We tend to use ambiguous terms to conceptually categorize contextual inputs. What is stress, how is it that the same stimulus can elicit completely different reactions within different individuals? Understanding that the stressor often isn’t the issue is the first step in understanding “why” it’s affecting you. The second step is understanding why we inherently seek it out when our lives are absent of it.
Stress is little more than stimulus and we are constantly processing stimuli at the sensorial and interoceptive levels, and typically only cognitively aware of novel stimuli or novel contextual applications. Repeated exposure to these stimuli results in an individual’s ability to learn (cope) and form physiological and psychological strategies respectively. Here’s the kicker, these strategies have an equal opportunity to be maladaptive or adaptive.
As coaches, can we find a way to apply stress to our clients in a way that they perceive as beneficial? Can we create an atmosphere that allows for adaptive exposure? Understanding this process is often the key to adherence, coherence, and behavior change.
At their base forms stress is information and coping is learning, and an individual’s ability to learn is shaped largely by their belief systems (and interest) around the subject itself. Can YOU drive interest?
Questions to ask yourself when “stressed”:
1. Am I being objective or emotional regarding this stressor?
2. Is this a setback or an opportunity?
3. Can I take control of my ability to adapt (learn) by reshaping my perception of the stressor?