Stress into Success

By Steve Hall

Hi I’m Steve Hall and I’d like to talk to you today about stress, and how we can use it to create success. 

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we… What is Stress? 

  • Stress is natural and normal.
  • We can experience stress from our environment, our own body and even our own thoughts 
  • There’s good stress and bad stress. Some stress can be beneficial and too much or prolonged stress can be bad for us.
  • Good stress can boost memory, help with motivation, focus, alertness, strength, energy and performance
  • Bad stress affects our health through cortisol build up leaving us susceptible to heart attack and strokes from high blood pressure and bad stress can also lead to depression, anxiety, poor memory and concentration, poor sleep patterns, anger or irritability, feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, racing thoughts and constant worry and bad decisions.

American philosopher Henry Thoreau once said “Most people live a life of quiet desperation” and looking at the affects of bad stress one can only assume those Thoreau referred to may have been experiencing it.

Stress is our bodies reactions, physically, emotionally and spiritually to changes and the effects of stress on us can be quite profound. As there’s good and bad stress, what if we could influence which sort of stress we experienced and how could that affect our lives?

Well there are things we can do to tilt the scale in our favour and allow us to access good stress and experience less bad stress, in other words with the right understanding and awareness we can manage our responses and the effects of stress on ourselves.

There are many things to consider, one of which is our attitude to things. Stress can be as simple as looking forwards to something with excitement, this is stress, yet it motivates us and lifts us up. If however we look forwards to something with fear or dread, for example public speaking, we may want to avoid it at all costs. Now here’s an interesting fact, and that is that nothing has meaning except the meaning we ourselves place upon it. In other words, whatever we fear or dread is not really causing our bad stress, it is the meaning we ourselves place on that thing from an association with a memory of something similar to it that produces the stress in us, being aware of this alone is a beginning.

So what if we were to focus on the goal beyond and accept that the feeling is merely an emotion from our own beliefs and if we “Face our fear and do it anyway”* we will be alright once we step into the situation? Another interesting fact is that our courage only shows up once we have taken the step towards our fear, it doesn’t show up to enable us to do so, so in order to build the capacity to take that first step we need to develop our ability to do so.

In our coaching program “Stress to Success” we have developed step by step approaches to manage our emotional reactions, identify situations we wish to master, and what it is we need to understand about ourselves in order to do so. We can alter our thinking and beliefs to allow us to respond rather than react to emotional challenges and reduce the force and power of emotions that beforehand controlled us instead of just drawing our attention to something. 

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