Stress shows up in our behaviour

In honour of Stress Awareness Month we’re talking all things stress in our blogs. This week we’re looking at how, when we’re stressed, our behaviour is impacted.

When we’re stressed our natural tendency is to ignore the feelings that come up in response to it. We plow on ahead and disregard what’s going on with our emotions and our nervous systems.

Brené Brown shares several ways in which our behaviour tells us that we’re stressed. The first is ‘Chandeliering’. This is where, we’re ignoring our natural emotions that come up in response to stress, and then a seemingly innocent thing happens (we miss the bus, we break a mug, someone else is late) and we absolutely lose it. We ‘fly off the handle’ or we ‘hit the roof or chandelier’ (depending on how rich you are!!)

Another behavioural sign that stress is being experienced, is ‘Numbing’. This is where, instead of being with the emotions that come up when we’re stressed, we numb out to them. We drink alcohol, we overeat, we binge on netflix, we shop, we get perpetually busy so there’s no time to reflect and be.

Brené Brwon also talks about ‘Bouncing Hurt’. Which is where we project our frustrations out onto others. This is where we’ll find fault in others’ behaviours, basically it’s bitching about other people. Rather than feel our own feelings we’ll moan and complain about how wrong everyone else is getting it.

I am sure you have seen such behaviours pan out in people around you, and maybe you can identify a few of the behaviours in yourself as well. One thing to underline is there is absolutely no shame in behaving like this, as long as you start to become aware of your behaviour and make efforts to alter it.

The thing with behavioural signs of stress is that they do impact other people. We spoke last week about physical signs, which most often just impact the individual, but stress related behaviour can cause stress in other people. It’s therefore important to recognise it in yourself.

The good news is it’s possible to become aware of such behaviours, and then implement strategies like mindfulness, meditation, self-compassion, going out and being in nature or investing in talking therapies in order to make a change.

We are complex beings, us humans, and it can take some time to really recognise our responses to stress. But it’s so very important to explore what comes up for us, and then to realise there are so many ways to step into behaviours that are healthy, healing, and authentic rather than destructive.

Sending love as always, Hannah

PS. Coaching and workshops are an ACE way to look into this work. Contact us for information on either. 

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