Madison Vanderberg
April 04, 2016 3:53 pm

In honor of National Stress Awareness month, we’re going to demystify common myths you may have about stress. Is it contagious? Can you get it from kissing? Just kidding, nobody thinks that right? Right?! Check out the following actual myths you probably have heard about stress!

Myth: Your job is making you stressed

Well, no, technically the job isn’t stressful but rather, your reaction to your job is causing you stress. According to Andrew Bernstein, author the Myth of Stress, “stress actually comes from the thoughts you have about your circumstances, not the circumstances themselves.” The phrase, “it’s all in your head” is kind of applicable here.

Myth: You need a little stress, otherwise you’ll never get anything done

Kids have very little stress and they are out there seizing the day and are filled with energy. Bernstein argues that we should stop believing the myth that only stress will motivate you. Stimulation and engagement, like goals and tasks, are actually what motivates you.

Myth: Sex will help you de-stress

It may feel that way, but technically, exercise and sex actually give you a surge in stress hormones. This study proves you’re actually more stressed when you get it on but it’s a kind of stress that’s good for you. So, carry on.

Myth: Stress is only mental and doesn’t really affect the body

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it DOES affect your body, like A LOT. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can lead to Alzheimers, depression, heart attack, hollow bones, and atrophied muscles, just to name a few.

Myth: Drinking can help you de-stress

If you’re already an anxious person, drinking may only heighten the stress you’re attempting to calm with alcohol. You’re basically replacing one kind of stress with another when you drink. Consider a scenario where you’re drunk and can’t find your friends at the bar. STRESS. You see your significant other talking to someone but because you’re drunk you think it’s cheating. STRESS. You get behind the wheel of the car after a drink or two and worry the entire time that you’ll get pulled over. That’s stress. Not only that, but according to this 2008 study, drinking actually signals to the body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol.

Myth: If you don’t have any physical repercussions from stress, you’re probably fine

Nope, nope, nope. Not to depress you or anything, but stress has tons of “silent” symptoms like stroke, heart attack, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Just because you aren’t lamenting over how stressed you feel doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you.

Myth: Lavender oil will help you de-stress

This is actually NOT a myth. Lavender essential oil can help you relax, but so can other essential oils like rose geranium, roman chamomile, clary sage, bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Myth: Ulcers are caused by stress

Ulcer’s are actually caused by a bacteria in the stomach and not by stress, which is one illness you don’t have to worry about getting from stress!

Myth: Work is the number #1 contributor to stress

The APA’s annual poll of Americans and their stressors revealed that the number one cause of stress in 2015 was money and financial woes. The second cause of stress was work followed by family responsibilities.

Myth: Talking about stress makes you more stressed

It may seem that talking about stress will just exacerbate the problem by reminding you that the stress still exists, but talking to someone about your stress in a moment of crisis is actually helpful. When you are stressed, your flight-or-fight instincts are in full gear. If you can find someone to talk to in that moment, it will immediately slow down your flight-or-fight response and actually acts as a pause button.

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