How stressed have you been this month? This week? Today?
Chances are pretty high that you’ve been at least moderately worried, overstretched, or burnt out recently. The American Psychological Association recently released their annual Stress in America report, which found that 75 percent of Americans have experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month. These symptoms range from anxiousness to irritability to fatigue, and are caused by stressors including money, work, and the future of our nation — all really serious stuff.
Stress is a very real part of our lives, and it can look different for everybody, both in terms of its source and its manifestation. But research has shown that stress can have negative effects on the body, including inflammation, abnormal menstrual cycles and even heart disease. And beyond the physical effects, stress has also been shown to literally change your brain. According to a study done by the University of California, Berkeley, chronic stress can predispose the brain to mental illness.
All this research points to stress being a dire, yet expected aspect of life. But according to Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University, there’s a way to make stress a positive part of your life.
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