Did you know that not all stress is bad for you? Researchers have found that short bursts of moderate stress actually serves to keep our brains and bodies alert, helping us operate at peak physical and cognitive capacity. Think about it—do you sometimes find yourself getting more done and feeling more motivated when you have a busy schedule? You’re more alert, more focused, and in motion.
But there is a tipping point, isn’t there? Where your week gets just a little too busy, and suddenly you’re paralyzed by your to-do list and having a harder time taking care of yourself. You’ve kicked your sympathetic nervous system (that “fight, flight, or freeze” system) into overdrive, and the only thing that will bring you down is something like alcohol. This helps us understand why stress management is such a crucial skill to develop in alcohol-free living.
When we learn to manage our stress and keep it at a low to moderate level, we help ourselves stay within that peak stress window that helps us stay motivated, but doesn’t leave us fried. We can bring ourselves down gently before we reach a tipping point, and we’re never in such a dire stress situation that we start to crave the quick state change of alcohol or other depressants.