By Chris Horgen
STRESS– a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances
CHALLENGE-a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities
Which of these two words and/or definitions sounds more appealing or even less “stressful”? Sometimes simply by changing the way in which you view a situation, task, or life event can make all the difference. Rather than letting an event or problem “stress” you out; look at it as a challenge that you accept and will meet and overcome.
In my college sports psychology class we discussed stress as any life event that causes a change whether it be a negative or positive change. I never liked to think of life in this context. In my mind as is likely the case with many of you the word “stress” has a negative connotation. Simply put the word “stress” causes stress; your chest tightens, your heart beats faster, your body temperature increases. Suddenly your mood and energy have been negatively affected and it’s not an enjoyable feeling. Now contrast this with the exciting thought of viewing an event as a challenge. Now it’s a competition, a task you accept and take on with a positive mental and physical attitude. This challenge is something you can exert your energy, intelligence and past experiences on and have control over the outcome.
Having kids can be trying and stressful; getting a five year old ready for school is a task in itself. Juggling work responsibilities and picking up and dropping off your kids for sports or extra-curricular events seem to shorten and shrink the time we as parents have each day. But our kids are worth it and the test these duties provide us are chances for us to show our love and dedication to our children’s growth and enjoyment.
Using a different term for an event or obstacle makes a world of difference. The next time you feel stressed, stop, take a deep breath and tell yourself “this is a challenge and I accept this challenge”. Then put your positive energy into creating the outcome you desire instead of letting stress overwhelm you to the point of inaction. It’s all a matter of how you look at it! Glance at stress, focus on the challenge.