Michael Sterling

What’s Your Relationship with Stress?


If I had to post a status update regarding my relationship with stress, it would be – “It’s Complicated.”  I have a love/hate relationship with stress. It’s an on and off kind of thing. What’s your relationship with stress?


Stress is a great motivator. For that, I love it. It keeps me pushing forward. It’s also a great source of strength. Stress can really keep me on my toes.


Eustress vs Distress


Stress is like a two-sided coin. There’s good stress and bad. Good stress is what Psychologists call Eustress. It’s healthy and give us a feeling of fulfillment. It prompts a “bring it on” attitude and an I can accomplish anything mindset.


Bad stress is known as Distress. It causes headaches, irritability, a weakened immune system and much more. If we spend too much time in a relationship with bad stress, it can be crippling to our health and our success.


When I work with professionals dealing with bad stress from a difficult work situation or job search, I ask them to redefine their relationship with stress. The goal is to harness Eustress and divorce Distress.


Triggers and Tolerance


As with any relationship, our relationship with stress requires keen understanding and a certain amount of work. Capture the positive stress and use it to your benefit. Distance yourself from bad stress. Identify your distress triggers and determine ways to avoid or decrease those. It’s also important to come to terms with your tolerance levels and note the best ways for you to combat bad stress. When you’ve hit your limit, what are your proven stress reducers? Mediation? A brisk walk? A phone call to your spouse? Having a known arsenal of stress-busters is key.


It’s also important to know which stress-busters not to use. Eating a gallon of ice cream may be an appealing approach, but not a healthy one.


I work exclusively with public accountants. Accounting and stress go hand-in-hand, especially during tax season. So, I provide career coaching on these issues regularly. For more career and job hunting tips, check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website. And connect with me on LinkedIn.


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