How Embracing Stress Can Make You Healthier, Fitter, and More Relaxed

Heal thyself: developing resilience during the pandemic

THROUGH time, people have experienced the psychological impact of a wide range of catastrophes including famines, floods, earthquakes, wars, and, last but certainly not the least, outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases. We are no exception today as we try to figure out how to cope, as well as try to help others cope with the grief, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty caused by what is apparently the biggest health challenge of our time: the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning what we can from the pandemic, about our ways of coping, about ourselves and others can help us move forward.

I believe that for us to manage well in this present health crisis, we need to develop resilience. What is resilience? I have read that resilience is the process of coping well during hard times, trauma, tragedy, threats, or major sources of stress.

It involves changing behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Being resilient includes learning from past experiences and developing new coping strategies to move forward.

I am suggesting some strategies that can also serve as resilience-building steps to help us deal with the still ongoing pandemic…

How Embracing Stress Can Make You Healthier, Fitter, and More Relaxed

The past year has been stressful, right? Many of us are feeling tense, anxious, overworked, and under-recovered. So as we’re finally inching toward a post-pandemic world, what if I told you that one of the best ways to transcend the constant churn of low-level stress is to intentionally bring more stress into your life? I know, I know—hear me out.

Subjecting yourself to small doses of intentional, controlled strain is a powerful way to improve your health and strengthen your mind and body.

First, I want to be clear what I mean by stress. To the body, it’s anything that presents as a challenge or a demand. You are hardwired to respond to threats, both physically and mentally. A big one is the fight-or-flight response. Whenever you perceive potential harm, your body automatically readies itself to face it: Your bloodstream is flooded with the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, your heart rate rises, your mind focuses. Other responses are slower but just as powerful—if you’ve ever done physical labor, think about how your hands toughen up after a few days of hard work…

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