Sunday via Syl: Reaction to stress is more important than stress (which is a given)
My emotions have been at an all-time high this past week and I found myself extremely anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, and a bit isolated. I cried Friday night.
Stress is a natural feeling we all have experienced that stems from us not feeling like we’re in control or able to cope with specific demands and events (school, work, relationships, financial pressures, etc).
It’s hard to avoid it with so many things competing for our attention and time.
Avoiding stress is NOT 100% achievable nor is it the best thing to do. Stress is a part of everyone’s life. How we react to stress is what sets us apart.
A Stanford health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal challenges us to rethink how we view stress. How we think and how we act can change the experience of our stress.
Two of my favorite quotes from the video:
- When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage.”
- “Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”
A large study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked close to 29,000 participants to rate their levels of stress and how much they believed their stress influenced their health. After eight years, researchers found people who had reported high stress and believed that the stress had a large impact on their health had a 43% increased risk of death.
Stuck in a traffic jam? Trains and buses not moving? Late to a meeting? Some people panic and start cursing. Others are more laid-back and take it in stride aka “there’s nothing I can do about the traffic right now, it is what it is. Me getting upset over it is not helping the case.”
Perspective is everything. The more we practice it, the better we get.
Small stressors over time add up.
The bills won’t stop coming and we will never have more than 24 hours in a day, but the good thing is that we can change the way we see things and ultimately, the way we react to stress.
We have more control than we might think we do.
Viewing stress more positively encourages us to cope in ways that help us to thrive and be more resilient.
When were you last stressed? What helped you when you were stressed? A bath? A deep breath? A massage? Music? A yoga class? Venting to a friend?
For me on Friday, it was acknowledging that I was not feeling my best, having a little cry and letting it out, closing it out by journaling to get my floating thoughts down on paper.
No one is stress-free at all times. We’re not okay all the time and that’s okay! Let’s be kind to ourselves and view stress as an opportunity to learn and grow.