Positive Stress and Anxiety: Use them to your advantage

Positive Stress and Anxiety: Use them to your advantage

Looking From a More Positive Angle

Recent research highlights how viewing stress and anxiety from an alternative perspective can be beneficial. Positive stress and anxiety can change a person’s outlook on life. Typically, stress and anxiety are viewed as negative concepts, from events that are generally accepted as negative. Examples are something like the loss of a job or family bereavement.

A picture of someone biting their nails - not positive stress and anxiety!

The research, which is summarised by Science Daily here, points out that positive events can also bring on stress and anxiety. Bringing a newborn baby home for the first time is cited as an example. A very positive part of a person’s life but it can come with much stress and anxiety as the new parents work out how to provide for the infant.

Anxiety: Positive early warning

Considering anxiety alone for a moment, it can be useful to view it as an early warning system. As a therapist, I often point out to clients to listen to what their body is telling them. For example, if someone notices tension in their body, it can be a sign they are experiencing an increased level of anxiety. By paying attention to physical sensations in the body, raising awareness, gives control back to clients. For example, noticing a tightness in your chest may be a sign that you are anxious about an upcoming exam. At this point, using relaxation tools such as breathing, meditation or grounding can help to arrive at the exam in a more positive, calm mental state.

Listen to Your Body

However, if stress and anxiety go ignored for too long, that is when more serious problems occur. There is only so long that the body can continue to function in an extremely stressed state. Stress increases cortisol levels, which if maintained for a sustained time can lead to auto-immune conditions such as chronic fatigue or fibromialgia. Therefore, it is very important to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Notice the tension, energy levels and unexplained pains. They are there for a reason – to use as a positive sign that our bodies have been functioning near their limits for too long. If we do not take action, our bodies will – by beginning to shut down!

Viewing events from the alternative perspectives outlined above is a part of counselling. Many times the alternative perspectives can change our view to a more positive one. Stress and anxiety are givens in modern life, so learning to use them positively is a great skill.

To find out if I can help you do just that, please get in touch.