Is voluntary “freak out stress” good for you?
Most people agree that stress is bad for your physical and your mental health.
However, recent studies have also shown that “freak out stress” may actually be good for your health!
What is “freak out stress?” Is it really good for you?
“Freak out stress” is designated as “an extreme short term psychosocial stress associated with stimuli that triggers a stress response in multiple systems in your body causing the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.”
Freak out stress includes responding to such events and situations as, trying to ride a 60 foot wave, skydiving, being called upon to try to make the game winning shot during a time out, meeting your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s parents for the first time, being asked to give a keynote speech in front of a large audience on short notice, asking your boss for a raise, stepping into the cage with current world-champion MMA fighter in your weight class, walking to the edge of a cliff, etc.
In a recent article for Surfer magazine, Justin Housman suggests something he calls “big wave stress” and I call “freak out stress” that supercharges the immune system, improves memory functions in the brain and provides other effects beneficial to your health.
Housman cites a study by Firdhaus Dhabhar, a professor of Behavioral Science at Stanford University, that suggests that “freaking out in the face of danger supercharges the immune system, sending beneficial cells to places most likely to be injured, everything from the skin, the lungs, and the gut. Wound healing throughout the body is increased too and memory is improved.”
PODCAST: IS VOLUNTARY FREAK OUT STRESS GOOD FOR YOU?
Are you willing to voluntarily engage in activities with some risk and put yourself in situations that cause “freak out stress?” If so, consider these three things.
- Acknowledge and Embrace Where You Are: You made a choice to experience “freak out stress.” So acknowledge and embrace exactly where you are at that moment. Tune into your own body and become fully aware of everything around you. What do you see, feel, smell, hear and taste, right now?
- Stay In the Present Moment: Stay in the present moment the best you can. Perceive your current environment directly in real-time and not as a recollection of anything in the past or a speculation on anything in the future. Staying in the present moment puts you in an empowered state. Staying in the present moment allows you to immediately react to make appropriate decisions to handle the “freak out stress” situations and events you choose to engage in.
- Take Action Steps Based on Positive Emotions: Take action steps based on positive emotions such as courage, adventure, enthusiasm, bravery, etc. Taking action steps based on positive emotions will allow you to effectively embrace and even enjoy the events and situations of “freak out stress” you made a choice to experience.
Are you voluntarily willing to a take a large short term risk to supercharge your body and your brain to help you heal?
Something that may make you feel alive again?
I hear that surf’s up with 60′ waves in the forecast.
I’m in. Will you join me?
Out There on the Edge of Everything®…
Stephen Lesavich, PhD
Copyright © 2020, 2022 by Stephen Lesavich, PhD. All rights reserved.
Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.