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Stress: Developing the right mindset: By Amanda K. Williams, DO
February 16, 2015

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." - William James.  Stress is inevitable, but emerging research is showing that how one thinks about stress is what makes the difference.  For years, stress has been made the enemy because of its association with increasing the risk of everything from the common cold to heart attacks. In all actuality, how you perceive stress is just as imperative as the amount of stress you are experiencing.  Research shows that individuals who both reported a lot of stress along with the perception that stress affected their health had a 43 percent increased risk of premature death (Keller et al., 2012).

When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's response to stress. While chronic stress is not good for your health, some stress may even benefit your health. Studies show that people who adopt a "stress helps" mindset are more likely to seek out feedback and thus grow as a result of experiencing stress; they also display more adaptive cortisol profiles under acute stress (Crum, Salovey, & Achor, 2013).

The bottom line is that although we cannot change life’s circumstances, we can change the way we think about it and, in turn, improve our health.  We at Madison Health Primary Care would love to help change the way you think about stress.  We are accepting new patients to help navigate the process to a healthier you.  "...life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it." - Charles Swindoll.


Crum, A.J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 104(4), 716-733.

Keller, A., et al. (2012). Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychology 31(5), 677-684.

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