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How Do I Keep Stress From Making Me Feel So Bad?
Most of us think that we’re at the mercy of our stress. Stress dooms you to be sick and tired—and could even kill you before your time
Luckily, that doesn’t have to be true.
In fact, stress can make you healthier and happier. All thanks to Stress Paradox #2—Stress can be Harmful or Helpful—you choose which one.
Amazingly, stress can have both effects—good or bad—it just depends on which one you believe.
You can’t always get rid of the stress in your life. But, don’t worry. You can use the How to Make Stress Your Superpower series to get great at stress.
DIY your stress with this series, or you can get help from me 1-on-1.
Whichever option you choose, you can finally master stress.
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How to Make Stress Your Superpower
Now we're onto Stress Paradox #2. Now pay close attention to this.
This episode's info can even save your life.
Stress Can Be Deadly
Now on to Stress Paradox #2.
I know what you're thinking…
“Okay, great, Treva. Stress brings meaning. But what about all that news that stress will make us tired, sick, or even kill us?”
Well, if you think this, you're right.
That means it kills more people than diabetes or kidney disease.
Stress Paradox #2
But, before you get all bummed out, remember there's a Stress Paradox #2.
And, Stress Paradox #2 says, “Stress can be helpful or harmful—you choose which one.”
You see, what makes people sick or even kills them, isn't the stress. Remember, stress equals meaning.
What's dangerous is the combination of stress plus believing that stress is harmful.
Stress is Harmful!
Don't believe me?
Well, 30,000 adults were asked, "How much stress did you have last year?” and “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?”
Then the researchers waited… and they waited…. and they waited.
Then, eight years later they checked to see who had died.
And, people who had high stress—they increased their risk of dying by 43%. No surprise there.
BUT, that was only for people who thought stress was harmful.
Wait, Stress is Helpful Too?
You see, some people didn't get the memo. They thought stress was helpful!
And, those starry-eyed dreamers, they had the lowest risk of death of all— even compared to those who had super low stress.
Lots of Awesome Results
Not only did those crazy people who believe stress is helpful have less chance of death:
They also had less depression.
They were more satisfied with their lives.
They had more energy.
They had fewer health problems.
They were happier and more productive.
They saw circumstances as challenging, not overwhelming.
They were more confident in their coping skills.
And, they were better able to find meaning in hard stuff.
That's a lot of helpfulness!
Believing It’s Helpful works
I told my teenage daughter about this study and she said, “Maybe those people just didn't have a lot of stress.”
That's what everyone figured, but it just wasn't true.
The people who thought stress was good—they did actually have stressful lives.
It turns out believing stress is helpful works whether you have a lot or a little of it.
Two Different Possibilities
So, basically you can believe two different things about stress.
Stress is harmful, or stress is helpful. And, it turns out both of them are true.
Alicia Crumb PhD, a well-known researcher on mindset, explains what's happening here.
She says, “When two outcomes are possible, a person's expectations influence which outcome is more likely. So, the effect you expect is the effect you get.”
This is a case where what you believe becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those who believe stress is helpful, cope with it.
And then, good things happen.
Those who believe stress is bad— they avoid it. They might escape or distract themselves from stress instead of just dealing with it.
Then, bad things happen.
Life-Saving Info Ahead
Now here comes that lifesaving info that I promised. It's time for you to sit up and really pay attention.
Remember that eight year study where the researchers waited around to see who died?
Well, they estimated that over those eight years, 182,000 people may have died prematurely—just because they believed stress was harmful.
You don’t have to be one of them!
Watch What You Say
A while ago, a friend was going through a really tough time adjusting to her new job.
And she said to me, “Treva, my job is killing me!”
Well, I scolded her, “Don't ever say that again!
You're not a police officer, a firefighter or a soldier. Your job is not worth dying for. Watch what you say.“
Then of course, I calmed down.
And, I told her that she could believe her stress was helpful instead— and not end up dead in the process.
Secret Stress Knowledge
So what secret knowledge of stress did I share with my friend?
How do you actually believe that stress is good for you, and then make it your super power?
Tune into the next episode to find out how.
What to Do Next
Want to DIY Getting Better at Stress?
If you need a little help with reframing your stress and getting good at it, check out my video/ blog post series. Next week, I’ll teach you what stress really is, so you can learn How to Make Stress Your Superpower.
Want Real Results Now?
If you’re done with DIY and want to fix your health and stress once-and-for-all, here’s what you should do:
We’ll map out your customized health and stress habit plan together.
Then, we’ll get started--finally succeeding one habit at a time.
With the Real Healthy Habits 6-week jumpstart program, your definition of health and stress management success can finally be a reality.
Until next time,
Kudos to Kelly McGonigal, PhD
I want to give a big shout out and a high five to Kelly McGonigal, PhD, the author of The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It.
I read stacks and stacks of books on stress trying to figure out what to do about it. Kelly’s book was the only book that gave me hope and a true mindset shift that stress could be my superpower.
I hope that I’ve done (so many of) her ideas justice.
I'm a dietitian, personal trainer, and health coach who started asking all the tough health and weight loss questions-- like how do we get more willpower, why can’t we stay motivated, and why is getting healthy and losing weight so tough?
I discovered that the answer to all these questions is simply--Your Brain.
I help frustrated people end their health and weight loss struggles by understanding their brain and then working with it—instead of against it. Then, I teach them how to put their personalized health habits on autopilot for results that last.
You deserve the health and energy you need to live your best life.