Stress serves a natural, physiological purpose that can help us solve important problems and learn and grow from our experiences. Instead of trying to eliminate or tamp down stress, we should try to understand it and optimize it, minimizing the downsides while capturing the upsides.
Through practice, we can learn to move deliberately between an engaged state, where we’re energized, focused, creative, and productive, and a recovery state, where our brain processes events, learns, and recuperates. Locating and describing your stress is a process of discovery, and the more you learn the better you will harness your own stress response.
Likewise, our methods of recovery are also unique—riding a bike, for instance, versus reading a book. To reach optimal stress, we need to be conscious of our stress; in neurological terms, it’s the first step toward lasting behavior change.
Read the article at McKinsey Quarterly.