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Stressed? Think of it as a good thing. Your heart will thank you

Health experts say thinking about stress as a good thing can convince your body to respond...
Health experts say thinking about stress as a good thing can convince your body to respond differently and protect your heart.(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - How much stress do you have in your life?

That might be a loaded question given the challenges of the last year, but it’s become a topic local health care providers are being asked to address more often.

“Yes, I’ve been stressed before, but now I’ve added all these different layers on top of it, and it just has reached that new pinnacle because of everything going on with the pandemic,” says Linda Golick, Health and Wellbeing consultant for Bellin Health.

It’s probably safe to say, the last 13 months have been a doozy.

Life has been stressful in ways most of us didn’t know was possible.

You name it, and it’s helped create stress: school at home, work at home, isolation, no vacations, trips to see family or even a night out at the movies.

And the list goes on.

It makes sense more people are looking for new ways to handle stress.

What better time than stress awareness month -- it’s in April and is really a thing in case you didn’t know -- to address it.

“You don’t just go through it, grow through it. It’s a growth mindset, and your mindset matters more than anything,” says Charles LaTorre, Bellin Health Behavioral Health Therapist.

Once a month, LaTorre and Golick host webinars for Bellin Health, called Mental Health Moments.

Over the last year, their viewership has grown greatly as people thirst for more talk and tips about improved mental health.

“I look at it as an opportunity for everybody to have a monthly shot of oxygen, mental oxygen, psychological oxygen to their lives,” explains LaTorre.

While the topics are wide-ranging, dealing with stress has become a popular one, and maybe, Golick suggests, because the pandemic took away many of our stress coping mechanisms, like a visit with friends and family or just a night out.

“People were really tested to think about, well, how else can I cope with my stress?” says Golick.

A big way, and they point to medical studies backing it up, is to convince your mind stress is good.

They say you should tell yourself that breathing faster is good as it gets more oxygen to your brain to think better.

A pounding heart prepares you for action and keeps blood vessels open.

If you think of stress negatively, blood vessels constrict, and that’s not good for your heart.

“Those that believed stress was harmful to their health, actually had a 43 percent increased chance of dying versus those that didn’t see it as detrimental,” Golick told viewers during a webinar in August last year.

“So how you code, how you see, how you view stress matters not only in the way that you feel, but what’s going on in your body,” says LaTorre.

If you’d like to watch prior recording of Mental Health Moments, you can watch them online here.

You can also subscribe to watch free future webinars, either as an individual or a company, by signing up here or by emailing Golick at wellnessconsultant@bellin.org.

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