Our outlook on finding the right balance and mindset to let stress help you rise to the occasion.
Stress has become such a natural thing in our lives, don’t you think? Just be honest with your inner mean girl for a second here, okay? When we hear a friend or colleague complaining about the stress they’re feeling, it’s usually met with an internal “well, yes, aren’t we all?”. Maybe it’s because everybody is complaining about being stressed, having a little chin wobble over it and then carrying on with business as usual.
This doesn’t make you an awful person (although a little self-reflection never hurt anybody). What it does mean, is that stress has become so normalized that complaining about it doesn’t really evoke any response. This is, as the global decline in overall mental health and the increase in burnout, anxiety and depression show, becoming glaringly dangerous.
Stress from the start
We aren’t scientists or anthropologists but we do know that understanding the original function of stress can shift your perception of how you choose to let stress into your life.
Stress is one of our most primal instincts. It is a modifying response to threatening situations. When we say modifying we mean that when stress enters the body, our behaviour adapts to react appropriately to the situation. Our behaviour is altered by a flood of chemicals and hormones to get us out of danger as quickly as possible.
Except, we’re not in danger all the time anymore.
Compared to the bloodbath that is human history, the majority of us live relatively safe lives. We rarely have to fend off animals far bigger than us and we don’t get sent into the trenches to fight for our Queen. What we’re experiencing in the modern-day, is prolonged exposure to stress in environments that don’t pose any mortal danger: our offices, homes and cities.
(If this made you feel a little existential, we have a blog about snapping out of it and embracing the world we live in)
It goes without saying that there are populations who experience tremendous physical danger and threats in their daily lives, that’s a given. However, the tigers our ancestors were used to encountering now take the form of bosses, high-strung colleagues and late credit card bills.
You see, our environment and society have changed faster than our biology has, meaning that our bodies still react the same way to stress whether the circumstance is a real threat or not.
What are some of the external factors that cause stress in the daily life of a modern person? With technology, the economy and increasingly pressurised social lives, it seems that stress is blasting from all angles:
- Health concerns
- Deadlines (erg)
- Family drama
- The pressure to succeed and achieve (socially and financially)
- Devices that always demand your attention
- Financial obligations (can we put this on the list ten times?)
- Option fatigue
Am I too stressed?
Today, burnout seems to be the end result of being too stressed and although burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, it can lead to serious bouts of depression and physical health issues. Some signs of burnout may include:
- Constantly worrying about work, especially when you’re not even at work.
- You sleep too little or too much
- Isolation from coworkers and friends
- Forgetfulness and a lack of concentration
- Negative thoughts about others and more importantly, yourself.
You should not rely on this blog as a replacement for professional mental health services, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns about your physical or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.
Finding the balance to beat the burnout
Here’s where we explore how you can find balance in your life by paying attention to how stress exists in your body, mind and finances. Taking control of your stress means facing it head-on and not treating it as the enemy. Stress is always going to be in our bodies – it is a natural response that doesn’t come about because we asked it to. What is going to make the difference, is how we re-wire our thoughts about stress and how we manage it.
We know, we know. Even thinking of finding the time to move your body makes you stress out but we’re here to tell you, that’s a mistake. You need to find time to get your blood pumping, even if it seems like you’re giving up precious time that could be used for finishing up loose ends at work or responding to emails. No! Even a small workout will help shed excess adrenaline and cortisol from the body, leaving you in a relaxed but energised state.
Movement is medicine and we couldn’t be more sure of that.
Face your finances. You are more likely to be stressed out about the ideas you have about the state of your finances than the actual facts and figures. This is the problem with modern-day stress – we assume the worst without doing the research.
Have a budget, have a savings account and have a backup plan. Most of us know the basics of money from a young age and understanding money is how we make it less scary. Work with compound interest, spend way less than you make and make the effort to use your money for something good and kind.
This is where the magic happens, we believe. Changing how you feel about stress is going to change how stress impacts your life and even your health.
When we feel under stress, we immediately retreat inwards and think of it as a negative situation. Imagine if every time you were stressed, you appreciate what your body was trying to do for you: help you rise to the occasion. Stress was never created to debilitate us and when we see stress as a tool instead of a hindrance, we may find the emotion takes less of a toll on our mental and physical health.
We found a fantastic TedTalk by Kelly McGonigal on How to Make Stress your Friend. Seriously, it’s worth a watch!
A word from WellBe&Co
Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves both physically and mentally.
Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.
The WellBe Team