Stress is good. Yes it really is, in the right levels!
Some stress is good for you. Too little stress in life can lead to boredom and depression, too much can cause anxiety and poor health. The right amount of stress, however, tunes up the brain and improves performance and health. The truth is that not all stress is created equal.
Think of stress as an elastic band. We need some tension (stress) in the band for it to perform its function of holding things together however pull that band too tight or for too long then the tension will become too much and the band will break. Same applies for people. Its knowing when our stress levels are moving from acceptable to chronic and to do that we need to be in tune with our thoughts and feelings.
There are some surprising benefits to stress:
- Stress improves cognitive function. It can help us to accomplish tasks more efficiently, it can even boost memory! Moderate stress strengthens the connection between neurons in your brain, improving memory and attention span, and helping you become more productive. Ever been given a project with a deadline that seems ages away. It doesn’t register on our stress radar until we start getting closer to the date. This is because many people, myself included work better when under pressure.
- Stress can help you avoid a cold. Moderate stress stimulates the production of a chemical called interleukins and gives the immune system a quick boost to protect against illnesses however, chronic stress, lowers immunity and increases inflammation – not a good things
- Stress makes you more resilient. We have all had tough times in the past. A new job, walking into unfamiliar environments, doing a play. All of these things cause stress initially but the more we work through our stress the more resilient we become.
The key when it comes to stress is identifying the good stuff from the bad stuff.
I want you to imagine that you have a stress container inside your stomach, stress flows into that container. We know sources of stress can come in many forms such as physical stress, work stress, kids, late nights, binge drinking, illicit drug use, lack of routine, poor diet and lack of exercise to name a few. Then we have emotional stress such as relationship problems, peer pressure and any acute life events and let’s not forget everyone’s current stressor COVID-19! We have a lot to contend with right!
I want you to start to think about what you can do to let this stress out. You need to understand your our own unique “stress signature”.
The thing that push us over the edge. Out stress signature is unique to us , just like out fingerprints. As human beings we are not designed to function well with high levels of stress over long periods of time.
Some people have bigger stress containers and can take on lots of stress and cope very well, while others have smaller containers and overflow quickly! Each one of us is different and so we need to think about how we can look after ourselves and recognise when good stress goes bad!
Protective factors for our mental health include being able to communicate, positive relationships, physical activity a sense of meaningfulness and accomplishment and nutrition. Are you putting in the right fuel for you to perform to the best of your ability both physically and mentally?
Understand your triggers and find ways that work for you, let that tap open, release that stress from your container.
Mental Health is not negative, we all have it like we do physical health so lets give it some attention, practice self care and focus on the good stress.
Blog provided by BMR Health & Wellbeing