Adaptation To Stress

Stress – just seeing that word incurs a spectrum of feelings – from tension building up in our bodies to shallow breathing, and in extreme cases feelings of anxiousness.  For many, the dream of a happy life is a life without stress.  However, as amazing that sounds, that is not realistic.  Stress is an important aspect of our lives, and without it our bodies would not function properly.  You may be thinking, “Please tell me that isn’t so!”  I wish I could, however, it is true. So, if we cannot eliminate stress from our lives, I figure a good approach is to find a way to adapt to stress.

Different Forms of Stress

Stress manifests in different forms and can be negative or positive.  Negative stress is any type of energy or situation that brings up fear, anxiety, or uncomfortable symptoms.   Negative stress manifests as problems at work, financial pressures, debt, time management, familial issues and other challenges.   Positive stress manifests as a job promotion, buying a house, finding one’s life purpose, and other uplifting changes in our lives.   We have a very hard time dealing with changes whether they are good or bad because it takes time to get accustomed to the change.

The Importance of Stress

So why is stress important?  Stress plays an important role in being a good motivator for us to get up and do things.   Most of us need a little incentive or need at least something that pushes us.  That is why when someone holds us accountable for something that we want to accomplish we more often than not get it done.  Even all the way down to a cellular level, our cellular membranes require stress and tension in order to function properly.   Without the adequate amount of tension on the membranes, the cell does not know what to do.

Dealing with Stress

Some of us think we are good at dealing with or managing stress, but are we really doing so or are we just fooling ourselves?  When I was growing up, I loved to wait until the very last minute to study for a big test or to write a term paper.  The urgency and stress of not wanting to fail was my way of getting motivated to study or write the paper.  Some do not function the way I do and yet others can fully relate.  However, the way we deal with our stress and ultimately, the way we perceive stress determines the quality of life that we live.  Some people will use alcohol or a smoke break to help relieve some of the pressures of stress that they experience.  Others will work out constantly or feel the need to run to burn off the stress they feel.  On the extreme side, some may experience different health crisis that may be very painful, irritating, and sometimes even debilitating.

So how do we learn to adapt to stress?

All of us experience stress differently.  That’s why you’ll see that when one tries to advise another on how to manage their stress, it often times falls on deaf ears – the reason being is that no one knows how another person perceives or experiences their stress.  So, the first step to better adapt to stress, is to become aware of how stress impacts you and your body.  Self recognition is key in understanding what your threshold is, and how you deal with stress.  The second step is to acknowledge how the stress is impacting you.  Once you can acknowledge how stress is affecting you, you can then take action.

There are many methods to stress management – from consistent exercise, meditation, breathing, and seeking outside assistance.  Find your own personal way that you can best adapt to stress, because certain strategies may work for others and not for you.  Remember, you are a unique individual, and only by truly knowing yourself will you be able to lead yourself in the right direction.