A client said something to me the other day, asking what does it mean, “all these people saying they are so stressed out?” It was an interesting conversation. What does it mean? Where does it come from? And what is the difference between “stressed out” and plain old stress?
I often mention that stress will be there no matter what. It is how we manage it that makes the difference. And I am one of the first people to admit that I, by no means, am free of stress. But I don’t mind it and very rarely feel like I am “stressed out”. My client and I decided that the phrase, “stressed out” is a state-of-mind. And we all know what that can do to you.
“Where the energy goes with the mind first, the body follows and flows.” ~ Lawrence Biscontini
Kelly McDonigal sums it up so well in this TED Talk – http://www.upworthy.com/a-whole-new-way-to-think-about-stress-that-changes-everything-weve-been-taught-2
It is our beliefs about stress that provide the negative effects of stress. When someone states they are stressed out, they believe it. It is their state of mind and not much can be done to change it until they see they have control over their thoughts and how they not only perceive, but also act, on their stress.
It is true. Stress motivates me. It actually allows me to “accomplish more with less effort”. And it gives me, the “make it look easy” effect. Both things I bring up in classes, especially in our periodization heart rate training program. To stress the body out and to manage emotional, physical and cognitive stress is a catalyst for change, movement, progress. To get stuck in stress to the point it feels, hopeless, in other words, “stressed out”, is to allow negative thoughts about stress to do physical damage to the body. Not only that, but there is still no action other than talking about it, hoping to find someone to commiserate with. Since human interaction is built into our fabric and the need for others, which is also mentioned in Kelly McDonigal’s TED Talk, it makes sense that there is a need to tell someone, “I am stressed out!”
What can we do about it? “Stress makes you social”. We all see that, right? It has to do with a chemical we all possess called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a “neurotransmittor that fine-tunes your brain for social skills. It enhances your empathy and it even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about”. It is a stress hormone, when you are stressed, your body pumps out oxytocin. “When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.” Oxytocin is also a natural anti-inflammatory and this “stress hormone strengthens your heart. The heart has receptors for it. It helps the heart cells to regenerate and heal from stress-induced damage.” Human connection is the key to our stress response. It creates stress resilience. “Stress gives us access to our hearts. A compassionate heart, that gives us joy and meaning, and a pounding heart, that gives us strength and energy”, like what we experience in exercise, are good things! So what can we do about it? Nothing except embrace it. Don’t run or hide from it, but experience it and know it has the power to HELP US TO HANDLE LIFE’S STRUGGLES! When the energy of our mind knows that it can handle it, then the body will! Instead of “stuck stress” clogging our system, we get connections to others, a happy and healthy heart and a new way of thinking! (all quotes from Kelly McDonigal’s attached TED talk)
Here comes the reason for our PDT’s – Public Displays of Teamwork!
Public Displays of Teamwork – PDT’s: I see them everyday here when we are working out. I encourage them and suggest we smile more during training and look someone in the eye and tell them, “you’ve got this”. And we all know the energy that is communicated when someone offers you a high-five! For this month, the month we celebrate our hearts… We are going to make a BIG DEAL about these Public Displays of Teamwork because they are good for us! Get caught in a PDT and let’s see lots of people getting caught….write down who and what and they’ll be posted around the studio! We’ll have prizes of course, but the best prize will be the benefit to our hearts, our health and the ability to TRANSFORM how we think, act, and handle our stress!