“You look stressed.” Take note, those are words you should NEVER say to Jody Hagaman! Someone telling me to “calm down” or “don’t stress” are words that can push me over the edge.
I understand that most people don’t like stress, but a little bit of stress pulls out my best work. Now, I’m not talking about chronic stress or stress that is the result of death, divorce, finances or relationship woes. I’m referring to the stress that comes from hosting an event, a hard deadline or running a program of some sort. That type of stress causes me to dig deep within myself and really discover what I’m made of. But with the amazing techniques that I use from www.subconsciousmindpowertechniques.com, I´m able to control myself and with the positive thinking formulas that they have.
The type of stress that I’m referring to has a tad bit of fear attached to it. A healthy fear. A fear that commands you to be your best and produce your best. It’s the same type of fear that creates responsibility. I will check to see if my car keys are in the “key pocket” of my purse at least twice before I lock my car doors. Why? Because I have had to pay a locksmith $85 to get my keys out of the car, and the fear of that ever happening again fear causes me to check twice for my keys.
That same “fear” will also prompt me to be cautious about where I walk and how I stand in my shoes so that they will last longer. Why? Because I don’t want to have to rebuy a pair of shoes that I love and that I “may or may not” be able to actually find again on the shelf of a shoe store.
This same fear will cause me to push through a long night to work on convention talks, radio shows and writing because we have a deadline we have to meet. This is where stamina and grit are born. It’s the kind of stamina and grit that I want to develop in my kids.
According to Bill Hybels, 2015 Global Leadership Summit speaker, “Grit grows every time you prove to yourself that you can overcome an obstacle with perseverance and tenacity.” Clearly, there’s something to say about allowing our kids to push through a tough situation on their own and being able to develop their own coping mechanisms, which will produce grit and stamina.
The Key to Failure
I think that all too often, humans have a tendency to let ourselves off the hook, and parents tend to let their kids off the hook. But letting ourselves or our kids off the hook is actually the key to failure. Caving in to “I’m tired” or “this is just too much” or “I can do it tomorrow” is often the cop that produces failure. It is stressful to push yourself to finish that hard task. But that’s the kind of stress that makes you and your kids better.
My kids recently wrote on our chalkboard, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Every time I walk by it, I pause and read it. That quote is true. I won’t (and my kids won’t) develop grit or stamina if we don’t change what we’re doing and challenge ourselves.
In Angela Lee Duckworth’s 2013 TED talk,The Key to Success? Grit, she states that, “grit is a better indicator of personal success than IQ, family income and other factors.” In other words if success is what you’re after, it’s more important to develop grit in your child and yourself than anything else. You can have the smartest kid in the world turn out to be unsuccessful if they don’t develop grit.
Still think stress is bad? Let’s look at some benefits of stress.
Stress increases focus
Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body, greatly improving the fight or flight reaction. This is the feeling that typically comes over you in a dangerous situation in which your body is trying to protect you (a form of fear).
Your heart beats faster; your breaths per minute increase; you become more aware of your surroundings, and the result is focus. In small levels, the release of adrenaline and cortisol into the body can be a good thing. Adrenaline can improve both attention and cognitive function at optimal levels. It gives you a similar feeling to fear (i.e. fight or flight), causing you to complete a project or to be brave (i.e. public speaking). The increased stress causes you to focus more.
On the flip side, too much stress (chronic stress) can overload the body with adrenaline and cortisol, which often leads to anxiety and other problems.
Good News if You’re Pregnant
I remember when I was pregnant that I was often concerned that MY stress and anxiety would negatively affect my baby – and it most certainly can, when it’s chronic. But, studies have shown that stress can actually ENHANCE child development. A 2006 Johns Hopkins study found that, “most children of women who reported mild to moderate stress levels during pregnancy actually showed greater motor and developmental skills by age 2 than those of unstressed mothers. The one exception: the children of women who viewed their pregnancy as more negative than positive had slightly lower attention capacity.”
It’s actually beneficial to give yourself opportunities to feel stress in small amounts. It will train your mind and body to react in positive ways when tougher times come. It’s the same concept as practicing for a fire drill. If you walk through how to handle the situation when the stress level is low, you will be able to handle a situation more smoothly when the stress level is high. You will fall back on what you know, not try to figure out an entirely different exit strategy.
So, it’s not always so bad to put that extra activity on your child’s plate – as long as it’s short term – you can let them know that you’re just practicing for deeper stressful times. Jenni and I, at different times, have sat our kiddos down and explained that this was going to be a stamina building year or season and it will be stressful at times. Those “times” have proven to serve our kids very well.
Stress is a Confidence Builder
Stress can make you mentally stronger if you learn how to deal with it. Once you put the proper systems in place and learn how to successfully navigate stressful situations, you will build confidence and no matter what the situation, you will know that you can weather the storm and handle just about anything.
So, let’s move forward welcoming some stress in our lives and teaching our kids how to respond to it in a healthy way, so that they can develop stamina, grit and perseverance. Leave us a comment on ways you have allowed stress to work in your favor.