Sweat, but not the small stuff

 

Stress is a normative condition. Without it, humans would not thrive or succeed in life.

The Sunday Times, 25 June 2017

Many of us will wake up in the morning wondering how we are going to get through the day. Maybe our kids are screaming because the bigger one punched the smaller one (according to the smaller one). It may be because we had a fight with our spouse (in which case you may be waking up on the couch), or we have no idea how we are going to pay the school fees this month.

While some people claim to be immune to stress, it is a normative condition. Without it, humans would not thrive or succeed in life. The amount of "stress" a person experiences is determined by the intensity of stressors, how long they experience the stress for, how our brains assess the seriousness of the threat and our innate coping abilities.

Intense and persistent stress overwhelms our bodies? response. At that point it leads to an array of emotional and physical illnesses. It is estimated that three out of four visits to doctors are due to stress-related problems.

Regular exercise is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and lower rates of depression and anxiety; yoga and meditation may also help, while sleep is essential to the maintenance of our mental health. These lifestyle choices help build up our ability to cope with daily stressors.

It has always intrigued me how some people thrive in the face of real adversity. At the same time, many of us battle just getting through the morning traffic.

But, as we start to understand how we can train our brains to cope better under stress, and build up our resilience, we should perhaps consider the wise words of Sir Winston Churchill: "When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life ? most of which had never happened".

- Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness

 

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