Whenever I begin a class in stress management I always ask this question to my students. “Define the word stress”? Invariably the responses are 95% negative. Doing damage to how we define terms such as stress, diet, psychosomatic, etc is my first line of defense. Stress is….the physiological and psychological responses to demands (pressure) placed on the body. Stress is necessary if we are to stay alive. Stress works to keep us alert and alive. In pre cultural times stress allowed humans to run away or fight the enemy. Stress allowed humanity to evolve, grow, and create coping mechanisms to assist the body to return to a homeostatic balance. We no longer need to worry about getting eaten by a bear but we all still operate most of the time as if the threat is still there…we live in our sympathetic nervous system: Pupils dilate, digestion stops, respiration increases, heart rate goes up, blood races to our extremities…. adrenaline and cortisol are secreted into the bloodstream to help us react to the perceived stressor all- the fight or flight response. We can harness the stress response in a number of ways starting with perceptions, understanding, and tools to help manage the stressful event. There is the stressor – Stress can be a eustressor (positive source of stress yielding intended results or stress can become a distressor (yielding unwanted results and negative consequences). Stress is necessary to move from one state of being to the next. A functional comparison is when we lift weights we gain strength by overloading or stressing the muscle tissue. The same can be said about stress.
For example, in a skating competition: Too much stress and we over rotate – crash! Too much anxiety – pop! What is the right amount of stress for you to be able to perform optimally? Join me in this blog for more information and stay tuned for some actual coursework designed specially for skaters’ performance enhancement. Since everyone is unique - there is no ONE formula for every athlete as our reactions to stress are concomitant with our belief systems, culture, history, and health. Harness your stress and put it to work for you to get to the next level! One fun way to begin looking at your stress levels is to wear a simple biodot all day and notice when the color changes. Biodots are skin thermometers consisting of small circles of micro-encapsulated liquid crystals of a thermal range, gauged to the variance of skin temperature.
Here is the site I purchase my biodots from https://biodots.net/
Here is an article that concisely explains the role of cortisol on the body. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1