Can holiday stress (cooking, hosting, shopping, travel, family, finances) be re-framed to actually be beneficial? Yes, according to the University of Rochester’s Jeremy Jamieson, a national expert on stress. Stress and our response to it are not necessarily bad things. Jamieson and his Social Stress Lab study how re-evaluating the way one perceives stress can make a big difference to a person’s mental health, general wellbeing, and success, and help guide the responses to the challenges at hand.
“Stress reappraisal is not aimed at eliminating or dampening stress. It does not encourage relaxation, but instead focuses on changing the type of stress response: If we believe we have sufficient resources to address the demands we’re presented with—it doesn’t matter if the demands are high—if we think we can handle them, our body is going to respond with the challenge response, which means stress is seen as a challenge, rather than a threat,” says Jamieson.
In the latest study from Jamieson’s Social Stress Lab, which appears in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, the researchers trained community college students to treat their stress response as a tool rather than an obstacle. The psychologists found that in addition to reducing the students’ anxiety, the “good stress” mindset reset helped the students score higher on tests, procrastinate less, stay enrolled in classes, and respond to academic challenges in a healthier way.
Jamieson is available for interviews and can walk through the strategies for individuals to re-frame their stress.
Jeremy Jamieson Associate Professor
Jeremy Jamieson is a national expert on stress, our responses to it, and how it's not always a bad thing