Are we born with or do we develop a stress personality? Is it derived from our family of origin or is it environment? My answer is both. We have a propensity carried by our DNA for the way we handle stress and change in our circumstances. You will often find people react similarly to difficulty in family lines.
For those of us who are goal-oriented or type A personality, studies show that this way of coping can lead to problems that could be biopsychosocial in nature. The other end of the continuum is the type B personality and these people tend to have a more relaxed and easy-going way of living but all of us live somewhere on the continuum between type A and type B and many of us struggle with change to move towards the centre—the optimum spot.
Let me ask you: How did you cope with the impact on your life of COVID-19, lockdown, social distancing, shopping online and the other changes to our lives in recent years?
They probably impacted you in several ways. All of us are biopsychosocial and spiritual in nature with any change causing some level of stress then impacting any of the other biopsychosocial-spiritual components.
The physical or DNA or biological aspect of our person can cause hormonal changes, producing inner stresses that in change can cause us to fight, flight, or freeze. The freeze is really burnout; fight and flight the results of stress. An antidote to physical stress is physical exercise, to release some of those stress hormones.
The psychological part of our make-up can also impact stress levels which could lead to burnout in time through ongoing difficult and changing circumstances. How we feel emotionally, impacts us biologically, socially and spiritually. Is this nurture or nature? I believe they are both impactful. There’s a certain amount of DNA which is passed down from generation to generation but of course, our environment or our upbringing in our family of origin, impact our emotions too.
Change impacts us socially and again this is both nature and nurture. I was born a social animal like my mother, my only sibling, my sister was born like my father, reserved and somewhat quiet. The environment that we grew up, in also influenced us. For example, my mother was a social butterfly, very involved in her community and with her family and neighbours so both my sister and I are very friendly with our neighbours –they become like our family.
When change comes, which is inevitable, what do you do? What part of the biopsychosocial (and we will get to our spiritual aspect in another blog), need attention when you are coping with a changing world around you? The answer is: we all need time out to smell the roses – to get outside, get around some green and some blue. The science is very clear, being in nature is good for us in countless ways. You might need more attention to the psychological aspect, doing some mindfulness, some help from a counsellor or journaling about hope and gratitude, which are positive psychological interventions that line up with the Bible. Whatever way you de-stress, I want to bring to you a godly way with online coaching sessions in May.
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