How to Use Tension in a Productive Way

Photo by Monica Leonardi

We tend to want to eliminate completely built-up stress, either through activities that clear our mind, such as meditation or exercise, or through activities that give us pleasure at the expense of our long-term wellbeing – drinking, stress eating etc. Focusing on tension release without accounting for the long-term impact of how we do it creates a bigger negative impact in the long run than the immediate positive effect.

Experiencing tension is a good opportunity to pause and understanding what led us to this moment. Is it frustration with our own decisions or some things that are outside of our control. Once we understand the root cause, we can empower ourselves to change the way we react to situations. Reactions are natural, but they are also specific to each individual. We react based on what we perceive as normal. A broader example is how some cultures celebrate death, while others celebrate the birth of a child. Our values are specific to us.

Tension is our body and brain reacting to events throughout the day and storing a sense of alertness that cannot be maintained for a long period of time. Managing tension is a life skill that allows us to clear out the clouds and see the sky clearly. Under a clear sky we are more likely to stick to our path than in semi-darkness. Also, seeing more friends than threats in people will attract more kindness.