Stress – can we learn to live with it healthily?
The perception of stress is that it is a modern villain nagging at us constantly to perform more than is physically possible in a twenty-four-hour period. While a moderate amount of stress is beneficial to our general well-being, high and constant tension isn’t.
A Cognitive Neuroscientist with Trinity College, Dublin, says that a chemical called Noradrenaline is secreted in the brain at times of stress. He goes on to say that when this level is spot on, it acts like the best brain-tuner allowing us to respond to levels of stress appropriately. It is widely accepted that while too much stress can be debilitating, a moderate amount is hugely beneficial to the mind.
Noradrenaline helps the different areas of the brain communicate effectively and also makes new neural connections.
“As long as it’s not too stressful, we can build a stronger brain function. If we have stronger brain function, we will be happier, less anxious, less depressed and we’ll be smarter,”
The problem is that not everyone can cope with varying levels of stress.
Some people can find themselves getting very anxious and see their stresses become so large that they tend to hinder rather than help. Chris Fleet can teach you different techniques to learn so that we can reframe our approach to situations. He goes on to say that we can change our brain chemical levels just as easily as any medication can; we have to learn the habit’s to do so.
Chris thinks that rather than our brain having a chemical imbalance causing stress or depression. The symptoms cause a chemical imbalance, and this is the part we can change.
Train your brain to thrive under stress.
The most crucial factor is our approach; do we have a “fixed” or “growth” mindset? Based on the work of Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, the ability to believe that we can change allows us to do so. With a fixed mindset, we are stuck in a continuous circle of achieving nothing but increased levels and duration of distress.
For those who believe they can change, it was pointed out that symptoms such as dry mouth and a racing heartbeat apply to not only fear but excitement.
In a short study, people were asked to answer maths questions in front of a panel. Those that told themselves their stress was just excitement did better than those who didn’t. Some people see this as evidence that it is helpful to think of stress’ as a challenge rather than a threat.
“Making a mental switch, just re-framing it reduces stress and improves performance”.
Stress works in a similar way to the immune system.
Just like the immune system, the brain can only get stronger with light exposure to things such as stress and mild anxiety. Children need to experience a certain amount of diversity so that their body and minds become toughened. Too much adversity can be harmful, but finding that spot in the first few decades of life can make you emotionally robust.
“And so learning to cope with stressful situations at a young age can be extremely beneficial. While nobody wants to be constantly chasing after stress, a little bit of it can be a powerful motivator.”
If you would like to know more about stress management and emotional resilience, give Chris a call on 01803 500300 or contact us below.