Stress Bucket – Overflowing?
Stress is a good thing. Fuelled by adrenalin it is designed to give us energy. Helping focus it moves us forward. But it needs to remain at a manageable level. When stress levels are too high everything goes haywire, all feels too much. If too low, energy drops, focus dims, drive dives.
The answer to maintaining a functional level? Keep an eye on your stress bucket.
Within all is a bucket perfectly designed to contain accumulative stress. Tucked away in the background this bucket silently fills. All is well until the stress level reaches the top of the bucket. Then even a single rain drop hitting the surface sets chaos loose. Coping mechanisms go out the window. Super stressed everything intensifies affecting Well-Being.
Biologically designed to survive this bucket plays a major part in our ability to rise to danger by fighting or fleeing. This inbuilt mechanism sets into action whenever we perceive any kind of danger, real or imagined. The stress hormone cortisol floods the system triggering adrenalin. Giving us energy, clarity of thought, focused attention. We know what we need to do. Fight or flee. Once out of danger the body/mind relaxes and adrenalin drains from the system. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, for many due to the challenging times of COVID19 this survival mechanism designed to go ‘on’ and ‘off’ when needed is stuck on ‘on’. Buckets over flow. Stress levels soar as excess adrenalin floods the system. The body tenses. The mind races. Spirit despairs overpowered by a biological urge to fight or flee. We are on adrenalin overload in a battle which feels we can’t win nor get away.
Which is why it is so important, just as important as social distancing or washing hands, to actively empty our stress bucket on a daily basis. Helping maintain our ability to cope.
So how do we empty the bucket? Maintain peace of mind, support Well-Being in these unprecedented times?
By doing what feels good (causing no harm to yourself or to others). Whether it be getting lost in a novel or writing one. Listening to music. Exercising. Being in nature. Dusting off past skills and talents. Anything which brings a smile to your face triggers a reaction of serotonin and dopamine. Working together these two neurotransmitters uplift us strengthening coping ability. As adrenalin levels drop hope refills. When we feel better – we manage better.
When at the mercy of something beyond your control. Control what you can. Chose daily activities which make you smile. Doing something which feels good feeds you on a creative level. Using imagination in a positive way slows the pace of the mind. Remember we are not without inner resources and when stress levels are lowered we are reminded to wear our coping glasses. A more balanced perspective taps into our ability to manage well. A reminder that we are stronger than what we fear.