Yes it’s the “S” word again. How can you move bad stress and change it into good stress?
By changing your perspective.
Coined by Hans Selye, bad stress is often known as “Di-stress” as in distress while positive stress is known as “Eu-stress”. There are both short and long term consequences and while we may engage in some things that may be good for us, if overdone, they can move from eustress into distress.
Short term stress pops up as an event, crisis, or threat. Even with unexpected change; a job, relationship, or health; our body is programmed to default react in a protective way. We may sense fear, anxiety, the hairs rising on our back, or the quickening of our heartbeat. Our blood is shunted away from our gut and towards our muscles, heart, lungs to prepare us to fight or flee. We become sympathetic dominant. Digestion, growth, regeneration, and repair are not the priorities at this point. With short term stress, as the event, crisis or threat goes away, our body should return to its usual state since the trigger is gone.
Chronic or long term stress occurs when the above situation continues for weeks, months, or years. It may be real or imagined, and oddly enough, the body cannot tell the difference. That’s why you can think of something scary and feel butterflies in your stomach. Often a perception is a loss of control in our environment. I have to, got to, must do….
The responses of acute stress have been happening for longer and are now taxing and exhausting our system. We may feel depressed, get sick a lot, have chronically poor digestion, are tired with sore aches and pains. We’re running on fumes, burnt-out, and feeling run-over. We may have disempowering and often destructive conversations with ourselves or blame others, try to change others, and forget to look within to make change.
What to do?
Stayed tuned for next week’s blog to find out my top 5 solutions to chronic stress.