Stress can be understood as our body’s response to any significant change we experience, regardless of whether we interpret this change as desirable or undesirable.
An American study determined that those who reported a significant increase in stress in the last year had a 43% increased risk of death, but ONLY if they believed that stress was bad for their health
Those who had also reported experiencing a significant increase in stress but DID NOT believe that stress was bad for their health, were at a lower risk of death than those who reported not having experience a significant increase in stress.
How we perceive stress is directly related to how stress impacts our health
Shifting your perception of stress from something harmful to something that directs you to a need reduces the negative impact of stress on your health.
You can shift your perception of stress using mindfulness.
Mindfulness means being intentionally aware of and accepting our thoughts, feelings and sensations in the present moment without judgement.
To shift your perception using mindfulness:
1. Become aware of the early signs of stress by tuning into your body’s physical symptoms
in a non-judgmental way
2. Acknowledge and accept when you are experiencing stress with kindness and selfcompassion
3. Notice what message your stress response is telling you and make behavioural changes
Want to Learn More?
You can learn about stress and the power of shifting your perception of stress by watching Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk (see below). You can also ask your doctor about Stress Management Group offered by your Family Health Team.