We all experience stress. During my time in leadership, I have spent much energy trying overcome stress by avoiding it. I have just recently learned that this is not the right. Instead of avoiding it, admit that stress is inevitable and learn to handle it correctly. Stress can and should be our friend.
I recently watched a TED talk on stress and after more independent research I found many of the claims to be true. A healthy view of stress will keep you alive. Recent studies have revealed that those who worry about stress and think is a "bad" have a 43% more likely chance of dying young. However, those that don't consider stress as a negative thing see themselves living much longer.
We must change our minds about stress and then our body will respond in a positive way.
When we are stressed:
- The Heart pumps harder
- It is Hard to breath and we take short quick breaths
- We sweat
- We feel our chest tighten
- Anxiety sets in & we do not think clearly
- We cry for help
What if instead of looking at all of these symptoms of a panic attack as negative, we should look at them as positives. Our bodies are getting ready for the moment. We are becoming energized and gearing up to perform. The heart pounding is our adrenaline. The short breaths is our body generating rapid amounts of oxygen in. Our bodies are rising to the occasion. When we cry out, we are craving community, help from another, and this stress is making us social.
How you think about stress matters
Our bodies also create an excess amount of the hormone, Oxytocin. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. During a moment of stress, the last thing you would think our bodies would start producing would be the one thing that compels us to draw closer to another human being. We begin to feel more empathy for others and more compassion. We are motivated to seek help. So we surround ourselves with people that can help. It also serves as a natural anti-inflammatory and our hearts even have receptors that call out for this unusual mechanism that heals and strengthens the heart during a stressful moment.
So what does this all mean?
Recover faster with human connection. The relationships in your life will keep you from dying young from stress.
Studies are showing that if you are in a stressful situation increases your chance of dying by 30%. However, these same studies show if you live a life where you serve others and have many healthy human relationships during these stressful moments there are no effects on your life in an adverse way.
In short, live alone die young. Live a life of service and you will live a long time.
Re-thinking stress creates a response in your body that encourages courage and a happier longer life.