Stress. Less. Umm, sorry what? Stress seems to be everywhere lately. In our lives, our partner’s lives, our families’ lives, even our children’s lives. So to see the words – stress less – may make you want to scream or perhaps stress more. Step away from the comment section!!!! OK, OK, so if stress is part of lives, why be so resistant to it? Why are we so angry at stress? Like, who put stress in the corner for a time out? I think it may be time people. Time to make stress our friend. Yup, you read that correctly, not our frenemy, but our friend. Because nobody puts stress in the corner! Dr. Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist has this amazing Ted Talk, watch it here: http://kellymcgonigal.com/2014/11/15/watch-my-ted-talk-how-to-make-stress-your-friend/ She talks ALL about making stress your friend; this is a great video resource! Check it out and check out Kelly at http://kellymcgonigal.com for lots of amazing resources on mindfulness and stress reduction tips! Here are some tips about how to stress less taken from Dr. McGonigal’s talk that are just TOO GOOD not to share!!!
- Change your beliefs: I have been teaching Stress and Stress Management to undergrads for a while now, and one thing is for sure, all the fancy text books in the world can’t teach this; once you change your beliefs about how stress is affecting your life, you won’t start to see changes. The way we look at our stressors has everything to do with how we translate them into our own experiences. YES we will have very bad days and we are allowed to have very bad days, trauma and tragedy will happen to us, however once we start to believe that these negative experiences shape our existence, and then we believe that we essentially stress will win or that we succumb to our stressors. Make the shift and watch what happens.
- Stress facilitates your social connections: The physical stress response has been shown to release the neuro-hormone oxytocin. Heard of it? If you have, it was probably in reference to cuddling, and the happiness response our brain has to physical and social connections. Studies show that not only does the stress response itself NOT cause dangerous vaso-constriction, but also that it allows for and increases the release of oxytocin. According to Kelly: “When oxytocin is released in the stress response, it is motivating you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel instead of bottling it up. Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.”
- Show that you care: I don’t know about you, but don’t you just feel really good when you do something to help another person? The concepts of community, caring and sharing are linked to the human experience. We are naturally social creatures. I personally believe we are moving back towards a movement of community and of helping thy neighbor. When we show that we care, YES, you guessed it, this releases neuro-chemicals in the body, that make us FEEL AMAZING. GIVE ME MORE OF THAT! I encourage you to be bold every day. The messages my husband and I instill in our children is do onto others, be kind, be courageous and be brave every day. Your returns will manifest in ways you will understand. Dr. Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist talks about the biology of courage, rising to the challenge every day. We don’t have to be groundbreaking activist with a huge agenda. You can do something today, on your block, street, school or work!
When you are feeling in the weeds, under water and the “overwhelm” of stress; just breathe. Remember you are not alone. Remember your center. Stay as grounded as you can. Ask for help. Shift, stay connected and go out and do some good, right where you are.
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