Let’s discuss how happy memories can combat stress…
Stress, what is it?
It is not tangible and highly personal. Psychological stress can be caused by anything from the most trival situation; like a traffic jam (which may cause frustration) to a major life changing event like a divorce. Both of these will trigger the release of cortisol (the stress hormone within our bodies), to further affect our bodies. A little bit of stress is positive as it is believed to enahance motivation and memory. However approximately 80% of serious illnesses may be linked to excessive levels of stress.
Fight or Flight?
Our bodies love to remain in balance ‘Homeostasis’. The ‘Fight or flight’ stress response is evolutions way of protecting us from danger. It instantaneously gets the body ready for action, during situations of perceived danger. If in danger, the hypothalamus gland in your brain sends a message to your adrenals (glands based on top of your kidneys) to release Cortisol; a hormone. This hormone can do many things and would enable one to outrun a hungry lion if necessary. However, if this cortisol is churned out due to unnecessary stress, without any imminant threat to your life, it can become harmful to health if sustained at high levels within the body over a period of time. Elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to everything from weight gain to heart disease.
The good news?
HAPPY MEMORIES can help you to combat STRESS. If you feel stressed, simply take your attention out of yourself and your immediate environment to focus on the positive memories that you have stored in your memory bank. It has been shown in studies that happy memories can put the breaks on the release of cortisol. And most of us know that elevated levels of this stress hormone has been linked to more deep abdominal fat – belly fat! Cortisol, if you didn’t already know ,may increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and stores; increasing the size of the fat cells inside your body. So if you are reading this and want to help reduce your stores of fat you can start this minute by recalling positive memories. In a study to test such a theory participants were asked to plunge their hands in icy water and to think either happy or neutral thoughts. The outcome of this experiment was that the participants who recalled happy memories experienced a buffer against rising cortisol levels compared to those thinking neutral thoughts.
So dear reader, whenever you feel stress coming on just be present in your mind and remember that a happy flashback, may be all your need to stop the onslaught of cortisol within your body.