In this podcast (#458) and blog, I talk about stress: what it is, how it can affect us, and how to develop a healthy stress mindset. This is part 1 of my series on stress. In parts 2 and 3, I will discuss ways to develop a healthy stress mindset.
Chronic, unmanaged stress is directly linked to physical ill-health and mental health challenges. In fact, if we are constantly stressed about stress, it will become an obstacle on our pathway to dealing with life’s challenges.
So, what can we do? If stress is an inevitable part of life, is there a solution to this problem? Is there hope?
Thankfully, there is! The key lies in how we choose to manage our stress. Changing our attitude towards stress is essential to healthy mental and physical self-care.
Managed stress can actually be good for us and can be used as a source of positive fuel in our lives. This all depends on how we view stress, which can either make a difficult situation work for us or against us.
When we choose to make stress work for us, a lot of great things start happening in the brain and body:
- Blood vessels around the heart dilate, increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. This, in turn, results in improved cognitive fluency and clarity of thought, helping us to face and overcome life challenges. This increased blood flow also balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, allowing a number of neurophysiological and genetic processes to work and fuel intellectual growth.
- When we see stress as helping us, a genetic switch is turned on in the hippocampus, increasing our ability to cope with the challenging situation.
- Our immune system improves.
- Inflammation and oxidative stress decrease, which helps improve cell health.
For more on stress and mental health, listen to my podcast (episode #458). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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2:05 What happens when we see stress as something bad for us
6:48 How chronic, unmanaged stress impacts the mind, brain & body
8:55 How to turn stress into a source of positive fuel
18:04 Normal versus toxic stress
24:05 What happens in the brain & body when we change our perception of stress
This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.