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Why I love stress and you should too.

Stress gets a bad rap but changing my relationship with stress dramatically improved my physical health, mental well-being, and relationships.

Changing my relationship with stress eliminated persistent overwhelm, frustration, anxiety, self-doubt, and feeling like I was perpetually struggling to meet the demands of my life.

Changing my relationship with stress helped me feel more balanced, grounded, calm, and self-compassionate so that I could build the life I wanted with courage and confidence.

In this video, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about stress and why I love stress and you should too.

Whether or not you believe that stress is bad for your health makes an enormous difference in how you experience demanding circumstances and could ultimately be a life-or-death belief.

I know this might seem too simple and like I’m waaay overstating here, but please reserve judgment until you see the science that backs this because doesn’t even the possibility of trading stress and struggling for courage and confidence intrigue you? Umm, yeah!

So here’s the science.

The University of Wisconsin conducted a study of 30K American adults consisting of 2 questions: 

  1. How much stress do you experience in your daily life? 
  2. Do you believe stress is bad for your health? 

For the next 8 years, the researchers tracked the participants to see who died, and those who experienced high levels of stress had a 43% increased rate of premature death. 

But only if they believed stress was bad for their health! And guess who had the lowest death rates? 

Not those with moderate or even low levels of stress, like you, might think, but those with high levels of daily stress who simply did NOT believe that stress was bad for their health.

And as if that wasn’t surprising enough, there’s more—researchers at Harvard University conducted an experiment to determine why lots of stress is deadly for some and not others. 

The participant’s hearts were monitored during a social stress test specifically designed to induce the body’s stress response which increases the heart rate.

Those who believed stress is unhealthy showed a constriction of the arteries which is why stress is associated with heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. (The #1 cause of death in women!) 

But the study also revealed something extraordinary.

Some participants believed that the heart-pounding feelings of stress they experience aren't unhealthy, but actually there to help them feel more alert and equipped to handle the test.

They felt less stressed and anxious, and more confident about their performance on the test even though their bodies showed the characteristic heart rate increase of the stress response. 

But there was a key and remarkable difference in how their bodies reacted to the stress. Instead of constricting and straining the already hardworking heart, their arteries stayed relaxed

This is not only a much healthier way for your heart to handle its job during the stress response, it’s what automatically happens inside of your body when you experience courage. Courage!

So a simple belief, whether stress is bad for your health or not, is the difference between meeting the demands of life with courage and experiencing adverse health effects of stress.

The placebo effect is a perfect example of how your belief directly affects your experience and how the mind and body work together to, in this case, determine how stress affects you. 

When someone believes they’re getting a beneficial and effective medical treatment, their mind thinks healing will occur and the body creates the conditions to make that happen. 

But if they haven’t actually received treatment, the benefit is attributed to the person’s belief. Obviously, this isn’t always the case, but the placebo phenomenon is real and applies to stress. 

If you think stress is helpful, your body uses the effects of the stress response, like an increased heart rate, in a way that feels expansive and supportive, and then turns your stress response off. 

It works the other way too. When you have a negative interpretation of your body’s stress response, it feels constricting and distressing and can exacerbate demanding circumstances.

You might feel overwhelmed and frustrated and think you can’t handle challenges, or focus only on possible negative outcomes, and feel consumed with worry and self-doubt. (Sound familiar?)

When you believe stress is bad, it feels physically and mentally demanding so the stress response stays on, which you continue to interpret negatively, and this vicious cycle is chronic stress. 

Your nervous system is either in stress response or in the relaxation response. It’s one or the other. and it’s your thinking, your belief, about your normal stress response that toggles the switch

When you believe stress is bad, you get stuck in the vicious cycle of chronic stress and you’re susceptible to the damaging health effects of your stress response always being on.

Visualize pushing the pedal to the metal in a car that’s stuck in the mud. The gas keeps it revving for a while, but the wheels just spin, the car doesn't move, and eventually, the engine burns out.  

But there is good news.

You can change your belief about stress from bad to helpful, improve your physical and mental well-being and even transform your experience of stress into a feeling of courage. 

You can learn to embrace your body’s built-in stress response as supportive so that you can feel calmer and more confident in your life instead of feeling overwhelmed and stuck.

You can learn to make peace with stress. All you have to do is:

  1. Pay attention to the information your nervous system sends you.
  2. Trust that the info is your inner wisdom guiding and supporting you.
  3. Allow your inner wisdom to lead you to what you want in your life.

When you make peace with stress, your transformation is inevitable.

You go from:

Overwhelmed to clear and focused on what's truly important to you.

Anxious to calm and able to manage the full range of your emotions.

Worried to confident and knowing you can handle life's challenges.

Exhausted to balanced and intentional about how you use your energy.

Struggling to empowered and optimistic about your vision for the future.

I hope you found this video helpful, be sure to let me know in the comments below and subscribe to get my next video on learning how to flourish and share with anyone you think might want to learn how to flourish with us.

Good work.




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