Recently, I was listening to Psychologist Kelly McGonigal talk about stress. We all know that stress can be detrimental, and there is significant research that indicates its negative impact on health. However, stress is something that most of us experience a moderate to high amount in life. There are many tactics, medications, and remedies to help manage stress more effectively.
Due to some of the negative health problems that stress can cause, stress has been turned into the enemy and into an emotional state that we should run from.
In this blog, I will encourage you to think about stress in a different light. Dr. McGonigal discusses research that espouses that people who perceive stress to be physically harmful are more likely to have physical side affects than individuals who do not perceive stress to be physically detrimental.
Dr. McGonigal asks a significant question about stress. Will changing your mindset about stress change the way your body reacts to stress?
Research suggests that when you change your mind’s viewpoint on stress, you can change your body’s reaction. She talks about the way we interpret the symptoms of stress during a time that we are stressed out. Our hands may be sweaty, our hearts may be racing, and there may be tension building in our shoulders. We often take those symptoms to mean that we are not coping well with the challenge at hand. However, Dr. McGonigal urges us to look at symptoms as a way that our bodies are going to meet and conquer the challenge. It is our bodies’ way of getting us through the stressful time.
Throughout life there are significant events that are bound to trigger a stressful response within us. In the next two blogs, we will discuss how changing your mindset can change your body’s negative reaction to stress. If you get a chance, take a look at Dr. McGonigal’s lecture here.
Chelsey Beauchamp, MS
cbeauchamp @ growcounseling.com