Book review for The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal

Synopsis: What is stress? It is how we react when something in our life is threatened. If you experience too much you death risk can increase. But that’s only if you view stress as a negative. People who don’t view it as a negative have a very low risk of death because “mind over matter.” Being positive can be beneficial since it impacts how healthy you are because it plays a large role in our feelings, behaviors, and thoughts.

The book discusses how different stress responses help us connect, age, and grow. While fight or flight has its place, stress can help us work through challenges and become better people. The author writes that when life is stressful, it frequently is more meaningful. Even thinking about stress differently can help us cope with it. Resilient individuals can recognize that life goes on, no matter how stressful things get because more often than not, they went through hard times in the past. The author includes many examples and studies to back up her points.

So how do we benefit from our anxieties? Embrace them. Repeating positive mantras channels stress and turns it into strength. Embracing it can prevent us from getting into the anxiety-avoidance cycle. And when we have real interactions with other, stress becomes something different. It turns into knowledge, confidence, and courage. So, a better way to deal with stress is to reach out to other people.

When we see the ways stress can benefit us, we can bounce back from it more effectively. So, when we take a moment to evaluate how the situation is ultimately good for us, thinking through the problem at hand will help us better deal with the stress and help us in the future. While I enjoyed this book, the author’s Ted Talk was also good. To read this book in its entirety, get it here.

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

How do I think other people perceive me?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

While I have anxiety, OCD, and schizophrenia, I oftentimes feel that people think I’m sitting in a corner in utter anguish and hearing voices. I have stressors like everybody else so I have rough days, but those are usually days that would be stressful to anybody. Some examples are work issues, writing challenges, family matters, and such. I feel like pulling my hair out some days.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

But the voices are well-controlled with medicine, and my OCD can be uneasy at times, but it’s not noticeable. My delusions are kept in check with consistent therapy. Now for my social anxiety: I’d say that’s the most challenging for me. It’s hit or miss. Adrenaline usually helps me make the day. However, there are days when I just can’t handle the bustling crowds and choose to stay home and read a book or paint. But all in all, I think that I’m underestimated and viewed as the images above show: cowering in a corner, frantic at my computer, or hiding behind a tree.

What makes me feel overwhelmed?

I’d say lack of preparedness is the main cause. Initially, I was going to say social situations but with the correct medications and the right preparation, I feel like I can move mountains. If I remember correctly, back in college Interpersonal Communications class, the instructor said it was somewhere around 90% preparation to give a speech.

In Spirituality & Healing class, we were first taught that we aren’t alone in feeling inundated. Stress impacts everyone, regardless of race, age, or gender. What causes it can be universal like work, relationships, finances, politics, or environmental concerns. Or it can be personal like health issues or past traumatic experiences. Even if it’s personal and you may have a different stress level threshold, accepting your feelings about the root cause may reduce or eliminate shame or guilt, thereby less feelings of overwhelm should occur.

So, when you feel yourself swept off your feet, focus on the things you can control and practice breathing exercises and mindfulness. Some other things are setting better boundaries, practicing consistency, taking breaks, listening to music, or spending time in nature or with loved ones. Nobody deserves to be engulfed in responsibility to the detriment of their health. Finally, if need be, seek out a therapist for more coping strategies.

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