I read a very interesting article from Dr. Deepak Chopra on LinkedIn titled The Conscious Lifestyle: Facing Your Stress. Since stress is a subject close to my heart (no pun intended), I found it very interesting and wanted to share it here as a personal development item.
Dr. Deepak makes two important points: 1. Stress isn't good for you. 2. The vast majority of people do not deal with their stress effectively. Well, welcome to the club. While each of us is structuring a unique response to stress (there are people with high tolerances for stress and people with low tolerance), if you put soldiers under the high stress of battle, eventually all of them will become shell-shocked unless they are given time away from the front lines: The hormones released in the body's stress response are meant to be temporary. Their effect is to galvanize the fight-or-flight response, which is triggered in a primitive area of the brain. In the stress response, a privileged pathway is opened for dealing with emergencies, while at the same time the brain's higher responses are temporarily suppressed.
No one can healthily sustain the heightened alertness, quick burst of energy, rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and other marks of the fight-or-flight response. Physically, the hormone rush must come to an end, leading to the opposite state - you become drowsy, lose energy, and have a hard time remaining alert and focused. When you are under stress, your mind closes down as an act of self-defense. Stress contributes to hypertension and coronary artery disease, along with susceptibility to infections, insomnia, and much else.
Don't try to make stress your ally, either by toughing it out or turning your back on the problem. Highly competitive people, who boast that they thrive on stress, are living in a fantasy world when you consider the potential for damage to their bodies. The conscious choice is to recognize that modern life is a battleground of low-level stress, sometimes peaking into high stress, that will have a damaging effect over time unless you deal with everyday stressors in a consistent, effective way. I can't wait for the next posts about the best ways to manage stress...