How to make stress good for you

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!).  

You can now also join me on Patreon for exclusive, ad-free content! Sign up for a membership level that suits you, and receive access to ad-free exclusive bonus podcasts!      

My latest ad-free podcasts on Patreon include:    

Podcast 457: This podcast will put you to sleep 

Podcast 456: How to Navigate Colliding Boundaries in Relationships: Part 2  

Podcast 455: The best "stress fitness” routine to help you better metabolize stress and promote healthier emotional responses  

This podcast is sponsored by:  

Chime. Money can’t buy happiness. But not worrying about your money comes close! That’s where Chime can help you smile more. They were just named the number one most loved banking app. With payday up to 2 days early and fee-free overdrafts up to $200, they offer financial peace of mind in your wallet. All of this with no annual fees, large security deposits, or credit checks to apply! See for yourself why Chime is so loved at Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on payer. SpotMe eligibility requirements and overdraft limits apply. See Chime was the 2021 #1 most downloaded banking app in the US according to Apptopia®. 

Open. If you want to know one of the secrets to success – it’s better sleep, which improves mind, brain and body health. That’s why I have added the Open app to my daily mental self-care routine. Open is your personal mindfulness studio. It is a space to explore your edge through breathwork, meditation, movement, and sound. It combines breathwork, meditation, and fitness. And they have a great community of people doing it together, all committed to personal growth! If you want to get on my daily routine, you can get 30 days free of Open by visiting And don’t forget to follow your friends on the app so that you can join the community as well! 

Calm. Do you have anxious thoughts? Are you restless at night? Or do you just not feel like your best self? Making sure we feel our best should be a top priority, and by spending a few minutes with Calm each day, you can be sure you’re taking the necessary time to prioritize yourself! Calm helps you stress less, sleep more and live a happier, healthier life. I love using their guided meditations, sleep stories, relaxing music tracks, and daily movement sessions at night, all of which are designed to give you the tools to improve the way you feel. And, for listeners of the show, Calm is offering an exclusive offer of 40% off a Calm Premium subscription at CALM.COM/DRLEAF

Podcast Highlights 

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.

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published