Are you stressed? You’re not alone.
Three out of four Americans regularly experience both the psychological and physical symptoms caused by stress.
And modern life stress shows no sign of backing off. Nearly half of those surveyed (44%) say that their stress has increased over the past five years.
Beat Stress When You Use Your Strengths
Adults are learning to manage their stress in all kinds of healthy ways, from exercise to sleep to nutrition to fun activities and free time with family and friends. Yet one approach is yet an unsung hero in stress management: knowing and using your strengths.
A recent Gallup study showed that Americans’ stress and worry is reduced in proportion to the number of hours a day they use their strengths to do what they do best. Those who intentionally used their strengths for 10 hours a day or more experienced a third less stress than those who used their strengths less than 3 hours a day.
In other words, using your strengths beats out stress.
Why Using Your Strengths Reduces Stress
The effects are not just “in your head,” but have measurable positive outcomes that reduce stress.
- Productivity. Studies show that using your strengths is directly linked to a sense of accomplishment. Gallup found that the more people used their strengths, the more they were engaged in their work. They are also 7.8% more productive as compared with their counterparts.
- Positive Emotions. Those who use their strengths experience a boost in feeling well-rested, being happy, smiling or laughing a lot, learning new things, and being treated with respect.
- Increased Energy. Adults who use their strengths for 10 hours or more per day are 22% more likely to say they have enough energy to get things done than are those who use their strengths for less than 3 hours a day.
- Concentration. Stress has been shown to change the balance of neurotransmitters in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for thinking clearly and carrying out goals. That’s why it’s hard to pay attention or organize your thinking when you’re stressed. Chronic stress produces even further damage, destroying brain cells and shrinking parts of the brain that are key to thinking and learning.
Beat Stress, Save Brain Cells
Just one in four adults use their strengths for 10 hours or more per day. Are you one of them?
If you’re not, then you may be leaving a powerful tool on the table.
When you know your strengths and apply them, you’ll reduce stress. You may even save some brain cells.
Reduce stress when you know and use your strengths.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)
- Reflect on the amount of time a day you use your strengths in work or routine tasks.
- Consider taking a strengths assessment (if you have not done so already) or reviewing your assessment data to put it into practice more deliberately.
- Confer with your supervisor, spouse, and other significant people in your life to identify ways you can use your strengths more intentionally
This article has been posted with the permission of Ministry Insights.