Monday, June 15, 2009


Stress is a topic that comes up in almost every facet of wellness. There are different types of stress---and if you've taken one of my wellness courses online, you'll name them as eustress (good) and distress (bad). It's not that I don't agree with this explanation/description, but I think there's more to it.

Brendan Brazier, a professional iron man triathlete, categorizes stress into complementary, uncomplementary, and productive. Productive is the type I want to talk about today. So, remember when you were in school, and you would wait till the night before a due date to write a 10-page paper. You couldn't get started, and you probably even said you work better under pressure and that's why you waited so long to do the assignment. Even though in that case you were probably straddling the line between uncomplementary and productive stress, there was some truth to your method.

Stress can be mental or physical. When you work out (or in the case of our ancestors, when you were being chased by a bear), there can be one or both types of stress. When we have mental stress, it's not always as clear-cut. The mental stress might be the first step in the chain of events, but once it has started, if we don't regroup and make it productive.....we experience physical stress. Cortisol is released into the body, and this has damaging effects in both the short and long-term. In fact, Brazier believes that most diseases are the result of stress.

What should you do about it? Find outlets for your stress. Find ways to transmute your mental stress (uncomplementary) into productive outcomes. Define what is stressing you, identify whether or not you actually have control over it, and then if you don't----figure out how to let it go. You may still have to deal with the situation, but your reaction can be different.

Easier said than done, I know. But try. At the end of the day, the less stress you have (mental and physical), the better you sleep, the better you feel, the more likely you are to be productive the next day. Why not try?

No comments: