Written by: Caressa Losier
Stress – it’s an emotion no one looks forward to and is a feeling we tend to avoid by any means necessary. But what if you were told that stress isn’t exactly the enemy in most cases; if during those desperate times of need stress could actually be your best friend? Read on for 5 amazing facts I discovered about stress and how it can positively affect your body and your mind!
1. It Prevents Procrastination
Stress is caused by fear of failure. Your palms get sweaty, your heart begins to race a million miles per second and you begin to feel as if you’re losing a firm grasp of control. Once perceived as a negative emotion stress can weigh you down causing procrastination or even worse, resignation. But according to Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist and author of bestselling book, The Upside of Stress, when stress is perceived as the opposite it takes on a whole new effect.
“How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience,” she says during her speech on TED Talks.
2. It Increases Brainpower
Did you know that only 37 percent of Americans actually feel as if they are doing a very good or excellent job in managing their stress? Don’t you wonder how that small percentage has been able to trick their minds into cleverly befriending the enemy, stress? While everyone can’t be a strong-minded as them, research conducted by Rockefeller University suggests that cortisol, a stress induced hormone can increase brainpower and even help strengthen your memory. Rest assure in knowing you are taking the best steps towards a higher quality of life and happiness.
3. It Builds Your Confidence
You can do it! But unfortunately, 12 percent of individuals reported feeling as if stress is physically preventing them from actually doing so. Instead of using the burden of stress as a roadblock, reverse it as a building block so it can serve as a solid tool in helping build your confidence. Take a moment and examine your stress level by reflecting on what stresses you the most. Is it those pesky student loans? Your job? Maybe a troubling relationship between yourself and a loved one? Whatever the cause, channel that heavy energy and lift your esteem to feel good about your capabilities and yourself, again.
4. It Boosts Your Immune System
While everyone knows that a daily exercise can work wonders for your defenses, guess what – so can stress! A study from Stanford University says that stress triggers the “fight or flight” response in our bodies, supercharging immune activity and using that adrenaline to fuel a healthy happy body. So while your heart palpitates anxiously, know that your white blood cells and antibodies are circulating at the speed of light – warding off bacteria and boosting your defenses.
“That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster it’s no problem, it’s getting more oxygen to your brain,” says Kelly McGonigal in TED Talks.
5. It Cares
Other than giving you the jitters, do you know what stress really does to your body? Stress produces a neurohormone called oxytocin, often referred to as “the cuddle hormone” that’s known to also release when you hug someone you care about. So ask yourself this question: how does something as friendly as hugging a friend produce the same hormone released when you’re drowning in stress? Could it be that stress isn’t as harmful as you had imagined? Maybe, similar to the feeling you experience with a friend or a loved one, stress is an international symbol of care that challenges you to think with your heart, body and mind.