Offering Registered Massage Therapy & Yoga Therapy in Courtenay BC

Embracing Challenge: When Stress is Used for Good

The word 'Stress' gets a bad wrap - poor guy...

Most minds immediately go to the kind of stress concerning things like bills, confrontation, deadlines, and big responsibilities.

But stress – or ‘a stressor’ – is actually just an umbrella term for any event, circumstance, or condition that triggers a response – be it physical, emotional or psychological.

And believe it or not, stress can be GOOD!

GOOD stress pushes you out of your comfort zone but leads to something positive.

This is also called ‘Eustress’, and it can be used to support the physical body. Here’s an example scenario:

With age, bones may lose density and become more brittle; this is called Osteoporosis. 

"Over 80% of all fractures in people over 50 are caused by osteoporosis." Osteoporosis.ca

While osteoporosis can’t be reversed, management can be done to prevent further bone loss or at least slow the process. Part of that management includes weight bearing and resistance exercises. As cells regenerate, the bones being put under higher load will be reinforced with healthy bone tissue. 

So, if a person wanted to strengthen their bones – whether to prevent bone loss, or to recoup some healthy bone – they could introduce things like walking, yoga, Thai Chi, hand weights and other resistance exercises. 

Introducing something new may be challenging at first, but if done mindfully and well, it’s the kind of challenge that can be hugely beneficial – in the case of osteoporosis, by reducing falls and breaks and prolonging quality of life and independence!

*And just so you know, ALL tissues require load and positive stress to become stronger!

BAD stress demands more than can be coped with and leads to negative effects.

This is called ‘Distress’. Let’s continue building on the previous scenario;

If someone with osteoporosis takes part in high impact, intense activities, they could do more damage than naught.

While the intention may be good – to avoid further bone loss – too much impact will more likely push the bones beyond their current limits and lead to things like stress fractures.

Setting the osteoporosis example aside; no matter your health history, the ‘go big or go home’ approach can be just as detrimental as not doing anything at all if attention isn’t being paid to how your body is handling the challenges you throw at it! 

So, it's important to identify which activities or stressors are helping you and hindering you...

But your day passes in a blur - how do you tell the good stressors from the bad ones?!?

Alright, so you may not have osteoporosis, but perhaps you have SOMETHING going on that’s cranky by the end of your day and you’re not sure why…

It can be really difficult to pick out where things went sideways after the fact. 

That’s why I created a simple guide to help you get in the habit of checking in throughout the day, noticing how things are feeling, and jotting down what you’ve been up to since the last check in. 

This guide will help you

  • Hone your self-awareness
  • Notice patterns of cause and effect
  • Get insight into daily tasks and movements that merit investigation
  • Inspire you to change things up and see what results you get
  • Become more curious about how your body works and responds to your life
  • And ask clearer questions when you seek professional care

So what are you waiting for?! 

Your body is constantly trying to feed you information – Once you start hearing it’s message, you can learn your body’s language and get the results you crave! 

This blog entry was written by Heather and is based on what she has seen resonate with, and work for her clientele for over a decade. She is a career student who keeps her massage and yoga therapy training current, and does her best to keep up with the newest research and evidence.

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