“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort”
This is the closing line of the most recent TED Talk to rock my world. Kelly McGonigal says we need to reevaluate our relationship with stress. Studies have shown that is isn’t HAVING stress that increases problems in our life BUT our belief that stress is bad for us. Check it out:
Perhaps, the best new thing I learned about about stress is that when we are stressed, our body releases Oxytocin:
Some of you may know this neurotransmitter as the “snuggle hormone” or something equally as adorable as it is commonly known to help with bonding mother and child after birth or causing people to fall in love.
It turns out that we release a lot of oxytocin when we are stressed. As McGonigal puts it; our body is reaching out to connect, to get help from those around us. And guess what? Another recent study compared individuals who have been through a major stressful life experience and the study showed that it increased their risk of dying by 30%. However, here is the thing…in that same cohort of people, those who spent time caring for others showed ABSOLUTELY NO stress-related increase in dying.
How we think and how we act can transform our experience of stress. So don’t be afraid to reach out and connect when you are stressed, you can create resilience.
Kelly McGonigal’s final words resonate in my mind like echos of truth my body has always known, just never realized. I hope that I can harken back to them next time my heart pounds with anxiety and appreciate the marvelous chemical reactions happening inside of me (and oh, yeah…maybe as for some help).
“Stress gives us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heark, working so hard to give you strength and energy, and when you choose to view stress in this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement. You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges, and you’re remember that you don’t have to face them alone.”