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Over the years there has been numerous studies, research and articles that have dealt with stress and its effects on human beings. Some focus on the effects of stress-physical and psychological, while others focus on the causes of stress such as grief, lifestyle, PTSD etc. Stress is linked to physical, mental and emotional problems in life and a lot of space is devoted to talking about destressing in life. Stress does not always have to be seen as a negative feeling that affects human beings and animals alike. Stress can also be looked at from a positive angle when people use stress to be competitive and strong. Stress does not always have to damage and kill. There are many people such as athletes, police personnel and businessmen who have to take take split second decisions that would affect the life of others. These people are not only strong during stressful situations but also thrive. Thriving under stress helps people grow, it makes them strong and also helps them be better prepared for future challenges.
Some people thrive under pressure while some break. And contrary to popular belief that resilience or performing well under stress is a natural, inbuilt, predetermined trait, it is a skill that is developed over time. How people respond to stress is largely a response to the initial responses to a stressful situation and how fast they can process the threat. People who thrive under stressful situations respond to the threat or stress in a positive manner that helps them deal with it and also helps them perform. Others however let the stress take over the situation and themselves. Martin Turner, a sports psychologist who has worked with top athletes says that, “people who are able to use their mind as a valuable weapon beat out the competition when performing under pressure (Morin, 2014).” And these are the people who thrive under stress and pressure. Thriving under stress also brings out the competitive spirit in people. The more stress they face, the more they are determined to prove themselves.
People who thrive under stress have a characteristic called ‘hardiness’ says Salvatore Maddi, a professor of psychology at UC Irvine. He conducted a 2 year research on men who had lost their jobs with AT&T after the deregulation in the telecom industry. Maddi says that almost half the employees in a chicago subsidiary lost their jobs. For two thirds of these employees, the loss of their jobs was a tremendous shock and they could not handle the stress of unemployment and an uncertain future. Most of these men succumbed to strokes, heart attacks, had mental problems and also many divorces. The rest says Maddi had completely different reactions. They got new jobs, performed well, were healthy and also had a good relationship with their partners. These people thrived under stress while their former colleagues collapsed because of their hardiness. Maddi says that ‘hardiness’ is the characteristic of people who “have the courage and the motivation to treat each crisis as an opportunity (Wise, 2010).” As Chesterton says, “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered”. People who thrive under stress do not consider it to be an inconvenience or a hurdle but see it as opportunities for further growth.
A person can learn to be stoic and take every problem and stressful situation in his or stride blaming fate or life or look at the stressful situation as something that is temporary and something that needs to be overcome. Thriving under stress depends to a large extent on how fast and efficient that situation can be handled. The body too helps in this respect.When the body or the mind is under threat, the heart beat gets faster and the blood vessels constrict, sending more blood to the brain. This either causes clear headed thinking or a complete paralysis. People thrive under stressful conditions exercise clear thinking skills that not only helps them but also motivates others.
Thriving under pressure leads to personal growth. When a person manages to successfully handle stressful situations and come out of it without damaging his or her mental and physiological health, they not only become strong but also grow. They realize their potential and capacity and look for ways to exercise their newfound skills in other areas. The belief is that if one stressful event can be managed and successfully dealt with, the res should not pose a bigger problem. It also becomes a game where the confidence levels soar and new challenges are taken on. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and when stress doesn’t kill, it only makes the person that much more stronger. People who thrive under stress do not overthink when it comes to the crucial movement. Overthinking causes paralysis and the person ends up doing nothing or taking bad decisions. Clear headed thinking helps a person thrive under stressful conditions and also grow in the future. A victory over one stressful incident helps give the strength the take on other challenges head on. Sometimes it also works as a drug that pushes people towards greater successes in life.
Stress does not always have to be a bad feeling. It does not always have to have negative connotations. Successful businessmen, athletes, leaders and others have learnt the art of thriving under stress. A footballer would not be able to score if he or she over thinks her strategy in the final crucial seconds. Rather they exercise a clear reasoning skill that helps them take decisions within seconds. Not everyone is born with a resistance to stress or resilience to bounce back from stressful situations. It is as skill that people acquire through different experiences throughout their life. Thriving under stress is a skill that everyone can learn and develop. It helps when stress is seen as a positive feeling and not as something that bogs people down. Thriving under stressful conditions helps people grow, become strong and also leaves them better prepared for facing future challenges.
Wise, Jeff. (23 May, 2010). How to Thrive Under Stress. Retrieved From: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/extreme-fear/201005/how-thrive-under-stress.
Morin, Amy. ( 7 Aug, 2014). Why Successful People Don't Crumble Under Pressure. RetrievedFrom:http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/08/07/why-successful-people-dont-crumble-under-pressure/#6725b320296a