You've heard the advice: “Scare yourself at least once a day.” And, if you're anything like me you may agree intellectually that this works well from a 'live life to the full perspective.' But we ignore this from a '9-5 in the office' one.
But actually, this is crucial to the modern lifestyle.
Hunters and Collectors
Whatever your position on evolution, it is scientificly verifiable that our forebears lived in a hostile world. One where stress was related to surviving the winter, or being eaten. Later we developed weapons and before long stress was driven by your skills to survive being stabbed, hacked to death, or lead a horde of warring brutes to success.
Our stress response is perfectly honed to drive flight or fight.
The 21st Century Worrier.
But what if we aren't in danger of being eaten, or even punched in the face, let alone stabbed.
Increasingly we get stressed by exams, punctuality, work, finances, traffic, the future (future home, kids education, work, government….) None of which is immediately threatening to our existence. Because frankly the worst that can happen is we get shouted at, or fired. Whilst that's not a great outcome it's not the same as, well, dying.
Yet this stress response still drives adrenalin and cortisol through our system. It shuts down digestion, raises our pulse and blood pressure, and heightens emotions. All of which, if unmonitored or unmanaged, causes havoc on our health and relationships. A system perfectly honed to increase survivability now causing chronic disease and decreasing longevity and quality of life.
What if you could recalibrate your stress response?
The calmest people are those who face life threatening situations every day. Simply because everything else is relatively inconsequential.
So one of the strategies to dealing with stress is to recalibrate the system. Get scared, or face a challenge significantly out of your comfort zone, and calibrate the your response to face fight or flight when you actually need to stand your ground, or flee.