Healthy Adaptation to Stress is a Conscious Choice
Upon encountering stressors you have two choices:
- To adapt to the situational demands and “go with the flow” by doing something to create change or otherwise ameliorate the situation, or
- To “mal-adapt” by withdrawing or pushing beyond normal expectations in an effort to make the stress disappear. Sometimes “easier said than done,” adapting may require repeated conscious effort.
By opting for unhealthy coping strategies such as drug or alcohol abuse, overeating, or overworking, you subject your body to the detriment in addition to the natural physical consequences of stress. When maladaptive behaviors become habitual reactions, you may end up feeling “addicted” to these distractions from stress. However, every time a particular stressor challenges you, you are given the opportunity to choose to adapt healthfully, no matter how you coped with it the last time around.