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“Good” stress—Is there such a thing?

published: 02-04-2014 Journal entry icon

Some intense military training, such as in the Special Operations Forces, screens personnel by ultimately selecting those who can handle extreme adversity. In fact, how you view stress can have a big impact on whether the stress you experience is helpful or not. When you have a positive interpretation of your stress—that is, “eustress”—you may feel “amped up” enough to perform your best without experiencing any negative effects.

How do you experience stress in a positive manner? Try reframing it. Your situation doesn’t have to “suck”—it can just be a challenge that ultimately helps you grow more resilient. When you use this approach, it’s easier to take on whatever comes your way instead of engaging in unhelpful practices that may just increase your stress. Learn to find meaning in what’s difficult with your word choices. Here are some examples of statements you may find helpful:

  • “Go beyond!”
  • “I can!”
  • “I am!”
  • “Makes me stronger.”
  • “For my buddies.”
  • “For good.” (Or if you are spiritual, “For God.”)
  • “Feel it!”
  • “Dig deep.”
  • “You got it!”
  • “It’s all good.”

The list goes on. Figure out what words or phrases help you switch from seeing stress as a negative to feeling it’s just another challenge to tackle.

For more information on how to handle stress, check out HPRC’s Stress Management section.