Life is complicated. Stress management shouldn’t be.
Do you experience more stress than the average person? Are you overly sensitive to external stimuli. Chances are, there is nothing wrong with you or your coping strategies.
Brain scans show that HSP’s have “heightened activity in empathy-related brain regions” including the anterior insula (insular cortex), highlighted in the brain scan below.
The intensified response of highly sensitive people (HSP) to stress is not a choice – it’s biological. HSP brains are wired differently than the average person. This fact has been clearly supported by scientific research.
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
The main challenge for most HSP’s is to acknowledge their heightened emotional sensitivity, understand their unique emotional needs, and finally to employ distinctive strategies for coping with stress. Helpful websites and resources below –
Each time we feel threatened (threat is the fundamental definition of stress) our first instinct is to “fight or flight“. PUFF UP or Shrink.
This perpetual “fight or flight” response loop eventually creates a host of secondary problems, above and beyond, the original stressor (or oppressor).
It does not matter how we attempt to “control” a stressful situation – physically, verbally, or by running away from it.
Eventually, a repetitive “fight or flight” response cycle will take a significant physical and psychological toll.
The mantra Stand Your Sacred Ground reminds us that the many strengths within us will always be greater than the perceived threats (stress) outside of us.
The mantra Stand Your Sacred Ground inspires us to stand still, take a deep breath, and trust that being yourself is enough.
Simply holding your own ground is enough.
No fight. No flight. No Fear. Only love.
This post was inspired by a stressful situation that I couldn’t let go of, long beyond its solution. No matter how hard I tried. Day in day out. The worry would reappear. Then someone close to me suggested “I shed the stress”. And a lightbulb went off. Each time the repetitive thought appeared, I imagined a tree shedding its leaves. A golden leaf for every anxious thought. This visualization process made all the difference. And so did writing about it. 📝💫
What would you say good-bye to?
Once and for all.
It could be an emotion. Or a thought.
A relationship. Or a job.
A place or a thing.
Stress management is a shedding process, not an acquisition project.
Let go of what holds you back.
Let go of what keeps you down.
It could be a mindset. Or a memory.
A situation. Or an attitude.
Write it down. Shout it out.
Stress management is a shedding process, not a holding pattern.
Release it to the universe.
Declare your freedom.
Vow to move on and beyond.
Once and for all.
Stress management is a shedding process, not an endurance test.
Related Post: You Hold the Key.
Recently, a fellow blogger asked an excellent question regarding tipping points and stress response.
They were curious to know if each of us has a tipping point when it comes to stress management.
And if so, how does it differ from person to person.
I love questions like this because they encourage me to dig deep, reflect, and imagine new ways of perceiving stress.
Tipping points and thresholds are often used synonymously in the literature. Especially when discussing economic, historical, and ecological phenomenon.
That said, there is a clear distinction between thresholds and tipping points in psychological applications.
Thresholds are more individual (unique to each person), while tipping points are more universal (shared by the majority).
Which is why I see each person’s stress response as more of a stress threshold than a tipping point.
See diagram above to help understand how thresholds affect your individual stress response. This graphic also depicts why a certain level of stress (below threshold) can be good for you.
In addition to overall stress response patterns, thresholds differ from one situation to the next.
Situational fluctuations in thresholds reflect our strengths, challenges, and personal preferences.
We may be good at some things, but we are not great at everything.
Finally, I believe that our ability to cope and thrive under pressure is a lifelong practice. Something that is never mastered – only strengthened.
And the more we learn about life and ourselves, the higher our thresholds will become. As the majority of our stress is beating ourselves up – long after the stressor is gone.
Related Post: Thriving Under Pressure
So much wisdom in this post. Originally published by Jenna on her blog “the wishing well“. Jenna is a gifted writer who seamlessly combines the struggles of mental health problems with the profound life lessons they create. I continue to be inspired by her writing. I hope you are too!