What is stress?

Every one online is shouting about stress, stress, stress stress. I feel like Will Ferrell’s Mugatu from the movie Zoolander “Stress, so hot right now, Stress.” But what the heck is it? Really? What is stress? Let’s dig in, shall we?

Audio Transcript Below

Health REBELs is charting a new path to health, one that’s dedicated their focus to wellness, not athletics. Here we break free from common standards and redefine healthy living by following the REBELs Oath.

The REBELs oath says

  • Reject extremes
  • Energize ourselves through healthy habits
  • Break free from common standards
  • Excite ourselves about our potential, and finally,
  • Love ourselves and act accordingly.

Personal Training Spokane The Health R.E.B.E.L.s Oath20

Anyway, let’s dive into today’s episode.

Have you ever heard about type A versus type B personalities? That’s a silly question. You’ve probably heard about type A and type B people.

But do you know the origin story to how we came up with those expressions?

Well, legend has it at a time long, long ago. Well, actually not that long ago. I think this was like the 70s or the 80s. In a land far, far away. Well, actually, I think this was in America too. So probably not that far away, either. But legend has it that in a cardiologists office, there were a bunch of patients that were recovering from heart attacks. These were post-cardiac patients, and the receptionist at this cardiologists office starting to make bets, starting to say, “I bet I know which patients are going to make a recovery and which patients are going to have another heart attack.”

Because she was a receptionist, she would watch people in the waiting room. And she would notice there were two types of people in the waiting room. Someone would check in, sit down, grab a magazine, relax, read, wait for the doctor to come out. They were kind of relaxed. And she noticed those people didn’t get a second heart attack.

The other group of people, she noticed there’d be some people that would check in, they grab a magazine, they’d sit down, they’d pop back up, look at the clock wondering what’s going on? What’s taking so long. Come check in with the receptionist, again, hey, how much longer do you think it’s going to be? Sir? You just came in 30 seconds ago, can you please chill and sit down? The doctor will see you when the doctor will see you. And then two minutes later be back up at the reception. Are you sure that I checked in I’ve been waiting for a while now. And she bet she bet that these people are the ones that were stressed out and Wiggity and couldn’t possibly calm down. They were just kind of high high maintenance.

She took a gamble that these people were going to have another heart attack.

And she came up with such a high reliability in her predictions about who would have a second heart attack and who would recover that they did a case study. And they determined that these two types of people type A people the high strong high maintenance unable to relax high stress individuals. These type A personalities have a higher rate of heart attacks. And then type B personalities the other side of the spectrum the the take things as they come the low stress, low maintenance, breathe and calm. They didn’t have they didn’t have higher rates of of second heart attacks. And this this discovery of type A and type B and the connections between personality and incidence of heart rate or heart attacks really started to create this dialogue this discovery that stress can be deadly. And so online we shout about stress all the time.

Stress so hot right now. We talk about it a lot. And in fact there’s there’s a lot of research behind this right even the CDC The Centers for Disease Control estimate that over 90% of current medical conditions both acute and chronic are due in large part due to stress. You know we have reached research that says even the common cold people that have high stress lifestyles, they tend to succumb to the common cold far more regularly than people that are low stress. And there’s a lot of hypothesis right now that the rise in auto immune disorder disorders, these chronic diseases, there’s a relationship between stress and chronic disease as well.

So, we have this this narrative, this discussion about how stress can be really detrimental, how stress causes medical problems, how stress cuts us down and breaks this down. But what is stress really, my favorite definition of stress, I wish I remembered where I picked this up from, but the definition of stress that I love the most, says that stress is the body’s language of change. Stress is the body’s language of adaptation. That’s how the body makes changes. But aren’t some changes Good? Are Not every change has to be bad, right? So stress can’t possibly be the language of good, what causes the good changes? Well, stress. You see, stress isn’t quite as cut and dry as we like to say. Right, there’s there’s a little bit more nuance, there’s actually going to be and we can break this down into two major classes. Obviously,

there’s a lot more different types of stress. And in my coaching, I talk about the eight different sources or eight different categories of stress, so that when you go through the REBEL path coaching program, you can identify your sources of stress and create strategies around them. But for today’s podcast for today’s episode, let’s let’s talk about the big schism, the big separation and the two massive classes of stress. And that’s going to be eustress, that’s spelt E-U-S-T-R-E-S-S, eustress and distress.

