As I sit down to finally write this editorial that I have been trying to procrastinate on for the past couple weeks, I begin to feel anxious, my heart starts beating faster and my palms become sweaty. It also doesn’t help that this upcoming week is finals week, and I am drowning in study guides and projects that I need to work on immediately after I write this. Now I can rant here about all of these responsibilities I have in my life, but I won’t waste your time. This feeling I get is called stress.
The definition of the type of stress I’m talking about is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances,” but to me stress means something else. As annoying as it may be to feel stressed and overwhelmed, I think it is actually beneficial. Being stressed provides a creative energy that I can thrive on to produce better work in the long run.
Let me break this down for you. Newspaper, for example, is probably one of my most stressful responsibilities, but if I didn’t get stressed out, I would have nothing to motivate me into accomplishing what I desire to produce for others to see. Call me an adrenaline junkie, but that exhilaration I get when pushing to meet a deadline really keeps me going throughout the year. Also, all of the pressure that comes with being stressed allows me to evolve into a more diligent person, not only when it comes newspaper work, but just school work in general.
According to an article from Psychology Today, Richard Dienstbier, the Director of the Social-Personality program and the Series Editor of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, has a theory of mental toughness suggesting that experiencing some manageable stressors, with recovery in between, can make us more mentally and physically tough and less reactive to future stress. One possibility is that such experiences lead us to view stressors as more manageable and become more skillful at dealing with them.
Trust me, I’m not saying I am an expert at managing my stress levels, and I bet any of my friends can agree with that, but just by coming to realize that although I’m getting a tense feeling at the moment, it calms me down knowing it will eventually pay off when I look back and see how hard I’ve worked.
The best feeling ever is being able to take a deep breath when I have finished my responsibilities and finally am able to say “I did it.” That feeling of looking back at what I’ve accomplished and being so proud of my hard work, no matter how stressed I was during the process. That stress that I had at the beginning of this editorial has finally been lifted off my shoulders, and let me tell ya it feels great.