Could stress actually be your friend?

by | Mar 3, 2014 | Uncategorised

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 stress is a matter of perception. 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, quicker breathing, sweaty palms… Remind yourself that it is 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 accept instead, you can 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




NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free bi-weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, EQ Expert, Founder and CEO

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

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