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Another Look At Stress: A New Framework

Another Look At Stress:  A New Framework
(created  June 5, 2018)

Cutting-edge research has given us some new insights into the science of stress and its effects on our emotional and physical health. Cognitive-behaviorist, mindfulness researchers, and neuropsychologists have been re-focusing on the construct of  "eustress", or physiological aspects of stress, originally introduced by endocrinologist Dr. Han Selye in the 1960s.  These researchers have been re-examining the positive response, or adaptation, to stress.  "Eustress" involves changing the way you look at stress and embracing stressful situations as a challenge or an opportunity for growth.  Positive psychologists associate "eustress" with a sense of health and well-being (Nelson, D. L.  & Simmons, B.L., 2003, 2014, 2016, Bonura, K.B. 2017, and Alladin, A. 2017, 2018). These findings are enlightening and interesting.  They introduce vital, powerful tools and techniques you can use to transform how you think about (and react to) stress, whether everyday stress like: perpetual D.C. area metrorail delays and service adjustments, work-related stress, child rearing difficulties, never-ending, competing time demands, or coping with unexpected traumas like a death, serious illness in the family, or devastation from natural occurrences.

Many factors impact your thought, mood,and actions.  Your genetics and environment are commonly understood influencing factors that impact the way you cope with stress. Mindfulness, brain, and other cognitive research provides a paradigm shift.  Examine your thoughts, the patterns that you have and if you're always looking towards the negative, the frustrating, the irritating, what you don’t like, notice where your brains take you. When you shift your focus to look towards the good, you’ll notice the good more.

Similarly, some research suggest that a little bit of stress, when you give yourself time to recover, makes you actually better and more resilient at stress in the future. Building resilience occurs when you gain insight, or acceptance; when you recognize, “I can challenge myself, I learn something new, or I end up better in the long run,” so then this stress has this higher order purpose and as you get older, challenging yourself to learn new things, to try new things actually seems to impact the neuro-structure in your brain (Alladin, A. 2017, 2018). It helps maintain healthy thinking, so that you maintain your ability to cope as you get older. Stress done right, done well, done within the context of some rest and recovery, can help you stay healthy all the way through aging.

                                                                                                    Women meditating


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