We often hear that stress is bad for health. Reality is more complex. First of all, we should forget about the idea of suppressing stress, as a certain amount of it is obviously unavoidable. We should rather study the best way of taming it, so as to avoid its potential pathological consequences – and even turn it into an asset! Indeed, the way we regard and deal with stress is decisive for both our private and professional lives.
I-The first step: getting to know oneself, with both one’s strengths and limits: This allows identifying one’s stress factors more accurately, as these vary from one person to the other in both nature and intensity. Indeed, what is stressful for a person A will not necessary be so for a person B, and conversely. Thus, every individual is unique in this respect, and the nature of the stress we experience is specific to every one of us. This is why we always are in the best position to localize and tame our own stress. We may, of course, resort to the services of a coach or therapist. Yet, only the methods that teach us how to tame our stress and deal with it ourselves are really relevant on the longer run.
II- Accepting one’s imperfections: We all have to live with stress. The people, however, who suffer the most from it are those who do not give themselves the right to have weaknesses. They entertain a theoretical ideal of perfection…which always turns out to be unattainable!
III- Valorizing what is really valuable: Due to our human nature, our competencies are limited – just as our time and energy are. It is thus necessary to rethink what really matters in life (family, hobbies, rest…) and to translate this into our career orientations, family life, etc. It may for instance prove judicious to dare turn down a promotion that would bring us in a situation of failure and could cause weariness, a loss of family bearings, an overexposure of our weaknesses, etc.
IV- Taking time to feel inner peace: We all need to entertain an inner peace which, lately, has become a rare good. And yet, it is absolutely necessary to give oneself the means to approach this state of quietness. Dedicating some time everyday to relaxing activities – like playing with the children, doing sport, sleeping, playing music or taking care of a pet, for instance – may thus help us develop this serenity. It is also possible to resort to breathing and relation techniques, prayer…No technique can be regarded as better than another in absolute terms. The important is to find out which are the ones that can actually contribute to our well-being and inner serenity.
V- Avoiding setting overambitious goals for the development of one’s well-being: Some people may be tempted to apply their usual sense of performance to their well-being improvement goals. We would rather encourage them to take note of the small improvements they are achieving little by little, and rejoice in them!