STRESS! This is something that everyone deals with in their lives; whether you’re at school, work, or at home, there always seems to be something that’s worrying you. Don’t get me wrong, stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress itself is our body’s natural response to an internal or external change, and we need a certain amount of stress (or optimal stress level) to keep us functioning properly. Too little stress causes us to become unmotivated, while too much stress can hinder our thinking and health.

Stress can be pretty scary and unmanageable at times, but it’s really HOW you approach and handle pressure that defines how the stress affects you. Studies have shown that those who react badly in stressful situations are more likely to die at a younger age and have increased levels of bodily inflammation, which has been linked to cancer. Also, poor reactions to stressful situations can contribute to a higher risk of developing a mental illness, as well as chronic health conditions.

A common model that’s used to explain how we deal with stress is known as the “appraisal theory of stress”. Basically what it says is that we have two stages of assessing a stressor: a primary and secondary appraisal. The primary stage deals with figuring out whether the stress is irrelevant, harmful, or benign. We move onto the secondary stage if we find the stress is harmful to us, and it’s here that we figure out how to overcome the stress/challenge/threat. Interpreting the stress defines how we deal with it, so changing our perspective about the stresses we face so often can really help how we react and deal with it. Take on a more positive mindset when you encounter stress, and use it as a motivator that will help you to accomplish greater things! Constantly worrying will only amplify the harmful effects of stress. Of course not all stressors can be dealt with in this way, so it’s also really important to delegate your stress well and make sure that you have others around you to support it. Also, find healthy outlets to help you relieve your stress!

-Booty Brandon