I have recently teamed up with Olympic Sailing Coach Pete Conway to speak about Positive and Negative Stress. It is really exciting to learn how to use our stress in the right way to help our positive psychology.

When we see athletes performing at their optimal levels, or business people in an ice cold analytical form, we know they are feeling stress.

Performing under stress

The ability to perform under stress is not unique. In fact every single one of us performs better under stress. If we are feeling totally relaxed, we can roam freely in our minds, without inhibition or rules, and create ideas. We dream – which is, I would suggest, the simple path to eternal youth! It is when we try bravely to make those dreams come true that we too often experience stress, which is a primary ingredient of unhappiness.

We will discuss more about how do we make this process of turning dreams into reality an optimum process in both function and happiness. For the moment lets look at what happens and what we do to carry the joy of the dream through the process. We all have dreams. As time passes the attainment of those dreams can become increasingly off-putting and will actually suppress the ability to dream. You know the score – as soon as we define a dream as impossible, its dismissed and we have begun to narrow the boundaries of our very existence. Now I’ll give my opinions on the process of not suppressing dreams.

Having a dream

The dream begins with a relaxed mental image of (usually) creating an improvement to our lives, or those around us. It may take the form of improved work/domestic or relationships, it may take the form of stardom. At this point we have an ability to form a concept plan. We may even employ people to goal set the process. It really doesn’t matter unless we have a good understanding of the personal cost (stresses) that are involved, or the process may become too emotionally expensive to see through. My contention is that we are ALL capable of seeing through any process, but we have to rationalise the costs and intellectually control the expenses involved.

A lot of “successful” people are able to laugh at the devil. In other words their immediate reaction to a challenge is to embrace it with a smile. This is a proven successful technique, yet it is not foolproof. Why? Simply because we cannot laugh everything off. What it does do is to frame an approach to any challenge, and form a hunger to solve the problems. Such is the power of laughter as discussed throughout my blogs. For sure the concept of treating each challenge with a frown and dread is a proven stopper to any project, and makes life a lot more difficult.

Turning dreams into reality

The process of turning dreams into reality (aka ambition and achievement) is roughly generalised to dreaming – planning – goal setting – action. In every one of those phases we need a different mindset. The calm of the dream, the dynamism and intellectual stress of planning, the analytical and emotional understandings of goal setting, the super stress of action all require different personal mindsets. Can we all be of that fluid ability to switch from one role to the other? Can we make the changes needed?

What we can say is this: We all need to develop a cognisant mental approach to each role in the process of achievement of happiness. We need to recognise that the happiness generated by the dream will support us through the process, but we will achieve more and keep our boundaries broader through finding joy in the process, and where possible, laughing at the devil.

About the author: To find out more about Jo-Dee Walmsley, please click here.

‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’

The Positive Psychology People is co-founded and sponsored
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Directors of Positive Psychology Learning and authors of the
8-week online Happiness Course

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