Stress is good and all part of the growing process but dis-stress is bad and actually stops our growth in its tracks. How do we know the difference? How can we tell when we’ve pushed too far out of our comfort zone?
The key is awareness. Start to pay attention to signs that you are getting close to dis-stress. For me I grind my teeth, and as soon as I notice I’m doing it I stop and ask myself “what’s stressing me now?”. For some people they might get stiffness in their shoulders or necks and for some people they might get stiff ankles – yes really! You see your reptilian brain tenses up all the muscles at the back of the body to prepare for flight, and stiffness in your achilles tendon is a classic stress symptom.
Some people find their mood changes, they start to become very critical or negative, that’s a sure sign the reptilian brain is trying to prevent you from changing. You can also become forgetful or totally engrossed in some tiny detail that just HAS to be right. Again, classic delaying tactics from that little reptile!
Some days you will be able to take much more stress than others. There’s no point in beating yourself up on days when you stress threshold is low, just go with the flow, back off a bit and do something on your list that is much easier.
Its exactly like being in the gym. It has to hurt a bit for it to work, for you to get results. And some days you can work much harder than others. But if you keep pushing till it hurts too much you may injure yourself and have to stop completely and all your progress is lost!
As you learn to practice awareness you will start to notice these little things before they create you any big problems and really slow you down. Sometimes stopping and doing something else for a while is the quickest way to get the result you’re looking for rather than pushing ahead when your system is begging you for mercy!