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Chiropractic Care | Lewiston, ID | Joan P. Burrow DC NMD

How to Make Stress Your Friend

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How to Make Stress Your Friend
By Dr. Shayne Morris -adapted from transcripts by
Professor Kelly McGonigal
Stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Stanford UniversitypsychologistKellyMcGonigal tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years. What she found is that people who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health. People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.So how do you Change your Belief about stress?Step 1: When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress. Remind yourself that the stress response is helpful for your performance. That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. Next time your feeling the physical changes from stress, you’re going to think to yourself, this is my body helping me rise to this challenge. And when you view stress in that way, your body believes you, and your stress response becomes healthier.
In a stress test study conducted at Harvard University, participants were taught to rethink their stress response as helpful. When participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed. Their heart was still pounding, but they had a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looked a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage.

Step 2: Understanding that Stress actually makes you social.
Oxytocin Is a stress hormone. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response. Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone. It fine-tunes your brain’s social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. But the key here is that Oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress induced damage. All physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by seeking support AND helping someone else. Human connection is a mechanism for stress resistance.

Step 3: Remember CCR – Caring Creates Resilience.
Find someone to care for. Help your neighbor. Visit people in need. Give someone a Hug. The more you care the more resilient you become.
Another Study that tracked 1,000 adults in the united states found that people who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. Zero. Caring created resilience.

The harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you create resilience.

“Stress gives us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heart, working so hard to give you strength and energy, and when you choose to view stress in this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement. You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges, and you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.” – Kelly McGonigal


Author: Emily Schmidt

Chiropractic Assistant and Secretary for Dr. Joan

One thought on “How to Make Stress Your Friend

  1. Pingback: Psychoneuroimmunology | Many Faces of Health

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