Stress is good

Ben Nash

All young professionals, executives, and business owners face stress from different areas of our lives, be that our workplace, relationships, or our finances. but how we deal with it will lead to very different results. A recent study from Alia and Thomas Crum in the Harvard Business review (discussed in HRM online) tells us that rather than being something we should avoid at all costs, stress is something that can enable you to be more productive and efficient.

As a Financial Adviser working with young professionals, executives, and business owners, I see loads of people that are facing stress when it comes to their finances. It isn’t normally that someone is in financial ruin, but more commonly that people are making decent money but not making the progress they think they should be getting ahead with their finances. They’re often concerned that they don’t have a clear plan that shows them how they can get the financial outcomes they want and they figure (normally correctly) that there’s probably some simple things they can be doing to get more out of their current finances. These people are also concerned that if they don’t get their financial strategy sorted they are going to be unable to live the sort of lifestyle they want and will be stuck in the ‘rat race’ forever. Don’t worry, this problem can be solved!

You need to make sure you harness the power of your stress otherwise you won’t be able to get a positive outcome from it. Think about solutions to your issues and who you can lean on for advice and guidance to help you work through the issues.

The study states that when someone feels isolated or inadequate in the face or stress, this is when the effect of stress is most damaging. This suggests that if you’re feeling stress in any aspect of your lives, be that the workplace, your relationships, or your finances, you should take it as an opportunity to talk to someone and take action.

Don’t face your stress alone as there are often simple solutions to the issues you’re facing, and if you’re feeling it chances are there are plenty of other people that have been there before that you can learn from. Have a chat to your colleagues, partner, mates, or in the case of your finances, an adviser that can help you build an action plan.

I know when my clients come to me with their financial stresses and we work through the issues and give them a plan to take action, they’re often surprised at how some simple changes can make a big difference to their financial wellbeing. Once they get their issues sorted and a plan in place, I’m often told they feel like a weight has been lifted and that they can now focus more clearly in other areas.

The Harvard study highlights the fact that stress can be used to prompt action and act as a learning tool to help people adapt and become more effective, and suggests you need to follow the three steps below to harness your stress:

  • See it
  • Own it
  • Use it

This all seems pretty logical, but the study goes on to say the last point is where people often run into trouble. Don’t fall into this trap! Stress can clearly be a positive if used correctly. Make sure you use your stress wisely and embrace it!

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