Understanding the mechanics of stress gives you the advantage of being more aware of and sensitive to your own level of stress and knowing when and how to take proactive steps. This increased awareness also helps you to better care for your family, friends and colleagues. Here are a few facts that many people are unaware of:
Fact #1 – Your body doesn’t care if it’s a big stress or a little one
The human body doesn’t make a difference between a BIG stress or a little one. Regardless of the significance, stress affects the body in predictable ways. A typical stress reaction, which most of us experience many times each day, begins with a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body. If these reactions are left unchecked we age prematurely, our cognitive function is impaired, our energy is drained, and we are robbed of our effectiveness and clarity.
Fact #2 – Stress can make smart people do stupid things
Stress causes what brain researchers call “cortical inhibition.” The phenomenon of cortical inhibition helps to explain why smart people do dumb things. Simply said, stress inhibits a small part of your brain and you can’t function at your best. When we are in coherence – a state where we are cognitively sharp, emotionally calm, and we feel and think with enhanced clarity – the brain, heart and nervous system are working in harmony. This state of coherence facilitates our cognitive functioning – we are actually operating at peak performance mentally, emotionally and physically.
Fact #3 – People can become oblivious to their stress
We can be physiologically experiencing stress but be mentally numb to it because we’ve become so used to it. Some have become so adapted to the daily pressures, irritations and annoyances of life that it starts to seem normal. Yet the small stresses accumulate quickly and we may not realize how much they’re impairing our mental and emotional clarity and our overall health until it shows up as a bad decision, an overreaction or an unwanted diagnosis at the doctor’s office.
Fact #4 – We can control how we respond to stress
We don’t need to be victims to our own emotions, thoughts and attitudes. We can control how we respond to stress and we can become more sensitive to stressful situations and how they are affecting us before it manifests as a physical, mental or emotional complaint. There are simple, scientifically validated solutions to stress that empower people to rewire their own stress response.
60% to 80% of primary care doctor visits are related to stress, yet only 3% of patients receive stress management help.
Fact #5 – The best strategy is to handle stress in the moment
The best way to manage stress is to deal with it the very moment you feel it come up. Millions of North Americans unsuccessfully use the ‘binge-and-purge’ approach when it comes to stress. They stress out all day, believing that they can wait until later to recover when they go to an evening yoga class, go to the gym or chill out when they take the weekend off. Unfortunately, when we put off going for our own inner balance our bodies have already activated the stress response and it’s our health that suffers.
If you’re interested to learn more about how you can effectively manage and reduce stress in your own life, you might want to have a look at my page about HeartMath or check out my upcoming HeartMath workshop here.