Is stress always a bad thing? Sure, it has its downsides, and those are definitely important to consider. But does that mean that stress can never be good for anything? It’s possible there could be some good that comes out of being a little stressed.
Now, stress definitely has some ill effects. Sometimes it can cause distractedness and listlessness, and even a compromised immune system. It can reduce your ability to sleep and also cause weight gain, bad skin, and trigger bad habits.
But what if we said that you could harness your stress and use it as a super-strength? You’ve been stressed before — try to remember a time when that stress pushed you towards greatness.
Sometimes a deadline is all you need. That little “stressful” push of having a time limit. Or perhaps you’ve set goals for yourself. Is that necessarily bad? No! This is the kind of thing that moves us on towards our best selves.
Entrepreneurs Are Stressed Out
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The CEO and founder, 24-year-old entrepreneur Vithurs, knows all about stress.
Here are some of his thoughts and tips for managing stress as an entrepreneur.
The Power of Stress
You may have heard someone tell you that “you stress…” but have you ever heard of “eustress”?
Eustress is the kind of stress you want. This is what you feel when you’re feeling a zealous buzz about something. Whether you’ve just met someone you like and hope they like you back, or you just got a big promotion at work and are pumped about the challenge, you know the feeling. Good stress is possible. It’s passion and intensity toward something that feels great.
Acute stress is more of a quick and short sort of stress. This is what you feel when a jump-scare happens in a horror movie. You respond physically and emotionally to something that came out of the blue, but this level of feeling doesn’t normally last very long.
It’s possible to feel acute stress and eustress and not have any negative side effects. Neither one of these is necessarily too much for a person to handle.
Toughen Up, Buttercup
If you just go ahead and assume that stress is going to be a part of your journey as an entrepreneur, you’ll be all the better for it. Build your tolerance for stress just like you’d build any muscle group. Train it, stretch it, and train it some more. When you build that strength, you can grab a hold of stress and let it work for you.
Let stressful situations excite you. Look at new problems as a chance to create solutions, and get pumped about the opportunity to learn and grow. The more stressful circumstances you encounter, the more you will grow. So don’t be afraid of those sorts of defining moments in your life. Let them fuel you.
If you learn how to grab stress by the ear and make it a part of your process, you won’t be afraid of new things that come your way. You’ll be well prepared to fall off the horse and hop immediately back into the saddle.
Quality of Life
You may have gotten the hang of stress and you may feel that you’ve got it under control. But don’t be surprised if your life takes a turn and you start to experience the side effects that can sometimes come with chronic stress. This can happen when you frequently encounter stress.
Bottling up your feelings will not help with the bad parts of stress. Instead, you need to find replacements for whatever is ailing you. If you’re stress-eating, try to find activities to do when you feel like chowing down. If you can’t sleep, turn off your phone at night and create a restful environment in your bedroom. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor and get some exercise.
Stress shouldn’t be a dealbreaker in your life, but it can affect you. Just make sure you’re taking precautions and trying to manage it, or you may find yourself at your breaking point. Even eustress can be too much for a body in high doses, so just pay attention to yourself and make sure you’re not taking it far too seriously.
Learn your limits and start to set boundaries. Learn how to turn down opportunities if they’re not serving you or your business, and know yourself enough to know exactly what you have time and energy for.
Saying yes is a great way to get successful, but saying no is a great way to maintain your success. You have to be thoughtful and get rid of the activities and pressures that make your life unnecessarily hard, and you have to say yes to things that help your overall health and well-being.
Being a people-pleaser is tough on a person, so make sure you are also thinking about yourself and your personal needs. If you only ever think about others and what they want from you, you’re sure to blow a fuse. And living life at your wit’s end will ultimately cause burnout. That’s no life for an entrepreneur, especially if you have employees and staff counting on you to create a flourishing business.
Take the Wheel
Grab a hold of yourself and your life and do the best you can with your time. Life is short, and you can’t let others live your life for you. This is all a part of embracing stress — you have to know that you have responsibility for a lot of what happens in your life, and that makes a difference in your interactions and in your success.
You are never going to get everything right, but you can certainly make efforts to do things in a way you can be proud of. If you’re living life well and controlling what you can, you won’t lose sleep. If you know you’re doing your absolute best and trying your absolute hardest, there is no reason to fret over the little things.
There is a difference between being in control of yourself and having “control issues.” Don’t let it become an issue — just take responsibility and don’t sweat it if you’ve done your best and things still don’t turn out. You knowing that you tried is the most important thing.
Stressing and Obsessing
You can be thoughtful and careful without completely destroying your inner life with thoughts of what you could have done better. Stress doesn’t necessarily have to look like obsessive replays of conversations you had three months ago, nor does it mean you have to beat yourself up over every little thing. And stress does not have to mean complete neglect of all other aspects of life to focus on your entrepreneurship.
No, those sorts of problems are typically due to obsessing, not stressing. You can be stressed in a healthy way that pushes you toward your goals without obsessing even for one minute. It is very rare for an obsession to serve you well. Obsessing isn’t the solution — instead, you need to get really into problem-solving and focusing your attention on productivity and time management.
Simply stressing about something can lead you toward creating solutions. Obsessing will put you on a hamster wheel where you will run forever without ever reaching your destination. What kind of entrepreneur would that make you?
Stress as a Gateway to Success
Think about who you are and all that you have accomplished so far. Do you think you’ve always seen stress as something to be avoided? When you have succeeded, were you avoiding stress?
Most likely, the times where you really nailed it in life were the times you faced stress head-on and worked with the flow of it. You can’t avoid stress, so you might as well make it work for you. Turn off all the noise in your head and figure out what stressors you should keep.
Once you’ve figured out what kinds of stress move you forward, you’ve got to think about what kind of stress holds you back. Is it harming you to keep certain activities or people in your life? There are some issues you may be obsessing over or fixating on that need to disappear so you can focus on the positive stress.
As we said, stress can be your biggest superpower. Learn how to harness it. Part of that is fighting the physical effects of stress with good, healthy practices, and the other part is learning which stressful things in your life make you better.