As a solo parent and frequent flying entrepreneur (think 45 workshops in four cities last year alone), my friends often worry about my workload.
But truth be told, I don’t stress about all the balls I’m juggling until my peers comment about all the balls I’m juggling… Their well-meaning ‘judgements’ often causing more stress than my actual to-do list.
And recent studies around stress may back me up here — stress is only bad for you, if you believe it is.
In stress mode – the body is actually preparing you (and me) to be brave.
In fact, the physical signs of stress – a quickened heart, dilated pupils and sweaty palms – actually mirror the physiological response of courage.
That is – in stress mode – the body is actually preparing you (and me) to be brave bar one distinct difference…
If you believe stress will kill you, added to the pounding heart, bunny in headlight eyes and clammy hands, will in fact be narrowed heart arteries, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and more.
But if you believe stress is good for you, studies show the arteries remain open – the body elicits the courage not the nasty cardio response.
Now, because I live with a lot of “stress” (and quite frankly, who doesn’t?), I continued this conversation with my good friend and mindset coach Eliza Priddle, from Mind Mechanix, where we moved from stress to pressure.
And here’s why pressure – just like stress – is also good for you.
Pressure helps birth new life, literally .. in fact, physically in terms of a new baby and metaphorically in terms of a new career.
Without pressure (c-sections excluded), a baby will not enter the world – be it bubbling or business.
Pressure helps birth new life, literally.
It is pressure that in fact expels the baby from the birth canal and at the same time clears the mucus from an infant’s airways as it journeys into its new world.
Pressure helps a baby breathe. Pressure helps you breathe.
The foetus cannot continue to grow inside its mother indefinitely, in fact, without pressure to help the child transition (again excluding c-sections), it simply wouldn’t survive, let alone thrive.
So next time you’re feeling pressured, or stressed, consider what your body is preparing you for:
– An act of courage;
– Survival: to give birth to a new idea, business or life – in all its forms;
– To help you breathe.
And next time well-meaning friends worry about your pressure or workload; the next time you’re feeling stressed, just remember, your body is gearing up for something courageous.
There’s no need to ‘take the pressure down’.
P.S If you find this viewpoint as fascinating as I do, check out Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk on stress.