I’m in the middle of one of those times that seems to happen too frequently, when my stress level feels off the charts. It’s a series of fairly normal worries and transitions which, for some reason, always seem to happen at the same time. I know all of these will pass and will work out eventually, but it still doesn’t feel good at the moment.
There’s an interesting TED talk out there that talks about how bad stress is for us. Or (spoiler alert), how bad it is for us if we believe it’s bad for us. The speaker shares three things we can do which will completely offset the unhealthy aspects of stress.
• We must reframe our view of stress to believe that it’s our body’s natural way of helping us respond to our situation. Only if we believe our stress is bad for us will it harm us.
• We need to connect with others. Oxytocin, one of our natural stress hormones, drives us to seek comfort from others when we are stressed. We always knew human connections make us feel better…now we know there’s a biological reason for it. Stubbornly trying to get through it alone is fighting science.
• We need to focus on others. Studies show that we can greatly offset the impact of stress by helping others. I think it’s a really cool irony that just when we are the most inwardly focused is when we most need to look up and out.
Thinking through these three simple tips already has me feeling better, feeling more in control of things that feel a little out of control right now. I will tell myself that I know it will be ok, and that the stress I’m feeling is helping me get to the other side. And I will surround myself with others who are good for me and who I can be good for in return. Limping through this life successfully will only happen by not going it alone.
“Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us.” –Marcus Buckingham