The week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
We've heard over and over again...that stress is bad for us, mentally and physically.
This notion is reinforced everywhere: from the doctor's office to the dinner table to the therapist's chair.
And there is a reason for this...there have been a variety of studies that suggest a link between chronic stress and heart disease or even that "chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognitive (thinking) problems, personality changes, and problem behaviors." (1)
So if I told you the following statistic...that a person who reports having a lot of stress has a 43% increased risk of dying prematurely...you likely wouldn't bat an eyelash, would you?
---> But what if I told you that, that statistic, a 43% increased risk of premature death, was only true if a person also perceived that stress is bad for their health (2).
Meaning, all of the advice that stress is bad for us, is actually making our stress-related problems and risk factors worse!
So, what can you do?
Well, stressing out about the fact that you are one of those people who think stress is bad for your health certainly won't help! So hold on a second there, skipper. Take a deep breath.
Take another one. Go on, do it. Remember, the human body is actually designed to deal with acute stress well.
Even so, what can you do to change your views about stress as harmful? What can you do to promote shorter bursts of stress instead of living in the experience of chronic stress?
#1. Get curious.
Explore the link between the mind and body yourself. Acknowledge with humility that there is always more to learn.