Learning how to build stress resilience is becoming a very important topic. Stress seems to be in the very air that we breathe. Our high-tech society has produced one of the most perpetually stressful environments that civilization has ever known. However, there is hope. The more that you begin to understand stress the better you can learn to manage and handle it.
Exceeding Your Stress Capacity
You and I live in a world filled with different layers of stress producers. These stressors can range from the nation’s economy to just driving to work. You can find yourself stressing over the constant bombardment of social media one day and then stressing when your computer or smart phone internet services or 4G signal is down the next. We all have a certain stress capacity and most of us are constantly living at our maximum level. So it is easy for the slightest additional stressors to exceed your capacity quickly. You can see the results of this overload every day in our private lives and in our society.
How Chronic Stress Damages You
We all deal with crisis, anxiety, and stressors, but when these things are multiplied and then compounded, they can do real damage to your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This is often called “chronic stress.” When you are under stress, your body secretes a hormone called “adrenaline“. This hormone’s primary purpose is to prepare you for an emergency. Adrenaline gives you the burst of energy to prepare you for fight or flight in a stress producing situation. The moment you become aware of a stressors your body automatically sends that surge of adrenaline and what you experience is stress. Your body and mind were not designed to be in a perpetual state of high or chronic stress. In an overly stimulated environment your body is constantly triggering the fight or flight mechanisms. The result is that it accelerates the aging process, making you tired and exhausted. It makes you negative and unhappy, and this complicates your relationships which produces more stress. It makes you less immune to disease and illnesses and so you become prone to sicknesses. If that is not enough, it also causes your body to produce another hormone “cortisol”, that’s triggered during stress. This hormone causes your body to store fat and leads to weight gain, especially around your waist. Developing a plan to build stress resilience is essential to good mental and physical health.
Two Ways to Help Build Stress Resilience
It is clear that you and I were not designed for this kind of stress overload. There is no way that you can slow the pace of life down, but you can do some things to help manage your stress a little better. Learning to build stress resilience is crucial since the stressors you deal with today are more toxic and deadly than those of 50 years ago, because our recovery time is very limited creating a chronic stress environment. Recovery time is what we need to maintain and to build stress resilience. You can’t turn back time, but there are some things that you can learn from that era. Among the many things we could start doing there are two that really stand out. Relationships then were primarily face to face and the rhythm of life was slower. This allowed for more time to bounce back before the next anxiety producing, stress elevating event happened. So then what can we do? First, although you and I are connected to others with nearly instantaneous communication, there is nothing that can compare to cultivating a genuine personal connection with someone who can help you gain a proper perspective, and instill some hope. And secondly, that longing you have for a slower pace of life from time to time is perfectly natural. Your mind and body are telling you that you need to hit the reset button. In order for you to be resilient and maintain your sanity, health, and relationships you must have a definite recovery time. If you have these two things in place you will find that your stress level will greatly diminish.