` Five tips on how employees can use stress to their advantage | Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA)
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06 May 2022
by Tanya Woolf

Five tips on how employees can use stress to their advantage

Everyone faces a stressful situation at some time in their lives. But there are ways of turning it into a positive force

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Stress: almost everyone knows how it feels, the tension building in our mind and body coupled with the tell-tale signs of being anxious or burnt out. There is a lot of advice available on how to spot stress and anxiety and how to cope with it. But there can be benefits in giving stress a new purpose. 

Here are some top tips on how to use stress to your advantage and the life lessons it will teach.

1 – Thinking about stress differently

Stress is not always negative, it can fuel personal growth and lead to new achievements, but how do we do this? By thinking about stress differently. We don’t have any control over facing stressful situations – but we do have control over how we think about stress and the way it will affect us. If we think that stress can help rather than hinder, it will help us face stressful situations and use it to our advantage. We can do this by reminding ourselves that our bodies are going into stress mode to help us deal with the challenges we are facing.

2 – Don’t allow stress to overwhelm 

There are several simple exercises which can help everyone regain focus and overcome anxieties linked to stress, such as taking long slow breaths, stepping away from a situation to clear the head and coming back with a clearer mind or even focusing on something different for a little while before coming back and re-evaluating a stressful task. Whatever we choose to do will help us to cope in any stressful situation while further helping us to train our minds and bodies to use stress to our advantage.

3 – Stress can help us become more organised

People will always come up against situations where they feel stressed: it is, unfortunately, something we cannot avoid. However, by learning from previous stressful situations we can become more organised. Those who are aware of a stressful project that might be coming up, for instance, can start to work on laying out the necessary tasks that need to be completed early, which in turn will help them to become more organised as a result. 

4 – Stress can teach people to focus on self-care

From organising our diaries better to practising meditation or breathing techniques, stress can help everyone to be mindful of their own self-care. Many clinicians will recommend a healthy diet, consuming less alcohol and increasing exercise to help combat stress. This, in turn, will ensure us take better care of ourselves, both mentally and physically. 

5 – It will help us understand fear

Remember that the presence of fear is a way to help us overcome a challenge or threat. We are feeling stressed because you we to succeed in the challenge. That’s a good thing. Stress can help us to focus on a positive outcome, and then consider what types of obstacles might be in the way and how to tackle them.

It is important to be mindful of our feelings and ensure that we focus on managing anything that can trigger us to feel stressed, whether in our personal lives or at work. When we start to view stress as a positive driving force, we begin to learn a lot more about our coping mechanisms and how it can help us overcome many of life’s obstacles.

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