Recently, I came across a TED talk that changed my perception on stress. It is titled, How to Make Stress Your Friend and it is presented by a psychologist named Kelly McGonigal.
The premise of the TED talk is that we may be misinterpreting stress. We often interpret our stress response to be a bad thing and a disadvantage to us. Much of Public Health data suggests that the leading causes of death can be attributed to stress.
She changed that perception by saying that stress is the way our body responds to adverse situations, but with the effort to help us. Our breathing increases so that more oxygen reaches our brain and we are able to process the situation. However, the way we see stress determines its effects on us. If our stress response is activated and we instantly think that we are in a stressful situation and worry about being stressed, we are more likely to suffer from adverse health conditions. People who don't see stress as a hindrance are not as likely to die.
This TED talk sheds additional light on gratitude because the neuro hormone oxytocin makes stressed out individuals more likely to seek comfort from friends and family. The received support is expected to reduce stress and enforce a supportive environment all around.
This is significant because workplaces are stressful environments, regardless of the profession. However, it is our choice to how we react to situations. If more and more workplaces can realize that stress is not the enemy and that it is essentially a social mechanism to bring people close.
Not only does this TED talk give us an excuse to appreciate stress as a supportive mechanism and to be grateful for that but also that working with others helps us relieve the stress early on. Stress works towards gratitude on a biological level.