Stress Test

Stress is frequently seen as a bad thing — putting unnecessary strain on an individual's physical or mental well-being. In attempting to change people's views, Paula Davis-Laack has offered up some guidelines in a Fast Company article as to how people can turn their stress to their advantage. Drawing on studies that have observed that how people interpret their stress is a potential predictor for how their stress will affect them, she provides the following suggestions:

1. Recognize that feelings while under stress often overstate the situation — try to describe sources of stress in a factual manner, separating the instantaneous emotion from the actual severity of the event.

2. Encourage positive emotions — search for sources of calm and well-being, as a counter-balance to the negativity that stress often induces, whether these sources of calm are through mental or physical activities.

3. Recognize that stress is often caused by things you care about — stress and meaning are often intertwined, with sources of stress also frequently being sources of happiness.

By attempting to convert stress into a positive thing, the hope is that individuals will be better able to operate and react in positive manners while under pressure.