Understanding Your Stress Thresholds

chronic stress manage stress stress Jan 13, 2021

If you're anything like me, you're feeling a little tense and anxious this week after some of the turmoil of the past few weeks, and even beyond that to the fast past few months.  There's a lot going on here in the United States, with our society in general, our politics, and lots of different things.  I don't know if everybody realizes how much this impacts their own personal stress level, even if it's not something they're directly dealing with on a day to day.  Just hearing about it, hearing other people talk about it, watching it on the news, that all creates some sort of stress for us, and it's something we need to be aware of.

Today's topic is stress thresholds.  I want to talk to you about how you can be aware of, and maintain your threshold, so that you can approach your day from a place of calm, instead of starting out with stress.

The way this works is that each one of us has an internal threshold related to the amount of stress that we can handle and process at any given time. This threshold was created in us from our genetics, from our own personal background, or from the culture that we live in. It is something that is ingrained in us, it's the way that we are.

Based on what's happening to us, and around us, that's creating a stress response in our body, we might be living at or near this stress threshold at any given moment. Once we go across that threshold, we really start to see the negative effects of stress in our life, maybe that's with some mental issues, some physical health issues, the tension that you're having, and the way that you react in any given moment becomes harder to manage the closer we get to this threshold, and definitely when we get beyond the threshold.

Let's take an example from my life, I think that's the best way for me to give an example.  Every day I have certain things that caused me stress.  Of course, I'm not being chased by lions anymore, which is how our body was prepared to handle stress. Instead, we're dealing with things like work. Work becomes the first level of stress.

When I'm doing day to day tasks, like working on technology issues, and dealing with help desks and call centers, like I was yesterday, I had a lot of stress with nobody being able to help me, not being able to get a hold of somebody, and not having the equipment that we need at the clinic, to be able to help our patients.   That creates a lot of stress for me.

Additionally, there are things that I do on purpose to create stress. One of those is that I work out every day.  I go to hot yoga, which is quite an intense workout, and that creates a bit of stress for me, and stress on my body. There's obviously some benefit benefits to yoga that are mental and stress reducing, but there's more stress created than the benefits that I get, at least in the particular yoga class that I take.

Additionally, there's political stress going on with the impeachment, the protests, all of those types of things are on the news are creating some additional stress. Even though that's not right here in my backyard, or not affecting my job, or directly today impacting whether I live or die, that is something that is playing in the back of my mind that I'm worried about.  

Then, we'll add that I've started a new year's resolution with an elimination diet, and so I've really restricted my diet this month.  That adds a little bit more stress since I have to think more about what I'm eating.

And, let's say the kids get sick, that will add some more stress to my life. They're not sick, but it does add stress when something like that happens, as an example.

All these things start to add up and lead me to my stress threshold. Any one of the next things that might happen could put me over that stress threshold and cause me to start having some negative responses in my life.

For example, if I got in a car accident, that would jump myself stress level.  I would start to have stress because of that car accident and that would put me over my threshold.

At Purawell, our focus is helping you in a preventive way, combat this increasing stress that you have in your life, by starting your day with as little stress as possible.

I say starting your day because that's my preferred method of using the Purawell programs, it's not necessarily required. But for me, there's times that I even just wake up in the morning, from a dream that I've had, or from something that I've been worried about, and  I feel the tension and stress in my body.  So I like to start my day with Purawell, but the whole point is, we purposefully take actions to reduce stress and to reduce any stress in the moment, so that we're not always constantly creeping up against this threshold.

How can we do that?  We can do that with meditation, which is a way that some people reduce stress, or we can do it with general mindfulness. Rest is definitely good, and even relaxation.

But I want to talk about relaxation a little bit, because a lot of us scroll through social media, or watch television shows, because we think it's giving us relaxation. In fact, if you're watching shows that give your body a stress response, then your brain doesn't know the difference, whether this is really happening to you or whether it's happening to someone on TV, or whether it's real or whether it's fiction. We need to be really careful when we're intentionally taking rest and relaxation, to make sure that it's not something that's providing our bodies with a stress response. For a perfect example, we love adventure TV shows, Game of Thrones, Vikings, these type of shows that have, some violence and trauma.  With these, you find yourself watching the show, you're tense in the dramatic moments, you're afraid for what's going to happen to the character, or what's going to happen in a scene, and your whole body tenses up. That tension is a stress response that will add to our stress and move us closer to our stress threshold, because our brains don't know that that's not actually happening to us. It is important, at some points, to actually get some relaxation, that is different than watching something stressful on television, so keep that in mind.

The Purawell program, teaches your body how to relax.  When you start the program, at first, it's an audio program that helps you to relax, and it teaches you the steps to go through, so that you get comfortable with how you can relax, how you can be quiet, and how you can accept what's happening in your body. Gradually, you move through the program, through different levels, that teach you how to get that same level of relaxation without listening to the audio program. Once we've taught your body how to relax, or what relaxation feels like, then we teach your body how to relax without having the program to guide you.

Purawell is a type of guided meditation.  It's helping you be mindful of what's happening in your body, it's teaching you to rest and relax for 8-15 minutes a day. When you do this, it will lower the stress responses in your body.  It won't change your threshold, your threshold will remain the same, but it will negate some of the stressful things and move your stress level lower, so that your baseline where you're starting from each day is a little bit lower.   It gives you more space for the stressful things that might happen in your life.

I hope that this explanation was helpful. We get a lot of questions about what is Purawell and why does it work? Or what does it actually do?  I wanted to give you this explanation of why you might be interested in a program that helps to reduce your overall chronic stress in your body, so that when these other, one off, stressful things, like a car accident, or your kids being sick, or the political climate,  they don't cause you to spin out of control with a negative stress response.

If you have any more questions about how this works, or the effects of your threshold on your body, I'd love to answer those either in the comments below or in a future video.  Feel free to either shoot me a message, or drop a comment below.