Equlimbrium is found in the familiar, but that doesn't always make it right
Is this the best version of you you can be? Maybe you don't quite know who that is yet, or how that feels. Your current point of equilibrium is based on the accumulation of life so far; experiences that happened 20 years ago, experiences that happened 5 minutes ago. If your experiences have been fuelled by Chronic Stress, your state of equilibrium might be that of a nervous wreck, it's not your fault - but you can certainly change it.
How do you unravel that; the learnt state of yourself, the only existence you've ever really known?
By understanding it.
Society defines stress as external variables causing a reaction; uncontrollable & unpredictable.
1. pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
2. A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse of demanding circumstances.
Biology defines stress as a byproduct of our inability to perform.
"Stress, refers to what happens when an organism fails to respond appropriately to threats" (Randall, 2010)
It's a bore to talk about the obvious stress in life - the Acute Stress; spontaneous and annoying, causing a fright & inconvenience; a devastating loss or tragedy, being yelled at, being stuck in traffic, having a deadline - stress is unavoidable. But this form of stress can motivate us to better ourselves, we're equipped with fight or flight survival instincts especially for this.
Fight or Flight.
Triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System and HPA-Axel. After the attack the Parasympathetic Nervous System begins the clean up: lowering cortisol & blood pressure. (Harvard Health, 2011).
We can use these Acute Stress experiences to fuel us to be greater. But the less obvious stress is the underlying, consistent stress, Chronic Stress. Prolonged emotional stress. a stress that causes physical and psychological reactions that we believe we handle, pass off as irrational, it is the way life is. Chronic Stress can be unavoidable. But that doesn't mean it should define us.
Our experiences are the basis from which we interpret the world around us, the foundations of our perspective, the start of our neurosis.
It's the fear, the unknown of an event, the byproduct of something that may or may not even happen. During episodes of Chronic Stress; stressors that might last weeks, months or years, our body is in constant fight or flight mode. The Parasympathetic Nervous System doesn't clean up; we're in a constant HPA axel cycle; adrenalin and cortisol continue to fuel our body. It sounds dire, but the cause of chronic stress can be as simple as anticipation. Imagine having to walk past your ex's office on your way to work every day; will you see them, won't you, what will you say... It causes your heart to fall from your sternum to your stomach to the beat of a stampede, anywhere, anytime - regardless of what you're doing or how you feel. The fear of the unknown.
Chronic Stress - It could be a byproduct of our environment, or our own inability to change our own mindset, but it by far has the most detrimental effect on us systemically.
The systemic effects of Chronic Stress can alter our view of the world, our relationships with people - we are no longer the person we would be without it. We are a version of ourselves that is in a constant state of damage control as we self medicate with our own devices; stimulants, distractions, obsessive habits, intense people and activities - the band-aids that become the point of our equilibrium - band-aids we wouldn't need if it weren't for the stress underlying our very existence.
If you remove the band-aids: stimulants and antidotal behaviour; if you remove the chronic stress... Who are you?
There's always a But...
Removing chronic stress isn't enough, we need to rewire our mind and recondition our body to recalibrate and find a new sense of self.
We can all agree that the familiar, the compromised condition we find ourselves in as a response to chronic stress, is not an acceptable point of equilibrium. After we realise that we feel stressed, or anxious, tired, or unhappy, we are in the position to change our familiar; to change our point of equilibrium. In the quest to find self we can abandon our surrounds, walk away from the chronic stress, in new shoes & a fresh haircut, but somehow those shoes find their way to the familiar; a different place, with different people, with us and our patterns to call it home. We can successfully change our point of equilibrium and be the version of ourselves we aspire to, if we rewire our body and mind
Familiarity doesn't ensure happiness and while healthy might feel strange, in time it will begin to feel normal.