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April Awarenesses: Taxes & The Strengths of Stress

tax timeIs it a coincidence that Stress Awareness Month is the same month that taxes are due? Your taxes act as the last rain cloud of a storm, just wavering above you even though you’re done with winter and ready to soak up some spring sunshine. For those of you who have already filed your taxes, kudos. For the majority of those who have waited until the last minute, or should we say the last week, we recommend you regroup your finances and figure out exactly what you need to do before the April 15th deadline.

Enough with the taxes talk. We’d much rather talk about stress, right? Okay, maybe we don’t want to discuss stress, either, but we are happy that Stress Awareness Month exists because it is something that we encounter in our everyday lives. Most of us already know the harmful effects that stress can have on both our mental and physical health (weight gain, depression, anxiety, etc.) so today, we are going to talk about 5 ways that stress, in moderation, can be a positive thing in our lives.

  1. Stress can help you make reasonable decisions. Making a life-changing decision is nerve-racking, but knowing the importance of our decision is critical to making a wise one. When we are worried about making the right or wrong choice, we pay attention to details and are hyper-aware of our values and goals. By doing this, we naturally have the urge to go with our gut and highlight the choice that is best for us.

  1. Stress can lead to productivity. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, your body naturally releases adrenaline. With this rush of adrenaline, your body prepares for a “flight” or “fight” response. When this occurs, your heart rate increases and your senses become heightened. You naturally become focused on the task at hand and are more likely to complete it correctly and efficiently.

  1. Stress can lead to a healthier, more fit you. You may not view lifting weights or going for a run as “stressful” but the act of doing both activities is indeed a stress on your body. However, these activities are good stressors and have the potential to make you more productive during the day. Ironically, physical activity can reduce stress and make you more resilient when responding to stressful situations throughout the week.

  1. Stress can help you see things differently. There comes a time when you are so wrapped up in a situation that you can’t help but become entirely consumed by it. During a time like this, you find that your biggest problem was that you only saw the situation from one angle. Stress forces you to look at the situation from multiple vantage points. By doing this, you may discover something entirely new and possibly quite interesting.

  1. Stress reminds you of the good times. When working from deadline to deadline, you begin to appreciate the time you have to relax and enjoy yourself. Stress reminds you to incentivize yourself to complete tasks by planning activities that you enjoy doing (or planning to do entirely nothing). There is no better feeling than doing something you enjoy after you have finished a project.

We’ve all heard the Benjamin Franklin saying, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” It is probably safe to say that we can also add stress to that list, but at least we know that stress can be beneficial, even though we might not always realize it.

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