There are some days that just go terribly wrong. Your schedule gets thrown off kilter, you get into spats with the people you love, and like Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong!
When these kinds of days occur, how do you normally react to the stress? The methods you automatically turn to in an effort to help you deal with the increased anxiety levels is known as your stress reflex.
Just as your knee jerks when the doctor taps it, there are certain things you do when stress gets the best of you. It may be that you head straight for the kitchen and drown your sorrows in a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Or maybe you snap at the first person who crosses paths with you. Your stress reflex kicks in when the pot boils over. We like to refer to it as the straw that broke the camel’s back, but what it actually means is – you’ve had enough!
When stress levels get to this point, it’s too late to react with your emotions intact. You need to find ways of coping with stress as it builds, to diffuse the situation before it gets out of control.
Evaluate what your stress reflex is. You may not have ever thought about it before, preferring instead to not think about anything when stress takes its toll and sends you into a flurry of coping mechanisms.
One you have a finger on the pulse of how you manage stress when it tips the scales, you’ll be able to steer clear of detrimental behaviors and find an outlet that is healthier for you when this type of anxiety seeps into your life.
Your stress reflex may depend on many factors, such as whether you’re male or female. Men and women tend to react differently to stress. The benefit in pinpointing your stress reflex isn’t to turn off the anger switch forever.
In fact, getting mad to a certain degree can be healthy for you. Instead, you want to prevent damaging reactions that can affect your personal health or endanger others, such as the case where road rage occurs because a bad driver cut you off after a stress-filled day at the office.
The next time you feel stress beginning to boil over, watch to see how you react to the situation. Do you blow your lid like a pressure cooker, eat the entire contents of the kitchen, or get physically sick to your stomach? Keep a journal and then find ways to react differently.
So what’s your stress reflex?