In honor of Mental Health Month, welcome to our four-part series on stress hosted by Guest Stress Specialist Russell Semon. Russell will explore four key questions about stress over the next two weeks:
Part 1: What is Stress?
Part 2: How does your body respond to Stress? (Physiology)
Part 3: What role does your mind play in responding to Stress? (Belief / Perception)
Part 4: Is it possible to live a Stress-Free life?
We start today with “What is Stress?” We don’t want to just talk about stress, we want you to understand your stress and resilience and be equipped with resources. Russell is giving away 25 free Cerny Smith Assessments that include the test and a follow-up meeting with him. You can read about the CSA here and enter below. Now, on to today’s article!
What do fidget spinners, squeeze balls, or other sensory toys, have in common? They were all designed with the intention of reducing a person’s nervous energy or stress by distraction or re-focusing your attention. At the height of their popularity, our family bought into the fidget spinner craze, but it was short lived. I personally found the spinners to be too distracting, so I went back to the squeeze ball in my office desk drawer. Maybe you require a more sophisticated response to your stress: aromatherapy, a light box, weighted blanket, a white noise machine, meditation, or inspirational messages. What works for you?
Now you’re probably thinking, you wished managing your stress was as easy as a fidget spinner or stress ball, and I agree. If you are able to employ simple techniques or tools effectively to adapt to or successfully manage your stress, then your personal resources are sufficient to meet the demands you are facing. The continuum of stressful events spans a wide variety of challenges in life from those that are within our capacity to respond, to those that overwhelm and deplete our personal reserves. Conflict in relationships, natural disasters, isolation, water or electricity inconsistencies, crime and corruption, unmet expectations, loss, failure, day to day challenges, or illnesses, are just a few of the many challenges in life that draw from our physiological, emotional, mental, or spiritual reserves and require more than a fidget spinner to resolve.
So what is stress? I like the engineering definition of stress.
Stress = P/A
where P is load in pounds and A is area in square inches; thus, Stress = pounds/square inch. I’m a counselor, so humor me a bit, I’m sure an engineer might take me to task over my use of this formula. But this is how I relate to it; my thoughts, emotions, beliefs (spirituality), and my physical body have a certain finite capacity (Area) to hold or manage the “weight” (load) presented by the life challenges described above.
The strength of my capacity or area (resiliency) can compensate for the weight or load placed on it, but only within certain conditions. For instance, the force with which the weight is applied, the amount of weight, how long the weight remains, and/or the distribution of the weight across the entire area will influence my resiliency. I hope you’re following the analogy!
Stress is equal to the weight or “load” of life challenges, divided by our personal capacity or “area.”
Aren’t you thankful though, that;
We don’t have to carry the weight alone? (Matthew 11:28-30)
We can turn our burdens over to God? (Psalm 55:22)
We don’t have to rely on our own strength? (Isaiah 40:28-31) and
That God’s Grace is sufficient? (2 Corinthians 12:9)
For today, remember that your thoughts, emotions, beliefs (spirituality) and your physical body have a certain finite capacity to hold or manage the “weight” presented by the life challenges described above. In the next article, we’ll move away from the engineering analogy to consider how our bodies respond to stress and what happens when stress exceeds our capacity.
Leave a comment on today’s post and you’ll be entered to win one of the FIVE CSA’s available today. Winners from this post have been drawn and notified … but have no fear, you still have three opportunities to win a CSA. Go to https://globaltrellis.com/articles/ for the latest article in this series and you can comment there and be entered to win!
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