I’m not exactly sure when this happened, but at some time point in life, stress became a bad word. Its reputation is so poor that it has even been blamed for causing cancer, even though research says otherwise. What is it about stress that makes us despise it so much? It appears what’s wrong is not the word, but out perspective on stress that’s mistaken.
Perception Matters – A Lot
The way we think about stress can change the way we see life. A Harvard study found that when we reframe stress as helpful versus harmful, we could extend our life expectancy. Wow.
Another extensive study analyzed the perception of how stress affects health. Researchers found that those with a negative perspective towards stress had a higher risk of premature death. Yikes. It also found that those who believed stress adversely affected health had a 43% increase in the risk of premature death.
What Can I Do?
If you want to change your perspective towards stress, try cognitive reframing. Using this technique, you can change how you look at things like stress, thus changing your experience with such things. Research shows that a “stress mindset” can determine our biological response to stress.
Watch your thinking patterns: notice whenever you have negative thoughts that trigger stress or exacerbate your stress levels.
Redefine stress: modify what stress means to you and how you may attach stress to certain situations. Beware when you’re blowing up a situation out of proportion because of uncertainty.
Let go: many times, stress comes as a response to things out of our control. Learn to handle uncertainty and let go of whatever is out of your reach.
While changing your perspective on stress won’t happen overnight, small steps can make a difference in the long run. Your health will thank you.