Creating a Great Environment to be Ready for Stress
By Anne Larsen
Stress is a common and normal physical response to challenging or new situations. It can be positive: inspirational, motivational, manageable, challenging or it can be moderate and push a person out of flow, causing us to feel ‘stressed out’ or it can be extreme and become chronic.
Our bodies and in particular our nervous system are designed to switch between our rest and digest state, the parasympathetic nervous system and our ‘action’ mode, the sympathetic nervous system. The strategy here is to be able to be triggered into the stress state to meet a challenge, then to be able shift back to a more relaxed state.
So, how do you build a life where you feel confident that you can face life’s challenges, even when some of these challenges can be distressing? What can you create that will improve your resilience?
A traditional analogy for looking at stress is a boat on the sea. Imagine that you’re sitting in a boat and you’re surrounded by the ocean. In this analogy, the ocean is life. The boat is the environment that you create around you, and the tiller is your mind or brain function. Then it is our consciousness over-looking this- the observer.
An old proverb says ‘smooth seas don’t make good sailors’ and there’s a reason for that- meeting challenges can be very positive for our growth and is a built in feature- think of the baby learning to walk. When they take those first steps they smile or laugh then look around to see who is watching. They look for extrinsic reward but they definitely have intrinsic reward first!
Think about the sea. Some days are plain sailing. The sun is shining, the breeze is perfect, and there’s not too many waves. We can cruise along with little effort. Sometimes the weather is more challenging; it’s windy or the water is choppy and you have to pay a little bit more attention to what’s going on. Do I need to adjust my course?, is my ship in good shape if the weather get;s rougher? How do I feel in this weather? And this perception of life and how you are meeting the challenges is a completely personal one to you.
Other times in our life it appears that there’s a tsunami or we’re floating along in the ocean and then there’s a massive rogue wave and that rogue wave may actually even capsize your boat.
That brings us to your boat- the environment you have created to see you through challenging events, including who you invite into your environment. Let’s use tips from the HealthTypes to have a life that has you stress-ready!
- Your environment needs to be set up to support your mission: it will be efficient and productive
- Your boat needs to be a ‘hydrofoil’, designed to travel straight ahead at high speeds
- Feel like you are progressing towards clear goals
- Have people around you who respect you and your expertise and who really listen when you have the ‘microphone.
- The Guardian’s boat needs to be more like a ferry- comfortable, stable, close to nature and most importantly, to be shared with others
- The environment needs to be nourishing with a sense that there will always be ‘enough’
- A community of people who can appreciate the generosity of the Guardian
- Time for long and deep conversations and connections.
- The Connectors boat is more like a fast boat that is big enough to bring a group for fun!
- This is the ‘party’ boat, full of entertainment, joy and laughter
- Deeper connections where the Connector feels loved
- A bright space, preferably sunny, with loads of colour.
- The Sensor boat needs to be a lightweight sailing boat where the Sensor can catch the breeze and fly with the wind
- The environment needs to be serene: aesthetically beautiful, warm and calm.
- Stimulation is kept to a minimum to soothe their very active mind
- TheSensor is very independent and whilst they love being loved- like everyone- they also love solitude
- Like the Crusader, they are forward thinking so a safety plan is well advised
- The action-packed Activator is like a jet ski, moving fast and easily, but a jet ski that has the most fun with others around.
- Feeling like they have a team, that is on the Activators side- being their buddy and cheer squad if times get tough works to have the Activator put their problem-solving genius to work whilst being supported
- The freedom to move and express will have the Activator well-placed to manage stressors
- Having people around who accept the Activator for exactly who they are is wonderful.
- The Diplomat has a slow and steady body with a busy mind and they are like a maxi- yacht. They take some time to get going but once they get the wind in their sails there is no stopping them.
- The Diplomat’s environment needs to be comfortable and pleasurable and they need open space- physically as well as in their mind
- The Diplomat will want others on their boat- people they feel close to and comfortable with
- Having the time to gather information so that they can weigh up decisions will help the Diplomat in stressful situations- they do not do well having to react quickly.
We know stressors are inevitable and it’s a great idea to think about how you are traveling through your life. Are there any changes you could make to tackle stress in a way that makes life feel more harmonious?