Have you ever wondered why some people thrive under high stress and a busy workload, while others can barely keep their head above the water? Featured in the Wall Street Journal, the article “Turn Bad Stress Into Good”, explores the lives of three individuals and their encounters with stress overload. The article demonstrates how these people learned to control their stress and even harness it into something positive – “good stress”.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Good stress? Is stress ever a good thing?” Well, believe it or not, stress can produce positive effects on both your physiological and psychological being.
In this article Alia Crum, a research scholar in the management department at Columbia Business School, discusses why “stress is a paradoxical.” Crum studies how people’s attitudes shape their response to stress. She states “On one hand, [stress] can be the thing that hurts us the most. On the other, it’s fundamental to psychological and physical growth. Our belief system, the lens through which we choose to view and approach stress, will shift the outcome.”
Over 50 years of research has revealed that people operate with four distinct ways of interaction, or SOCIAL STYLES. These SOCIAL STYLES include Analytical, Amiable, Driving and Expressive. The Social Style Model provides an understanding of the specific behavioral preferences that individuals with each Style typically demonstrate. SOCIAL STYLE has shown us that everyone has different preferences and needs, and our SOCIAL STYLE has a huge bearing on how we cope with situations.
Versatility plays an even bigger role in how we deal with adversity. A person’s level of Versatility indicates the degree to which he or she is perceived by others, as focusing on reducing his or her own tension, or on reducing the tension of others. Though our Styles are relatively constant and fixed, we can still consciously decide how to behave with others, and whether we want to adjust our behaviors so our interactions will be productive and mutually beneficial.
“Turn Bad Stress Into Good” documents the lives of three people who have distinct Styles from one another, and reveals how each of them employ Versatility to overcome the overbearing stress in their lives. Author Sue Shellenbarger states; “People differ in their capacity to dial down the stress response. Some are hard-wired by genetics and early-life experience to react more fearfully to challenges. Others who experience early adversity seem to stop responding to stress at all, posting little or no physiological reaction. No stress-management technique works for everyone; many people find their own best tactics through trial and error.”
According to Dr. Casey Mulqueen, the Director of Research & Product Development at The TRACOM Group, “The stress that people experience is largely due to their interpretation of events – their thoughts and beliefs about the things that are causing the stressful reaction. Every person has a different ‘sweet spot’ or ideal level of stress under which they can operate most effectively. Working to enhance Versatility helps people of all Styles to better understand their personal stressors, and to develop strategies for re-interpreting these stressors and coping in more effective ways.”.
Some people naturally have great Versatility, but even if you don’t naturally possess these skills, you can learn them. Unlike a person’s SOCIAL STYLE, which is typically stagnant, Versatility is changeable and can be influenced through learning and practice. Versatility is the aspect of a person’s behavior that is most flexible and therefore most responsive to training and development. Just as the three individuals featured in the article exemplify, improving one’s Versatility is something anyone is capable of, and even those who have great Versatility, can still improve.
Stress Management is one of the key components to enhancing a person’s Behavioral Emotional Intelligence. TRACOM offers various free resources to enhance people’s lives, one of them being The BEQ Tip of the week. This tip takes a look at organizing time to manage stress:
- You can go a long way towards managing stress by dedicating time for the important stuff. Set aside dedicated time on your office calendar for working on the important things. This will help manage the stress of trying to accomplish multiple tasks. When possible, accomplish your difficult tasks during times that are relatively stress-free. It is not a good idea to tackle your most challenging objectives when you are under pressure in other areas of your life. This is likely to result in frustration. Organize yourself and your time in such a way that you can manage the big projects without interference from other pressing demands or stressors.
To read more of Sue Shellenbarger’s “Turn Bad Stress Into Good” featured in the Wall Street Journal click here.
Click here to learn more about SOCIAL STYLE.