We chase our dreams so hard and never want to fail for our friends and teammates. All our passions, life events, encounters we have in person, electronic notifications, physical training, and even the speed at how we live is stress. Stress ebbs and flows, and individually they provide our bodies and minds with the stimulus to grow and improve.
For instance …As you repeat activities (walking) or practice (public speaking), your mind literally makes you better and faster at those activities. This is true for your profession, passion, and physical self. While we often see thoughtful health training that is reactive to stress, our emotional and professional lives don’t have the same advantage.
When one stress spikes
While these ebbs and flows individually provide growth through a cyclical process.
When an individual aspect of life is pegged at high stress without relief the body releases hormones and begins to physically respond (even if it is emotional / work stress). These physical reactions can lead to depression, anxiety, and long term illness.
When multiple life stresses are pegged at high
There is are moments, I have had them recently and previously, where multiple serious life areas become moderate to high stress. Not only are they at a higher level of stress, but due to events they are locked at these levels for a period. As a result, our bodies are now being exhausted with no rest. This is because the stress is total on the body is beyond what is sustainable without something being given up — and that area will be physical.
Using the numbered values, we can self evaluate where we are at this moment, simply by ranking these areas of our lives. Of course, add as many columns as you need to properly score. Using these 6 columns, our goal would be to stay at or below a total score of 12–14. We are purposefully looking to allow some areas to be low and if we have any “Crushing”, one would be enough.
As you see areas spike, be mindful to lower the stress in other areas where you can impact change. We can’t always remove grief or work stress so easily, but we can easily create more space for friends and passions. We can also modify our fitness training to be an outlet for stress vs. generating and contributing to our total stress at the moment.
Understanding Stress — your body as a bank account
Looking at this more… let’s imagine your body as full bank account, you feel good and go begin your day.
In the morning you have an enjoyable morning with your family, daughter, or just a couple great moments with strangers headed to the office. (+ to bank account, as this empathetic time and low stress allows you to add deposits)
The office work you crush — lots of intense meetings, some hard deadlines, plenty of emotion, ups and downs. (- to bank account, as this stress is straining your central nervous system heavily)
To the gym… hit a bunch of 85% or greater Dead lifts. (- to bank account, stress is stress)
Emergency work calls — life happens and so now you are on the phone for 2–3 hours with Australia (- to bank account)
You see the logic — stress is stress. Whether training, mental, or emotional it impacts your “bank account”. This accumulates and you can quickly get into default with your own bank account. This can lead to PHYSICAL health problems, such as inflammation, chronic disease, obesity, shortened lifespan, and more.
Stress is good, if smartly managed
You get stronger by layering on stress and through training that builds up the challenge. You have seen it often, you begin hiking up a trail on day one, and by day 30 that same trail feels like a far simpler trail. The trail didn’t change, you did. Same goes for our performance and impact at work — the greater the challenges the better we can handle bigger and complex ones. Unless we toss ourselves too early in a big pool, or we are so exhausted we can’t perform at our level.
How do you increase the size of your account?
By increasing your work capacity over time, and that means recovery practices and periodization.
STRESS = Physical stress (training, sports) + mental stress (work, family, $)
So, your body can be fully wore down and needing a reset due to mental stress, just as easily from physical stress. Here is a good visual showing how stress on the body with result results in being our best self.
of our stress and recovery cycle. In fact, my background of training hundreds of athletes has proven that cycling rest to reflect life events is AS important as how they perform in their physical training.
Here are habits to help those who are dealing with mental stress:
- Sleep — your body releases growth hormones when you sleep, they are free and your body wants to release them
- Go run, hike, walk, swim in a body of water, or workout in a class (if you aren’t physically working out 4x a week, you are missing out)
- Go DO. Fly a kite, paddleboard, learn to wakeboard, play frisbee with your kids, anything … do physical fun things you did as a kid. why not!
Here are habits to help those who are physically active and have mental stress:
- Take a rest day from heavy training, literally a zero physical activity day
- Take a half day off and use it to book something fun on your calendar
- Take a full rest day from the gym
- Book an AirBnB in a mountain cabin on a lake for $70 and just get out of your space for 24 hours
- Sleep, seriously that important, less than 7:30 basically has your skills = drunk driver
To see what is really giving you success and results, write down your complaints and how you feel in a journal. Then, as you begin these practices, see how you are progressing. If you are trending in a happier, healthier, less achy direction — KEEP GOING!
You deserve it
Here is your permission to go forward to make the time to recover, heal, grow, get strong, be more loving, and have the happiest life possible. Take the time, be selfish and then be selfless. Start with 15 minutes a day and grow these habits, it is your life and your one chance.
Love you all
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I am a father, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity veteran, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.