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Faced with situations such as giving a public talk or going into a job interview or starting a race, we commonly exhibit responses like an elevated heart rate, greater alertness, perspiration, etc. We may think we’re in the know: stress is supposed to be bad for us, right?

Not necessarily. Recent research shows us that when we think stress is damaging to us, cortisol hormones and the like constrict our blood vessels, increasing our chances of heart disease.

On the contrary, when we think of such physiological responses as simply preparing us to respond to the situation at hand, those same body changes cause no harm at all. Our blood vessels stay open and flow continues. We can be actually toning our nervous system and increasing our resiliency.

So when we notice ourselves getting nervous, we can short circuit an anxiety tendency. We remind ourselves that our body is just doing the normal things it should do to be prepared, breathing to bring in more oxygen to think clearly, at the top of our game.

Watch this Ted Talk to learn more.

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)