Let me share a story that will help you to understand this completely. Imagine that you volunteer for a study. Upon arrival, you are hooked up to monitors for your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. You are asked to sign a liability release waiver. You are then asked if you want to make any last phone calls because one of the risks is death. Upon entering the next room, you notice that all of the windows are welded shut with metal bars. You have no way of getting out. In the corner of the room, there’s a steel cage that you can’t see inside of. You do, however, hear loud growls and snarls coming from the cage. The cage begins to shake. Whatever is inside of it wants out NOW.
At first, you are comforted by the words of the researchers who assured you that the animal cannot get out of the cage. Shortly after this, an announcement comes over the speaker informing you that in sixty seconds they will be releasing the animal by remotely opening the cage door. “Stay calm,” he says over the loudspeakers. He then says that to be fair, he wants you to know what is in the cage, and announces that it is a 1500 pound, 10 foot tall Kodiak Grizzly Bear.
Stop! What do you think your heart rate is doing? How about your blood pressure? Your breathing rate? Yes, you guessed it, they all are skyrocketing UPWARDS. The researchers didn’t let the bear loose of course and the study is now over.
I love this story because it reveals so many things about stress. First, it shows us that mental stress is real, and your physical body responds in all emergencies, whether they are perceived or real. Second, it shows us that genetics have nothing to do with your stress response. You can no longer blame your genetics for most of your physical health issues. Finally, it demonstrates that we all need solutions to the metaphorical ‘Grizzly Bears’ in our lives. Whether they exist in our relationships, home life, work life or financial life.
If you want solutions to help your group better manage stress, click the link to the right (or below if you are on a mobile device) to schedule your brief introductory call with one of our team members if you haven’t yet! We look forward to serving you!