Can Stress be Good for You ?


Stress Survival Kit seems like an oxymoron because we constantly hear about all the negative effects of stress on our body and mind. In fact, stress is the leading contributor of chronic illness today. Now there are several recent research studies that indicate positive approaches to stress. Firstly, let’s define stress. It is any strain or force on the body or mind. It is basically a dis-harmony or instability of a once-balanced state. Dr. Hans Selye, the most renowned authority and researcher on stress, defines it simply as the rate of wear and tear on the body. Dr. Selye coined the term stress in 1936 and then gave us the term “eustress”, which is stress that is healthy or gives you a sense of fulfillment. Perhaps getting a promotion or becoming excited when your favorite team wins. The prefix eu- derives from the Greek word meaning either "well" or "good." When attached to the word stress, it literally means "good stress".

Stress Survival Kit - Correct Mindset

We are beginning to understand that with the right mindset about stress, it can be good for us. In a study published in the April 2013 edition of The Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences, Yale researchers showed that training employees to view stress in a positive light results in significant and measurable improvements in job performance and overall health. This study illustrates that our mindset about stress is the key factor in the debilitating effects it can have on us. What we think about we bring about. “While the media is full of stories about the negative impacts of stress, there is a strong, but often the underrepresented body of research that shows stress can be good for performance, health, and personal growth," stated Alia Crum, one of the research investigators. Stress Survival Kit Studies In this study, 380 employees of an investment bank were put into three groups. One group watched videos showing how stress can be beneficial, the second group watched videos showing how stress can be negative and unhealthy and a control group did not watch any videos. The stress is beneficial to group had a significant reduction in stress-related physical symptoms (such as headaches, backaches, fatigue) and a significant improvement in productivity. So thinking that stress is bad and will create health and various other problems is the culprit. Stress Survival Kit Publications In another study on rats, published in eLife Sciences Publications, researchers found that significant, but brief stressful events caused stem cells in the brains of rats to turn into new nerve cells. When matured about two weeks later, the rats had improved mental performance on memory tests. The researchers established that the new nerve cells triggered by acute stress were the same ones involved in learning new tasks. Dr. Kaufer said that the ultimate message is an optimistic one. She concluded that stress can be something that makes you better, but it is a question of how much, how long and how you interpret or perceive it. She feels some amounts of stress are good to push you just to the level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance. Other researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked almost 29,000 people to rate their level of stress over the past year as well as how much they believed this stress influenced their health. (a little, a moderate amount or a lot) Over the next eight years, public death records were used to record the passing of any subjects. People who reported having high levels of stress and who believed stress had a negative impact on their health had a whopping 43% increased risk of death. On the other hand, those that experienced a lot of stress, but did not perceive its effects as negative were amongst the least likely to die as compared to all other participants in the study. Michael J. Poulin at the University of Buffalo and his team interviewed almost 850 people, between the ages 34-93, living in Detroit, Michigan. Participants were asked to report stressful events they had encountered in the past year and how severe. In the same time period, had they assisted others. Deaths that occurred within the group in the next five years were tracked using obituaries and public death records. Every major stress event increased an individual’s risk of death by 30%. But, overall, this increase was erased for those who reported high rates of helping others, even if they additionally dealt with a lot of stress. The evidence suggests that giving to others significantly reduces stress-induced mortality. We can also use stressful events to learn about ourselves. So many wise people have said, “It’s not what happens to us, but how you react to what happens to us.” Once we begin taking some responsibility for situations we are involved in, then we can grow and change. Life happens through us, not to us. There are always lessons to learn in life if we are open and not playing the victim role. Perhaps somehow, in some way, we even create some stressful events to learn, grow and change. Stress is an inevitable part of our life, especially with the rapid increase in information and technological advances. A new term recently evolved called “technostress”.

Basically, things are moving and changing faster than ever. We can improve the way we respond to stress and avoid its negative effects by changing the way we perceive it. Therefore stressful situations can become a positive challenge and a teacher that tells us about ourselves by the way we react to it.

Stress Survival Kit Studies About the Author

Jeffrey Gero, Ph.D. is a pioneer in the field of stress management, having taught his first program in 1974 and is the creator of the Success over Stress System. He delivered the first stress management program for the California Department of Corrections at San Quentin Prison; he assisted the Los Angeles Times with the stress surrounding the 1984 Olympics; he assisted Allied Signal with the stress and sabotage surrounding a plant closing; helped JPL (NASA) deal with the failure of the Mars Project; and, he assisted paramedics in the California State Firefighters Association with job stress. He is the former director of the Health Awareness Institute and the Stress Management Institute of California. Dr. Gero co-wrote and co-produced a relaxation and stress management video hosted by Dennis Weaver, has produced several stress management and peak-performance CDs and has authored a book entitled “Secrets to Success at Work.’’ Several years ago, Jeff was granted a United States patent for a computer biofeedback mouse that helps reduce stress while enhancing productivity.


Additional Stress Survival Kit Studies articles

http://www. corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-46/column-issue-46/how-to-healthfully-survive-these-stressful times/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-42/column-issue-42/do-meditators-make-better-leaders/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-46/column-issue-46/how-to-healthfully-survive-these-stressful-times/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-46/column-issue-46/what-is-stress/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-31/column-issue-31/surviving-the-stress-of-downsizing/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-36/column-issue-36/reduce-aging-improve-health-by-managing-your-stress/ http://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/issue-4/features-issue-4/success-over-stress/ http://www.voluntarybenefitsmagazine.com/article/what-is-stress.html

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Jeff Gero, Ph.D

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