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Could stress actually be your friend?

stress
There are very few certainties that touch us all in this mortal experience, but one of the absolutes is that we will all experience hardship and stress at some point.

Dr James Dobson

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

William James


For decades, certain health experts have turned stress into a public health enemy, yet new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. In other words, we are going back to what ancient wisdom has known for centuries, that there really is no such thing as stress. I like the way Maureen Kiloran puts it, “Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” Indeed it is! So, it is not our stress levels that need to change, but our attitude to stress itself. So, let’s take Key Steps together this week to…

Make stress your friend!

1. See your stress responses as your body’s way of preparing you for ‘excellence’. When you are under pressure and you experience these common symptoms… pounding heart, breathing quicker, sweaty palms… Remind yourself that they are not bad but rather a good thing. It is your body’s intelligent response to your environment. It is giving you the resources you need… extra oxygen to the brain, blood to your muscles, etc. to help you respond more effectively. Research reported by Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal (on TED), shows that when you change your attitude to stress, you actually reduce the symptoms. A classic example of ‘what you resists persists’ and if you practice acceptance instead, you transcend! Even more interesting are the findings that, although your heart may be pumping faster, if you don’t think the added stress is bad for you, your blood vessels do not constrict (a main contributor to stress related cardiovascular disease) but remain dilated as they would when you are relaxed. So it is not stress that kills you but rather the fact that you think it kills you, that kills you! Think about that.

2. Shift your thoughts from stressed to blessed. See everything that comes your way as an opportunity to grow, become resilient, learn new skills, adapt… rather than as an obstacle. Realise that you are never given anything you can’t handle. And if you can see the stresses that you once thought were “in your way” as opportunities “on your way” to your success, you can…

“be the difference that makes the difference

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