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The Surprising Benefits Of A Balanced Approach To Managing Stress

Written by: Maria-Stella Contera, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Maria-Stella Contera

In today's fast-paced world, stress seems to be an ever-present companion, lurking around every corner of our lives. From work deadlines to family responsibilities, financial pressures to health concerns, stress can manifest in countless forms and affect us both mentally and physically. It's no wonder that stress management has become a catchword in self-care circles, with countless strategies and techniques flaunted as the remedy for our stress-ridden lives.


Woman sitting in front of laptop

However, among the excessive advice to eliminate stress entirely, perhaps it's time to consider a different perspective: that stress, in moderation, may actually be beneficial for our growth. Rather than viewing stress solely as an enemy to be beaten, perhaps we can embrace its potential as a driver for personal development and strength.


Let's start by looking at the thought that all stress is undoubtedly harmful. In reality, stress is a natural response designed to help us steer challenges and threats in our lives. When faced with a stressful situation, our bodies release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, getting us ready for action and sharpening our focus. This "fight, flight or freeze" response has been essential to human survival throughout evolution, enabling our ancestors to escape predators and overcome hardship.


Stress isn't always a negative force to be avoided at all costs. Research suggests that a certain level of stress can motivate us to rise to the occasion and achieve our goals. Think about the adrenaline rush before a big presentation or the sense of accomplishment after overcoming a daunting obstacle. These experiences, while unquestionably stressful, can also be rewarding and transformative.


The key lies in striking a balance – not in eradicating stress entirely, but in managing it effectively and harnessing its potential for growth. Just as a plant needs sunlight and water to thrive, so do we need a healthy dose of stress to cultivate adaptability and to bounce back. Without some degree of stress, we risk becoming complacent and stagnant, lacking the incentive to challenge ourselves and reach our full potential.


Of course, it's important to recognize that everyone's tolerance for stress is different. What may be exciting for one person could be overwhelming for another. Therefore, rather than suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach to stress management, we must accept individual differences and preferences. Some may find comfort in mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing, while others may prefer physical activities such as running to release tension and restore balance.


We shouldn’t dismiss the positive aspects of stress in shaping our character and resilience. Hardship has a remarkable ability to expose our strengths and weaknesses, forcing us to confront our fears and limitations head-on. Through perseverance and determination, we can emerge from challenging situations equipped to face whatever life throws our way.


In this light, stress can be seen not only as a burden to be endured but also as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation. By reframing our relationship with stress and accepting it as a natural part of life, we allow ourselves to go through life's ups and downs with courage and grace.


So how can we cultivate a more balanced approach to stress management? Firstly, it's essential to prioritize self-care and establish healthy boundaries to prevent ongoing high levels of stress from turning into burnout. This may involve setting realistic goals, delegating tasks, and making time to relax and refresh. Having a supportive network of friends, family, and a wellness coach can provide invaluable emotional support during challenging times.


Cultivating a growth mindset can help us see setbacks as opportunities for learning and development. So rather than seeing stress as a sign of weakness, we can recognize it as a natural response to change and uncertainty, creating the way for personal growth.


Here are three tips to help cultivate this growth mindset for stress


  • Awareness: Practice tuning into your body and mind to recognize the signs of stress. By developing awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, you can determine when stress serves as growth versus when it is overwhelming. Mindfulness can be as simple as taking moments of pause throughout the day can help establish self-awareness.

  • Coping strategies: Have a toolbox of coping strategies to effectively handle stress. This might include techniques such as problem-solving, reframing negative thoughts, seeking social support, or using relaxation exercises. By using coping strategies that align with your own needs and preferences, you’re more likely to build resilience and maintain a sense of balance during life's challenges.

  • Acceptance: Rather than criticizing yourself for feeling stressed or judging your reactions, accept that stress is a normal part of life, and that it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times. So be kind to yourself, just as you would to a family member or friend who is stressed, and you can build resilience to bounce back more effectively.

 

Applying these tips in your approach to stress, can support a healthier relationship with stress and support the potential for personal growth and strength. Remember, stress isn't always the enemy – it's how we respond to it that makes the difference. Stress is unavoidable, so turn towards seeing stress as a natural, and at times, a growth-provoking part of life. Rather than seeking to eliminate stress entirely, let's try for a balanced approach that suits our own needs. After all, it's through stress that we have the opportunity to transform ourselves into stronger and wiser individuals.


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Maria-Stella Contera Brainz Magazine
 

Maria-Stella Contera, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Maria-Stella is a passionate advocate for women's health and well-being, who embarked on a transformative journey from corporate burnout to becoming a beacon of empowerment and education. With a profound understanding of the challenges women face in maintaining their wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle whilst juggling multiple responsibilities, Maria-Stella offers a unique and proven strategy for the prevention and management of burnout. Maria-Stella's resolute mission is clear: to empower and educate women to be in control of their health and wellbeing so they live life at their healthiest and personal best. She does this without adding extra pressures into their busy life and without feeling guilty.

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