5 Keys to use stress to your advantage as a parent and as a leader.
I used to be adamant about living a stress-free life. Balance was my number one goal. I still thrive towards balance, but after learning this, I no longer try to eliminate all stress out of my life.
I recently learned an important lesson from a friend at church today. He told me how in areas where they catch salt-fresh water fish, stress is vital to the maintain vitality and freshness in the fish.
Salt-Fresh water fish are caught is the area in the world where salt water and fresh water meet and certain fish congregate, like the Anadromous and the Catadromous fish.
The fishermen, when catching salt-fresh water fish, they have to create a stressful environment in order to keep the fish fresh for a longer period of time.
So here’s what they do:
After catching the fish, they place them in a large tub in their boats to transfer them to shore to sell to the public. In order to keep this fish alive in these tubs they add several baby sharks in the tub.
This exercise adds enough stress to the fish where they remain active, alive and fresh much longer.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Truth is the same holds true in our own lives.
When we take time to exercise we live longer healthier lives. Most jobs require sitting at a desk (just like blogging) which is actually detrimental to our bodies.
In order to stay healthy, sharp, agile, and live longer, we must exercise – or find a way to move for relatively long periods of time. be part of our daily schedules so we can produce better.
Exercise is a major form of stress created for the body in order to become stronger, healthier and, well - wise.
For so long, many have sold the idea that stress is bad and freedom from stress ought to be part of our daily schedules so we can be productive. Just the ability to schedule and keep up with its demands to relax is stressful enough. Are you with me?
So I want to suggest to you five things to do with your stress.
But first, let me be clear. Not all stress is good. In fact there are two stresses that are detrimental to your personal life, your parenting skills and definitely in your marital life:
1. Mental stress.
Most jobs today require a tremendous amount of mental stress. This stress deceives the body in thinking that it’s working very hard.The brain does not recognize that the body is sitting - resting while the brain is the only thing that’s active.
Meanwhile, the adrenal glands are on overload, the heart is working overtime and the brain is secreting all sorts of hormonal chemicals throughout the body telling it to survive and keep up with the physical agitated activity we call: “stress.”
At the same time, the body is holding energy for the next time, while calories and 0 fat is being burned.We just sit.This my friend, is detrimental to your health and to your entire life.
As a result, exercise is needed in order to release the mental stress while putting the body into another routine of “good stress” that will help you live better.
2. The second stress that is not good for you is “Distress.”
Distress is simply the pressure acquired by or with depression or a sense of hopelessness. This one is the result of toxic thinking.
This one is a killer. It'll kills your ambition, dreams and even your marriage.
More people die from hopelessness and depression that any other illness.Truth is, over 75% of our illnesses are psychosomatic – which means, that they come from worry, and fear, causing depression and eventually hopelessness.
Dr. Leaf states: “75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It's an epidemic of toxic emotions.”
Stay away as much as possible from these two deadly stresses and live longer.
Your husband or wife need you as healthy and as long as possible.
Your children also need you healthy and vibrant to relate and connect with them effectively.
Your business, your clients, your customers, your employees – they all need you to provide adequate leadership and example.
Now, let me give you the 5 Keys to use stress to your advantage as a parent and as a leader.
These keys apply to all areas of leadership and parenting.
1. Take problems as challenges.
Instead of looking at negative situations as problems to deal with, (like we say: “when it’s not Peter is Paul), look at them as challenges to learn from and overcome.
Most of us enjoy challenges. We love competition and we love to win. So use problems, negatives situations and interruptions throughout the day as challenges to stretch your leadership and parental skills, emotional skills, energy, knowledge, wisdom and more.
Truth is, you are where you are as a result of a series of stresses in your life.
Problems and situation force you to do 5 things:
c. Apply wisdom
e. Grow up
So take problems as challenges. When you approach life in this manner, you’ll be able to cruise through life instead of stressing to get things done. Most of us love challenges.
For me, challenges simply tell me that “I can’t do it.” And by golly I’m going to show different. If I know I can – I will. But when I see a problem as a stupid problem, it becomes an overwhelming chore increasing my stress level even if it’s something simple to do. Are you following me?
Most often, what we call problems are nothing more than challenges in life. Click to Tweet
I’m not saying that we need to negate real problems. Unfortunately, there are real problems we all face and they must be dealt with. But when you’re dealing with a real problem and a challenge shows up, then you see in your hand two problems instead of one.
Tackle them both and try, as much as you can, to see the real problem as a challenge – and see how things will turn out in the end.
2. Channel the energy in the right direction.
In other words, when dealing with stress as a parent, spouse or leaders, let the energy caused by the rush of the stressful moment be directed in a positive direction in order to accomplish the challenge at hand.
Don’t let the challenge aggravate you.
Don’t let a person or a problem dominate your emotions, thus giving them power over your life.
Instead, channel that energy positively so that you can turn the light on in the middle of a dark situation.
3. Use Stress to make you a better person.
It’s your choice to become bitter or better from the stresses you encounter on a daily basis. I choose to overcome – I choose not to let situation overcome me.
I’m not saying that I don’t stress and that I keep these keys opening the right doors of opportunity effectively every single solitary time. That would be a lie. I’m still human. And I still struggle by keeping these keys in perspective every time.
I know what it is to allow a silly and meaningless stressful situation ruin my entire day. I refuse to share with you the embarrassing stressful moment I used to experience in my younger years, allowing it to ruin the joy of my entire day. Suffice it to say – it was bad, depressing and plain ole stupid.
So I’ve learned. I don’t let most things get to me nowhere near as bad as they used to. I’ve changed, and keep changing.
4. Let Stress drive you.
You know, this stress we’re talking about could be from challenges that will cause you to change in some way. So allow the stress of the moment or of the day to drive you to become a better person, a more positive person and most importantly, a praying person.
Be mindful to pray every single time you experience stress – of any kind. Let it drive you to pray.
Pray and ask God to help you grow through the challenge at hand and help you apply the right wisdom to the situation so that you can contribute to the betterment of the situation itself that often influences someone in some way, shape or form.
I have learned that prayer changes things, but more importantly, prayer changes me. In prayer and through prayer, I learn, I grow, I change. My change results in wisdom and proper approach to the “challenge” at hand.
5. Use stress as a calm opportunity.
Yeah I know that sounds weird. Here’s what I mean. Use the stress to your advantage to demonstrate a calm spirit. Your control, your coolness, and your quite spirited self will reveal confidence, faith and trust in God that others will admire while dealing with a stressful situation.
You want your kids, students, and those you lead to learn from you, right? That’s the reason why you lead them in the first place.
So help them learn and enjoy your company even while dealing with stressful times. Your attitude will speak volumes to their lives challenging them to be the same way.
In Philippians 4:9, Paul again stated: Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Learn to apply these 5 Keys to use stress to your advantage as a parent and as a leader. It will not only help you, but it will help others walk in peace with themselves, with others and as Paul says: “the God of peace shall be with them.”
Question: How else do you positively and practically deal with stress in your life? Share below.
About the Author
Alex Colón, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Teacher, Pastor, Blogger and best of all, Husband and Father of 4. Living the re-Branded life