Stress Comes With a Switch You Need to Flip

Mindset really matters. Psychologist Carol Dweck famously pointed to the marked difference between a fixed-versus-growth mindset. Dweck’s research demonstrated that when we believe that our skills and abilities are not fixed traits, they can be developed through a growth mindset of dedicated effort and hard work. A world of opportunity then unfolds for us. The love of learning springing from this growth mindset is the foundation for accomplishment and personal success.

Recently, scientists have discovered another mindset of equal importance. Research shows that how we think about stress plays a profound role in our well-being. When we experience extreme stress, the adrenal gland floods the body with the cortisol hormone. This stress hormone is strongly linked to depression, anxiety, fatigue and illness, such as heart disease. 

But we now know this doesn’t have to be. Amazingly, a positive mindset about stress alters that linkage. It recognizes the same things that give rise to stress connected to sadness, worry and anger also give rise to the positive experiences of joy, laughter and learning. 

Stress is required for personal growth. It gives athletes the nervous energy to perform at their best. Stress allows for the highest mental functioning and boosts memory. The speed of brain processing is enhanced by stress. 

Stress can create distress. Or you can view it as a positive and necessary ingredient to accomplishment. The choice of perspective is yours.