In an incredibly compelling Ted Talk, stress expert Kelly McGonigal teaches us the ways that stress can impact our bodies. After years of dedicated research and time spent worrying about the impacts of stress on the human body, McGonigal stumbled across some information that changed the way that she viewed the role that stress can play in our lives. She spent years teaching that stress was the enemy, but now realizes that there is a lot to gain from treating it as a friend instead.
Stress Doesn’t Always Cause Health Problems
The majority of us know that stress can cause health problems. More often than not, stress is responsible for whittling away at our health and putting an unforgivable amount of strain on the human body. In fact, stress can kill people over time. It has known impacts on the heart, which Kelly discusses in full. Despite this, studies show that not everyone experiences stress the same way. It isn’t always bad for you.
The Way That You View Stress Matters
The reality is that stress is a bit of a mind game. According to some studies, the way that we view our stress can actually completely rewrite the ways that it impacts our anatomy. When we spend a lot of time stressed out and worrying about the fact that we are stressed out and worrying, it damages our hearts and our arteries. However, people who don’t believe that stress is a risk seem to be completely devoid of its impacts. Science shows that if we take the time to accept that stress is our body’s way of preparing to rise to a challenge instead of something that is destined to kill us, it completely changes how our bodies respond to it.
When we view stress as a natural human response instead of something to be stopped immediately, many of the biological responses that harm the human body don’t occur. In fact, this subtle change allows people’s bodies to mirror the biological response of someone acting courageously, and it isn’t dangerous at all. Even making this change in thought can help you to more effectively tackle your stress and how you feel in the moment.
Being Stressed Out Changes When We Connect With Others
One surprising truth about the human stress response is that our bodies actually dump hormones that are designed to make us connect with others. When we are stressed out, our bodies drive us to reach out to a support system. When we do, the stress response changes completely. Even better, when we support people through stressful times, our body becomes more resilient and repairs itself on an anatomical level.
After years of stress being the bad guy, it is time for us all to realize that stress is a response that we have for a reason. As your blood pumps and your heart beats, remember that this is your body’s way of preparing to carry you through whatever comes next. You are ready to rise to the occasion, and your body knows it too!