and that really helped my friend to ease her feelings and get back on track. Just by having a plan, and the reassurance that things can be fixed, we feel relieved.
We have all heard that there are two types of stress, and while both have an impact in our mind and body, only one of them actually helps us. It’s known as Eustress, and it appears when we’re in demanding and challenging situation which we are capable of handling. It’s the sense of thrill and excitement we have when working on new projects, or competing. It can motivate us to achieve something and it brings enthusiasm.
The negative stress, Distress, is the one we identify more often. In general it causes emotions and feelings such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, unhappiness, and eventually illnesses.
My advice is really simple: If there is something you can do to fix the situation, do it. If there is nothing that can be done, just relax. Plan for the worse and hope for the best, and then just let things happen, but more importantly, take action as soon as you can.
Remember that all problems start small, and that as Corrie ten Boom says “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” When we’re stressed, we don’t enjoy the moment, the beauty of the present.
And if you see someone struggling with a stressful situation, step forward, show up, offer your help. This person will be grateful and that will improve the situation enormously. Sometimes, just by acknowledging a difficult situation, we help other people relax.
LET’S TAKE ACTION
1. Identify the situations that are currently causing you Distress.
2. Identify three possible actions you can take right now to work through the situation. They don’t have to be major actions, but rather simple steps that you can take immediately.
3. Identify one or two friends/relatives/colleagues that can support any of your actions, if needed.
4. Contact them and ask for help, if it applies. It will give them the opportunity to be closer with you and it will give you the chance to finally solve what is affecting you.