What are the advantages and disadvantages of stress for you? Fill in the worksheet below with your lists.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Stress
Advantages of stress for me
Disadvantages of stress for me
If your list of advantages is longer than your list of disadvantages, it might appear that stress isn’t that big a deal for you. If it is the other way around, you have work to do regarding your stress.
What Are Your Feelings about Working on Stress?
There are a number of reasons for and against working on stress. What about you?
Use the worksheet titled “My Feelings about Working on Stress” (next page) to find out. On the left side of the worksheet, write down your reasons for working on stress. Then, on the right side, list your reasons for not doing so.
My Feelings About Working on Stress
Reasons to work on stress
Reasons not to work on stress
Goals of Stress Management
Remember I mentioned from previous blog posts that stress is not all bad. In fact, you need a certain amount to do your best – whether it’s in school, at work, on the ball field, when making important decisions, or in your interactions with other people. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that the goal of managing stress is not to eliminate all stress. Life would get pretty boring without some changes or challenges from time to time. And remember that some sources of stress are positive events that we wouldn’t want to do away with: weddings, promotions, births, building that new dream house, and so on.
Most important, though, it would be impossible to eliminate all sources of stress – and stress itself for that matter. So, what is the goal? That depends on things such as the nature of your individual stressors, your personal situation, personality style, and priorities. In general, though, the goal of stress management is to help you learn to regulate your stress level so that you can choose how much you need based on your circumstances, personality, and priorities.
Ultimately, this will help you maximize your performance and your personal satisfaction. You can achieve this goal by using a blend of helpful strategies for problem solving, communicating more effectively, managing your time more efficiently, reducing the influences of stress-inducing damaging thoughts and beliefs and learning to relax your body and mind. By learning about and practicing using these tools, you’ll learn how to cope effectively with the stressors in your life.
What You Can and Can’t Change
As I’ve mentioned, some situations that provoke stress can be controlled by directly confronting and changing one of their aspects so that the situation becomes less stressful. For example, let’s say you’re extremely stressed because you have several work or school projects due at the same time. To change the situation you could ask your boss or teacher for an extension, which would solve the problem and reduce some of your stress. But there are other sources of stress that you just can’t change, such as a serious illness or a death in the family.
It can also be very difficult to get people to change their behavior. And even in the deadline extension example you just read, simply because you ask for an extension doesn’t mean it will be granted. So, the reality is that while we can try to change some stressful situations, this won’t work all the time. That’s why it’s very important to have a back-up plan just in case there’s not much you can do about the situation itself. It turns out that the best back-up plan is learning how to correct exaggerated or damaging thoughts and beliefs about these difficult situations that make them seem worse than they really are.
Remember my blog post on day 24 (just 4 days ago)? Two friends getting ready to go on vacation when a snowstorm hits and their flight is canceled. When there was nothing they could do about the snowstorm that grounded their plane, one friend was able to control her stress because of how she thought about the situation. The other one, on the other hand, became extremely stressed because she believed it was a true catastrophe.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about different types of stressors and how best to approach managing them.