Why stress is good for your finance career

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Stress is an inevitable part of working in a competitive field such as the finance sector, especially for highly competitive and successful individuals. Reactions triggered by stressors can have a beneficial affect on your performance and overall health.

For example, when faced with a dangerous situation, the body naturally produces adrenalin, causing us to be more alert and able to react quickly.


It is important to not only recognize stress as unavoidable, but to also learn to manage it in a healthy way. Below are some examples of how stress can be good for your career.

1. Stress is a motivator

While too much stress could be detrimental to your emotional, mental and physical health or even hinder your work, small amounts can actually help you to concentrate better and push you to achieve your goals. For example, when you are faced with an unexpected or looming deadline for your quarterly or yearly forecasting, the stress of the situation can actually help you to get your work done. It also sharpens your senses, makes you more cognizant of what you need to accomplish, and gives you a sense of urgency to complete your work not only quickly but well. When you have to deliver, some stress is actually desirable to push you to perform at optimal level.

2. Stress improves work efficiency

Stress can also help improve your productivity and efficiency at work.

"Without stress, most people develop a bad habit of procrastinating. Small doses of stress can not only help you adhere to deadlines, but it can also help improve your memory and efficiency. Without stress-led motivation, it would be difficult to accomplish the tasks at hand." - Nick Louca, Associate Director, Robert Walters, New York.

When you react to stress, the resulting instant burst of energy puts your body on full alert, and allows you to be more productive and focused. This causes you to think with more clarity and to respond faster as your awareness heightens. Sometimes, this kind of intense adrenaline rush can numb your pain receptors to a point where it allows you to perform “superhuman” feats – such as working for extended periods of time or completing a week’s worth of work within a single day.

3. Stress drives success

In an extremely competitive work environment, a little anxiety can be good, and even necessary to push you to perform at a higher level. Highly successful people often use stress to bring about change and generate activity. These types of individuals often place higher amounts of stress on themselves to accomplish their daily tasks. Without such stress, people would be less motivated to compete and to achieve their goals. Without stress, we would lack focus and would not experience as much fulfilment from our work.

This form of “self-induced” stress drives competition and autonomy in these highly motivated people and propels them to strive for higher targets. They are able to internalise stress and use it to develop creative solutions to problems or attain their career goals. Those who cope with stress in this way are often more outstanding in terms of performance compared to their colleagues. In order to succeed, it is important to learn how to allow good stress to take over and fuel your ambition for success.

4. Stress is healthy

Many medical studies have shown that the immune system may benefit from short spurts of stress. The chemicals in the body released during reactions to stress can in fact help strengthen the immune system and help us ward off diseases by keeping brain cells working at their full capacity.

Nick Louca continues: "There is no way to completely escape stress at work. However, having a positive attitude towards stress can help you to focus on solutions to tackle the problem at hand instead of getting overwhelmed."

By attempting to manage various stressors that occur at work, you will grow, learn and ultimately benefit in the process. Stress activates your coping mechanisms and prepares your body and mind for any other obstacles you may face. Your natural reactions triggered by stress allow you to manage situations and effectively plan ways to avoid further stress. In addition, the sense of relief experienced after a stressful event allows your body to relax, and generates a sense of satisfaction and achievement - boosting your physical and mental state of health.

Without stress, most people develop a bad habit of procrastinating.

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