Now, listening to the Word distress, you can probably guess that’s distressing. That is, that’s going to be the stress that is detrimental. What we rarely talk about though, is the EU stress, and the EU comes from the Greek roots, which means good. Same as like euphoria, eustress the good stress is what causes the the signals of positive changes. You know, very obviously, we can think about exercise.

Exercise we all know is some sort of stress on the body. But the purpose of exercise is to create positive changes to create positive adaptations to increase your stamina, increase your strength, increase your cardio health, increase your respiratory health, increase your body’s circulation abilities to increase your body composition to decrease your fat, your excess fat and increase your muscle tone. Right? There are positive changes that exercise gives us. And that means there are positive changes that stress can give us. So we do want to identify really quickly that there are two types of stress. There’s good stress that you stress, and there’s bad stress distress.

But how do you determine if something’s a good stress or bad stress? What separates the two?

And we actually have some really interesting research that I originally read in the book switch by Chip and Dan Heath, but it highlights some research from the former researcher out of Stanford, Kelly McGonigal, she’s now a best selling author. She’s got several books on the topic about stress. I think she’s also got a really, really popular TED talk as well. But Kelly McGonigal, she highlights some research that showed a comparison of stress and health outcomes. And what she did was she had people self assess their stress levels on a scale of one to 10. How stressful did you think your work was? Right? Some people have really stressful jobs, some people don’t.

And so she would have people rate their stress at work on a scale of one to 10 If she took the high stress individuals, you know, people that were rating eight and above on a scale out of 10, the high stress work and she wanted to see what kind of health outcomes there were and what else we might be able to discover about does rats really harm us. The research found that that high stress level can give negative health outcomes. Absolutely. We already know that. But it doesn’t always give negative health outcomes. The big separator similar to type A and type B personalities was when she asked the participants a subjective question about their stress, not just stress level. So all the people in this little micro study were high stress work lives, right high stress demands. But the people in that population that got the got the health, the negative health outcomes. What they said about their stress was their stress was killing them. Their stress was overwhelming, their stress was too much. They had this mental assessment about the stress being detrimental. And in our almost sadistic, self fulfilling prophecy way it was.

And I bet you can guess where we’re going with the other group of people. The other group of people said that their stress, gave them significance, their stress, gave them opportunities to improve their skills, their stress, gave them an opportunity to validate who they were, they saw their stress as a source of joy. They saw their stress, it was high stress, but it validated them, it challenged them and improved them. And with this stress with this high level, but good stress perception, they didn’t have those negative health outcomes. They didn’t have the higher stroke rates, they didn’t have the higher heart attacks, they didn’t have the higher blood pressure.

They adapted to good stress.

And they made good adaptations in their life and in their health. So we have this, we have this mental prism in a way that stress comes in. And then our perception about the stress, whether it’s good or bad dictates whether it does good or bad things to us. That might be a little simple, right? You’re not going to take a lot of poison, think it’s good for you and end up surviving it. But for the mental and the emotional stresses, the social stresses that we that we find ourselves in. A lot of that can be kind of filtered based on our perceptions around it.

Personal Training Spokane Stress

Stress comes in, but the mind makes it good or bad

It’s a fascinating topic. There’s a lot of nuance to stress and stress management. And this is one of the big things that I wanted to kind of leave with today’s episode is that stress absolutely is the language of change. It’s the language of adaptations is what it’s what makes the body and your whole life and your health change. And it can change for good. Or it can change for bad. What change what determines that level of change, whether it’s good or bad, oftentimes, is going to be our own mental prism. As proven by research with Kelly McGonigal. Stress management can be nuanced. There’s a lot to it.

And that’s why tomorrow’s episode, we’re gonna go into stress management again. And what I’m going to give you is my most powerful tool for stress management, the same tool I give my clients. It’s called the three R’s. And if you want to figure out what those three R’s are, you have to come back tomorrow. And until I see you here again tomorrow for another episode of the Health REBELs podcast to talk a little bit more about stress management and some actionable tools you can implement. Right now when you hear this. Well, you’re gonna have to come back and until I see you then you know what to do REBEL, keep the oath.

I hope that episode helped give you some steps you can take to break free from common standards so that you can live a happier, healthier life. I’d love to continue to support you on that path to redefining healthy living. So I want to invite you to join my free Facebook group, the Health REBELs community. There we post daily content to redefine what healthy living means. By following the holistic wheel and the REBEL. You will also get community support with like minded Health REBELs. If you’re not already a member, search for the Health REBELs community on Facebook or go to facebook.com/groups/health REBELs. I look forward to seeing you in there REBEL