Harnessing Stress

Today we are no stranger to stress. The key isn’t to deny stress, but to recognize and acknowledge it. When you see that their is an upside to living in anticipatory anxiety, that will allow you to find YOUR correct reaction to stress. Realize people can learn how not to live in a constant state of “anticipatory anxiety.

Understand a typical stress response, our response, affects our cardiovascular system, immune system and general sense of well-being.  While some stress in the local environment appears overwhelming, when your body repeatedly encounters a set of physiological changes dubbed the “stress response”, your learned response becomes key. Stress may contribute to or exacerbate various health problems. However, stress can also help you identify your stress warning signs and teach you how to better manage stressful situations on a daily basis.

One modification to the stress response is called “tend-and-befriend”. It shows why people feel the need to reach out to friends and relatives in the community—to assure themselves that loved ones were alright, to comfort the distressed or bereaved, and to shore up your social networks.

A modification to the stress response is called tend-and-befriend. Connecting in this way actually helps reduce stress.. That’s because tend-and-befriend also involves different balances of hormones.

It makes the brain’s reward centers more responsive to social contact, and it is an important part of resilience. A 2015 book called The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal has ideas. One is “Even in circumstances of great suffering, human beings have a natural capacity to find hope, exert choice, and make meaning. This is why in our own lives, the most common effects of stress include strength, growth, and resilience.”

Whatever you’re doing, don’t pretend that stress doesn’t exist. People who deny it tend to isolate themselves and reinforce their fears. Fear is often described as False Expectations Appearing Real. Instead, you can recognize why you’re experiencing this stress and look for any positive aspects and adapt to it.

Be aware of all you CAN DO? Always question “What is in your control”?  What matter to you and is it reinforcing your values and gives meaning to your life today?

Don’t deny the stress, but redirect your energy away from it. Doing some small act of kindness for someone and note the mental reward you reap. Be aware and learn ways of being in touch, without physical contact. Smiles are free and everyone needs those, these days.  Nurture your social networks. Caring for self and others creates resilience. Remember the saying “put the oxygen mask on yourself first then your loved ones”. In today’ stressful times try to focus on the larger purpose of whatever you’re doing and you will find that taking care of yourself is the best start for caring for others. So, recognize the stress you are under. Address it in the most proactive way you are able.

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