Reminder: Not All Stress is Bad Stress

by: Ashley Roman

One thing i've learned about myself over the past few years; I'm afraid of stress. Any hint of stress in my body or my mind makes me feel weak and stupid. Somewhere deep down inside I feel like I should be able to handle anything, everything. Maybe it's because for long period of my life I did. I handled everything. I handled things beyond what I should have or what I needed to. It was my way of creating peace out of the chaos around me.

I just started a new job, this week in fact. I started a whole new career, in a whole new place, and on a whole new time schedule. Last week I felt some stress about it- but not as much as I probably needed to allow myself to feel.

This is how it happens...

My heart race picks up slowly, my body temperature rises slightly, and then the fear sets in.

Oh no, it's happening. I must be stressed about something.

My heart races faster. I feel glimpses of panic.

And then come the thoughts; I can't handle anything, how am I going to get through this new week, why do I put myself through so much stress... you get the picture.

The issue here is, stress is okay! It's a natural part of life-especially when you're starting a new job or a new chapter of your life. Stress can be used for positive motivation. Fight or flight. It helps us get things done and gain motivation when we feel like we have none. Some pressure can be good!

That's something I have to constantly remind myself: It's okay to feel stress. Not all stress is bad stress. Feeling stress is not a sign of weakness.

On the car ride to my new job at 6:30 am I began to feel a little panic rise up somewhere from my gut. Thankfully, I realized what was hapening and took some nice deep breaths. Then I prayed- gave it all over to God. When I give my stress to God, there's nothing left to call my own and beat myself up for. It's something I do to try and be more kind to myself.

Day two of the new job, I felt stress trying to get through all of my errands after work and still fit in exercise and dinner somewhere. I took a lot of deep breaths that day. Day three, thought I was having a severe allergic reaction to my breakfast on the way to work. I was eating toast. Toast! I took a lot of deep breaths that morning too.

Needless to say, I'm still learning to allow stress in my life. And I'm learning to forgive myself when I forget. Do you allow a little good stress in your life?