Stress - the good, the bad, the ugly
Wherever you are in the world, you'll be experiencing the strangest of times. Even in New Zealand, where we were confident that life was getting back to normal, we've just headed back into restrictions.
I'd like to take this moment to talk a little about stress.
Stress in itself isn't a bad thing. It has for years helped us survive by triggering a fight or flight response. It's also a mechanism for growth. How many of us have experienced growth in body and/or mind as a result of a stressful situation?
However, if the stress is incredibly intense or prolonged, and if we don't give ourselves sufficient time to recover, stress can become a problem.
Stress can manifest itself in different ways in different people. We have different triggers and we have different ways of relieving our stress. We all process stress differently and this is down to our biology.
Whilst the overriding trigger for stress for many of us at the moment is lockdown or some level of restriction, it will be showing up in different ways. Do you recognise yourself in either of these examples?
Type A person goes into action when under stress. They like to get things done and may seem a little unemotional. This can be a good thing - until they don't take a break, when they can become irritable and blunt. The relief for them will come if they physically move (using that adrenaline) and have the opportunity to vent to someone.
Type B person doesn't like unexpected change. They are incredible with a clear task list and clear goal, but when things are uncertain and out of their control, they respond by going into overwhelm, find themselves unable to make decisions and start to lack motivation. The relief comes by stopping, breathing and making time to make a plan, as well as reminding themselves of the bigger goal.
It's a great advantage to be able to recognise what stress looks like for you, and to accept it's your biology that drives how it shows up. Whilst you can't change your biology, you can change how you respond to stress, and you can have strategies to deploy as and when you need to.
When you see someone else who is stressed, also remember it's their biology causing the symptoms, not a choice they make. By being aware and acknowledging we're all different, we can help eachother find ways of dealing with it and moving forward in these uncertain times.
If you would like to discover how you can best manage stress, or how you can help your organisation manage stress more effectively, contact me for more info on my personalised health programme or workplace wellness programme, both of which include epigenetic profiling - the clues are in your genes!