Actually quite a lot. It’s just knowing when and where to use it. When we engage in thoughts that make us worry, it can potentially trigger stress. Unfortunately for us poor humans, our body doesn’t know the difference between a real threat and our thoughts about a potential threat. It simply reacts to the fearful thoughts in our mind in the same way it would in a real dangerous situation and so, trying to help, it triggers everything we need to fight or flee; increased heart rate, slowed digestion, sweat, shallow breathing, dilated pupils etc. This is fine for those moments when you really do need to run away from a tiger, but not so great when it becomes a chronic state for your body due to worrying thoughts. The stress most of us experience in these modern times, is simply a reaction we get when we spend too much time and energy on negative concerns. The characteristic of worries though, is that they do not contain solutions. As the well-known saying goes, worry is like a rocking chair – it’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. Many times however, it will get you somewhere – it’s just that it’s to a place you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy to end up in – tormented, unable to sleep, short-tempered, feeling trapped…and so on.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. In recent years, Harvard University conducted a study where they examined how our thoughts about stress affect our physical reactions and hence our health. The study clearly shows that if we think our stress responses are healthy for us and help us meet challenges, our body reacts more appropriately. Our cardiovascular system becomes stronger and works in a more supportive way than if we did not experience stress. In addition, our cognitive properties become better through, among other things, enhanced memory capacity. The conclusion is that we have evolved to benefit from stressful situations and that the crucial element is how we think of stress (www.mindstrain.com J Exp Psychol Gen. 2012 August; 141 (3): 417-422). If you want to learn more about some of the ground-breaking research on stress, I highly recommend this TEDtalk.
As a certified MINDStrain Coach, I help people from all walks of life to learn to prevent and/or handle their stress. I teach simple and effective techniques to control what thoughts one engages in, thus avoiding stress. It’s actually quite easy when you know how. In most cases, even clients signed off with severe stress are ready to go back to work within just five sessions. To find out more about how it all works, just get in touch via www.de-stress.me. And if you’d like this offered to your company as an insurance against stress for your employees, tell your boss to get in touch with Securitas Strainline in Copenhagen.