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How to Make Stress Your Friend
October 14, 2019
Jenny White

Whether you're a parent or a student athlete, life can be full of stress. We've all been taught that's not a great thing, right?

Well, BSF coaches recently shared this TED Talk with their Comp Team athletes, In it, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal says that by changing your attitude towards stress, you can change your body's response to stress. Instead of thinking of it as bad for you, think of it as getting your body ready to act with courage. Check it out:

So the next time an athlete's heart races and they begin to "stress" before a competition or a big day, if they can  view it as preparing them for the challenge, they can help their body have a healthier response. And the bonus? A stress response produces the hormone oxytocin, which motivates you to seek support and to offer support. (It also helps to strengthen your heart.) When you reach out during times of stress--to seek or offer support--you release more of that hormone and you recover faster from stress.

It's a great message: to embrace the pre-race jitters, and to lean on your teammates, coaches, and family to make stress work for you. And it's yet another reason to offer support.

Instead of saying "don't stress about it" to your kids, talk about this video and think of ways both you and your child can provide support to those who need it.