At Mental Wellbeing in Schools, we show people how their stress-response harms their ability to thrive and enjoy life.
When we are stressed, we lose our ability to connect with others, do our job to a high standard, enjoy our partner, or feel alive and like ourselves. So, to get these things back in our life, we have to see where our stress is coming from....the actual answer might surprise you.
Now, most people would say that they aren’t “stressed”. However, when I say “stressed”, I don’t mean somebody who is screaming or uncontrollably crying in the corner. I mean somebody who is constantly busy mentally - somebody who is managing their life.
Essentially, this is every human on the planet past the ages of 6 or 7 years old.
So, where does stress come from?
If you'd have asked me 4 years ago, I'd have given you a long list. My parents, my job, my students, my fiancé, my bank account, my busy life, etc. As a society, we talk about stress as something that comes to us, that finds us.
However, this isn't the case. We innocently and unknowingly generate every experience that we ever have. We do this via our mind.
Our mind creates the mental experiences that we have and the feelings that we get from this. So no human being experiences an accurate version of reality, they experience how their mind creates reality. This is why we all experience and react differently to life.
Stress occurs when feel threatened. When we experience a perceived threat such as, "How am I going to pay my credit card this month?" Or, "is my husband really that stupid?" We set off a huge bio-chemical change that has a big impact on how we operate in life.
So, how does it all work?
Every morning, most people will have accidentally activated their stress-response by the time they wake up and get out of bed. When activated, the stress-response is incredibly powerful, it increases our strength, stamina, speed and sharpens our senses.
However, when over-activated, it starts to harm our psychological and physical health. It alters the bio-chemistry and behaviour of our cells. We experience a huge release of hormones such as Adrenaline, Cortisol and Noradrenaline, which affects our organs and over-activates our inflammatory system. This can cause a whole host of problems from migraines, skin complaints, asthma, anxiety, depression, over-analysis, IBS, Fibromyalgia, etc. Over-activation of the stress-response also has a huge impact on our feelings, perceptions and behaviour.
The stress-response is so powerful, it should only be activated for a maximum of 30 minutes in a 72 hour period. After that, it is damaging our body.
Yet, most people regularly activate this response from the ages of 6 or 7 years old. By the time we hit 16, we just don’t notice it anymore. We become conditioned to generally living in high levels of stress, so we need absolutely huge levels of stress for us to feel like we’re overwhelmed.
Preventing this over-activation of the stress-response is effortless and naturally occurs over time, but only if we look to consistently improve our understanding of how we are using our mind. As human beings, our fundamental problem is that we unknowingly and innocently create realities that are full of misunderstanding. If we can understand what we are doing and simply notice, we deactivate the stress-response and reset to feeling ourselves.
For a more detailed explanation of the stress-response, take a look at our ebook on our sister-site, Parently - www.parently.co.uk