What is stress?
Is stress good for you?
Is stress really harmful?
How much stress is too much?
Part of the reason people have a hard time answering these, and other questions about stress is because stress means different things to different people.
The first step in stressing less and living more is learning what stress really is and why it is bad for you.
FORGET EVERYTHING you’ve ever learned about stress because most of it is outdated and confusing rather than helpful.
Stress is the combination of three things; (1) a potential stressor, (2) what your mind tells you about it (your self-talk) and your ability to cope with it and (3) a stress response that kicks in if you feel unable to cope with it.
I know, I know, this is already starting to sound confusing so please bear with me while I try to clarify all of this.
A potential stressor is something that threatens you or has already caused you harm or loss. Remember those three things; threat, harm, or loss.
If something doesn’t cause you to feel threat, harm, or loss, it isn’t a potential stressor.
Threat is about things that haven’t happened yet. For example, imagine that you just got a letter from your auto insurance company telling you that because of a recent accident your rate is going to double when you renew your policy in two months.
This event hasn’t happened yet but it threatens you because you don’t think you are going to be able to afford the new premiums.
Harm or loss involve things that have already happened and hurt you in some way. For example, imagine that you received a different letter from your insurance company related to the same accident. This letter states that they have already cancelled your policy and are not reimbursing you for the accident .
In this case you have experienced a financial and emotional loss that has caused you harm by forcing you to cancel those vacation plans you were making.
What Your Mind Tells You about a potential stressor, and your ability to cope with the threat, harm, or loss you attach to it, determines whether or not your brain will trigger a stress response.
Determines; powerful word. I don’t use it lightly.
So, in other words, it isn’t the potential stressor itself that is the real issue; it is what your mind tells you about it that determines whether or not it becomes a real stressor that triggers a stress response.
Your mind has the ability to either turn that potential stressor into a full-blown stress response or shut it down before it even begins.
Now here comes the real interesting part…
Sometimes, what your mind tells you (your self-talk) about a potential stressor is accurate, helpful, and based on real threat, harm, or loss. Other times, your mind tells you inaccurate, unhelpful things that blow the threat, harm, or loss way out of proportion and trigger a stress response.
It is this inaccurate, unhelpful kind of self-talk that you need to start paying attention to because it is what tells your brain to trigger a stress response.
Once your mind says, “this is threatening and I can’t cope with it”, your brain instantly triggers a stress response. This response releases powerful hormones, salts, and sugars that jack up your blood pressure, get your heart racing, tense-up all of your major muscles and give you energy to get ready to fight or flee.
The fight or flight response is your life-saving response to threat and it has been with all humans since the dawn of civilization.
Although this response can save your life by literally fighting or fleeing from a real threat (like a mugger or car swerving into your lane on the highway), the long-term effects of this response, if it is triggered too often or is continuous, can cause serious physical and mental health problems.
Continued triggering of the stress response is bad for you. The whole idea of good stress (also known as eustress) is outdated.
Fifty years ago researchers did not know that what they were calling good stress was actually another type of response called the challenge response. Like the stress response, the challenge response also mobilizes energy and gets your body ready to take action. Unlike the stress response, however, the challenge response is not harmful to your body or mind. The challenge response combines mobilizing energy with helpful thoughts and positive emotions.
Getting psyched up is a phrase you’ve probably heard people use when they are challenged.
Look at Olympic athletes getting ready to compete or eager job applicants preparing for an interview. In both cases they are focused, thinking positively, not feeling threatened, and looking forward to the opportunity to showcase their talents. In a word, they are challenged.
Unlike the stress response which produces powerful hormones and other harmful chemicals and by-products that linger and can cause you serious health problems, the challenge response shuts down once your challenge is met. It doesn’t produce the same lingering powerful hormones, harmful chemicals and other by-products.
It only results in fatigue. After a little rest and relaxation you are back to normal.
I’m sure you’ve already experienced the challenge response.
You got psyched up and gave something your best effort. When you were finished, your body, mind, and spirit were at peace. You didn’t feel any threat, harm, or loss, only a sense of accomplishment.
That challenge response, like the stress response, is still inside of you just waiting to be released. It all hinges on your self-talk, what your mind tells you about potential stressors.
So, what do you from here???
I’d like to give you a couple of valuable tools to help you stress less and live more just for being a loyal supporter.
I’ve created an assessment called, How Much Stress Do You Have?, that will help you get a handle on your stress. It will show you how much of a toll your body, mind, and spirit has taken as a result of your stress.
This is a key starting point because it will show you where you stand in terms of your stress.
I’ve also completely rewritten my book, Introduction to the Five R’s of Conquering Your Stress, to give you additional information about what stress really is, why it is bad for you, and how to cope with is using my Five R’s of Coping Model.
So, don’t waste another minute. Claim your free PDF File and e-book NOW.
My FREE PDF File, How Much Stress Do You Have?, ( a $9.99 value) will show you exactly how much stress you currently have.
My FREE E-Book, Introduction to the Five R’s of Conquering Your Stress, ( a $7.99 value) will show you how to create a multi-level defense system against stress that works against all types of stressors and stressful situations.
Use these tools to immediately reduce your stress