Stress is a person’s response to an environmental condition or stimulus; it is the body’s way of reacting to a challenge. For years, we have been informed of the negative effects of stress, and are pressed upon to manage the stressors, to reduce our stress. Recent studies have found that the stressor is not the problem, and our body’s response to the stress is not the problem. The greatest physical risk is actually our perceived opinion of how stress will affects us. In other words, if we believe that stress will harm us, it will.
Stress is no longer the enemy. Changing your mind about stress will change your body’s response to stress. How you think about stress matters.
- Your body’s response to stress is actually healthy. The body is energized and prepared to meet the challenge of the stressor with a pounding heart and deeper breathing. Increased oxygen to the cells and tissues is preparing you for action. Reaction to stress energizes the body and prepares all systems to handle what needs handled. Embrace your body’s stress response; gain confidence that your fast heart and deep breathing is a sign that you are ready to respond.
- Oxytocin, also called the cuddle hormone, is released during your body’s response to a stressor. This hormone strengthens close relationships, enhances empathy, increases need to help and support others, and drives us to be more compassionate and caring. When oxytocin is released, it creates a motivation to seek support and offer support to others. Driving us to be surrounded by a network of encouragement.
- Stress response has a built-in healing mechanism. If your view on stress is to embrace and utilize your body’s stress response, researchers have found stress to be self-healing. The release of oxytocin strengthens and heals the heart muscle. The actions that come from heightened social instincts are also self-medicating. Your body becomes more stress resilient with human connections.
The timeless stress management techniques are still valuable and are important for managing a healthy lifestyle, but this new view on stress is liberating. At least now, there is no need to be stressed out about stress, or your body’s response to stress. Gain confidence when you feel your heart beating faster; know that you are ready to handle the situation. Embrace stress for what it is – a strengthening exercise.