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January 4, 2024

"Stress is a powerful driving force."

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One of the biggest contributors to the lack of wellness and difficulty that many people experience in their lives is stress. But stress in itself isn’t a bad thing, in fact with a new perspective you’ll start to see it as a great thing! To reframe our relationships with stress, today’s positivity quote is “Stress is a powerful driving force.”

This quote comes from fitness legend Bill Phillips, and it carries extra meaning because fitness perfectly demonstrates what stress does to us. We literally are choosing to add stress to our bodies and do something challenging because we know that it creates growth and endurance.

It’s the stress of an elevated heartbeat that improves your aerobic fitness, and you literally need to tear your muscle fibers in a workout so that they repair bigger and stronger.

This isn’t the form of stress that comes to mind when you feel anxious or worried about your safety. That’s because this healthy, empowering, productive version of stress is different - it’s called “eustress”. Eustress is an intentional demand you put on yourself in the short-term knowing that it will create positive benefits in the long-term. And it’s the exact reason why “stress is a powerful driving force.”

However, the version of stress we are more accustomed to, that is crippling, is called “distress”. This is when we’re worried about being able to pay our bills, regretful about how we handled a conversation, or fearful about our own safety or someone else’s. This often creates a chronic stress-response that damages our health and well-being.

However, with these two lenses of stress, we can choose which one serves us more in a “middle of the road” scenario. Let’s say that you’re feeling strained by meeting a tight deadline at work. Is the way that you’re feeling eustress helping you expand your capacity, or is distress causing anxiety? 

When we choose to see life’s challenges as a force for positive transformation in our lives, we step up to the challenge and maximize our growth potential from it. This is where the mindset “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” comes from, should we choose to receive the demands of stress in a productive way.

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