Stress yourself to grow yourself: Applying stress tests to your life

You need stress in your life to grow and evolve. Don’t avoid it.

There are two types of stress: acute and chronic.

Acute is the short-term good stress. Chronic is the long-term bad. Here we’re talking about the good kind. The kind you should have in your life.

When you think of stress it’s usually the chronic kind that springs to mind. Stress by definition is usually considered something you should avoid.

This is true of the (bad) chronic kind but in reality acute stress can help you in all kinds of ways.

  • Lifting weights stresses the muscle so it grows to become stronger
  • Running stresses the cardiovascular system to improve so it copes better next time
  • Speaking regularly to large groups of people stresses the nervous system in to developing a tolerance for it until the nerves become insignificant
  • Intermittent fasting stresses the body to clean out the bad cells that can otherwise cause damage
  • Developing new skills stresses the brain to make new cells and synaptic connections so it can apply new learnings quickly
  • Learning new information which conflict with your existing beliefs can cause cognitive dissonance stress but will ultimately create a stronger mindset

Stress is good for our physical and mental wellbeing.

Actually it’s the body’s response to it that’s most important. It’s a balancing act because if you over-stress yourself you won’t reap the benefits and may move into the realms of chronic stress.

The actual scientific term for applying good stress is called hormesis. The best definition of hormesis I’ve seen is from Todd Becker’s Getting Stronger blog:

Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses.

In layman’s terms, you have to break yourself a little to build yourself.

What kind of hormesis are you applying in your life?

I’m currently:

* Lifting weights
* Running three times a week
* Learning new videography skills

I’m coasting. I need more stress in my life. I intend to create more, learn more and push myself in directions that make me feel fear.

How about you?


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