I’ve come to classify our responses to stress as falling within one of the following categories:
Reactive Strategies…… not recommended! These are the unhealthy, boomerang type of behaviours that we engage in as a means of dealing with stress. And they always backfire! Classic examples include excessive drinking, gambling, self-medicating or over-eating. So beware, no `Reactive Strategies’ please!
Proactive Strategies are comprised of the preventative behaviours and mental practices that fortify our resiliency baseline. Practicing these creates an invisible `immunization’, thereby decreasing the chance of us experiencing events as `stressful’ to begin with. Typical examples are: sleeping at least 8 hours a night, viewing events with a `cup half full’ approach, practicing yoga/meditation/exercise regularly and having a strong, supportive social network.
Responsive Strategies are the strategies that we use when responding to a specific stressor (or multiple ones) in our lives. The `Count to 10 Before Speaking’ advice is a classic Responsive Strategy. Other examples of healthy Responsive Strategies include consciously challenging/replacing our negative thinking habits about the stressor, taking time to engage in deep diaphragmatic breathing, seeking support or simply saying `no’.