THINK WELL: Make Stress Your Friend!

The Science shows that trying to repress stress has the exact opposite effect.

Ever had a big presentation? A deadline to meet? Waiting for important news? Trying to make a hard decision? Or you might remember when you had to teach your first Pilates class? We all have our challenges which bring an overdose of anxiety, a racing heart and sweaty palms… you can feel your brain shutting down.  You want to scream! But you don’t because everybody is telling you need to calm down and everything will be OK.

However, there’s seems to be a paradox at the heart of stress: The more you try to battle it directly, the more stressed out you tend to get.

What’s the alternative? Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal offers an answer in this eye-opening talk that will help you feel more centered and get more done.

In order to keep calm and carry on, “you must fight against your physiology – your automatic physical responses to the situation-which is very difficult to do”.

Research by social scientist Alison Wood Brooks, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, suggests that people in fact perform best not when they try to relax, but when they take simple steps to get excited about the challenge at hand. When you feel anxious, you’re on the lookout for threats, but… “when you’re excited, it primes an opportunity mind-set, so you think of all of the good things that can happen. You’re more likely to make decisions and take actions that will make good results likely to occur.” [Harvard Magazine]

Next time when you feel anxious put this method to the test and try to make stress your friend, get excited!