MIND | How You Think About Stress Can Save Your Life

Stress has become a “bad” word today.  We associate it with very bad things – high blood pressure, obesity, mental health disorders.  When we say the word “stress” people cringe, or frown, or sigh.
But is stress really such a bad thing or have we painted a potentially complex concept with a too-simple brush?
Stress is a vital physiological process.  It propels us to do very good things, like wake up in the morning, try hard to succeed in our careers, save other people and ourselves in times of danger.  Moderate stress has been linked brain cell growth in learning centres and stimulation of immune cells to an injured area of skin.
You may be thinking – but stress is bad for the body in so many other ways.  Is this true?
Turns out stress CAN be bad for you…but only if you think stress is bad for you.
Let me explain. A study was done where 29,000 participants were asked if they believed stress influenced their health “a little, a moderate amount, or a lot”.  Then the researchers tracked these participants for 8 years, and found that those who answered that they believed stress included their health “a lot” had 43% more deaths!  And the group with the least number of deaths actually had a lot of stress in their lives but didn’t view that stress as being bad for their health.
So it’s not just how MUCH stress you have, but how you THINK stress will affect your health.  Numerous studies have been done to show that believing stress can be “health enhancing” instead of “health harming” can affect mental health, heart attacks, work performance, stress hormone levels, and longevity.
For a more on this topic, check out this TED talk – How To Make Stress Your Friend.

Well Street changes the way you think about stress through our “Thinking Healthy” seminars and the Healthy Stress Program.