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How to Reframe Your Stress and Anxiety Into Productivity

How Our Brains Handle Stress

When we feel stressed, our brains release a chemical called noradrenaline. Noradrenaline increases arousal and alertness, it increases the formation and retrieval of memories, and it focuses attention. It also increases restlessness and anxiety.

If we find ways to control and handle stress emotionally, we can use it to our advantage. It can sharpen our brain function and increase creativity, and eventually make us happier and less anxious.

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How to Reframe Your Stress and Anxiety Into Productivity

How to Reframe Your Stress and Anxiety Into Productivity

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-reframe-your-stress-and-anxiety-into-productivit-1782812521

lifehacker.com

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Key Ideas

Turn Anxiety To Focus

Stress affects us in different ways and at different times. One of the most common ways stress affects us is right before talking to your boss, when playing sports or before a speech.

We can take those feelings of anxiety and turn them into energy and focus.

How Our Brains Handle Stress

When we feel stressed, our brains release a chemical called noradrenaline. Noradrenaline increases arousal and alertness, it increases the formation and retrieval of memories, and it focuses attention. It also increases restlessness and anxiety.

If we find ways to control and handle stress emotionally, we can use it to our advantage. It can sharpen our brain function and increase creativity, and eventually make us happier and less anxious.

Reframe The Situation

Symptoms of stress, like a dry mouth and a racing heart, are the same as excitement. Research confirms that when people are in stressful situations such as public speaking, instead of telling themselves to calm down, reframing the situation as exciting helps to ride the wave of stress.

Anxiety can drain you and decrease your confidence while reframing your anxiety as excitement will increase your performance.

See Stress As A Challenge

We can look at stress as either a 'growth' or a 'fixed' mindset.

  • A fixed mindset is a fatalistic approach where you believe things are happening to you and can't be changed. This mindset will hold you back.
  • A growth mindset sees potential failure as a chance to learn. This mindset can enhance your performance.

Build A New Track

Every thought is an intricate pattern of activity between proteins and chemicals, gene expressions, and neural connections in our brain. The more we have a particular thought, the stronger the mental connection becomes.

The more you react to stress with anxiety and fear, the more likely you'll feel the same in a similar situation. There is a fix called 'cognitive reappraisal.'

Cognitive Reappraisal

The goal of cognitive reappraisal is not to turn off your negative thoughts. It is to take a step back and ground your thoughts in reality.

  • Recognize when you're busy with a negative path and stop yourself.
  • Write down your thoughts and identify what specifically triggered them.
  • Challenge your assumptions. Are they true?
  • Look for evidence to the contrary. Write all the things down that counter your self-doubt.
  • Laugh at yourself. If you think you are bad, tell yourself you're the worst. It will help to show the absurdity of your negative thoughts.

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Stress and motivation

Used effectively, stress can motivate us to accomplish more than we had imagined possible. Stress can jolt us to reach our potential. Without stress, we’d feel rudderless and without purpose.

Not all stress is bad for you

  • “Good stress”: which psychologists refer to as “eustress,” is the stress we feel when we’re excited about something.
  • Acute stress: when something surprises us or catches us off guard. Acute stress is the body’s response to ensure you react and take measures to deal with the unexpected situation. It has no lasting negative effects if we deal with it quickly and move on.

Build your resilience

Resilience is how we deal with stress effectively so we “bounce back” after a difficult time.

As we deal with issues that cause tension and strain, we learn to face adversity, deal with significant issues and overcome problems. We learn how to formulate realistic plans and carry them out.

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Understanding Stress

  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...

Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) can be defined as the ability to understand, manage, and effectively express one's own feelings, as well as engage and navigate successfully with those of oth...

Reduce Negative Emotions

... so they don't overwhelm you and affect your judgment. 

In order to change the way you feel about a situation, you must first change the way you think about it. 

Increased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for my dream job. I’ll be devastated if they don’t hire me.”
Decreased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for three exciting positions. If one doesn’t pan out, there are two more I’m well qualified for.”

Stay Cool and Manage Stress

How we handle stressful situations can make the difference between being assertive versus reactive, and poised versus frazzled. When under pressure, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep our cool. 

  • If you feel nervous and anxious, put cold water on your face and get some fresh air. 
  • If you feel fearful, depressed, or discouraged, try intense aerobic exercises. Energize yourself. 

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