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The Mindset of Stress

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

In the last 5 years, while studying the complexity of pain, I've also been learning about stress.

When I was in University, we were taught that there is good stress like a hard workout, and bad stress like a overly demanding boss. Both are normal.

Fast forward 25 years and society has a strong mindset that stress is bad. All stress. And it all leads to health issues, rapid aging, injuries, you name it, it is bad. Even the photo that I choose to represent this article... it likely made you feel, right away, stress is bad.

How does this affect us and why am I writing about it now... One reason, I just listened to another Huberman Lab podcast about mindset and the second reason is that I feel we all need to have a full perspective on stress in our lives and the more we know, the healthier and happier we can live.

Without listening to the full podcast and just to focus on stress... here is the basic message that came from a published study in 2017 (Crum, Akinola, Martin, & Fath, 2017):

'Stress mindset is the overarching belief that stress is either enhancing or debilitating for cognitive, psychological, affective, and hormonal outcomes. Individuals who hold a “stress-is-enhancing” mindset see daily life stressors as challenges for which they have adequate resources to meet expected demands. Those who hold a “stress-is-debilitating” mindset see stressors as overwhelming events for which they are lacking internal resources to meet external pressures. Specifically, individuals who endorse stress as a challenge, rather than as a problem, on a measure of stress mindset (Crum, Salovey, & Achor, 2013) tend to have better health, greater life satisfaction, lower cortisol reactivity (the “stress” hormone), and are more receptive to performance feedback by others.' Read the full article here.

So where does that leave you? Here is a great toolkit to help you rethink stress.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!


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