How much stress is too much stress? So far we have learned that stress can be a good thing to help us narrow our focus on what we're doing. Stress causes our brains to drop neurochemicals into our bodies to help us move faster and stronger, speed up our heart rates to pump blood into our system, and heighten our senses. These can be effective side effects to experiencing stress especially in a performance moment.
When we're not in a performance moment, do we still have a positive relationship with stress? If we're being honest, most of us try to avoid stress. We find ways to escape the stress, and countdown the minutes until we can leave the places that we believe causes the stress. We find outlets to get away from the stress and make us forget about it for a while. Prolonged stress over time can even be detrimental to our health.
As we learned, a major factor in how detrimental stress can be is our relationship to it. If we believe stress is a negative factor in our lives and do everything we can to avoid it, then stress will be harmful. If we learn how to be with stress and use it as a gauge to tune into our mind and body, then we can choose how we respond to it. The way we respond to stress is completely within our control. By choosing to notice when we experience stress, then shifting our mindset to one of learning from stress rather than avoiding it, it will help us grow and progress.
Try using this framework when we experience stress -
Notice - Notice when we're experiencing stress. It may that our heart rate is going up, our temperature is rising, we're getting sweaty, etc.
Choose - Choose how we want to respond to this moment. Do we want to lean into the moment, get away from it, get excited about it, or simply endure it. The power comes in choosing how we want to handle the situation compared to allowing the situation to dictate what we do.
For some insight into being with stress check out this article from mindful.org