📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Embrace Stress. It's Good for You. Stressed-out, overwhelmed and doing too much? Join the club. It's OK.

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on BBC Capital

Stressed-out, overwhelmed and doing too much?

Join the club.

These complaints are common among busy, go-getter professionals. And it's that stress that's killing us, right? But what if we're approaching it all wrong and it's really all about our perception of stress and what we believe that's holding us back?

That's the take of some LinkedIn Influencers this week. Here's what two of them had to say.

Kelly McGonigal, department of psychology, Stanford University

"For years… I told people that stress makes you sick; that it increases your risk of everything from the common cold to heart disease, depression, and addiction; and that it kills brain cells, damages your DNA, and makes you age faster," wrote McGonigal in her post Forget What You've Heard About Stress… It's Actually Good for You.

Related: How to work less and get more done

But what if it's not actually that stress that's damaging but how we respond to it? According to an extensive research study, "people who reported high levels of stress but who did not view their stress as harmful… had the lowest risk of death of anyone in the study, even lower than those who reported experiencing very little stress," wrote McGonigal. "The researchers concluded that it wasn't stress alone that was killing people. It was the combination of stress and the belief that stress is harmful."

"The finding I had stumbled across — that stress is harmful only when you believe it is — offered me an opportunity to rethink what I was teaching," she wrote. "I turned stress into the enemy, and I wasn't alone. I was just one of many psychologists, doctors, and scientists crusading against stress. Like them, I believed that it was a dangerous epidemic that had to be stopped."

Rather than managing stress as "toxic,' perhaps the key is instead unlocking what we believe about stress and finding ways to embrace it and use it for good in our lives, she wrote. "The most exciting kind of scientific finding is one that challenges how you think about yourself and the world."

Related: Anxious about work? You're not alone

LaRae Quy, former FBI special agent, founder and director, Mental Toughness Center

"Generalisations make our lives easier to manage because they help us manage the constant information that bombards our brain," wrote Quy in her post How to Use Mental Toughness to Face Down Stereotypes.."

But negative stereotypes about ourselves and others can be dangerous, she wrote. Facing them down can make us mentally stronger overall and help us overcome them. Quy offers three ways to use mental toughness to do this. Among them:

"Recognise your brain has a built-in confirmation bias… Our brain stores information that is consistent with your own beliefs, values and self-image. This selective memory system helps keep the brain from getting overloaded with too much information," Quy wrote. "Make a habit of educating yourself on what is new and different. Too often, we create a rule-of-thumb at one point in life and never take the time to re-evaluate its credibility." Consider which generalisations have helped you make smarter choices and which rules of thumb are truly reliable into the future. The key, Quy wrote, is to be more aware of your own behaviour.

"Acknowledge your barriers and burdens. When you face down a negative stereotype about yourself, your situation, or others on your team, you are developing the mental toughness to acknowledge your burdens and barriers," she wrote. "When we have to stretch our minds to come up with less predictable and mundane solutions, we stimulate creativity and mental flexibility." In turn, we can then acknowledge the negative "without giving up hope of our future success", Quy wrote.

"Mental toughness is learning how to control our mind, rather than letting our mind control us," she wrote. "Awareness of how positive and negative generalisations affect our behaviour is essential for our success."

Related: Are you a workaholic? Or simply hard working?

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business Culture

Want to Improve Your Productivity? These 7 Types of Music Will Help You Focus

Listening to the right music can help you concentrate when you're on a deadline, studying for an exam or just trying to increase productivity.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Leadership

You Might Think You're a Great Leader — But Do Your Employees Agree? Here's How to Harness Empathy to Drive Team Success

True empathy is the mixture of unfiltered honesty with a deep understanding of an individual's narrative.

Growing a Business

If You Aren't Betting on the Media Industry, You Are Losing a Competitive Edge — Here's Why.

Building or acquiring media assets is an increasingly popular strategy adopted by creative entrepreneurs and startups looking to leverage the industry's unique characteristics.

Productivity

Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Resumes & Interviewing

6 Traits to Look For in Your Next Boss

These are the characteristics you need to look for to find a manager who understands they're in service to their teams — not the other way around.