Why do we make stress so stressful??

For years now, psychologists have been telling us “dont take stress”, “stress is not good for health”, “stress leads to diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular problems”, “Stress kills” ETC ETC.

When I hear these kind of scary side effects of stress, I end up taking even more stress. I think to myself, if I take stress I will die because of all the side effects of stress. So I take stress, trying not to take stress ( I know it is confusing, but stay with me and everything will start making sense) to stay alive.

This concept, about the negativities of stress does not help. Because if I tell you don’t think about honey, Don’t think about the taste of honey, don’t think about the texture of honey. What are you thinking? You are thinking all about honey, right? The same goes with stress. If someone tells you not to take stress. You will definitely take stress

For these reasons, A health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, felt the need to change the perception of stress. So she started studying stress, and she found out, that during stress, a combination of many different changes takes place in our body.

Some of the physiological changes of stress on our body includes:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased ventilation (breathing) rate.
  • Increased blood flow (especially to brain).
  • Increased delivery of oxygen (especially to brain).
  • Increased glucose level in blood

Actually these are all normal body processes for when our body needs energy to get something done. So basically what stress does is, it is giving us energy to rise to the moment.

Now lets talk a little about hormones involved in stress.

Mostly two hormones are involved in the process of stress. They are

  1. Cortisol
  2. Oxytocin

Cortisol is also called stress hormone. Its main functions are:

  • increasing blood glucose level.
  • helps in memory formulation.

So this is the hormone which gives us extra boost of energy, by increasing glucose level. Plus, it helps improving memory.

The 2nd (more important for this discussion) hormone is Oxytocin. I know, oxytocin has already got the hype as the love hormone and cuddle hormone. But by some psychologists it is also named as bonding hormone & socializing hormone. It is also released during stress. It has alot of functions in stress, but to me the most surprising are:

  • It heals the heart muscles.
  • It is involved in emotions.
  • (And the most astonishing) It literally creates the feeling of need to talk to someone.

Sometimes, due to some problems, heart muscles gets weak. Oxytocin heals those muscles and makes our heart stronger . The second important function of oxytocin is that, it creates the need of a friend to whom you can talk to and with whom you can share your problems.

So now we know that the combination of normal body processes (stress), is actually more beneficial than harmful.

Next time when you take stress, think to yourself “It is my body and it is helping me shine”.

Now let me ask you why do we make stress so stressful??

"You must unlearn what you have been programmed to believe from birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible" Jacqueline E. Purcell
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