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Over the past decade I have heard people talk about their rising stress levels. More information, more responsibility and the same 24 hours a day to get it all in and done, respectively. What I don’t see many people doing is distinguishing the unhealthy stress from the healthy stress. Much of what positively motivates us is stress not its absence. As Barry Lenson writes in his book, Good Stress, Bad Stress [ http://goo.gl/3zDTK0 ], there are two types of psychological stressors. He characterizes them as positive or negative using some practical criteria so I thought I’d share them.
Bad Stress, as Lenson calls it, can be identified by the following traits:
- It stifles your creativity
- It distances you from dealing with conflict in a healthy manner
- It closes doors, metaphorically
- It saps you of emotional energy
- It makes sleeping feel less restful
On the other side is what Lenson calls Good Stress, and can be seen as:
- Opening communication lines and deepening relationships
- Increasing your capacity for compassion
- Converting conflicts to solutions
- Motivating you to action
- Refueling your mental, emotional energy stores
Think about the positive, productive sources of good stress in your life. How do you gravitate good (and bad) stress toward you in your work and life? How can you work to bring more good stress into your productivity at the most opportune times? How can you repel more bad stress?
Remember, too much of any good thing is not likely. Too much any kind of stress can be limiting so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
In future episodes I look forward to covering how to further engage good stress in your productivity.