How To Make Stress Become a Friend

Worth Reading From Off the Web — Excerpts from https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

A major study concluded that people who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to be negatively affected, and, in fact, had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.

The researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you.

That is over 20,000 deaths a year. Now, if that estimate is correct, that would make believing stress is bad for you the 15th largest cause of death in the United States last year, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV/AIDS and homicide.

Okay. Some bad news first. People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health

So this study got me wondering: Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? And here the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

How to make stress your friend

Symptoms of stress — pounding heart, sweaty palms, hyperventilating, etc., — what if you viewed them instead as signs that your body was energized, was preparing you to meet this challenge? That is what one group of participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University. Before they went through the social stress test, they were taught to rethink their stress response as helpful: That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. And participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance, well, they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident, but the most fascinating finding to me was how their physical stress response changed.

Now, in a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict. And this is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease. It’s not really healthy to be in this state all the time. But in the study, when participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed. Their heart was still pounding, but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage. Over a lifetime of stressful experiences, this one biological change could be the difference between a stress-induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s. And this is really what the new science of stress reveals, that how you think about stress matters.

So the next time your heart is pounding from stress, think to yourself, “this is my body helping me rise to this challenge.” When you view stress in that way, your body believes you, and your stress response becomes healthier.

Now I want to tell you about one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the stress response, and the idea is this: Stress makes you social.

To understand this side of stress, we need to talk about a hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone. It fine-tunes your brain’s social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. But here’s what most people don’t understand about oxytocin. It’s a stress hormone. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response. It’s as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound. When oxytocin is released in the stress response, it motivates you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel instead of bottling it up. Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.

Because of this hormone’s social component, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this amazing, that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.

For every major stressful life experience, like financial difficulties or family crisis, that increased the risk of dying by 30 percent. But that wasn’t true for everyone. People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. Zero.

And the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.

Read more at:

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

How Get The Most From Your Life!

T

Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most

Will Give You The Most

 

discipline

What Do You Want In Your Life?

It might feel a bit uncomfortable to become “conscious”  of what you want the most from life, but Not knowing might land you somewhere else.

Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most Will Give You The Most!

The greater the clarity of your dreams, the more likely you’ll make choices along the way that honor your vision. The following instructions will help you get started.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Where do You want to see yourself in 6 month? … 2 years? … 5 years?  Try to visualize yourself in the future.

Imagine walking into your home five – ten years from now…

Imagine arriving at your home –  where is it located?  Is it a house, an apartment…?…

Walk in the front door. Who lives with you?…

Reflect on your day. What was it like?  If you work, take a moment to dream into it. Or were you doing something else?… were you with friends, family…?

What will you do in the evening? Again, just imagine the perfect situation.

2. What are the necessary qualities you will need to achieve this vision?

If, for example, you see yourself in 5 years with a different career, you may need schooling. If you see yourself as part of a couple, you may need to work on your interpersonal “issues”. If you see yourself as healthy, you may need to give up a bad habits. List a few of the qualities that will help you get there.

See it to become it!

How to Meditate – in 5 Minutes!

Meditation Apps To Calm Stress And Boost Mood

Worth Reading from Off the Web! By Natasha Baker

In a bad mood but not sure why? New smart phone apps provide short guided meditations designed to help you return to a positive state of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a free iPhone app, prompts people to check how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically and will recommend three guided meditations between five and 10 minutes long.

“We wanted to give people a friendly and accessible tool to develop these skills – something they could easily integrate into their daily routine,” said Jamie Price, executive director of Tools for Peace, a California-based non-profit company that developed the app.

It aims to help people feel more grounded, calmer and happier, he added, and to recognize emotions and impulses and to react positively.

“The recommended meditations are meant to be a support, to help you deal with whatever is going on from the perspective of kindness and compassion, and with a greater sense of being positively connected,” Price said in an interview.

It includes 15-guided meditations based on Tibetan teachings. Users can track their progress including how long they have meditated and how settled they feel every day.

Canadian singer K.D. Lang, who serves on the group’s board, said she used the app as a reset button for stressful days.

“Our goal is that after using this app people learn how to become calm, and approach their everyday life from the perspective of kindness and compassion,” she said.

A similar free app called Headspace, which is available for iPhone and Android, also teaches meditation and provides a free ten-day program that leads users through short guided meditations.

It also features specialized meditations to improve sleep or reduce stress or other problems, as well as paid programs. Users can track their progress day-by-day in a dashboard and set reminders to keep on top of their practices.

Studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, including research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that it may be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression.

Buddhify This $5 app describes itself as “the urban meditation app for modern life,” and was named the number-one health app by UK news outlet The Sun. App Store reviewers rave about the app’s clear, simple design and relaxing guided meditations. Customize your meditation to your location: It offers tailored guides for when you’re at home, walking or at the gym.

Mindfulness Meditation By Mental Workout  This best-selling iPhone app by Mental Workout, designed by renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and more experienced mindfulness practitioners. The app features an eight-week program, inspiration talks, body scans and relaxation instructions. According to one App Store reviewer, the app is the best way to learn mindfulness “short of finding your own personal meditation teacher.”

Simply Being  Short guided meditations, with or without music and nature sounds, for relaxation and presence are the focus of this $0.99 app. Perfect for beginners looking for something simple, Simply Being is highly rated for being user-friendly and customizable.

If you want to learn how to be “mindful” or to “meditate”, and you want it NOW, get the app GPS for the Soul or Insight Timer. I love them!

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/meditation-apps-stress-positive-thinking-mood_n_4639232.html#slide=start

Changes Happen in a Spiral

Always going deeper…

PersonalGrowth

Personal growth doesn’t occur in a straight line; it happens in a spiral.

You will continually come back to things you thought you understood and see a deeper truth…

and we can never go back to exactly where we were in the past. It isn’t possible!

People will often tell me that their journals are repeats of the same stuff – year after year:

“Recently I happened to look at some journal entries from the year 2000. I was shocked to discover I am still whining and  complaining about basically the same stuff as 15 years ago! Different place, different time, but not much has changed. It really hit home for me!”  (anonymous)
•••••
 … but that isn’t really true. The topics may be similar: romance, our significant other, self-destructive patterns, feelings of loneliness, etc. Journal entries can look the same because most people write when they are struggling. TIP: Go back to your journal entries and, with another colored pen, write what you have learned since then. You may be amazed! :) .. because we grow, in spirals.