For most of us, there is no way to completely avoid stress. But are there some benefits to stress?
The stress response is designed to help us react when something potentially threatening happens, to help us deal with it and learn from it. Research shows that moderate, short-lived stress can improve alertness and performance and boost memory.
Stress can also:
- Boost your brain power
- Increase your body’s immunity (short term)
- Motivate you to succeed
- Make you more resilient
It is beneficial to experience moderate levels of stress. However, we’ve been learning more about toxic stress. And trust us, there are no benefits to prolonged stress.
Toxic stress, is an experience that overwhelms us, sometimes making us feel like we are in serious danger. It can leave us feeling powerless and hopeless. And we may not have the coping skills or support we would need to fully deal with it.
The brain gets accustomed to the danger-survival cycle and often floods the body with stress-related chemicals at the first hint of any kind of threat—even if the threat is long gone. Stress-related chemicals can have a lasting impact on the body, leading to a greater susceptibility to chronic disease and addiction.
Although the impact of toxic stress can be chronic and impactful on adults, it is particularly detrimental for children. Toxic stress in childhood is not only a serious social problem, it costs our country billions of dollars over the lifespan of traumatized children.
So what can we do?
- Eat fruits and veggies and grains at meals and avoid junk food.
- Nurture each other and build deep relationships
- Turn to supportive relationships in your family and community when in crisis or stressful situations.
- Ensure you get adequate sleep. Sleep gives the body time to grow and recharge and especially in children.
Try this In the morning before the day starts (maybe over a cup of Moodify Oatmeal). Take a few minutes to consider what you can do during your day to reduce your feelings of stress. And don’t forget to think about how you can reduce the stress of others…especially children.