The pattern of MAWMonday Motivators has been to get current tweets and connect them in a common theme. But, today’s MAWMM searches the tag #eustress. From the results, I chose a group of tweets that offer a platform, encouragement, education, and philosophy similar to Bandura’s social agency. The message is: When you are faced with stress, translate it into useful motivation, with a view on health, intentionality on deck, foresight to guide, self-reflectiveness for humility, and self-reactiveness as certain gain. In other words, use stress to YOUR advantage before it destroys you.
1. You Need Stress
Motivation is our internal character response to stimuli (trigger) in the context of ability. It is important to receive the call of that stimuli with a structured understanding of self. The trigger will set deadlines. Your ability will be questioned. You will be asked to perform. But, this is all the system of human behavior. It has not inherent anxiety. The stimuli I speak of is stress. Systematically integrated handling of stress is eustress.
2. You Need to Know Stress
Eustress is defined generally as stimulus that supports energy application in the areas where it’s needed. You know eustress as the butterflies that get you focused just before you sing. Or, you may know it as the anticipation of new things as you move to a new state.
You may have considered both these to be stress without qualification. If so, you are missing out on two points that will support your well-being. First, stress is a call for energy. Second, pure, targeted, systematic energy application is a definition of health.
3. Eustress is Different
Distress is what we often are speaking of when we speak of stress. Too much of that energy strain will burn out the “fight or flight” mechanism and leave you anhedonic. Distress is characterized by an inability to measure, manage, or predict the triggers with the current level of ability. You can gain by intentionally responding to triggers and by increasing ability. Intentionality is the precursor to eustress. You win once you are in a knowing position of “target by stressor.” You consistently win as you integrate each new challenge in a framework of learning and growth. Each challenge is stressful, yet expected to result in new knowledge and opportunity.
4. The Enemy is Pain and Anxiety
Some believe that stress is the enemy. Yet, your management of stress is key to its impact. Consider that worry and anticipation, anxiety and intense expectation are the emotion-energy drain that depletes your resources and damages your mental health. And the hormones are seemingly addictive. We all know that person that must hype every situation to a fever pitch before swooping in with their fix. They operate that way because of the rush they desire. And it builds higher and higher dose needs each time.
Manage anxiety with vision–an expected end. Meditate on the fact that it will work out. Outline the vision from ending backwards. Put time in consistently. Focus on each step. Then, implement the next step. Make systematic progress.
5. You Need Rest
Your body and mind is not made to do anything non-stop that you can’t do in your sleep. That means breathing is the only consistent function performed 24/7. Other things you do require breaks.
The worst thing to hear a student say is that they stayed up until 4am to complete an assignment. I get it. I’ve been there. But, I also realized early that the loss of ability over the next two days after an all-nighter is not worth the strain. The effect is more pronounced as you age. Put in your all, consistently over time. Rest as a health habit. Reap rewards, sustainably.