To kick off Stress Awareness month, I want to remind you that “stress” is a positive thing. Most of the time when we refer to stress it has a negative connotation. We talk about stress as all the different stressors we are currently experiencing and all the mental and emotional strain that we are feeling. “I’m just so stressed,” “She’s under a lot of stress right now,” “He doesn’t respond well to stress.” Each of those statements is an explanation of a negative reaction to stressors. Yet, instead our statements could be “I am learning so much through this,” “She is getting a lot accomplished,” “He performs well under pressure.”
Stress is a lot more than the things to which we give that label. Every change is a stressor. Going back to school is a stressor that includes several stressors of scheduling classes, writing papers, and absorbing new ideas, yet it is also an opportunity to learn many things.
Stressors present us with an opportunity to learn and grow. Not everyone wants to grow and develop as a person. Although I am a big fan of personal growth and choosing positive change as a mental health therapist, I understand that some are not currently able to take on all that entails. Stressors challenge us to move outside our comfort zones. Stressors allow us to learn more about ourselves, test our true limits, discover new strengths and skills, learn more about the world, etc.
Immersing yourself in a foreign place is the best way to learn a language. If you jump in the deep end, you will likely learn to swim. When you lift weights, you stress your muscles and they grow. Stress is the only way we grow and often how we learn. I don’t know about you, but I think learning and growing are very good things.
April 1st, 2011