This year has been full of life stressors for me both good and bad. From the death of close family members, to planning a wedding and preparing for marriage, to launching a personal business, and trying to further my education, these life stressors have created lots of stress and, trust me, I felt the effects. I watched this video in undergrad about stress, and I recently found myself remembering some of the facts that I learned, and revisited it.
Stress; It’s all around us, but how you think about stress matters. Most of the time stress is the enemy, but after listening to this TED talk, my view of stress got flipped around. One of the major questions from Kelly McGonigal is “Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier?” Her answer was “Yes! When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.” How fascinating is that?!
Normally, when someone is stressed out, it is your body reacting to the stressors that it was exposed to, but Kelly brings up a good point; “Could this be a sign that your body is preparing you to meet this challenge?” Our bodies are fascinating. They meet needs every day, and stress is no exception. Stress can help you become more social through a molecule called oxytocin- it helps you become more compassionate – it’s a stress hormone, sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” and it is motivating you to seek support.
When you are stressed out, your body wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you. Oxytocin is an anti-inflammatory and helps your body stay relaxed during stress. It strengthens your heart, creates resilience and ultimately keeps you focused on helping others as well as the importance of maintaining social connections. My advice to you: Trust yourself and your heart to handle life’s unexpected challenges. Know who your support system is, and thank them for keeping your heart beating stronger.