November 1st is Stress Awareness Day.
In recent years we have been conditioned to believe that stress is bad. We need to remove stress, banish it from our lives for ever.
The truth is more nuanced than that and we are now understanding much more about how the body responds to stress. As humans we are actually well adapted to deal with stress – in small doses.
Life always contained stressors: finding food; avoiding becoming food; producing offspring, meeting the neighbouring clan. Our fight or flight response helps us manage acute stress and over time we adapt to stress. Training is a great example of this. Training is a stress. Too much and we get hurt or ill but with appropriate recovery we adapt and get stronger.
Where stress becomes a problem is when it is constant, always on stress, that gives our body no chance to recover. Unfortunately the modern world has ‘stressors’ everywhere. From blue light emitting electronics to always on email, relentless social pressures to fit in, long working hours, insufficient sleep, lack of deep contact with other human beings and more.
The good news is that there are simple strategies to help us better manage ourselves and optimise our stress levels to support better performance. Athletes are often (but not always) good at striking this balance. With double Olympian Mara Yamauchi I am offering a series of masterclasses desiged to help you ‘Perform at your Best’.