Not all people who live with chronic high stress develop adverse effects from it.
This is a continuation of a discussion on:
Stress: Science and Strategies to Live Well
This excellent series is presented online through the University of California at “UCTV”.
What makes some people cope better than others, when exposed to chronic high levels of stress?
Is there really a difference between the people who cope better than those that don’t?
We now have good science based research on this topic.
Many stress studies have been done on caregivers. Caregivers refers to those people who are the sole care-takers for a partner, friend, or family member who is dealing with a progressive, end of life disease. These caregivers were all exposed to similar, chronic, high levels of stress. Interviews and objective testing, such as blood work, were done at intervals. Cardiovascular markers, immune system function, inflammatory changes, and cell aging were all assessed.
Some of the caretakers showed less detrimental response than others.
Now here’s the big news: The greatest difference in those that had detrimental effects and those that did not, was the individual’s perception of the stressor.
The filter through which we see life has a significant effect on our physiology.
I think this is absolutely fascinating information.
So, now we know this as fact, what can we do about it?
With an open and honest heart, my suggestions for all of us, include the following:
- Give some thought to just how important our attitudes are. Where do you fall on the spectrum of seeing the glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty?
- Recognize that we all have the potential to change. Changing beliefs and attitudes happens. It occurs when we make a decision and develop an ongoing practice to change. Sometimes this is very hard work and occurs over a long period of time. As with everything, improvement and progress is the key, not ultimate perfection.
- Pay attention and become more aware. Becoming more aware of what you tell yourself and how you adapt to problems and challenges. This is the first step in creating change.
- Once you develop an ongoing awareness, you can actively decide and create different dialogues, responses and reactions.
As many wise people have said in different ways, “Change your thoughts, change your life.”
There are many resources on the specific how-to’s of doing this work.
One more thing, how did you respond to reading this article? Was it with an attitude that was positive and hopeful, or one that was skeptical and negative?