Thursday, November 20, 2008
Stress is no stranger to any of us. We live in a world where hard work begets hard work and time has become a luxury we cannot afford. Successful business is about finding ways to do it better, faster, and cheaper. In this world, we are forced to react to adversity at every corner, and it takes forms we may or may not recognize. This is commonly known as the “rat race.” It is interesting to think of a rat running on a wheel that spins due to their own momentum and will only stop when they realize they control it.
Ironically, this is not unlike the situation we find ourselves in. We are caught up in our own vicious cycle of stress, and have not yet learned to control it. If we are to find lasting production, health, and wellness we need to become aware of the mechanisms causing our wheel to turn.
So how do we control the seemingly uncontrollable? The first step is realizing that we create our stress, and that stress is more than what you may perceive. I know what you are thinking? You have heard this before, right? If I meditate, do yoga, or express myself, I can reduce my stress and get out of the race. While these practices are important, stress is much more than popular culture leads us to believe. When we think of stress we think of some poor guy who is worried about paying his bill, upset at the fight he had with his wife, anxious about being in traffic, and jittery about his upcoming presentation at work. This is certainly a form of stress, but it is only a small piece of the pie.
Stress is a protective mechanism initiated by the body to regain homeostasis or balance. Balance is a state of non-stress. There are many things that throw us out of balance. Poor diet, lack of exercise, decreased sleep, caffeine, alcohol, negative thoughts, and dehydration are all things that will cause a negative reaction in our body. Some stresses that are short-lived and controlled like exercise may actually help us regain balance, while stress reactions that are extreme or persistent, usually lead to further imbalance. It is important to realize we can choose which type of stress we will experience, negative or positive.
We have control through our choices and perception.
In our effort to seek balance and therefore avoid a negative stress response, we need to understand stress is not merely something that happens to us. Believe it or not, stress is something we may choose and can exert influence over. Our bodies know what balance looks like. Every time we eat healthy, perceive the positive, exercise regularly, and sleep adequately our body releases biochemical messengers throughout the body that reset our system towards balance and away from imbalance or stress. We have all heard of these messengers; they are hormones. Some make us fat, some make us thin, some make us stressed, and some make us relaxed. Hormones are the keys that tell our bodies to react in a stressed out, unhealthy, overweight way, or to take a thinner more laid back approach to life. For many of us, our daily choices induce negative stress responses setting our vicious cycle in motion. We control these choices. LEARN MORE >>>