If there is one question you should consider today, it’s the title of the article and it’s one I ask myself a lot.
As a personal trainer, psychologist and general agony aunt (or I like to think so) to my friends, the one thing that all people I talk to on a daily basis have in common is that they are ALL stressed. Sorry, let me correct that, one thing WE all have in common, is that WE are all stressed (me included).
SO stressed that we don’t even know what it feels like to not be stressed. Imagine a day without stress. How would that make you feel? Stressed about not being stressed? If so, it’s as expected, and this is how the vicious cycle of stress begins…
So yes, the answer to my question is that being stressed HAS become the norm and this, if I may say so myself, is slightly worrying.
To start, let’s clear a few things up.
What is stress?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Stress is defined as follows:
A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Let’s break this definition down. For me, there are two things that stand out in this sentence. “Adverse” and “demanding”. From which we can deduct that initially stress breaks down into 2 types.
Stress caused by Adversity
Stress caused by demand
If we carried on looking up definitions of each word that we highlighted, we could come to a very clear conclusion as to what stress is as a general term. But as stress is so different for each of us and is triggered in various ways, this would just be a waste of our precious time.
Let’s start with Stress from adversity.
Now this one is quite interesting and is how, before modern society got the better of us, stress began. Richard Payne, spoke about natural stress responses in one of his recent posts, you can read it here. It’s a gooden.
This type of stress generates when stimuli from the environment are perceived to be a threat or potential threat. From this point onwards stress responses are initiated, with activation of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis and secretion of glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol and corticosterone).
Okay, so this isn’t very common and I hope that you never find yourselves in a situation like this but it can relate to certain everyday life experiences with the stress response lasting usually a short space of time (thankfully).
Here’s a very real example for you:
- You’re looking at your phone, whilst walking along the street (looking at very important email, not social media eek!) and all of a sudden you look up only to find the lamppost very very close to your nose (don’t laugh, you’ve done it too), heartrate shoots up and you react very quickly by moving away from the very dangerous (static may I point out) lamppost.
- Another great example to illustrate this would be finding that massive spider in your bath…if you’re not scared, it’s a lie. What your mum always told you about how much bigger you are than them, it was also a lie, those things are scary and stressful!
Anyway, you get the idea.
Moving on to the second type of stress – stress by demand
Life is SOOO very demanding. With work, a house to run, kids, pets, running errands, keeping up to date with banking and paying bills, getting the shopping, and on top of that, trying to stay active, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and being, well, just a good person.
If you calculate the time that it would take you to do all of these things on a daily basis, you would probably find that you were only left with a few hours to sleep, if any. It’s stressful and yes, you are superman/superwoman.
So you don’t sleep much, you’re hungry, you eat bad, you’re too tired to exercise, the kids are screaming and the dog is barking, you know that feeding them pizza again tonight is not great for their health but you are just too STRESSED to even consider opening that Deliciously Ella recipe book that you have been using as a wedge for your wonky table, that oh, you didn’t get round to fixing yet.
And hello vicious cycle of stress, you got us again. So, where do we break the cycle and how can we become less stressed?
Find out in part 2 of this blog but before you go…a little exercise for you to practice and I’ll reveal how we can use it for lower stress levels in the next blog…
Write a list of the things you did today and how long each thing took you.
If you’re struggling with stress and would like to see how exercise can help you manage it, then give us a call today or contact us via our contact page to book your 30 minute consultation.
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks