How our minds and bodies react to the demands of our everyday lives is directly proportional to what we expose it to on a daily basis.
We all have shit going on, pressures to deal with, obligations taking up all our time, but where we differ is that we all have different ways of coping with it all.
I call this my 'Mental Robustness' Model, and it's quiet simple really;
Mental Robustness = 'Our ability to handle the demands of our external and internal environment'
So what does this actually mean???
Stress only comes to fruition in our minds & bodies after an event has triggered an emotional response in us. Example, our boss comes in and yells at us for doing something wrong at work (External Environmental Cue), after he leaves we start to mull on what's just happened and we then start to create a story around what it all means, 'I always muck up at work', 'I'm a failure', 'I can never do anything right' etc etc, this is a hard negative thought process to get off of once we are on it, and it's in this heightened state that stress is formed (Internal Environmental Cues).
Stress is not created in the event itself, it's created in the subsequent story that is formed after the event has occurred. (read that last sentence again)
That sentence right here is one of the most powerful things we can read, learn and understand, and once we truly get this, we can start to make stress our friend!
Knowing this process has changed my life!
I've had a crazy few years, the Rona has not been kind to me or my family (like many of us) by any means, in fact I would say that it's been some of the most challenging periods of my life hands down...... But what has saved me (mentally, physically & spiritually) has been my ability to not crumble under the pressures and keep focus on the goals and tasks at hand, and I directly attribute it to my daily practices and exposures to stressful things and out of mind practices.
How is this so?
When we do hard, stressful shit each and every day (that's safe and healthy) we build a tolerance to future 'stressful' events when they inevitably show up (because they will) and our ability to de-regulate the system after these events improves exponentially.
It sounds so counterintuitive but doing hard shit gets us out of our head and makes us focus on whats happening to the body rather than the stories we are creating in the mind during stress, and it's in these detached states where the real magic for stress reduction occurs.
This skill is one of the biggest takeaways I can give you from working with professional athletes, it's not their skill level of their sport that makes them great, it's their ability to handle failure, stress & fear, and not let it influence their future decision making or their next job that sets them apart from the rest of us mere mortals.
But not all is lost for us in the real world, these skill sets and coping mechanisms can all be learnt, but and it's a big BUT, it is not an easy process by any means, it requires us to explore experiences and modalities outside of our comfortable zone and this is a scary place (understandably) which is why we shy away from it all, but once we explore this side of our lives and do it consistently enough our bodies and minds will thank us for it, that much I can promise you!
So what can you do? Below is a list of my go to practices that I will be elaborating on in grater detail as we head on this journey
- Cold Exposure
- Heat Exposure
- Hypoxic Exposure (O2 Depriving)
- Prolonged Water Only Fasting (48hrs+)
What do all of these modalities and experiences have in common???
They are all practices that in some way or form get us out of our heads and to solely focus on what our body is experiencing!
It's in this space of detachment, experience and focus where we can build our robustness and resiliency to stress.
Before I go, I have once question for you to ponder on.....
How Much Discomfort Do You Seek On A Daily Basis?
and remember, there is a direct relationship to what we expose ourselves to on a daily basis and our stress response system.
We have all the tools needed to become the best version of ourselves, we just don't know it yet!
Until Next Time,