Michael Evan Salley Shares 5 Ways You Can Transform Stress into a Usable Resource

Stress is a fact of life for many people. Rare is the person that does not experience enough hardship to notice that they are feeling off, that their shoulders are heavier, that the only thing they want to do is to go home and sleep. The good news is that like many things in your life, stress can be turned into a valuable resource and used to further your goals. Here, construction professional Michael Evan Salley details five ways you can do that:

1. Figure Out How Much Stress You Can Handle

 
Although stress can be a useful resource, that doesn't mean you should purposely put yourself in stressful situations. Remember that you're making the best out of a byproduct of work. Stress is inevitable, so you may as well make the most out of it; however, you need to limit the number of incoming stressors.
 
One of the first things you can do is figure out how much stress you can handle at any given time. The next step is to start saying no when you've reached your limit. Denying requests or refusing to help might hurt you and the people you are rejecting, but hurting yourself to help others does no one any good. Keep yourself healthy first.
 
2. Use It as a Situational Barometer
 
One of the hardest things about stress is that it can come from anything, even things that you had no power over. Letting things beyond your control stress you out is spectacularly unhealthy, as the vast majority of events in your life are out of your control. It's a harsh truth, but one you must learn.
 
The good news is that stress can help you figure things out. While it cannot directly tell you what is beyond your reach, it can tell you if something troubles you. From there, you can analyze the stressor and figure out if there was anything you could have done to prevent things. While knowing that you were powerless may feel like a small blessing, don't underestimate the relief of understanding that fact. Something being out of your control means that you are not directly responsible for it; this thought can quickly alleviate much of the stress that comes with external chaos.
 
3. Use it to Fuel Excitement
 
Stress can result in the same symptoms you would experience when you are excited. Heightened awareness, shortness of breath, a jittery feeling--all of these, and more, are shared expressions. Instead of succumbing to stress when you experience these things, you can instead use it as a springboard to energy.
 
Most stressful events are also opportunities, so you can use an emotionally rattling moment as a sign to look for professional or personal openings. Meeting a strict monthly quota, for example, can be stressful, but it's also an opportunity to impress your superiors and line yourself up for a raise or promotion. Focusing on what an event offers you professionally and personally can keep your eye on the prize and your spirits high.
 
4. Stress Can Be Creative Fuel
 
While the idea of suffering as necessary for creativity has largely been debunked, the fact remains that stressful situations can give you a reason to think outside the box. A difficult project with strict time limits and limited resources can force you to consider avenues of approach that you would have never even considered. Done right, it will look impressive. If you're lucky, you might even pioneer something that could change the way the task is done in the future. Embrace the complications and open your mind to the possibilities.
 
5. Stress Can Make You Smarter
 
One of the impacts of stress on your person is that it triggers your fight-or-flight response. This response enables your mind and body to function at a higher level to allow you to escape a potentially dangerous situation. Naturally, this is something you can take advantage of.
 
Before you use your stress coping mechanism of choice, see if you can use the flight-or-fight response to solve the problem in front of you. Embrace the moment and use it as a springboard to higher levels of accomplishment. Just be careful not to take it too far. Once the task is done, or the moment you feel overwhelmed, step back, and use one of your coping mechanisms. Solving a problem is not worth your physical, mental, and emotional health.
 
Stress will be a part of your life, whether you want it to or not. As long as you are working towards something you want, you will always face resistance. You may as well make the best of the inevitable.
 
About Michael Evan Salley
Michael Evan Salley is a team leader with a Master’s in Construction Science and Management. He is organized, dependable, goal-oriented, and passionate about what he does. With prior experience in the field, he is ready to fill a field engineer, project engineer, assistant superintendent, assistant project manager, estimators, or a pre-construction assistant role.
 
 
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