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How Reframing Stress Can Save Your Life

First, some announcements:

Our next Bring-A-Friend Days is coming up fast–Thursday thru Saturday, January 16-18, 2014! Bring your friends and family for a taste of CrossFit, at no charge. See the details on our BAFD event page.

Also, Kindred’s MURPH DAY: WOD & Movie is coming up Friday, January 24th. Are you ready?

My sister Teresa Lau posted a video on Facebook last week that blew. me. away.

It’s a TED talk by psychologist Kelly McGonigal, and the study she describes flies in the face of what we think we know about stress. In fact, she says that what we think about stress determines how it affects our health.

To bottom line it: When we believe stress is bad for us, we die earlier. When we believe stress is a good and helpful response that prepares us to face the challenges before us, our stress response becomes healthy. This positive stress response actually makes us healthier than we would have been with less stress!

In other words, our body listens to our mind. Instead of constricting, our blood vessels open up and create the biology associated with joy and courage.

I very highly recommend taking 15 minutes to watch this video below. It just might save your life, and give you a helpful perspective shift as you tackle your New Year’s resolutions.

Just as fascinating to me is that McGonigal also says “stress makes you social.” When we’re under stress, we release the neurohormone oxytocin, which strengthens close relationships, enhances empathy, and makes us more willing to give and seek support.

And when we do reach out to seek or give support under stress, we produce even more oxytocin. Why is this a good thing? Turns out oxytocin is also good for our health and recovery. It’s an anti-inflammatory that strengthens your heart, helping it heal and recover faster from stress and damage.

Put more simply: When we’re under stress, it’s in our nature to help each other through it. And when we help each other through it, we literally strengthen our own stress resilience. Yes–we can actually get better at stress over time, and with regular practice.

CrossFit Kids Kindred Cubs

Mackenzie is the master of bear crawls, push-ups and now rope climbs too!

These discoveries validate what CrossFit Kindred is all about: family-forged fitness.

CrossFit is, by design, a very real form of mental and physical stress. And when you learn to approach it with a positive mindset, and to trust your body’s response to that stress, you’re training your mind and body to be stronger and more courageous.

Tackling the "Angie" WOD together at CrossFit Kindred

And when you encourage your fellow CrossFitters through their last few reps, or someone reminds you to breathe and stay confident–you’re strengthening your mind, heart, and body and their resilience through human connection.

Tackling the "Angie" WOD together at CrossFit Kindred

So next time you are in the middle of a tough workout, and can feel your breath quickening, your heart pumping hard, and the sweat dripping down your face, just take McGonigal’s advice and think to yourself, “This is my body helping me rise to this challenge.” Because, as we now know, your body will believe you.

And while you’re at it–remember that your Kindred community is right there with you, getting through it together.

What attitude have you been taking towards stress? What areas of your life and fitness could benefit from a positive perspective on stress?

1 Comment

  1. Gazing at the Underbelly of a Life of Passion

    […] motivation. I actually felt my entire physiology shift from panic to power, from flight to fight, reframing my stress and connecting with my purpose. Am I going to let this beat me? HELL NO! What I’m going […]

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