How many times have you heard stress is bad for your health? Probably about a million times. There are countless studies about just how bad stress is for your body.
BUT – that’s not what I want to talk about here.
Why? Because stressing about our stress can be more dangerous than the original stress.
Seriously – there’s been research on this.
Researchers were trying to figure out if our perception of stress would impact our health.
They studied nearly 30,000 people. They found people who were stressed AND thought it was bad for them had a 43% increased risk of premature death.
Here’s the crazy part — those people who were stressed but didn’t believe it would impact their health — had a lower risk of premature death than the people who had low stress.
Perception is reality.
A couple years ago, I was anchoring the news when I got to a story about a 104-year-old woman. She was adorable, full of spunk, living on her own and just stopped driving the year before.
You know what her secret to a long life was?
You think it was maybe not drinking or smoking, driving carefully or not jumping out of moving airplanes — NOPE – IT WAS DRINKING 3 DR. PEPPERS A DAY.
Drinking 3 Dr. Peppers a day!?!? Are you kidding me?
I remember announcing to my co-anchors — “but here I am stressing about the amount of soda I drink everyday.”
Why is this woman alive – despite the fact that she is drinking a sugar-packed, dose of caffeine that’s causing huge rates of obesity and diabetes?
As I asked the question – I realized it’s because she wasn’t stressing about the amount of soda she could or couldn’t drink.
In fact, in this interview she said two doctors told her not to drink the soda – and she outlived both of them.
I asked about stress on Facebook. Here you can take part in the conversation.
What I’ve discovered is there are a couple things you can do if you’re stressed.
1 – Let it consume you: Thoughts really can get out of control – I can’t do this, and I’ll miss this, I’ll lose my job, I won’t be able to afford this or that… we’ll have to move… how will we find a home… we’ll end up in a terrible town.. my kids will go to bad schools… they’ll graduate without knowing how to read… they’ll make bad life choices — and all because of this one thing stressing me out.
2 – Accept stress as part of life: Accept it as a challenge and use it for motivation to change
In this episode I talked about examples of doing both of these things. You can listen to the full episode by clicking the play button at the top of this post. You can also look for episode #34 on iTunes, Google Play Music or online.