Using Stress (the right kind) To Build Resilience

Stress on the whole is a thing to be avoided. Stress activates the Sympathetic nervous system or the"fight, flight, freeze response"

Nature has designed this within us to basically save our lives in times of danger. The issue is that this system is activated all too often in our seeming more stressful lives. Continual stress as you know, can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, hardened arteries, diabetes and a multitude of relationship and psychological issues.

But there is a way to become more resilient.

You see, actually the right kind of stress can be good for us. This is what I call "Controlled stress as opposed to what I call "Shock stress"

Firstly let's discuss "Shock stress" this is the type of stress that can cause trauma or ptsd. Its when a situation hits an intensity of such a level of magnitude that you hadn't expected or been prepared for. It "Shocks" your nervous system in such a way that can cause severe trauma. This kind of "hard wires" into your central nervous system, leaving you even more prone to reacting to stress badly (btw, even this can be treated with Timeline Therapy)

Now "Controlled stress" This is a type of stress that you deliberately subject your body too. A simple example could be Running. Running stresses the muscular skeletal system, strengthening muscle, connective tissues and bones and if your determined enough and push yourself to achieve say a run up a tough hill at the end of your session, that will have stressed your resilience and your mental toughness.

One of the most intense and easily achieved "Controlled stresses" is cold water therapy.

The benefits of cold showers, baths, cold water swimming etc are now simply beyond doubt.

Apart from chemical changes within the body, especially the immune system and brain (which are still being researched), the change to the way we feel stress is greatly improved. It seems that the shock of Cold water therapy has a preparatory effect on the central nervous system. So that when you experience stress, the body and mind are more "primed" and "prepared" for it. The military use various types of "Controlled stress" when preparing soldiers for active service.

Start by turning the shower cooler / colder and then put it of Full cold for 12 seconds, control your breathing, deep breaths whilst doing it. I have to say always get the go-ahead from your health professional especially if you are in doubt about your health before taking on any strenuous activity.

Last thing, interestingly regular meditation also has been show to have a similar effect.

Two groups, one regular meditators and the other non meditators were hooked up to a machine to measure responses to stimuli, they were given a small burn on their arms. Both groups showed the same initial response. It hurt! But, here's the difference, the non meditation group took longer to recover from the pain / shock of the burn than the regular meditators!

I don't think this test has been tried on those people who take regular cold showers or cold water swimmers, but I'd be very surprised if the results were not like those of the regular meditators.

If your'e a bit crazy like me you may do both cold water therapy and meditation!

If you've found this article interesting please share it!


BTW Research the great Dutchman "Wim Hoff" for some further "cold" ideas.

8 views0 comments