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Stress Strategy: How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

Did you know that broccoli is actually toxic?

It’s true; every time you eat one of those delicious little trees, you’re subjecting your body to a small amount of toxicity. Oddly enough, though, that’s a It’s one of the reasons that broccoli is a “healthy” food.

You see, our bodies and minds have adapted to the harsh conditions of this world in such as a way that they actually improve when subjected to stress. That’s right – stress can be a good thing.

In the case of our toxic broccoli, the cells in your body experience stress in response to the chemicals it contains. This stress response ends up bolstering the cells – as long as the stress load isn’t too high and there’s time for recovery.

Mark Mattson, the chief of the neurosciences lab at the National Institute of Aging, explains this phenomenon in Dr. John Ratey’s book :

“Many of the beneficial chemicals in plans – vegetables and fruits – have evolved as toxins to dissuade insects and other animals from eating them. What they’re doing is inducing a mild, adaptive stress response in the cells. For example, in broccoli, there’s a chemical called sulforaphane, and it clearly activates stress response pathways in cells that upregulate antioxidant enzymes. Broccoli has antioxidants, but at the level you could get from your diet, they’re not going to function as antioxidants.”

Unfortunately, stress usually gets a bad rap in the press – undeservedly so. Stress itself isn’t bad – it’s chronic stress that should be avoided. Stress that persists for a long period of time is what can cause a lot of problems.

So in this episode, Martin and I will do our best to break down stress. Specifically, we’ll tackle:

  • The biology of stress
  • The negative effects of chronic stress
  • 10 things you can do to mitigate bad stress
  • How you can use stress to your advantage


Things mentioned in this episode:

  • The Smart Passive Income Blog with Pat Flynn
  • Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality.
  • How Exercise Improves Your Brain (Ep. 105)
  • How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia | TED-Ed
  • How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist | TED-Ed
  • Tips for Managing School Stress – ft. Study With Jess – YouTube
  • Hardcore History 50 – Blueprint for Armageddon I – Dan Carlin
  • Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance – UChicago News
  • Test Anxiety Cures: At Least 13 Tips on Reducing Exam Stress
  • Productive Summers: How to Make the Most of a … – College Info Geek
  • by Dr. Amit Sood
  • by Benjamin Hoff
  • Photographer and Bear
  • A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind
  • by Daniel Gilbert
  • (The 99U Book Series)
  • Are You Breathing? Do You Have Email Apnea?
  • Goal: No Drinking for 30 Days
  • by Neil Pasricha
  • The Happiness Equation (Ep. 117)
  • A Student Asks Me About Toaster Ovens.
  • by Gretchen Rubin

Want more cool stuff? You can find all sorts of great tools at my Resources page.

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