Anxiety/Stress/Fear Can Be Good For Us!
I’ve often written about the importance on my journey of Befriending My Anxiety/Stress/Fear… moving beyond the ‘suffering with anxiety’ story (which I told so well) to telling a story of being ‘powered by passion’ and how this shift in perception changed everything for me. Going from being limited by my fear of fear to actually loving feeling fear because I learned it is actually always benefiting me in that it is constantly leading me towards that which will expand my world – by expanding my comfort zone. Since this discovery my world has opened up in phenomenal ways.
Well, it gets better….
Last night during Elijah’s sleeplessness I watched some interesting Ted Talks, one of which by charming Kelly McGonigal described, backed up by scientific research, how our bodies benefit when we change our view about anxiety. This is a summary of what I learned, in my own words of course!
When we reject and dislike the physical symptoms of anxiety, our blood vessels constrict and this ‘getting smaller’ effect battles with the high energy created by the anxiety hormones – pumping heart, sweating etc, and this conflict can eventually actually lead to heart disease and other life threatening physical conditions.
When we accept the physical symptoms of anxiety however, and welcome them as what they are – our body preparing us for the challenge we face – our blood vessels contract and we can properly utilise this highly charged energy to our benefit in the situation. In fact, in the experiment, people who felt good about their fear (anxiety, stress) actually were healthier and lived longer not only than the people who felt bad about fear but even than people who said they didn’t experience much fear (stress, anxiety) in their lives at all!
Worth remembering next time you are taking a big leap in your life and doing something that scares you! Feel GOOD about it – because not only does doing something that scares you expand your world and open you up to possibilities beyond your wildest dreams, but it is also good for you physically!
Don’t just befriend your fear – romance it, commit to it, marry it! Your fear loves you – love it back
Watch the TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend