“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. Training your brain to manage stress won’t just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.” – Amy Morin
How many of you have ever heard the statement, “you need to remain calm in a demanding situation?” Have you ever been able to truly achieve a level of calmness in a stressful demanding situation? Me neither.
The truth is that in a demanding situation our body activates a stress level without us even thinking about it; a true psychological reflex. Basically, it’s doing this so we can be poised to meet the demands of the situation. However, most of us struggle with controlling it and we quickly become abused and debilitated by the stress.
Research has shown that the right amount of stress will actually improve our ability to stay focused, more alert, heightens our five senses, and mobilizes strength and power to areas we need to meet the demand of the situation. This moderate level of stress actually improves our performance in stressful situations and even taking tests.
However, research also shows that our performance in meeting a demanding situation is greatly hindered when we are calm and virtually oblivious to the effects of the situation.
Too high of a stress level begins to breaks us down, immobilizing or freezing the body, leaving us dazed and confused, and reactive to the situation. Pretty much what happens is that blood flow stops going to the executive functioning in our brains and we are merely reduced to an animal or a caveperson. At that point, we are truly being abused and debilitated by our stress level.
Therefore, the next time you are facing a demanding situation, just remember you need to CONTROL AND USE the stress and NOT BE ABUSED AND DEBILITATED by it.
If you are not experiencing any stress you do not have the necessary energy and power needed to meet the demands. Virtually you may appear bored, tired, or unmotivated. You need to use your psychological skills to ratchet up stress to get into the sweet spot of moderate stress.
If you begin to be abused and debilitated by the high level stress, simply disconnect from what is stressing you by taking a break, then using your psychological coping skills and reduce the level of stress until you begin to get back into that sweet spot where your performance increases.
What is important to understand is that our heroes or those that appear calm under pressure are not actually feeling a sense of inner calmness, but rather are CONTROLLING AND USING the stress level to perform and face the situation. They seem to refuse to ever be ABUSED AND DEBILITATED by stress!
Learning to manage and deal with stress is a vital aspect to having a productive, happy, and healthy life! If you are struggling with stress, then it is time you reach out and learn to turn the tables on stress by USING and CONTROLLING it. Or, keep doing what you are doing and continue to be ABUSED and DEBILITATED by it!
The choice is always yours!
Chris Swenson is a licensed therapist currently helping others deal with the stress of life at his private practice counseling office here in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796