Conflicting studies show how stress can be debilitating to your health and beneficial to your health. So what’s the deal? Which one is it?
It’s not so simple. It really comes down to your STRESS MINDSET.
What is Stress Mindset?
Stress mindset is the concept that individuals hold the power to view stress in a stress-is-enhancing OR stress-is-debilitating way. This means YOU have the power to let stress either make your life better or worse by changing the way you think about stress.
How is YOUR Stress Mindset?
Let’s be honest. When you encounter a stressful situation, what’s your thought process?
Are you the type of person that thinks the worst possible outcome will manifest and directs all your thoughts to the stress? You commonly feel paralyzed with overwhelm, anxiety, and even depressive thoughts.
OR are you the type of person who uses stress to make your life better? You may think, “ugh, the car broke down. Well, at least I brought my book with me to read while I wait for the tow truck”, taking it as a sign to slow down.
The latter is an example of how a stress-is-enhancing mindset can help you reach optimal health. You reach for the positives in a stressful situation. A stress-is-debilitating mindset can do quite the opposite. People who have this type of stress mindset, have more mental health struggles and allow stress to damage their health.
How Can Stress Harm Your Health?
Unfortunately, most people view stress as being bad, and therefore they have a stress-is-debilitating mindset.
If you have this debilitating mindset and experience a stressful situation, your cortisol levels skyrocket, and you have a harder time calming yourself down.
You make chalk up the day to be ruined and those spiked cortisol levels will linger longer than they should! Chronic stress can cause a number of health issues like digestive issues, brain fog, extreme fatigue, gut dysbiosis, and even imbalanced hormones.
Can Stress Benefit Your Health?
Plenty of studies have shown that short term stress can actually enhance your:
May this be why some people are rockstars under last-minute stress?
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life!
If you believe a stressful situation will inhibit your productivity and performance, then it will.
But, if you can learn how to transform your thinking into believing stress is helpful, then it will be! There is enormous power in our thoughts. You may be thinking, “But how do I change my thoughts? That’s easier said than done!”.
How Can I Change My Stress Mindset?
Changing your mindset around stress doesn’t happen overnight. It may come more easily for some people, and for others, it may take a little more conscious thinking.
First off, try to avoid stressful situations as best as possible by:
Not overbooking your schedule
Learning to say “no” to events that don’t bring you joy
Scheduling in “you time” to allow your body to relax
Starting your day with a light morning exercise and something healthy for your mind
But I know what you’re thinking...some stressful situations are just unavoidable! Like your car breaking down, your house being a mess with kids running around, or getting bad feedback at work. During these situations, it’s all about changing your mindset!
One study even showed how people can view the same stressful situation in a more positive light, after just a short exercise to change their mindset into a stress-is-enhancing mindset.
How to Incorporate a Healthy Mindset (AKA Stress-is-Enhancing Mindset):
Take it as a learning moment
Look at everyday hassles in a different light
Believe stress is healthy
Know that you control the way your respond
Practice daily gratitude
1. Take It as a Learning Moment
Suppose your boss calls you out for a mistake; instead of getting worked up over it, blaming yourself for a mistake, take it as a learning lesson. Think to yourself that this will make you into a better employee, showing you how to improve for next time.
Another example is if you find yourself stressed out from a long car ride with the kiddos non-stop screaming in the back. Could you take it as a learning lesson?
How can you make car rides better in the future? Could you travel at night when the kids are asleep, or pack snacks and games to keep them entertained, making future car rides actually enjoyable!
2. Look at Everyday Hassles in a Different Light
Instead of looking at your messy home as a stressful factor, look at it as a space where your kids use their imagination and grow every day. It won’t be too long before they are grown up, and you’ll be wishing your home had little feet pitter-pattering along the floor.
Instead of looking at dirty dishes as a sign of dreadful chores, look at it as an opportunity to listen to a podcast you’ve been dying to listen to or use that time to rock out to some upbeat music.
3. Believe Stress is Healthy
Start believing that stress is healthy. Tell yourself that stress benefits your life and makes you into a better person, making you look at the positives in life.
When you consciously search for the positives, your thoughts will eventually automatically gravitate towards them rather than the negatives. This may take some conscious effort at first but with time it will come naturally.
4. YOU Have the Power to Control How You Respond
It’s pretty empowering to know that you have the ability to change how you respond to stressful situations. You can adapt to chaotic situations, improving the harmful impacts it could potentially have on your body and wellbeing.
You can consciously rewire your thinking so you can put your body back into a parasympathetic state quickly, reducing your cortisol levels.
5. Practice Daily Gratitude
Practicing daily gratitude can help not allow stress to bring you down! Daily gratitude can modulate your stress response and mindset. Studies show that when on days people feel more grateful, the negative effects of stress are weaker compared to the days when people don’t feel as grateful.
Even though people may experience the same severity of stressors, it’s the mindset that controls how the stress is perceived.
A simple way to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journey. It’s as simple as writing down all the things you are grateful for each day when you wake up or go to bed. Just 15 minutes a day can have huge benefits to your stress mindset!
Remember that your mindset is your MOST powerful tool!
Work with a Functional Health Expert
If you’re ready to take action and optimize your health, a functional health expert may be just what you are looking for. I’m Jessica Meyers, a functional health expert, who can guide you towards optimal health. But remember YOU ultimately are in control of your health, including your stress mindset!
Apply to become a new client here, to get your health AND mind optimized, transforming you into feeling YOUR BEST!