Learn to Thrive on Stress
We know that when we feel overwhelmed, cortisol levels spike. The best way to circumvent that? Embrace, even welcome, stress.
"Hormones almost always respond to mindset," says Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal: "Change your mindset and you may alter a cascade of physiological changes." Rick Hecht, research director of UCSF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, says that while there's no magic formula, some basic techniques can help.
First, he advises, "Break down the things you have to do into discrete tasks, and feel good when you complete each small, attainable goal." When you're in the middle of a high-pressure situation at work, take 10 seconds to remind yourself that this is a challenge, and one that can bring out the best in you. "It's not being Pollyannaish," Hecht says. "In some situations, tell yourself, 'This is tough, but I'm getting something out of it.'"
Hecht is about to publish a study suggesting that meditation and yoga can also play a role in skillfully handling stress. These activities aren't escapism, he says, but a way to train your mind to acknowledge stressors rather than obsess over them. "You become better at noticing what's going on around you; that helps you avoid automatic emotional responses," he says.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top