Contributor #5: Take the Time to Recover from Stress
Although you may feel that the level of stress in your life is a major factor that’s preventing you from achieving wellness, stress in and of itself is not actually the problem. According to Tal Ben-Shahar, stress is not the issue, but the lack of recovery from stress on a physical, emotional, and psychological level is the issue. He provides an excellent illustration of this point by giving the analogy of weight training at the gym – during the act of weight lift training, you are putting stress on your muscles and breaking them down. Nonetheless, this stress is positive, as it is allowing you to grow stronger each time you train. However, the problem arises if you don't allow your muscles adequate time to recover. If you began to lift and lift weights over and over again every few minutes without a break, you overtrain and exhaust yourself. Thus, much like the breaks we implement for weight training at the gym, in order to achieve wellness we must implement recovery time and breaks to help us cope with the stress of our daily lives.
Tal Ben Shahar suggests recovery at the micro, mid, and macro levels for optimal results. For example, rather than studying for 8 hours non-stop, introduce 15-minute breaks after a few hours of work (micro level). Instead of allowing your sleep schedule to become erratic, prioritize a regular sleep schedule with a healthy amount of sleep (mid level). And finally, go away on vacation or take a significant amount of time off from work or study to allow yourself the time to fully reboot (macro level).
If you feel you need more tools for coping with stress and increasing your resilience, register for the Coping with Stress workshop.