Survival VS Thrive. Most of us have been trained to kick into survival mode when we are under duress. In fact, if you are like me, you wear this skill like a badge of honor. Our motto, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." "I perform better under pressure." "I kick into high gear under stress." Is your head held high and your chest stuck out a little further as you read these words in agreement? Yup! You may not like it but you thrive in survival mode.
The problem with living in survival mode, we can't thrive for long in that state. We can only do enough to make it through. In survival mode our state of mind is conditioned to focus only on the bare minimum, to make it through the moment. Further, when that duress is caused by illness, the lens from which we pull our ability to thrive becomes smaller and quickly loses focus.
Acute stress shocks your system. When you have a traumatic experience it halts your ability to temporarily function at full capacity. Acute stress may thwart success until the threat is over. However, chronic stress does the most damage because it negatively impacts your ability to succeed over a prolonged period of time. Chronic stress often makes it a challenge to manage day-to-day symptoms. Chronic stress is generally more harmful to us than acute stress.
Chronic stress steals ingenuity and creativity. It fights diligently against your ability to have clarity and make good sound choices. Long-term stress steals your energy, your confidence and your ability to soar.
Chronic stress causes simple everyday decisions to become life-changing declarations. Decisions become become critical to your very well-being. Poor decisions become detrimental in the long-run. They can immobilize us and prevent us from thriving.
Poor decisions are emboldened to take over your life, further they catapult your life into chaos and uncertainty. Stress causes cloudy judgement which digs you deeper into negative emotions and depression. Choosing unwisely can cause you question your potential, your value, and your worth. It weakens your ability to believe in yourself and possess the confidence necessary to recover.
Limited options shapes your mindset. Chronic stress kills your spirit. It alters both, how you see the world and your place in it. It zaps your energy cutting off your supply source of the motivation and inspiration needed to thrive. Chronic stress negatively impacts hope and feelings of aspiration.
Acute stress triggers poor decisions and those poor choices further prolong chronic stress. And if you don't rebound quickly with clarity, hope, faith, determination, persistence, forgiveness and self-love, you will undoubtedly spiral faster with no end in sight.
You may not be able to control acute stress and the mental, psychological and physical shock that may result, but you can recover in the short term. However, chronic stress and the long-term mental pressure kills your hopes and dreams. This is where despair begins.
I am here because I am have been both a victim and a victor over stress. Over the years, I have endured episodes of acute stress like a rape as a teenager, homelessness, finding my mother dead in her apartment and life-threatening illnesses, for examples. I have also managed chronic stress as a single mother with a demanding career. Our paths may be varied but we are each traveling similar roads.
Please know, that you do not have to endure this space on your own. There are too many of us in this space to leave it to you to fend for yourself. You are not alone. I am here. We all are here. Together.
This journey may be challenging but in the end, I hope you will be enlightened, inspired and in possession of tools to help you navigate your acute and chronic stress.
Be well in sisterhood,