For many of you, stress is a four-letter word. It’s become a catch-all term that encompasses family responsibilities, work pressures and other obligations of life. You blame it for everything from unhealthy eating patterns to sleepless nights spent tossing and turning. It’s no wonder that companies make millions when they slap the magical promise of “stress relief” onto their products.
Maybe it’s time to get back to basics and consider the true nature of stress. The dictionary defines it as, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” The medical community tells us that stress is what initiates our adrenaline-fueled response known as “fight or flight”. Research has shown a definite correlation between this heightened state and peak performance.
Weight training works by actually causing damage to your muscle fibers. Added strength is a result of the recovery and repair process. Think of stress as weight training for your mind. When you successfully negotiate a difficult problem or situation, the temporary overload results in a stronger, more resilient you.
The opposite of stress is relaxation. Consider your attitude and behavior during leisure time. Without a clear source of focus, your mind tends to wander, making you slower to react. How effective would you be when it comes to making decisions and acting decisively? Your body and mind need the stimulation of stress to operate at optimum efficiency levels.
Your attitude toward stress is ultimately a greater influence on your health than the stress itself. If you believe that stress is negative, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A group of researchers at Yale conducted a study involving 400 employees of a major financial institution. Those who believed that stress is actually a means of challenge and growth ranked higher in both work performance and general well-being.
Changing your mindset about stress is more productive than removing the actual sources. At Marks Psychiatry we can help you recalibrate your thinking to accept stress as a valuable component of learning and growth. Put stress back in its rightful place in your vocabulary. Please contact our office for more information.