June – Stress
We all know that stress is harmful to health and well-being. Recent research suggests that it’s actually stressing about stress that’s harmful to your health. Stress only negatively impacts your health when you believe it is harmful.
According to a research study at the University of Wisconsin, our attitudes about stress make it a killer. In the study, a sample of 30,000 people reported feeling high stress AND held a negative view of stress (reported that stress impacted their health a lot). In this group, participants had a 43% increased risk of health problems.
Stress can enhance performance in high pressure situations. You can use stress and anxiety to be successful and work towards your goals. Mindfully accepting stress and anxiety can shift your mindset and improve your well-being.
“Instead of seeing stress as a sign that something’s wrong, and then choosing a response that’s more destructive – like thinking, ‘I’m not cut out to be a parent.’ Or ‘This job is too much for me.’ Think, ‘OK, I’m angry right now. I’m overwhelmed because something I care about is at stake. So what do I want to do about that?’ Maybe you feel like you’re in a bad place and you care about your health, so you decide to practice self care. Or you want to stand up for yourself. Or apologize to someone because the relationship matters.” – Kelly McGonigal
Threat or challenge: A stress challenge energizes you; makes you more efficient, productive. A stress threat slowly kills you; inhibiting you in all sorts of ways. The difference, often, is simply how we think about what we’re facing. For example – you start a new project at work. You aren’t sure how you will complete it and will need to take a lot of time to research. If you view this as a challenge and think of it as an investment in furthering your knowledge in your field of work, you can reduce your stress response. Anxiety and stress about getting the work done and needed to take time to research will only lead you to become overwhelmed and reduce productivity.
The underappreciated aspects of the stress response – stress makes you social
- Stress releases the hormone oxytocin, the same hormone that is released when you hug someone
- Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone meaning it fine tunes the brain’s social instincts – it primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships
- You crave contact with friends and family — it increases empathy, compassion and caring
Stress is something that everyone must manage. We all experience stress from different things—jobs, family, finances, traffic. In order to successfully manage our stress, here are some stress-coping tips from 10 celebrities:
Michelle and Barack Obama use exercise and family time to manage the stresses of daily life. Barack attributes his ability to stay grounded with always making time for family. Both Michelle and Barack say that their daily exercise is what keeps stress levels down. Michelle even founded the nonprofit Let’s Move, whose mission is to end childhood obesity through exercise and healthy eating.
Kate Winslet uses organization to keep her stress at bay. She explained to Good Housekeeping that planning everything out and using tools like charts and lists help her keep things in control.
Beyonce knows first-hand the negative effects of unmanaged stress. She has had to cancel shows and even took time away from her career to focus on her mental wellness. Since taking the time off, Beyonce has found that starting her day with prayer and meditation allows her to stay calm and mentally well.
Demi Lovato uses her creativity to help manage stress. She says that expressing herself through art allows her to release negative emotions.
Keanu Reeves has found that sharing his wealth with family and charitable giving allow his to manage stress. He also states that he tries to living simply to keep outside stressors to a minimum.
Tiger Woods believes that positive thinking and focusing on what has gone right can help with de-stressing.
Angelina Jolie says that you need to do “something you love, that makes you happy, and that gives you your meditation.” One of Jolie’s go-to activities is using coloring books with her kids.
Jennifer Lawrence believes that pouring yourself into work you love can help with de-stressing. She says that for her, acting helped her to find a way to “open the door to a universe that [she] understood…and made [her] happy.”