“it can be enormously stressful to construct a world in which nothing stressful ever happens” – robert sapolsky
I imagine this looks like an oxymoron, right?
I mean, how can one consider not having stress and yet be feeling stressed about that?
Well, it really depends on your immediate thoughts on what ‘stress’ is.
The word stress is divided into two sub headings; Distress, and Eustress.
Distress I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain.
But if the bucket is overflowing with distress (current and past clients will be aware of my ‘brain as a bucket’ metaphor), then how can you possibly fit more stress in if you’re brimming with issues already, even if it is good for you?
After all, stress of any kind requires energy, and we only have so much energy to take us through any 24 hour stretch. And energy conservation is high on the list of human beings for, after all, who knows when that hungry lion might turn up!
During distress, your amygdala (the fight/flight/fear part of your brain) is in a more active state, and is predicting possible negative scenarios (ooooh, the lion seems to be eyeing me up as a possible main course, I’d best take flight), where during eustress (take the same running away scenario, but this time remove the lion – e.g. you are just ‘going out for a run’), the amygdala is less aroused and causes less anxiety due to less negative prediction (no lion = no tasty 2-legged meal).
Often clients say to me further down into their time of treatment “I’m doing more now that when I first came to see you, but I’m feeling less stressed”.
No surprise then that they have created some space by reducing or even removing those negatively stressful events or people that they have been suffering with, added in more challenging efforts that they would like in their lives, and opening the door to new, positive, and exciting experiences for their future.