The Bridge Program: Burlington High School
The idea that too much as well as too little stress and anxiety is undesirable and unhealthy.
You lose about ½ pound of muscle every year after the age of 25 if your not adequately using your muscle. Did you know that when you lift weights, microscopic tears actually occur in your muscles. Increased muscular strength doesn’t occur as you’re lifting weights; it occurs during your rest period, or your day off from lifting weights.
So stress can be compared to our muscles. In order to gain physical strength, it is necessary to stress the muscles. The microscopic tears are good because it is the building back up of the tears that result in increased physical strength ...so to it is with stress.
Experiencing or dealing with stresses can cause microscopic tears in our emotional health and stamina. But learning to recover and build ourselves back from stressful experiences result in increased emotional strength. BUT if the muscle is stressed too much or you lift weights too often, your muscles can be torn down too much and your body doesn’t have the chance to build back the muscle. In other words if you lift too much weight and don’t give your muscles a day off and give yourself recovery time, your muscles don’t have time to rebuild themselves before you tear them again.
Again, so to it is with stress. If you’re dealing with too much stress and you don’t have enough of a break between those stressers, you might not have a chance to recover or deal with the stress effectively. On the other hand, if you don’t sufficiently stress the muscles, or you don’t lift enough weight, you won’t develop your physical strength. If your weights are too light, it is too easy.
The challenges that we face serve as the weight we lift in order to strengthen our ability to handle stress or our emotional strain. If we’re never faced with emotional stress, we will never have the opportunities to strengthen our coping abilities and develop the capacity to effectively handle stress. So next time you are faced with a stressful situation - look at it as your opportunity to “Work out.”
Based on the Bell-Curve graph, the optimal amount of stress is correlated with an optimal amount of performance or emotional health. For example: Athletes perform best when they feel some degree of stressed or when they are psyched up to an extent prior to a competition. The same goes for non-athletes.
Have you ever felt less productive when you have too much time on your hands? Too much to do because you feel overwhelmed? So what is the optimal amount? We are all different in the way that we handle stress, so our optimal amounts differ.
Our students created their own bell-curve using pictures from magazines or google images to share the setting where they felt at each performance level. Below are some examples!