Is Stress Really THAT bad??

by Melissa

Most of us talk about stress in a negative way. We had to move mom or dad into a nursing home, or I don’t have time to do anything for myself.  We talk about how busy we are, or how our spouse or children did not pick up after themselves.  We perceive these stressors to be a negative thing, and therefore react poorly to stressful situations.  This negative reaction to stress can cause many health issues.  High levels of stress have been linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease. 

Well, what if I told you that it was possible to avoid these issues or even reverse them even without removing the stressful situations in your life? It is! Read on to find out how!

You may break out into a sweat, your heart pounds and you are breathing faster.  Usually we think these are signs of anxiety, or poor coping skills.  What if we perceived these signs as energy rather than anxiety?  These responses are preparing your body for action to take the stressor head on. 

A study conducted at the University or Wisconsin-Madison looked at people’s levels of stress, and whether or not these people thought the stress was bad. Then, eight years later, they went back to see who died.  43% of people who experienced a lot of stress died, however that was only true for the people who believed stress was harmful for their health. 

The people in the study who had high stress, but perceived stress in a more positive light were the least likely group to die over the course of the study!

What we can learn from this study is that health problems and even possibly death can be avoided by our perception of stress.

This is not to say that stress is a great thing, obviously working to eliminate stress by dealing with your stressors in a positive way is number one.  But, when we are faced with stressful situations, remember to think about how you are perceiving that stress, go into it with a can do attitude and you may find you have a more positive outlook towards your stress.

Check out this Ted Talk that goes into more detail on stress and the study I mentioned!


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