The following is a guest post by Nancy Maxfield-Wilson of MyMax Performance.
Got stress? It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to reduce our stress. In fact, it seems to multiply daily in our hyper connected, smartphone-addled world. So how do we develop a more effective response? Resilience is critical to thriving vs. merely surviving! Resilience (our ability to bounce back and even transform adversity into opportunity) can absolutely be learned. It can also be strengthened, just like we strengthen our muscles.
Why care? Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death, and two out of three of every doctor’s visits involve stress-related conditions. It costs the U.S. $200-$300 billion each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity. In 2016, the American Psychological Association saw a significant increase in stress due to political conflict, fear about our nation’s future and social media usage.
Chronic stress can crash our productivity, health and happiness. It can disrupt sleep, memory, metabolism and ability to learn. Adding insult to injury, it can make us gain weight! In response to stress hormones, our body pushes more fuel into our bloodstream for fight or flight, but if unused, that extra blood sugar gets converted to fat and the infamous “muffin top”.
Research shows how you perceive your stress can influence whether it adversely affects your health. The GOOD news (there’s lots, so read on for it!) is that humans are incredibly resilient, which is why our species has been so successful. In addition, we can change our behaviors once we become aware of them.
Here are five big reasons to be optimistic- we’ve GOT this!
1. Our mind is incredibly powerful and it can heal. This is why in medical trials, we control for the “placebo effect.” We can actually recover because we think we’re receiving treatment.
2. We create our reality moment by moment with our thoughts and mindset. Consider Viktor Frankl or POWs held for years in unimaginable conditions. Bad things happen to good people; it’s our response that defines us. Optimism can be learned.
3. We are more than our DNA! Research of twins shows that lifestyle choices influence our health just as much or more than our genetics, in some cases (epigenetics).
4. Our body’s natural state is balance (“homeostasis”). This is the body’s ability to stabilize body temperature, heart rate and stress hormones, to name a few. Just give it a break and let it do its stuff! It’s a mind-body system; the body is a powerful tool for resilience.
5. Everyone can become more resilient, no matter where you are starting from, if we are willing to develop new skills.
Reset your stress meter to become present, productive, healthy and happy. Remember-resilience is your superpower-the difference between thriving and merely surviving in your one precious life!