According to the American Psychological Association, Stress is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down.
Well, most of us do not require APA to confirm that, do we?
When we define stress, it is any uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes.
Stressed up already? Interesting facts are on the way…
Being stressed affects our everyday activities, from weakening of our immune system to cardiovascular diseases and a bunch of others in bonus.
Recently, as I was sifting through a bunch of articles I happened to come across one stating “ Make stress your Friend”. Well, our brain gets taken aback on seeing anything far from normal, like many of you I too believed Stress is definitely man’s greatest enemy, harmful for our very happy existence.
The article was based on a talk given by Stanford Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal. In it she went on stating that by reshaping how you think about Stress you can retool your body’s response.
Well, isn’t that great?
To support the statement, here is a study that was conducted to assess people’s feelings of stress, their attitude towards stress and its correlation against public death records. It was found that, the people most likely to die were more stressed, but they also believed that Stress was harmful to their health. While, people who were highly stressed but didn’t believe it was harmful were the least likely group to die.
This study shows it isn’t stress that kills people, it’s the belief that stress is harmful that kills. IT’S ALL IN THE MIND…
When keeping aside the harmful effects of Stress, some interesting facts about it can be acknowledged. Do you know that Stress helps the body prepare to face danger? When stressed, your heart beats faster, you breathe faster and you’ll break out into a sweat. Under normal circumstances these signs are seen as lack of coping well, but Kelly says that people could be taught that your body is preparing for action, for something difficult, ready to take on any challenge, in a fight or flight situation.
STRESS MAKES YOU SOCIAL. How insane is that?
That’s exactly what I thought to myself. But interesting as it is, there lies a scientific explanation to it.
Oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone” is a neural hormone that primes you to strengthen relationships and help your friends. But oxytocin is also referred to as a stress response – to make you want to tell someone you are struggling. Oxytocin is also received in the heart, to strengthen, heal and protect it from the effects of stress. As you release more of this hormone by being stressed or helping others, you increase your stress resilience.
Another study looked at how stressed people were, how much time they had spent helping family / friends / their community, and correlated with public death records. For the general respondents, each major stressful crisis increased the risk of dying by 30%. However, people who spent time caring for others had no increase in risk of death due to stress.
Human Brain loves normality, to be on the safer side away from anything unfamiliar. We tend to be more happy and comfortable doing things stress free and effortless. When faced with a challenge, everything changes. Our intuitive mind gives way to our cognitive side, the more reasoning system of our brain takes action, this creates an unfamiliar environment, effort ought to be put, stress creeps in. But do not stop, learn to reshape your thoughts to cope with this Stress. Never put a full stop to your dreams, as Stress to an extent is inevitable, but rather retool it to your advantage.
But remember, if a high stress level continues for a long period of time, or if potential problems from stress continues to interfere with the daily life, it is important to reach out to licensed Mental Health professionals. BE SAFE, BE HEALTHY !!!