I read a recent article on a popular accounting platform that seemed to be saying that some Stress can a good thing.

To be fair it is not the first time I have heard that, and I do understand where the idea comes from, but I would love to explain why I disagree.

Why there is no good stress

The article suggested that ‘good stress’ involved upping the adrenaline and cortisol in your body to sharpen your performance!

Can I ask, if you love what you are doing, or are about to do, will you need ‘stress’ to get you to do it?

I’d suggest the answer should be, no! If you love what you are doing, then you don’t need stress to motivate you.

Stress releases cortisol and adrenaline. These are literally jittery chemicals.

If you love what you are doing, or about to do, do you want to feel jittery about it?

What causes stress

If you feel stressed, then you must be doing something you don’t love and are not excited about. So, either stop doing it or learn how you can look forward to it.

If we knew what stress was doing to our body, then we would probably never think a stressful thought ever again.

If you are releasing jittery chemicals several hours a day, how would you expect to feel. Constantly unsettled?

Some people are so good at creating stress they are unhappy about what happened yesterday and already upset about what might happen tomorrow.

How to prevent stress

If you are thinking about something you haven’t done yet and the thinking of it makes you feel stressed, then you are buying unhappiness in advance based on how you are choosing to think about it.

Stress is not an external event, it is an internal event. Stress does not happen outside your body, it happens inside.

So you created that event of stress by using your mind.

Maybe we can put our minds to something more productive.

The same mechanism you used to create stress can also create joy, fun, love, happiness, excitement, bliss, peace, tranquillity.

What if I did things differently

Are you spending your ‘now’ moment stressing about a tomorrow that hasn’t come yet.

Mark Twain said: “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe”.

Can you be stressed about something you love? In the exact same moment? True you can switch back and forward real quick, but if you tell yourself you love something, and you believe that, then can you be stressed about it at the exact same time? So why have you chosen to be stressed in the past? In the future, as you look at it now, could you make better choices and find a way to love it?

Our mind can attach to an event any label we choose. Some people do interesting things for joy that others would consider their worst nightmare, for instance running, playing golf, sky-diving, hill climbing to name but a few. These are pleasurable leisure activities to some and because they label them as such, they get to create dopamine and serotonin, the feel good chemicals. Those that perceive such activities as their worst nightmare get to create cortisol and adrenaline instead. Have you ever found you loved something you used to think you would hate?

So, is it all about the label you choose to apply?

If you tell yourself:

I want to do this;

I elect to do this;

I like doing this;

I enjoy doing this;

I look forward to doing this;

I love to do this;

where then is the stress?

The words we use (on ourselves) have magical powers. That’s why we call it spelling.

If you love something, can you be stressed about it in the exact same moment?

Maybe the Beatles had it right, “all you need is love”.

This isn’t about pretending something isn’t what it is and nor is it happy-clappy bullshit. This is about learning to take charge. This is about putting yourself at cause and taking control. You cannot always control what happens outside of you, but who should control what happens inside of you?


The author

Gordon Berry is a Master NLP Coach, Master Hypnotherapist, Certified DiSc Trainer and Master Time-Line-Therapist and also a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Adviser.

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