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If somebody asked you to remember the last time you thought about stress, you probably wouldn’t have to think very hard. Whether it’s because you’re stressed about something yourself, or whether you heard someone else talking about being stressed or about how bad stress is for you, stress is a subject we tend to hear a lot about.
And, almost always, stress is viewed in a negative sense. Which only makes sense when you think of all of the negative effects that stress can have on our bodies, our health, and our overall well-being.
Is Ignorance Really Bliss?
Sometimes, though, stress is one of those cases where ignorance might just be bliss. Even though knowledge is power, and it’s really important to be aware of the way that stress affects us so we can find ways to reduce unnecessary stressors when possible, sometimes having all of that knowledge can cause us to start stressing about stress.
I find myself doing this a lot. If there’s a time when I have a really stressful week and I end up being around someone who has a cold, for example, I start thinking, oh great. Now I’m going to catch a cold. I’ve been really stressed this week and I haven’t been sleeping much, so my immune system probably isn’t working as well as it should, and now I’m going to catch this person’s cold. But I don’t have time to be sick right now! I have too many things to do!
And that’s just one example. There are probably a thousand other ways that we can find ourselves stressing about the fact that we’re stressed. Since it can be so easy to do this, I wanted to share a video I came across recently that gives a completely different perspective on the topic of stress. The video is a TED Talk by Kerry McGonigal titled How to Make Stress Your Friend. (It’s a 15 minute video that you can watch for free by following that link.)
How Stress Can Actually Help Us
The studies mentioned in the video are pretty fascinating because they show that, even though stress has the potential to harm our health, the way we think about stress and what we believe about the way that stress effects us actually has a greater impact on our health than the stress itself.
This TED Talk also covers ways that the physical stress response in our bodies can actually help us in different situations, such as energizing and preparing us to accomplish what we need to do and motivating us to connect with others both to give and to receive support during stressful times.
I realize that it’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you’re right in the middle of a stressful situation, but the next time you start to find yourself feeling stressed about stress, it can be helpful to remember that the stress itself isn’t nearly as harmful as your own beliefs and perspectives about that stress.
(Ok, enough about stress now 🙂 If you’re ready for a break from thinking about stress, have a look at some of the pretty pictures on my Favorite Things Pinterest board or some of the adorable animal pictures on my Smile and LOL! boards.)
Photo Credit (C) Depositphotos.com/[Jaykayl]
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.