In his response to Episode 30 on Friday, Mark suggested that the good stresses in life can keep us on track, and like an athlete pushing into the pain zone to get to the win, stress can keep us pushing into the gain zone.
The challenge is, our brain/body connection doesn’t differentiate between good stress/bad stress. To the amygdala, where pain first registers, the autonomic system response is immediate and ‘unthought’, triggering adrenaline and changes in our physiological responses and wellbeing.
Which means, stress is stress is stress. The important part is how we respond to stressors.
Take, for example, the noise workers made from 1 – 3 am this morning on the pedestrian bridge across the river not far from our home.
The pounding of pylons (or whatever they were doing) woke me up. And kept waking me up until the noise stopped at 3am.
I was not happy.
Today I’m tired. And grouchy.
There was little I could do about the noise at the time. I wasn’t prepared to go out in my pyjamas and yell at them to stop. And… as I discovered this morning when I called the city, it wouldn’t have made any difference! While there are bylaws prohibiting noise after 11pm and before 7am, as this is a city bridge and a city project, the bylaws don’t count.
How I handled my response in the middle of the night was important. Blocking the noise required earplugs and a conscious focus on my breathing. I eventually did get back to sleep. Interrupted sleep is not healthy as is not getting enough sleep. And, until I called the city to inquire about the bylaws and the obvious to me disregard for them, my grouchiness about it all wasn’t serving me well either.
As there isn’t anything I can do about the noise and the repairs to the bridge, my choice now is to find a way to accept the things I cannot change, and find a way to lower my mind’s need to go around in circles complaining about the injustice of it all.
Because… and here’s the big deal about it all – complaining and going in circles around something I can’t change adds stress to my daily life. And stress accelerates the aging process, especially if it’s unaddressed or long-term.
Which is why this week, instead of exploring Aging and Dreaming, I’ve chosen to dive into Aging and Stress.
To deal with stress, I must acknowledge it, face it and learn how best to cope with it.
For me, writing here, talking about the things that ‘bug’ me, identifying where I’m off-base and finding ways to deal with it that support and strengthen me, all help me age well – with grace and ease!
I do hope you share your stress-eliminating techniques, your thoughts on stress and your feelings about aging and stresses impact on your body, life, hopes and dreams.
You help make this conversation richer.
Video to come – maybe. Depends on if I take a nap or not! 🙂