Self, Health And Wellness

How To Deal With Stress & Turn It Into Your Own Superpower

Photo: Unsplash/Sean Kong
How To Deal With Stress & Turn It Into Your Own Superpower

It's common knowledge that when repeated over time, too much stress can lead to problems with health, performance, and well-being.

Illness, missed days from work, depression, aggression, and relationship problems are just a few of its effects.

If you're like most people, your healthy living mindset and mentality are geared toward getting rid of the stress or even avoiding the problem.

Who can blame us? Nobody likes that that sick-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach fight or flight feeling. Our response is usually denial ("I'm fine!"), anger ("Why me!?"), or overwhelm ("I can't handle this!").

But, oddly, recent research has shown that experiencing stress symptoms actually heightens awareness, speeds up thinking, improves performance and leads many to say, "I'm great in a crisis."

Learning how to deal with stress in a way that makes it work for you is possible!

RELATED: 41 Ways To Reduce Work Stress And Be A Happier Person

It's why my clients suffering from anxiety tell me their worry helps them anticipate problems and envision potential solutions.

It's how I know that adults who have faced hardships early in life can have tremendous reserves of strength to face current difficulties and often a greater appreciation for the gifts life has given them.

The discrepancy lies in the mindset we adopt when we're stressed out. For years, we've been taught the stress-is-bad mindset, that a healthy lifestyle means zero stress.

But, that's not true, at all. New research tells us, instead, that adopting a stress-is-good mindset benefits us more.

If you deal with stress in these 3 ways, it can be healthy for you.

1. Acknowledge your stress

Figuring out how you experience stress is your first step to proper stress management.

What form does your stress response take? Is it that sick to your stomach feeling, a pounding headache or a desire to get in bed and pull up the covers, avoiding everything and everyone?

When you've identified your stress response, don't ignore it! Notice it each time it occurs, acknowledging that something is stressing you out.

What is that something? What's creating your stress response? Now you can take steps to move forward.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Build Resilience When Life Gets Too Stressful

2. Use your stress

Once acknowledged, listening to your stress will help you know what you need to do. Employ the mindset of using the stress instead of waiting for it to go away or pretending it's not there.

What needs to happen? What must you do to make that happen? Is there something you have to learn or someone whose help you need?

Perhaps you have taken on too much, giving up your precious life-balance. Maybe you've been so busy taking care of others that you've forgotten to take care of yourself.

Is it time for a new job? Can you use the issues with your girlfriend to figure out how to improve the relationship and determine if it's salvageable?

3. Accept that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger

We tend to rely on our typical stress management strategies when stress hits. You may do more yoga, running, meditation, or other positive activities. On the negative side, you may do more drinking, partying, or sleeping.

These positive and negative strategies help you avoid the message your stress is sending. Stress is a signal that you must heed. It's telling you something. So, give it a big hello, invite it in, and have a coffee with it while figuring out what the message is.

Thank your stress for the opportunity it has offered. Accept the opportunity to welcome needed change into your life. Embrace your inner strength.

Stress can help you thrive, be brave and improve your work and life performance.

Are you feeling stressed out today? What can you do to solve the problem your stress is trying to communicate? How can you be great in a crisis?

RELATED: 3 Ways To Love Yourself So Hard That Your Anxiety & Stress Melt Away (For Good)

Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC, is a licensed psychologist and certified life coach. Connect with her on her website where you can request a free coaching call to bring more passion, fun, and wellness to your life.