Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Upside of Stress

I just finished a book that I'd recommend for any addict or alcoholic.

The title is "The Upside of Stress," written by Kelly McGonigal.

She's a psychologist and university professor, who for many years, taught that stress was a bad thing. Something that we should avoid. But her thinking eventually changed after she saw some research describing how stress can also have a positive effect on us. That it's not as terrible as we might think.

And while I can't put all the details in the short space of a blog, the idea that stress might be good for us makes sense from an evolutionary point of view.

After all, hundreds of thousands of years ago, when we were still living on the prairies and in the jungles, it was stress that kept us alive. And the stress was generated by the reality that we might be by eaten by an animal if weren't constantly on point and having an anxious awareness of the world around us.

The author describes how stress helps us perform better in certain situations, that it's something that we don't need to hide from. She cites studies that show that those who believe that stress is bad for them die earlier and suffer a lot more negative effects from stress than people who have a positive attitude toward it.

In many cases, she demonstrates that stress improves our performance, especially if we embrace it and learn to use it to our benefit.  She teaches us how to become good at it.