We all know that high levels of consistent stress can be bad for your health. However, in 1998, Harvard conducted a study that discovered that the belief that stress is bad for you is frequently what makes stress is bad for you (“How to Make Stress Your Friend”). What can we do about this puzzle?
Kinds of Stress
There are two kinds of stress: Distress and Eustress. We typically think of one as bad and the other as good because one (the former) tends to stay in the nervous system while the other does not. But physically, they do they exact same thing.
Distress is how we typically think of stress: anxiety, worry, fear, chaos, overwhelm. This is common in situations like time constraints, uncertain health issues, or interpersonal conflicts. We typically think of this kind of stress as bad and stay in this state whether or not the stressor is present anymore because we don’t know when it’s really going to end.
Eustress is the other kind of stress, commonly thought of as: excitement, anticipation, having butterflies, or being amped up. This is common in situations like big events, intense progress on a goal, or amusement parks. This typically works through your nervous system quickly when the stressor is not present anymore and is generally thought of as feeling good or like fuel.
Distress and Eustress are thought of as the “bad kind” or the “good kind” but are the exact same physical response in the body: heart pounding, blood pumping, sweating, preparing for action. We can’t completely avoid stress in our lives and Stanford says “embracing stress is more important than reducing stress” (Stanford News).
So what if we embrace stress as a way to boost an experience instead of dread it as an unhealthy hindrance? What if we reframe it as a heightened awareness that is helping us leap high to our target?
“What if you viewed [stress] instead as signs that your body was energized, was preparing you to meet this challenge? 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” (“How to Make Stress Your Friend”).
Not only would we feel better when experiencing stress, but the belief that stress can be good for you can make you healthier and lower the chance of stress-related health issues.
Click here to watch my favorite TED Talk: “How to Make Stress Your Friend”
* Join Danielle for Neurosculpting® to Navigate Stressful Change on Sun, Oct 27th to learn more about how to reframe stress for your health and wellbeing.
Neurosculpting® Institute: www.neurosculptinginstitute.com
TED Talk: “How to Make Stress Your Friend”
Book: The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at it by Kelly McGonnigal
Danielle Rachlin, CNSF
Danielle Rachlin, CNSF received her Neurosculpting® Facilitator Certification in the original round of NSI graduates in 2013. Since then, she has taken an academic approach to teaching and has brought Neurosculpting® into the world of college campuses with her recurring quarter-long series at Colorado Mesa University. Danielle has also produced an educational ghostwriting collection in her position in Communications and Marketing for the Neurosculpting® Institute during the completion of her Master’s degree in Public Administration for Environmental Policy, Management, and Law.
Danielle is passionate about introducing these concepts to people that do not necessarily already know they are interested in the subject and in making the information accessible to all kinds of people. She is motivated to spread the content of Neurosculpting® as widely as she can because she wants everyone to understand the natural processes of their brain so personal development is not an uphill battle. She has been meditating since childhood and was originally drawn deeply to Neurosculpting® due to its solid and digestible foundation in science.