The Valhalla

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Stress. Is it Good?

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 three different versions of the same vein starting from vasodilation, to normal, to vasoconstriction.

three different versions of the same vein starting from vasodilation, to normal, to vasoconstriction.

three different versions of the same vein starting from vasodilation, to normal, to vasoconstriction.

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Recently I have been quite stressed. I am juggling three college classes with tons of homework ranging from writing speeches to reading two chapters of a textbook a week. Let’s not even get started on math. I also have two high school classes with there own complications. Throw in babysitting, running club meetings, and writing on the side you get my busy schedule minus a few things. With all this I feel that i have a right to be stressed. The odd thing is i recently got an assignment with the title of, “How to Make Stress Your Friend” performed by Kelly McGonigal. It was a ted talk that was extremely interesting to me and the next thing i know I’m sitting here listening to this and wondering if it actually helps.

The basics of it is that people who experience stress and believe it is not a bad thing have a lower risk of dying prematurely from stress related issues. If i am stressed and see the stress in a positive way then i have a lower risk of dying due to stress. That is completely crazy to me. I was kind of sitting there staring blankly at the screen in amazement. They had studies to back this up and everything. They did a study at Harvard university at this this study they told them to think of this as a good thing. They told them to think of the signs of stress as your body getting ready to face what is coming.

In a typical response to stress your blood vessels are going to vasoconstrict. This is where your blood pressure, the resistance that the blood has to push through, and body temperature all increase while blood flow and heart rate decreases. This is bad for you and if you are stressed all the time then your body is constantly going through this. The people who were told to think of stress in a good way and actually did think of it as their body preparing for the next task did NOT vasoconstrict. Their blood vessels stayed the same. This is typical response for content or happy people.

That is not all this ted talk talks about. It also goes on telling you about how being stressed releases certain hormones like for instance oxytocin. This is the hormone that makes you want to be around people, makes you want hugs, and makes you more compassionate. It is a natural stress hormone that our bodies produce in an effort to seek reassurance. To make us want to be around people we care about. What all of this means is that the two steps to being healthier is being around people you care about and to think positive. These two things can be the difference between an early heart attack and living to the age of 90.

Now I am a natural skeptic. I usually don’t believe in his kind of stuff but i really believe it. I find myself thinking about stress in a different way and i find myself feeling better about my stress. Yes, I am still stressed. I think that it inevitable to be stressed sometimes. We can’t change being stressed but we can change our response and our thinking about it. The next time you find yourself being stressed take a step back, breath, and change the way you think. Who knows maybe you will learn to like stress.   

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The student publication of East Hall High School.
Stress. Is it Good?