Stress and Resilience

(First of all, I may or may not be writing this post as a break from cramming information into my head for a final that is in one hour because if I don’t I just might explode.)

I can’t even believe this semester has passed so quickly. I feel like I’ve worked ridiculously hard to get through it and also feel like I didn’t really even do anything. It’s hard to believe that my first and last year in my university’s Chorale is halfway through, and even harder to believe that I have ONE SEMESTER LEFT of my undergraduate education ever. 

This is awesome and scary. I have lots of things coming up and I can’t even imagine what 2014 is really going to be like for me. I now have to get started on actually fleshing out my “career plan,” including applying to graduate programs and myomassaology institutes and dealing with whatever becomes of my personal life. It’s all exciting, and it’s all daunting. 

But isn’t that at least a little bit of what keeps us going, as humans? Being excited and scared at the same time – what else would motivate us to do anything? This is a condition I need to become better at embracing. I want to. Technically, this “good stress” is termed “eustress.” Did you know that people who perceive stress as a good thing/positive motivator actually had no physiologically harmful reaction to stress? All that adrenaline stuff, the cortisol and narrowing of veins and rising of blood pressure and increase of heart rate and all sorts of hormonal reactions and autonomic nervous system stuff either doesn’t happen or doesn’t negatively affect you if you embrace what stress can do for your life.

More easily said than done, I know, but it’s a great concept. It’s possible to make stress healthy for you. My favorite resource of this information is this TEDtalk by Kelly McGonigal. In it, there is a quote that I just absolutely adore and want plastered all over everything I own:

“When you choose to see stress as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And, when you choose to connect with others through that stress, you create resilience.”

 

Just something about the idea of “the biology of courage” is terribly poetic. Resilience is a fundamental concept in my studies as a Wellness Promotion and Personal Development major. It is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; it is toughness; it is elasticity. I strive to be resilient. So many times in my life I have claimed myself a victim of the consequences of stress and fear and depression and anxiety – if I can crack the whip and make my physiology work for me, and not allow myself to claim helplessness in the face of stress, then I don’t know what can stand in my way. 

 

One of my final projects for an 8-credit monster class. Appendices A-T (should have even more – I left out a couple things). Finally complete!

 

 

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