Stress- love it! Gotta have it in my life!
When is the last time you woke up and said – “Good morning- Let the Stress Begin!”
Stress – like the yoke of an egg- has gotten a really bad rap. The predominant messaging within our culture today is that Stress is really bad for you- Mind- Body and Spirit. The fact is- Stress – like dessert and the egg- can actually be good for you! Stress is a necessary reaction to help us make changes! We cannot truly avoid having any stress in our bodies whatsoever. It is part of living. A few Primary Life examples would be: 1.) You have a job interview. You feel excited and a bit stressed. 2.) You and your spouse just found out you will be incorporating a new addition to your family! Excited- and a bit stressed. 3.) You have decided to switch careers or quit your job and venture into the world of being an Entrepreneur! Excited- and stressed.
A few ordinary day life examples would be: 1.) You didn’t hear the alarm go off this morning and are going to be late for work. 2.) You have a deadline for a team project and are running out of hours to get it completed. 3.) You just got a call from the school that your child is sick and needs to be picked up.
Many Psychologists believe that a certain amount of stress is actually good for our mental health and over all well being as we navigate through the changes and and uncertainties of life.
Some studies by Professor Seery and colleagues at UCLA seem to bear this out. They followed a national sample of subjects for several years, assessing how much stress they had experienced in their lives, their recent stressors, as well as mental health factors and life satisfaction. The researchers found that:
“People with a history of some lifetime adversity reported better mental health and well-being outcomes than not only people with a high history of adversity but also than people with no history of adversity.” (Seery et al., 2010, p. 1025)
Dr. Melanie Greenberg, PhD, is another Psychologist who believes that having moderate stress in our lives can make us tougher. Here are some possible reasons why:
- Perhaps experiencing a bit of stress make us hardier and better able to tolerate and adapt to life’s difficulties.
- Going through a moderate stressor (like relocating or breaking a limb) may help us learn new skills (like sociability or patience) we can apply in later life.
- We may gain confidence in managing stress. (“If I can do this, I can do the next difficult thing.”)
- We may be less likely to fear change. For example, we may learn that it’s ok to leave a toxic relationship or bad job and that we can survive and even thrive afterwards.
- We may adopt a more positive attitude towards stress in general, knowing how it may have helped us grow. Research shows that seeing your stressor as a growth opportunity helps you perform better both in stressful laboratory tasks (like public speaking) and in stressful jobs (like sales).
- People who report never experiencing any stress may be too averse to taking reasonable risks, making them less likely to reach their goals in life and relationships.
By now you may be thinking to yourself- “but wait- what about cortisol- what about a spikes in blood pressure and overall immunity and health. What about the toll that having too much stress in our lives can take?
Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson PhD believes that it is not the stress itself or even the amounts of stress we have within our daily lives. It is HOW WE VIEW THESE STRESSORS!
“As it turns out, your mindset about stress may be the most important predictor of how it affects you. As Crum, Salovey, and Achor discovered, people have different beliefs about stress. Some people – arguably most people – believe that stress is a bad thing. They agreed with statements like “The effects of stress are negative and should be avoided,” and the researchers called this the stress-is-debilitating mindset. Those who instead agreed that “Experiencing stress facilitates my learning and growth” had what they called a stress-is-enhancing mindset.”
Dr. Mario Martinez, author of the Mind Body Code, believes that “Stress is a learned response. Stress is only an interpretation.”
Martinez has been researching and interviewing Centenarians for years, studying the habits and rituals of this rapidly growing segment of Seniors worldwide. There are now over 80,000 centenarians in the US alone. Martinez’s mission is to help people change their beliefs that limit their longevity, health and success.
When you have stress, he advises, you have to embody the stress. Say to yourself, “This is what I feel, and this is how I’m manifesting it.” And then: “What are the options that I have after this?”
This is a key differentiator between centenarians and their peers who are in the grave. Those living longest look for options. Options move you away from stress.
Stress is a sense of being overwhelmed and not being able to overcome those challenges. The moment that you expand your options, your anxiety goes down, and then you are empowered. Empowerment and stress are incompatible emotions.
It is important that we know the difference between every day stress and “distress”. Stress is woven into our everyday lives. We can learn to work with it- embrace it and master it so that it works on our behalf. Distress is different. Once we have begun to feel like we have no options, we are stuck, or hopeless- distress and disempowerment kick in. This “distress or disempowerment” is what causes the real suffering within our mind and our bodies. It becomes chronic. It affects our ability to live our lives joyfully and fully in the present. We become filled with anxiety and worry.
The other negative effect of feeling disempowered is that we begin to play the blame game. Instead of taking full responsibility for our circumstances, we begin to blame either ourselves or others. We cannot move forward when we are stuck in blame.
The Vital Life Long Alignment Institute was created in order to help each and every one of us let go of the cultural belief systems that keep us stuck in lives that do not serve us and limit our highest and best potential for living a purposeful and happy life.
If you would like to begin today to make sustainable and significant changes that help bring you into your true authentic self- we invite you to join us! Click the link below and get started!
Here is today’s Vital Reset ReMINDer:
“Stress is a learned response. Stress is only an interpretation.” Dr. Mario Martinez
My very best wishes for an exceptional day and to your long and vital life.