HOW You Think About Stress Matters

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We often consider stress as our enemy because we know that being stressful affects our body, our thoughts, feelings, and our moods. Unchecked stress is also known to cause chronic health conditions as high blood pressure, heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.

According to the health psychologist Kelly McGonical, how you think about stress matters; and it is your beliefs about stress that can modify your body’s response to stress. By viewing your body’s response to stress as helpful for you to perform better, rather than a sign of not coping well, you are helping your blood vessels to relax and maintain a steady heart rate just like when you feel JOY and COURAGE.

What are some ways to rethink stress?

  1. Reframe your stressful experiences – view your stress as a positive pressure. Visualize your brain getting more oxygen and heart pumping more blood to help you meet your challenges.
  2. Practice positive affirmations- Instead of saying “I can’t” practice saying, “I can” and “I will” – allow challenges to motivate you to perform better.
  3. Pick up an activity that is new and challenging to you either physically and creatively- this will build your endurance to accept stress.
  4. Reach out and surround yourself with people who care about you- oxytocin or “cuddle hormone” released during stress is found to act on our hearts to help heal from the effects of stress. The more you reach out for support or offer help the more oxytocin is released and the healthier stress response becomes.

To learn more, listen to the popular Kelly Mcgonical Ted Talk, How To Make Stress Your Best Friend.

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