That sounds ridiculous – enjoying stress! How could that possibly be?
Stress is the result of not being in control. Claims on your time and energy build up and your resources for coping are spread thinly. There is little time for recovery from one day to the next – so you are stressed. Well, to be accurate, we should call it distress because, in itself, stress can actually be enjoyable and challenging.
For example, you might rise to the stress of climbing a rock face – you are not fully in control, you are living on the edge of your strength and suppleness, you are dependent on support you have set up but you cannot know for sure that it will hold firm in every circumstance. The thrill of overcoming danger! The excitement of pushing yourself to the limits! The sense of achievement! More! More!
Not you? Then how about sitting exams or even moving into a new home? The experience may be as thrilling as it is stressful and the sense of achievement can give a warm glow that keeps you going for ages.
So, even that is not you! How about completing a difficult Sudoku, speaking in public or potty training your child?
Still not you? Well, can you think of a stressful experience that you did find stimulating and enjoyable?
I reckon virtually everyone has at some point found something positive about an experience of stress so use the Response Button to record your experience and in due course we can reflect on the breadth of our experiences.
What stressful experience have you had that you did find stimulating and enjoyable?
Do you have a story to share?
And when you have done that, think about the stresses you have enjoyed. What was it about them that made them different to the distresses that stress and challenge you? You might like to flag this up for further thought so you learn something positive about your own response to stress.
You see, stress is not all bad! Some stresses are positive and enjoyable. And you go back for more. This illustrates a basic principle of stress management. The aim is not necessarily to get rid of stress but rather to control it. You need to be in the driving seat.