January 26

Good Stress, Bad Stress


Make a list of everything today that could, or will definitely, cause you stress.

This may be home schooling your children, something at work, money worries, health concerns, or even all of those things.

Think of yourself as a camel, carrying a load of straw.

Each one of your stresses, adds to that load.

Allostatic load is the term for the wear and tear on the body and brain caused by chronic exposure to stress.

So, we need to be aware of our load, before we start adding to it.

You may have loads of stresses and responsibilities already.

You then add worries that you are out of shape;

Worries about your body image;

Worries about your health.

Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Upside Of Stress, talks about how our perception of our stress makes a difference to how we handle it.

This is definitely true, if we view the stress as good and useful, it can often help us to perform.

But, we do need to be aware that there is good and bad stress.

Good stress can help you get stronger, pushing you out of your comfort zone.

It doesn’t last too long, inspires you to take action and builds you up.

Bad stress lasts too long, is chronic and ongoing.

It demotivates you, breaks you down, paralyses you.

Good stress can turn into bad stress, when we take it too far:

Good stress could be the right amount of working out for you.

Bad stress could be doing too much and overtraining.

Good stress could be eating better.

Bad stress could be eating too little and being too strict.

These things will impact on your body and mind.

Allostatic overload is the term for when our systems can no longer adapt to manage the stress.

Be aware of how well the stressor matches your ability to recover from it and what your exact recovery zone is.

This will depend on a number of factors such as your age, your resilience, how well you cope and importantly, what else is going on in your life.

So before you take on new tasks, new goals, new workloads, you need to ask yourself;

What are you already dealing with?

How can you balance the demands without burning out?

This is why we tackle one thing at a time.

Take a look at your list.

I bet it is massive.

You already have a lot of stuff going on.

You have to be careful how much more straw you add to that camel’s back.

Would it be better to do less and be able to recover?


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