A few years ago I stumbled upon a most intriguing paper about stress. And one of the main conclusions of a large sized study in 2013 was that ‘people with meaningful lives worry more and have more stress than people with less meaningful lives’ (Baumeister, Vohs, Aaker, & Garbinsky, 2013). Strange, isn’t it?
Meaningful lives are stressful lives …. It’s not the other way around however, stressful lives don’t automatically lead to meaningful lives. If you worry a lot and try to avoid stress, then the chances are high that you do encounter a stressful life, but not a meaningful life.
So what should we do?
Well, start with a positive mindset towards stress, because for those who live healthy lives despite high stress levels, stress is a barometer for how engaged they are in activities that are personally meaningful rather than a sign that something is wrong.
But there is more to it. In a combined study done by the universities of Stanford, Columbia and Duke the researchers found something peculiar: ‘The present research suggests that adopting a stress-is-enhancing mindset in the face of both challenging and threatening situations may be beneficial, not necessarily because of its ability to make the stress feel less negative or threatening, but rather, by recruiting and magnifying cognitive, emotional and physiological attributes that may contribute to adaptive responses over the long-run.’
So changing your mindset towards a stress-is-enhancing mindset gives you more positive effects, greater cognitive flexibility, a more active coping strategy and more physical resilience, whereas a stress-is-debilitating mindset produces worse physical, cognitive and affective outcomes.
That seems to be a perfect reason to start training yourself to adopt such a stress-is-enhancing mindset, isn’t it? Well, there’s even more: in a large cohort study of over 28.000 people found that, after actual levels of stress were controlled for, individuals who believed that stress negatively affects health were 43% more likely to die prematurely.
So we should train ourselves towards a positive mindset, but how can we do that? Well, why not give Stressjam a try? Stressjam is an award-winning Virtual Reality game that makes the change for you. If we look at the scientific results you will not only work on your mindset towards stress, but you will adore doing that!
Click here to read the white paper of Stressjam pilot study.
Chief Science Officer | Cofounder Jamzone