Basic Training:  Stress Management

If you’re tough enough to gut it out, welcome to the next few weeks of your life. Basic training is dedicated to tearing us down, understanding the causes which keep us from sustained wellness, and taking action to build us into a new creation – each of our own making.

We’re no 90-pound weaklings who get sand kicked in our faces. No fear here. We’re starting from ground zero: Stress.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Simply put, stress is your body’s chemical response to change. The change, or stressor, may be positive and your body responds accordingly. Your wedding, the birth of your child, a promotion, a surprise party, all these events are typically perceived as positive so you might not register these high on the stressor o’ life scale.

While positive, this is not entirely accurate and may be stress camouflaged depending on your role in the change event, your lens, and your disposition.

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Throw or Go Time

Yet, other changes may be negative, or perceived as negative, and cause the “fight or flight” response to the stressor. Your body, specifically the adrenal glands, releases many different hormones, including adrenaline, into your system as physiological and psychological protections to respond to the stressor. Your blood sugar elevates, pulse quickens and blood pressure rises. It’s “throw or go” time.

Acute stress like this is common and so is your physical reaction. This is your body’s survival system. It’s natural and usually lasts for a short while (a few minutes to a few days).

Depending on the change, a measure of stress actually enhances your focus on task execution and overall performance.

Life: A Terminal Cause

What are the causes of stress? Well, it’s life. No surprise. Here are the top 4 areas of stressors in our lives:

  1. Money
  2. Work
  3. Family
  4. Health

These key areas of life have an interdependence, a symbiotic relationship with each other.

If stressed about our financial lives, we are more inclined to make risky decisions in maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health (blow off annual doctor and dentist visits) as well as put added pressure on us to keep moving forward in work situations which might be wrong for us, increasing stress levels, as well as acting as a catalyst in ignoring or prioritizing our health.

Knowing we need our work to provide for our families and keep our heads above water financially, we spend more time in the office working more hours.

Over time, this perpetual cycle keeps us away from our families as well as tilts our internal stress-o-meter. We crest the productivity hilltop into unsustainability and plunge headlong into the chasm of physical, mental, social and spiritual problems caused by chronic stress.

Solving for Life

Stress management and positive coping strategies (or lack thereof) are at the core of personal wellness. It’s a root cause for which we need to solve. Getting the answers delivers skill to successfully navigate our lives in freedom, balance and with intention.

We will dive into the deep end of life on the road ahead. In basic training, we’ll explore all paths to first understand and then act. We will fight for balance and freedom.

We will win.

That’s enough for tonight. Tomorrow’s another light.

From one sojourner to another, all the best.

Photo Credits:  All images Creative Commons (CC0) via Pixabay