According to the MPA (Mortgage Professional Australia magazine) Stress could be your friend! So - we all know that stress is bad for your health, and can even increase your risk of an early death - but ONLY if you believe it can, new research shows!
In a recent study of 30,000 adults, researchers found that people who experienced a high level of stress in the past year were 43% more likely to die in the next eight years. This was only true, however, if the participants held the belief that stress was bad for their health!
Participants that had a high level of stress, but didn't view stress as a harmful experience, had a lower risk of death even than those who had experienced relatively little stress in the past year.
It's estimated that over the eight years the study took place more than 180,000 people died prematurely in the US - not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you, making this the 15th biggest killer in the US, above skin cancer, HIV and homicide!
Public speaker and health psychologist Kelly McGonigal says simply changing the way you think about stress can make you live longer and work better.
"For years I've been telling people stress makes you sick, it increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I've turned stress into the enemy, but I've changed my mind about stress," said McGonigal in a recent TED Talk. "I no longer want to get rid of stress; I want to make you better at stress."
In another study conducted by Havard University, participants were put through an experiment designed to increase their stress levels.
First, however, some of the participants were taught to view stress as a positive, natural reaction to help them prepare for their next challenge. Those that went through this process didn't experience the constriction of blood vessels that usually occurs during stress and which links stressful experiences to heart disease.
"Over a lifetime of stressful experiences, this one biological change could be the difference between a stress-induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s," said McGonigal.
NOT ONLY can the act of embracing stress neutralise its negative effects, it can actually help to counteract any health problems from past stressful experiences!