In my line of work, I see people frequently who are under an extreme amount of financial stress. These people handle the stress in one of two ways, there are those who could care less if collectors are calling but just want to get their finances under control and then there are others who are scared and stressed that they have collectors calling because they don’t have the income to pay the debts. It is how one views the stress that determines whether that stress will have an impact on their health.
Stress and the Impact on Your Health
Last week, I had the pleasure of hearing Kelly McGonigal speak regarding stress and how it impacts your health. Ms. McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. In her speech last week, she focused on how stress impacts a person’s health and well-being. One thing that I learned from her is that extreme periods of stress is not bad for all. In fact, some people tend to live longer and healthier if they tend to thrive on stress. On the other hand, others who do not view stress positively and think that it is causing them harm to their health tend to have health problems from the stress.
I found her speech very interesting and it made me think on how I handle stress. In my life situations that are stressful, I tend to work faster and more efficiently. I am one from the group that thrives on stress. Thankfully, from Ms. McGonigal speech, I believe that stress is good for me and have never felt it impacted my health. For those who are not from the same mindset as me, Ms. McGonigal suggested that the next time that you experience extreme stress to tell yourself that this is good for me and focus on how you’re feeling and reacting to such stress. If you can attempt to change your mindset in the moment of extreme stress, then you may not have such an impact on your health in the future. Basically, I took what she was saying as your mind really is what controls how your body reacts to stress and your health.
I have a family member who is constantly saying and believing that his health is impacted from the stress he is under. He tends to go to the doctor quite frequently and sees that he just cannot get well. Hearing the insights that Ms. McGonigal had to offer, it makes me think that maybe his mindset and how is viewing the stress he is under is what the leading factor is that is affecting his health.
Obviously, in life, there are things we can do that can help relieve some stress, such as, exercise, pray, meet with an expert, etc. However, to improve your health, Ms. McGonigal says the key is for you to embrace the stress rather than reduce the stress. If you are one who experiences a lot of stress, the next time you are under such stress, pay attention to how your body and your thoughts are impacting that situation. The next time you are stressed, tell yourself that this stress is good, I am handling this and can work harder. Change the way you are viewing the stress and start looking at as a good thing and see if you start feeling better, happier and healthier.
If you are interested in learning more ways of handling stress from Ms. McGonigal, she has a book “The Upside of Stress, Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good at It” that focuses on ways to help you navigate through the stress.