Building Resilience

July 16th, 2020

Today we are going to dive into how to build resilience and how it can improve your overall health.

The human organism is an adaptive entity. We owe our success as a species on this planet to this quality. Though, as much as our adaptability is a part of our being, it requires something to respond to in order to be activated. 

By understanding, and being more mindful of this mechanism, we can begin to look at how we can build resiliency to the stresses that come with life on planet earth.  

It can be helpful to think about our body’s adaptive mechanism acting in the shape of a bell curve. On the bottom axis is the intensity of any stressor–for the sake of this conversation we will use physical activity. On the side axis the level of the compensatory adadptation response. 

When thought of in this manner, we can see that a low intensity stressor is not enough to trigger the adaptation mechanism. Under these conditions nothing will change. We will not grow to become more reslient to future stressors that come our way. People on this end of the spectrum tend to have pain because they are under-prepared for the activities they need and want to do in their daily lives. 

In this deconditioned state, the body is in a state of controlled decline. 

On the other end of the spectrum a stressor that is too intense for our level of preparation will out-pace the adaptation mechanism’s ability to keep up over time and can lead to immediate or eventual breakdown when we exceed the capacity of the parts of our body under stress during that activity. People on this end of the curve tend to have pain because they are over-worked.

From this, we can gather that our body’s “peak adaptation ability” if you will comes from stressor at a level that brings the tale of Goldilocks to mind–that is tot say it’s just right. At this level of a stressor, our body begins to adapt in order to cope with and overcome it. Over time, gradual an consistent exposure to something at this level will raise our floor so to speak. 

In other words, our body will change, and the thing that was priorly stressful or insurmountable suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. It has become relatively less intense! 

This does a couple of things. On one hand it makes it will now require more intensity of the stressor in order to spark the adaptive mechanism. On the other it will now take more of that stressor to put you into the right hand side of the curve where you would have formerly broken down. 

Pretty neat. 

Ulitmately reslience is a quality that we should seek to have if we want to have less pain in our day to day lives. While we are mainly talking about it in terms of getting your body to respond to things physically, this quality is also similarly discussed in terms of responding to psychological stress. 

In any case it appears that graded exposture to gradually increasing levels of stress is the way to spark your adaptive mechanism and foster reslience. It’s one of those simple, but not easy things that we can bring to the table in order to effect change for the better in our day to day lives. 

Hopefully this changes your perspective on stress and will allow you to see it as a necessity for unlocking your potential and not something to be avoided entirely. Remember that nothing changes if nothing changes. 

Be Well. 

If you are looking for a chiropractor in Denver, we provide individualized chiropractic treatment plans for your back pain, neck pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, and more! Click this link to go to our scheduling page, or give us a call at (720)263-0594 to schedule an appointment.