Coronavirus Crisis: Carpe Diem
Our Stress Responses: Discovering, Understanding and Improving Them
March 25, 2020
Welcome to the podcast Coronavirus Crisis: Carpe Diem where together we embrace the possibilities and opportunities for spiritual and psychological growth, all grounded in a Catholic worldview.
Today we’re going to talk about how our stress responses give us very valuable information about ourselves, our psychological functioning and also our spiritual development.
So stress responses are the things we habitually do when we are stressed. They are ways of coping, ways of trying to adapt to the situation.
You may know your stress responses or you might not know them. Here are some examples of stress resposnes:
· Raiding the Fridge (chocolate)
· Biting nails
· Caught up in video games solitaire
· Online shopping
· Obsessive exercise
· Staring into space
· Starting arguments with the spouse
· Viewing pornography online
So now we’re going to explore our stress responses? Why do that? Why should we care? Because they tell us what we need, or at least what we assume we need at some level. And when those stress responses are maladaptive, we can fight them head on and sometimes we have to. But if we can find the underlying need, we can address it in an entirely new and healthy way.
My stress response is __________________
Next, let’s ask, “What does your stress response do for you?” How is that response trying to meet an assumed or real need?
If you listen in, you might find the answer.
You may already think you know the answer, and you may be right.
But let’s go deeper together.
Let’s have an open mind and an open heart toward ourselves on this one. We may have an insight if we are open to it.
The big theme: Our stress responses show us our growing edges, the areas in which we need to receive grace and help.
OK, so here’s the final part. Let’s bring those needs into the spiritual life.
In a crisis like this, the need often has to do with being secure or having a sense of safety.
As Catholics, our need for security and for safety can’t be met by maladaptive stress responses.
They don’t work. Chocolate can’t really make you safer. Nailbiting can only temporarily cover stress, not resolve it.
So to recap: First, Let’s recognize which of our behaviors are stress responses. Let’s name them and acknowledge them, own them, be real about them. So for me, that stress response is way too much internet surfing and study both of the economic and political news.
Second, Let’s then reflect and be open to the needs or assumed needs we have that drive them. In my case, an assumed need to predict what is happening and to control it. My real need though, is for a sense of safety and security.
Third, taking those assumed needs and real needs into the spiritual life in some way that is helpful to you. In my case, bring the need for safety and security to God the Father and to Mary.
Ok, so we are winding it up for today.
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Check out Soulsandhearts.com .
Dr. Gerry has just launched his course for married couples who are recovering from the discovery of porn use – porn use is a stress response for many people.
Let’s pray for each other. Our Lady, Untier of Knots: Pray for Us. St. John the Baptist Pray for us.