Stress is practically synonymous with “miserable” and “unhealthy,” and it’s also like the modern-day plague, so what can we possibly mean when we say “good stress”? Lots of studies show that cortisol, nature’s stress hormone, does bad things to our bodies and minds over time, but according to an article on Rodale.com, “Mind-Body-Mood Advisor, Five Ways to Make Stress Work For You,“positive stress can actually feel invigorating, make you stronger, and increase your productivity.
So what is good stress? Stress with a good attitude, according to the article. It encourages maintaining a positive attitude to make stress and strain a good thing – specifically, they tell us not to shy away from fear, expect they best, talk to ourselves positively, don’t be a perfectionist, and (of course) breathe.
In that spirit, here are ten stressful situations we think you can turn around, and how to do it:
1. Travel – Airports are annoying and carrying baggage is no one’s favorite activity, but whether you’re on the road for work or play, getting to travel is still a luxury by most of the world’s standards. Next time you’re waiting in line at customs, take three deep breaths and be glad you’re getting to see the world.
2. Working Out – No two ways about it: Sometimes, the gym sucks. Just thinking about your one-hour session with the personal trainer gives you an adrenaline jolt. But when you’re thinking of skipping yoga or dreading your next set of reps, think about how great you’ll feel afterward.
3. Job Interviews – Proving you’re the right woman for the job in less than an hour is no picnic, but focusing on the positive and staying confident can help you overcome your nerves. Plus, that shot of adrenaline and cortisol will be worth it when you’re sitting in your newer, bigger corner office.
4. First Dates – Most of us refuse to get set up, go on blind dates, or try online dating because it stresses us out, not because we don’t want to meet someone. Though going on a first date can be stressful, worrying about your dress, hair, shoes, and conversation are fun things to stress about.
5. Having Sex – Sex has a lot of benefits, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stress-inducing. Body issues, pressure to perform, and worry about the consequences can sometimes make it more worrisome than enjoyable. Still, If you’re having sex and it’s stressing you out, stop – and get a vibrator.
6. Moving To A New City – Big moves usually mean big angst, but they also mean a lot of excitement. When the U-Hauls leave and lease agreements clear, you’ll have a lot to be happy about, so try not to let the hard parts get the best of you.
7. Being On Stage – Performing and public speaking are the ruin of many, but all that stress and adrenaline can help you feel energized and alert, if you let it. Giving a good presentation or rocking your improv act is well worth the initial shock to your nerves.
8. Going to a Party – Wallflowers and social butterflies alike get anxious over parties. Many choose to drown their cortisol in a flood of alcohol, but taking control of your fears and thinking about how much fun you could be having should help your stress dissipate.
9. Jumping Off A High Dive – We push our boundaries and find our inner daredevils for fun, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get neurotic about taking big leaps. Learning to jump off the high dive, skiing a black diamond run, or going skydiving can be good training for the rest of life’s big leaps.
10. Buying Your First Car, Home, or $500 Pair of Shoes – Down payments and loans can feel like shackles, but if you’re making a smart investment, making those steps toward your future should be exhilarating, not horrifying. (And yes, we believe that $500 shoes can sometimes be a smart investment.) Though we’re not encouraging you to find your inner shop-a-holic, we do think you should toast to and take some joy in your big, grown-up purchase.
Blow off some steam and find someone at our sister site TheGloss’ dating page, brought to you in partnership with HowAboutWe to join you on a yoga retreat.