Thriving on stress


Saleh Al Shaibany

I needed my stress level to reach its highest point to write this column. I am not the only one who relies on stress to get anything meaningful done. It is the modern way of getting something achieved in the last minute. It is the pressure of getting something done that drives you on.

Such stress is never harmful because you know exactly where it leads you. It is like a drug that takes you to the epic point and then totally relaxes you when the mission is accomplished. We all experience it in our daily lives. We never do our shopping unless we have to and children don't get near their books until a week from the exams. I think it is all about the rewards you are anticipating after a good work. Let's look it at this way. You never get any real work done when you are relaxed. You doze off to sleep when you try and if you don't, you put it off until the last minute when you get the adrenalin pumping. The truth is that you cannot relax until you get stressed out.

To prove my point, just go to any busy supermarket to watch stress at work. Check out workers work faster and more efficient when the queue is one mile long. They talk to each other and are more prone to making mistakes when there is only one customer. For some, putting off something important until later is just sheer laziness.

It is also risking health problems when you could do your work comfortably at an earlier time. Other people would argue that the only way to be work efficient is to push the time to the limit. When office bosses say that they want staff who could work independently, they mean meeting short deadlines. That way, they can dump everything your way and put time limit on when you can sign off.

That's why you find office executives taking long coffee breaks knowing that they can go back at the last minute and work flat out to meet the deadlines. They say it makes sense to do very little most of the day so you can be in the right frame of mind to rush through your work in the last few hours. Not everybody, however, would like to test their stress level.

There are people who would choose to do nothing at all even if they have loads of work. They hope that something would turn up or someone would do their job for them. That way, they can have more time to put their feet up. But guilt has a way of catching up when you know you have been useless all day long. Guilt invites unwanted stress and the one you have not planned for. In other words, there is managed stress that unwinds you down in the evening and makes you sleep better. Unmanaged stress attacks you when you know you could have done something useful but chose to do nothing.

I am convinced that there is both bad and good stress and a sure way of knowing the difference. Bad stress hurts your chest and gives you indigestion. Good one multiplies your energy and feeds your thoughts. There is nothing between the two that is worth mentioning.

In conclusion, the only way to loosen up and feel good about yourself is to put some controlled pressure in your life. Everything has got a deadline but how you achieve it makes the only difference in your life. So next time you are faced with an important task, you may want to delay it until the last minute.

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