Seven ways to increase stress

(and why that isn’t as bad of an idea as it sounds)

Adrian Hanft
2 min readSep 23, 2017

This week you have a homework assignment. Below is a list of seven stress-inducing exercises. Pick one:

  1. Volunteer for something you can’t do
  2. Skip or walk out of a meeting
  3. Ignore the data: throw away the reassuring stats and go with your gut
  4. Be vulnerable: apologize, confess, own a failure
  5. Create awkward silences: listen at the precise moments when you want to be heard
  6. Perspire in front of people: skip the anti-perspirant and let people see how hard you are working
  7. Confront somebody more powerful than you

Which stress challenge did you choose? This week a situation will arise when you will have a chance to embrace or ignore this stress opportunity. You will choose the more difficult option. Here’s why…

Like an unused muscle, a stress-free existence can cause atrophy. Instead of developing strength that can withstand resistance we become brittle beings who break when things get tough.

Stress management schemes backfire when we get so good at avoiding stress that we never glean the beneficial side effects. Our goal shouldn’t be to avoid stress, it should be to excel in the situations where stress is high. To do that we need to exercise, to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations.

Another word for stresslessness is stasis, the dull mundane life that so many of us fall victim to. We get stuck when we are never challenged enough to grow and we are never unfit enough to commit to more training. Poison becomes the cure when instead of avoiding stress you use it to break the stasis.

Thanks for reading my stories every Saturday. If you decide to take my stress challenge, message me @ade3 and tell me how it went. Stay creative.

Bonus links:
Functional Depletion and the Pitfalls of Stress Transcendence
Stress is a disease and IT Crowd is the cure



Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia