How Being More Positive About Your Stress Can Make You Healthier

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Calling all career girls who view stress as their no. 1 enemy!

You might not hear this very often since you're always on top of your game, working hard and (excuse my french!) having your sh*t together, but… You're wrong. **mute monkey emoji**

Yes gals, I was up late last night, watching psychologist Kelly McGonigal's talk on TED about the importance of making stress your friend and I must say, I was quite surprise to realize that all these years I spent telling myself that stress was bad for me was in fact, the absolute worst thing to do. A recent study tracked the correlation between the stress level of 30,000 adults in the U.S. and the perception they have about it for a total of 8 years. And then, they used public death records to find out who died…


Now for those of you who'd like to know, the research showed that approximately 182,000 Americans died prematurely after the 8 years, not from stress, but just from the belief that stress is bad for you. Isn't that completely crazy?

Crazy but true. So what this means is that if you can change your mind about stress, you can change your body's reaction to it. For example, if you put yourself in a stressful situation you might experience signs of physical anxiety or an incapacity to cope well with pressure such as an accelerated heart beat, the need to breathe faster or even sweating. But what if, instead, you were viewing these as signs that your body was energized, getting you ready to meet a challenge...

Then, you would be re-thinking your stress response as helpful; a pounding heart prepares you for action, breathing faster is getting more oxygen into your brain, breaking a sweat refreshes your body from the heat.

All of a sudden, you would start feeling less stressed, less anxious and more confident! And one of the most fascinating findings in all this is that not only your perception of stress changes but so does your physical response to stress. In a typical physical stress response, your heart rate will go up and your blood vessels will constrict. This is one of the reason's why sometimes chronic stress is directly associated with cardiovascular diseases.

But a study conducted by Harvard University showed that when you view your physical stress response as helpful, you blood vessels will stay relax. Yes, your heart is still pounding but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile.

The incredible thing is that, this physical response looks exactly like what happens with your body in moments of joy and courage :)

Photo credits:  Jide JJ Smith©

So what do you all say we start changing the way we view stress from now on? How you feel about stress matters and that should never get in the way of your plans to dominate the world ;)

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