Katherine Devinney, M.A., LSW talks about stress and completing the stress response cycle. She tells us that stress is a neurological and physiological shift that happens inside of our body when we perceive a threat. A threat is that stressor.
A stressor can be internal or external. An external stressor can be anything from work and family to money or discrimination. An internal stressor is that self-criticism, negative self-talk, body image, or even worrying about the future. All of those things are perceived by the body as a potential threat.
In order to work through that and process that stress, we have to speak body language. We can’t just talk ourselves out of it. We can’t just tell ourselves that we’re okay now and the threat is over. We have to do something to let our bodies know that we are safe.
There are different things we can do. You can do physical activity. You can go running for 30 minutes. If that’s not your thing, that’s okay. You can do a body tense or you can do a big old cry. You can have that social connection. You can hang out with a loved one, friend, or pet. You can compliment a stranger. You can get creative. Write a song, poem, or story. It doesn’t have to be about what stressed you out. It can be about anything. Just create something. You can sing a song. Any of those things are going to help make that shift inside your body and reduce those cortisol levels so your body knows the world is a safe place again. You are safe.
Wellness is not a state of being. It’s a state of action. If you’re ready to take that next step, Crosswinds’ qualified and compassionate counselors can help you dig deeper into how to complete the stress response cycle.