'Mindful Monday': Stress: gift or curse?

Nov 09, 2015


Nancy Fredericks

Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

Stress is no laughing matter. There is no question that it impacts your life just as it does mine—the statistics tell the tale. A Center for Creative Leadership survey revealed that 88 percent of leaders feel work is their primary source of stress. While the American Psychological Association reports that 41 percent say they “feel tense or stressed out during the workday,” which is an increase from previous years. Additionally, in business more than 40 percent of job turnover emanates from stress-related factors.

Wow! So, it does look as though stress is a curse. After all, stress takes a huge toll including on the companies who employ us. Employee stress related issues impact businesses to the tune of $300 billion dollars a year.

We hear non-stop concern about the harmful effect stress has on lives and health. The message is clear. Stress is bad—an enemy to eradicate—yet, this is untrue. So, how about we explore the good side of stress for a change? 

Yes, there is good stress. The nature of this side of stress—“Eustress”—is that it keeps us tuned, accelerated, creative, productive and successful. It charges us up and is a feeling we love.

The reality is without stress our heart would stop pumping! And there are plenty of reasons where we end up saying: Thank you stress! 

·      Personal Barometer: Stress is an early warning sign. You do not become stressed over something that is unimportant. As you experience stress alarms, paying attention is the first step to effectively managing it. So, start by identifying the root causes. Ask yourself: What can I do to mitigate this particular stress? Then, take new action. This formula may sound easy. It is not. For you to triumph, commitment and persistence need to become your friend.

·      Laser-like Focus: Stress, when not chronic and at low-levels, is a booster to creating results. It appears that an occasional stressful event pushes our brain into a production high-gear that we do not normally access. Have you noticed that when you put a project on your “to-do” list it motivates you, brings an entirely new focus accompanied by a surge of energy that drives you toward completion? This intense laser-like focus assists you in completing tasks more effectively and quickly. 

·      Thinking Booster: In small doses, stress aids you in working in the zone. A positive response to stress brings clarity to your thinking, aids in handling emergencies, assists in overcome daily challenges, mentally toughens you and helps you excel as a leader. The reality is that too little stress has you feeling bored and mentally tuned out. Not an attitude conducive to successful performance.

Consciously working on these “Eustress” suggestions will aid you in functioning at your best. So, eliminate those stress rounded shoulders and sleep the sleep of a child at peace with your world as you learn to bring more “Eustress” into your workday. Revel in the gift you have given yourself!

Thanks for your interest in the Mindful Monday blogs. This month’s blog is a taster. During the month of December, through my knowledge-based emails, I will be sending out a series of bite-sized tips regarding tactics for overcoming stress. If you are interested in receiving the information, sign up for my weekly knowledge-based emails by sending your contact information to info@nancyfredericks.com