Making stress your friend
The talk I have chosen today is very relevant in today’s stressful world. It takes another look at stress and shows that our perception of stress matters. By changing how we think about stress we can change our body's response to it and therefore can actually use it to become healthier.
Oxytocin is produced when we are stressed. Stress makes us social because it motivates us to reach out to others for help, enhances our empathy and increases our willingness to help and support others.
Oxytocin is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress. Your heart has receptors for this hormone, and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress-induced damage. All of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. So when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress.
Effectively, our stress responses have a built-in mechanism for stress resilience i.e. human connection.
The harmful effects of stress on our health are not inevitable. How we think and act can transform our experience of stress. When we choose to view our stress response as helpful, we create the biology of courage and when we choose to connect with others under stress, we can create resilience.