Archive - December 21, 2015

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What’s Your Stress Response?

What’s Your Stress Response?

 

Frayed

“Over time, the ends of your chromosomes fray, and as they fray, your DNA stops working as well, and eventually that could wind up ‘doing in’ the cell. There are now studies showing that chromosomal DNA aging accelerates in young, healthy humans who experience something incredibly psychologically stressful. That’s a huge finding.”

Dr. Robert Sapolsky

How does stress impact your health?

Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University has identified the activity of glucocorticoids as the result of stress that reduces the size of the hippocampus in the brain. The particular kind of stress affecting aging that can cause even our DNA to age faster is related to the experience of oppression.

This oppression is usually caused by being a part of a structure or a system that causes one to feel that “things are on top of me,” that a person doesn’t have control over their life being affected in major ways by a source other than themselves. It is the sense that all or most control and one’s fate rests unpredictably outside of one’s self.

This is certainly the case with traumatic events, but it also is the case with chronic stress over a period of time that results in the sense of being “oppressed” or “it’s on top of me, I’m not on top of it.”

There are certainly circumstances of oppression that exist in systems and cultures, but oppression can also exist as a matter of perception. The perception of freedom or control can be very idiosyncratic.

If we do not have a pretty rich and deep reservoir of positivity, the cumulative small events of life become stressors in themselves, or they become cumulative and we too easily begin to feel that things are on top of us.

Stress Meter

We can talk all we want about “catastrophizing” and “awfullizing,” and while that insight can be helpful, it doesn’t produce long-terms results unless we respond differently to negative events from having lived and developed what we call a “NeuroPositive™ life.”

This means that we become, over a period of time, wired to go to the positive in both feelings and thoughts. It builds upon already existing internal strengths as our major neuropathways. These are the super highways of the real or ideal self.

This takes practice.

We are not automatically positive in the face of small or larger stressors. It usually has to be learned.

Stressors grind at us because they are continual and always present.

Our NeuroPositive™ response to stressors can be elegantly simple, if we have learned it and it is wired-in.

We can wire it in by learning to pulse positive emotion.

Most of us never learned that we can grow positive emotion intentionally. Emotions are reactive indicators, but we can also control emotions and use them by choice. We have the power to decrease positive emotion and we have the power to increase positive emotion. We have just not been taught how to do it.

We have far more positive control over emotions that it not negative denial than we believe that we do. You can train your brain to go to a positive emotion with immediacy, you can make that positive emotion last (duration) and you can increase that positive emotion for long periods of time at will (intensity).

Immediacy, duration, intensity with positive emotion.

Welcome to The Emotional Gym.™

 

 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute