All stress isn’t equal. Certainly, significant levels of anxiety and stress are cumbersome to grapple with, catalyzing numerous physical ailments detrimental to one’s overall health. An undue amount of stress, for instance, can cause sluggishness, high blood pressure, as well as malaise and depression. But do not confuse the presence of those maladies with the inevitability of their onset, if one is experiencing a pronounced bout of stress. While we cannot control the diffusion of stressful scenarios arising in our lives, we can control our own personal orientation toward them. Stress need not be the enemy. Your mind, curiously enough, is your own most bellicose antagonist.
In one study, researchers determined that people who experienced high degrees of stress – but did not view it as harmful – were no worse off than people who led a relatively benign life. Over a period of eight years, researchers estimated that 182,000 Americans had died prematurely, not from stress, but from the insipid believe that stress was deleterious to one’s health.
Stress is your body’s defense mechanism against precarious, uncertain situation. It enlivens you, invigorating your physical shell with energy to cope with complex scenarios. Your vigorously beating heart? That means more blood is circulating through your system, preparing you for consequent action. Do you find yourself breathing faster? That’s your body’s method of oxygenating your brain. In this article, we’ll discuss ways of framing stress positively, reorienting you to consider stress as a net-positive, calibrating your body to appropriately rise to fundamental challenges.
Have you ever heard of the hormone, oxytocin? It’s a neuro-hormone, priming your brain’s social instincts and propelling one’s desire to cultivate strong and enduring relationships. It enhances one’s empathy, prompts a desire for physical contact with closed friends and loved ones, and activates an altruistic disposition toward others. It’s also, surprisingly, a stress hormone.
When you’re thrust into a stressful situation, your pituitary gland releases oxytocin. When this process is catalyzed, it signals your brain to begin seeking sources of support, of fellowship, of community. Intrinsically, it seems, your body is engineered to understand it cannot traverse every life obstacle in sordid isolation. When life hands you a proverbial lemon, don’t worry, your body will endow you with an upstream of oxytocin and a concomitant urge to identify comforting sources of solace.
A Catalyst For Cognition
If you’re feeling reticent and apprehensive about an imminent experience, do not fret overmuch: Your body, again, is calibrated to respond. Let’s imagine, for instance, you’re scheduled to deliver a speech publicly, to a sizeable audience of spectators. You’re feeling a slight amount of unease about the prospect of a public presentation, but you accede, deciding in stout fashion that the potential benefits outweigh the possibility of a negative outcome. If you’re stress is moderate, not exaggerated, your brain’s performance will invariably be boosted, as moderate stress facilitates the connection between neurons in your brain, enhancing memory and bolstering attention span. If you’re able to modulate your stress appropriately, the likelihood that you will successfully articulate your pronounced message is astonishingly high.
That’s why, to offer an additional example, many employees often display heightened performance when allotted an unanticipated quantity of last-minute assignments. The relative brevity of the time between the proffered assignment and ensuing deadline catalyzes workers into surmounting obstacles they once thought incapable of coping with.
As a suggestion, maintain a work journal, monitoring your work activity each day. Not only will it leave you feeling fulfilled, noting the variable achievements accumulated throughout a given work-day, you may also notice a pattern of peak performance being ascertained when you’re designated a more challenging workload. Remember, luck is the confluence between preparation and opportunity.
Confounding The Common Cold
It may seem counterintuitive, but properly regulating one’s stress can be markedly beneficial for your overall health; namely, preventing such maladies as the common cold. Moderate stress actually promotes the production of a chemical called interleukins, bodily proteins created in response to pathogens and another antigens which mitigate inflammatory immune responses.
Thus, if you’re able to reorient your disposition toward stress, toward life’s daily burdens, viewing an obstacle constructively, rather than overt dread; imprisoning yourself behind a mask becomes unnecessary. Your body has the requisite immune material to defy petty sicknesses, keeping you in the office, performing optimally.
No one is assiduously yearning for the onset of cumbersome problems that are difficult, even resolutely impossible, to resolve. Your perception, your manifest reaction, however, is what cultivates individual resiliency, resolve, and perseverance.
As with most things, the inoculation of fortitude is process-oriented. Perhaps you’re struggling through a divorce, or have recently been terminated from a job; and have consequently succumbed to sporadic bouts of deep depression. If you manage to identify sources of individual strength, a palatable conclusion or alternative path can eventually be reached. In the future, when similar travails again transpire, you’ll have developed a cultural memory of how to positively respond to stress, how to leverage coping mechanisms in order to expedite a swift transition away from an overwrought temperament.
In short, handling stress constructively invariably yields character development.
Cool And Confident
If you are able to effectively modulate your stress levels, the invariable onset of stress can actually enliven your confidence. When presented with a challenge that is eminently achievable, within the distinct domain of possibility, we actually experience a positive form of stress, referred to as eustress. Eustress releases the flow of endorphins in your body, dopamine like neurotransmitters that enhance feelings of pleasure and optimism.
If you have to prepare a report, for instance, and correspondingly present it to your supervisor for approval; but you’re feeling superlatively prepared, armed with all the fundamental knowledge requisite to defend your proposal, you’ll likely feel more inclined to eager about the encounter, assured as you are that it will yield positive dividends. You’ll have then reframed the production of stress to your advantage, using it as a tool to facilitate your success, rather than effectually impeding it.