It’s Your Choice, Choose Wisely
How we respond to stress producers determines the level of stress we feel, the impact it has on our physical body, and how long our response lasts. Your stress response is the single most important focus for successful stress management. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. You also can’t achieve what you don’t plan for. Plan to respond differently to your triggers.
Your stress response is a complex reaction to events, activities, situations, thoughts, or habits where your body views them as harmful or dangerous to its survival.
There are healthy and unhealthy ways your body responds to stress. Below are just a few of the more common responses.
Healthy Stress Response
- Behavioral - Assertiveness, Time management, Prioritization
- Biological - Normal sex drive, Homeostasis, Balanced thyroid production
- Physiological - Energy, Healthy digestive system, Overall feeling of wellbeing
- Psychological - Cognitive reframe, Optimism, Ability to focus
- Emotional - Joy, Engagement, Peace
Unhealthy Stress Response
- Behavioral - Over eating, Clench/grind teeth, Exaggerated actions
- Biological - Release of cortisol, Adrenaline rush, Intense crying
- Physiological - Skin Rash, High blood pressure, Impaired immune system
- Psychological - Memory loss, Pessimism, Decreased concentration
- Emotional - Depression, Anxiety, Anger
Your stress response is controlled by your interpretation of the perceived stress (threat). Two people can be experiencing the exact same situation and based on their perception and interpretation can have two totally different responses. One person can actually have an unhealthy response that can linger for hours after the event or situation passes, causing them to miss opportunities and often speeding up the stress cycle, getting to stress threshold quickly. The other person could have a completely healthy response and be prepared for the next possible stress producer immediately, allowing them to maximize every opportunity presented to them.
The first step in controlling your stress response is to increase your awareness of your current response cycle. Document everything from the behavioral to emotional. Your goal is to interrupt your current pattern of response and you can’t do that if you don’t know what it is.