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Aug 15, 2018

Stress is GOOD for you!

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Did you know stress can actually be good for you? 

 

On the market today, there are countless programs, supplements and oils that “reduce stress”. However, the most powerful weapon against the toxic effects of stress is our mind. When we learn to harness the power of our thinking, we can deal with and overcome whatever life throws our way!

 

But how?

 

Like everything in life, the way we view stressful situations can affect the way we deal with these situations. But stress is stress, right? Yes and no. As I discuss in my new book, Think, Learn and Succeed, the way you viewstress can make a difficult situation work for you, or against you. It is all about perceptions!

 

If you face a difficult situation with a “glass half full” attitude, the blood vessels around your heart dilate. Increased blood flow results in increased oxygen flowing to your brain, which, in turn, increases your cognitive fluency and clarity of thought—that is, your ability to not only face a challenge but overcome it. This increased blood flow also allows a number of neurophysiological and genetic processes to work for you, fueling intellectual growth and resilience.  A genetic switch will be turned on inside the hippocampus of your brain, which strengthens your body, allowing you to cope in a difficult situation and stay strong amidst adversity.

 

But, if you see the glass as half empty, stress will work against you. Worrying about stress will actually put your body into toxic stress, which will impact your mental and physical health. If you are constantly stressed about stress, stress will become an obstacle on your path to success! 

 

How can you make stress work for you?

 

  • See stress as something that enhances, rather than diminishes, your performance. Visualize those blood vessels around your heart dilating and pumping blood and oxygen into your brain. Visualize neurotransmitters being released, and see it all working together to help you focus and think with clarity to react in the best way.
  • Each time you feel yourself teetering on the brink of toxic stress, speak with your friends or family (even if it is just a phone call!) to help you get perspective. And remind yourself that you can handle this. 
  • When you face a challenge, tell yourself how good stress can be for you! Think of all the positive benefits (mentioned above) that good stress can have on your body. Tell yourself that you will have more clarity for thought if you make stress work for you.

 

For more information on stress and the mind, and how to make stress work for you, see my new book Think, learn and Succeed! You can also listen to my podcast (episode #44) on this topic. 

 

Want to learn more about stress, the mind, learning and success? Join us this December for my annual conference

 

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