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Soulful Sundays: Good Stress

A bird in space cannot eat. Birds have evolved with gravity and have never needed to develop a strategy to eat without it. Likewise, humans will also die without the stress of gravity. We would simply waste away.

There are many necessary stressors in life. Exercise, relationships, and the endless need to feed and protect ourselves. Without them, we would not be able to have all of the wonderful adaptations that we currently enjoy. Walking, healing, talking, and thinking would all be gone.

But there is a sweet spot for stress. Phycologists describe it in terms of two variables. On one axis you have stress and on the other performance. As it turns out you need just enough stress not to be bored, but not too much so that you get overwhelmed and shut down.

The right side of the zone called eustress is the spot that I personally strive for when I want to improve at something. By pushing closer and closer to the kind of stress that overwhelms me I grow. This is the principle of progressive overload. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." However, there is another half to that axiom. YOU MUST HAVE TIME TO RECOVER FROM THAT STRESS!

Fall and Winter are great times to prioritize rest. Sleep longer, finish or pause projects early, and just generally save energy for later challenges. This is also the season when many people get sick or succumb to illness. Don't let this stop you from growing, just be smart about how you take on stress. You are not alone.

How do you approach stress in your life? What strategies do you use to recover?

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