It is infinitely valuable to know and master all those little tricks to help reduce stress. Too much stress damages all of a person – body and mind.

But, really, that should be obvious. ‘Too much’ of anything is exactly that amount that is excessive, enough to cause harm.

But what about stress in moderation? It’s easy to forget that stress has a purpose. It is a function of the body that has developed for a reason. To simply ignore that can be as unhealthy as letting stress overwhelm you.

It is important to remember that stress can have its positive uses. Knowing how to properly embrace stress is a skill that brings enormous benefits to a busy lifestyle.

Remember that the biological function of stress is to warn you when you’re pushing yourself too hard. It is your body’s way of making you more aware of yourself, what you’re doing and how it’s affecting you. Trying to hold off its negative effects is fine, but to ignore it completely is a huge mistake. Use your stress as an indication that something important is bothering you, and try to take some time out to fix that. Once you notice those warning signals, stop and think about your immediate situation – try to identify what about it is causing you to feel stressed. Once you’ve properly evaluated your issues, you’ll be much better prepared to face your problems. This will help you feel more positive and productive almost immediately.

Another way to embrace stress is to remember that it is better to be stressed than nonchalant about something serious. If you weren’t stressed at all, your attitude would probably be hugely incapable of helping you tackle your problems. Stress reminds you that something important needs your attention, and stops you from procrastinating or slacking off by keeping it at the forefront of your mind. A certain amount of anxiety about life’s more troubling twists and turns is healthy and gives you some forward momentum driving your choices.

Although this outlook will give you a hugely positive attitude, it can be difficult to implement it in reality if you’re used to stress just being that thing that makes you want to hide under the duvet every Monday. This can seem impossible to get over. Especially on a chilly morning, knowing you have to leave your warm, safe bed burrito.

But try not to see the things that cause you stress as impenetrable obstacles. Try to approach each one as a hurdle that, though challenging, can nonetheless be leapt.

Ultimately, always keep in mind that the harder the task you undertake, the greater your rewards once you’re done with it. Your feeling of accomplishment is directly proportional to the difficulty of your challenge.

And, finally, in those awful times when stress won’t embrace you back – remember that it’s always okay to ask for help if things get too much.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.