Look at Stress as a Motivator
If life didn’t get challenging we would never be motivated to change. If we didn’t experience difficulty we might stagnate and never grow and change. Sometimes, we need stressful periods in our lives to stimulate action, new choices, and new behavior. We need stress to motivate us.
Of course, some stress, especially if it’s chronic, isn’t healthy. In fact, one of the most common causes of health concerns among Americans today is stress. The workplace, home life, relationships, and the fast pace of life can create a certain kind of stress that takes a toll on the body. This kind of stress isn’t healthy. And many people today are focusing on ways to reduce their stress and practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis.
However, some stress can actually be incredibly powerful – so powerful that it forces us to change our entire lives. Certainly, struggling with an addiction can do that. In fact, David Perlmutter and Alberto Villoldo, authors of Power Up Your Brain, wrote about how stress is actually required for human progress. They wrote:
“Biological stress on a species, such as that caused by a change in food availability due to long-term drought, is resolved through creative coping and adapting. Without the stress of a changing ecosystem, our apelike ancestors would never have left the savannas of Africa for more fertile areas in Asia and Europe; they would not have started walking on two legs instead of four. In those cases, stress was nature’s way of inviting the wisest and most adaptable to survive.”
This can be important to remember for anyone who might feel bitter or angry or guilty about their addiction. Instead, another way to look at that period of your life is that it got you to where you are now. Without the stresses of that experience you might not have gotten clean. You might not have made the choices you made to get healthy.
Another important point to remember is that whatever you’re facing now is also a means to help you move forward. Whatever challenge or difficulty or obstacle you’re facing in your life is an invitation to rise to the occasion. It’s a doorway into more and more empowerment.
There are different types of stress. One type of stress is the kind that brings you down, wears on your physical body, and can eventually cause long-term illnesses. However, with the right relaxation and stress reducing tools, this can be managed.
The type of stress being discussed here is the kind that presents a life challenge or difficulty. This kind of stress can actually empower you to break through life’s obstacles. Another example of this is someone who is facing grave financial difficulty.
The stress might cause that person to search for more work, get creative about what he or she can sell, and perhaps ask a friend for some financial counseling. When we are under stress, we are forced to stretch our minds to find the answer.
In this way, stress can be useful. Seeing stress in this way can actually help you make life’s challenges work for you and not against you.
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